Initial ACNPC Certification

Obtaining ACNPC certification demonstrates you have mastered certain skills, knowledge and abilities that distinguish you as an adult acute care nurse practitioner.

The Certification Exam Policy Handbook will provide you with detailed testing and policy information. The ACNPC Exam Handbook includes exam-specific information, including the ACNPC application/honor statement and the ACNPC test plan.

ACNPC Exam Content

  • The ACNPC exam is a 3.5-hour test consisting of 175 multiple-choice items.
    • Of the 175 items, 150 are scored and 25 are used to gather statistical data on item performance for future exams.
  • The ACNPC exam focuses on the adult patient population.
  • Each question on the ACNPC exam assesses one of the nurse characteristics identified in the Synergy Model.
    • The 2003 AACN Certification Corporation Study of Practice included Synergy Validated ACNP Competencies.
    • Within the domain of Clinical Judgment, body systems is used as a second dimension of exam development.

Certification by Exam — Eligibility Requirements

For new ACNP program graduates

  • Current unencumbered licensure as an RN or APRN in the U.S. is required.
    • An unencumbered license is not currently being subjected to formal discipline by any board of nursing and has no provisions or conditions that limit the nurse's practice in any way.
    • Candidates and ACNPC-certified nurses must notify AACN Certification Corporation within 30 days if any restriction is placed on their RN or APRN license.
  • Completion of a graduate advanced practice education program meeting the following requirements:
    • The education program is offered by an accredited college or university that offers a CCNE or ACEN accredited master's degree or higher in nursing with a concentration as an adult acute care nurse practitioner.
    • The program has demonstrated compliance with the National Task Force Criteria for Evaluation of Nurse Practitioner Programs (NTFC).
    • Both direct and indirect clinical supervision must be congruent with current AACN and nursing accreditation guidelines.
    • The curriculum includes, but is not limited to:
      • Biological, behavioral, medical and nursing sciences relevant to practice as an ACNP including pathophysiology, pharmacology and physical assessment.
      • Legal, ethical and professional responsibilities of the adult ACNP.
      • Supervised clinical practice relevant to the specialty of acute care.
    • The curriculum meets the following criteria:
      • Curriculum is consistent with competencies of adult ACNP practice.
      • Five hundred (500) supervised clinical hours in all roles of the ACNP within the graduate program.
        • All clinical hours must be focused on the care of acutely ill adult patients.
      • Supervised clinical experience is directly related to the knowledge and all role components of the ACNP.
  • Those making up clinical or didactic coursework to meet ACNPC exam eligibility must complete all make-up courses in a postmaster’s certificate or DNP program. (Exception: graduate make-up courses completed prior to December 31, 2006).
  • Applicants determined to be ineligible for the ACNPC exam will have their application fee refunded.

Certification by Endorsement — Eligibility Requirements

For currently certified ACNPs

  • Current unencumbered licensure as an RN or APRN in the U.S. is required.
    • An unencumbered license has not been subjected to formal discipline by any board of nursing and has no provisions or conditions that limit the nurse's practice in any way.
    • Candidates and ACNPC-certified nurses must notify AACN Certification Corporation within 30 days if any restriction is placed on their RN or APRN license.
    • You must submit a photocopy or online printout of your current, unencumbered RN or APRN license along with your application.
  • Currently certification as an adult acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP) through another nationally accredited organization is required. 

ACNPC Initial Certification Fees

ACNPC Certification by Exam  
AACN Members $245
Nonmembers $350
ACNPC Retest or Renewal by Exam  
AACN Members $200
Nonmembers $305
ACNPC Certification by Endorsement  
AACN Members $200*
Nonmembers $300*

*A no fee option exits for Certification by Endorsement. Refer to the ACNPC Endorsement Handbook.

Payable in U.S. Funds. Fees are subject to change without notice.

Your Feedback