The ACCNS-N exam aligns with requirements of the APRN Consensus Model and meets the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) Criteria for APRN Certification Programs. ACCNS-N certification is accepted in all states.

Initial Eligibility Requirements & Fees

A current, unencumbered U.S. RN or APRN license is required.
An unencumbered license is not currently being subjected to formal discipline by the board of nursing in the state(s) in which the nurse is practicing and has no provisions or conditions that limit the nurse’s practice. Provisions or conditions may include, but are not limited to, direct supervision of practice, drug administration limitations and/or practice area exclusions. Nurses who do not hold an unencumbered license should email AACN at

Candidates must complete a graduate-level advanced practice education program
as a neonatal CNS at a nationally accredited school of nursing. The school’s curriculum must be consistent with competencies of neonatal CNS practice and include supervised clinical and didactic coursework covering the spectrum of wellness through acute care.

For complete eligibility requirements, refer to the ACCNS-N Exam Handbook.

AACN Members





How to Prepare

ACCNS-N Exam Resources


Confirm that you meet eligibility requirements detailed in the ACCNS-N Exam Handbook and apply online.


Is your renewal date approaching? Be prepared — explore ACCNS-N renewal.