Initial CCRN Certification

Congratulations! You have taken your first step toward becoming a certified nurse. By demonstrating you have mastered certain skills, knowledge and abilities, you can distinguish yourself as a leader at the bedside.

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

Once you have reviewed all available information and are ready to sit for the CCRN exam, we recommend you submit your application online.

CCRN Exam Content

  • The CCRN exams are 3-hour tests consisting of 150 multiple-choice items.
    • Of the 150 items, 125 are scored and 25 are used to gather statistical data on item performance for future exams.
  • The CCRN exams focus on adult, pediatric or neonatal patient populations.
  • The CCRN test plans include detailed exam content, organized by body system, with a percentage breakdown for each topic area. 
    • The majority of the exam is age-specific for the adult, pediatric or neonatal patient population, while a portion of the exam covers content that may address any age across the life span.

Initial Eligibility Requirements

  • 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 must meet one of the following clinical practice requirement options:
    • Option 1: Practice as an RN or APRN for 1,750 hours in direct bedside care of acutely and/or critically ill patients during the previous two years, with 875 of those hours accrued in the most recent year preceding application.
    • Option 2: Practice as an RN or APRN for at least five years with a minimum of  2,000 hours in direct bedside care of acutely and/or critically ill patients, with 144 of those hours accrued in the most recent year preceding application.
  • Eligible clinical practice hours are those:
    • spent caring for a single patient population (adult, pediatric or neonatal) matching the exam for which you are applying.
    • spent supervising nurses or nursing students at the bedside, if working as a manager, educator (in-service or academic), APRN or preceptor. 
    • completed in a U.S.-based or Canada-based facility or in a facility determined to be comparable to the U.S. standard of acute/critical care nursing practice.
  • The name and address of a professional associate must be given for verification of clinical practice.
    • A professional associate is defined as either a clinical supervisor or colleague (RN or physician) with whom you work.  

CCRN Initial Exam Fees

CCRN Exam  
AACN Members $225
Nonmembers $330
CCRN Exam Retest or Renewal by Exam  
AACN Members $170
Nonmembers $275

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

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