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How to Apply or Renew

  • First-Time Certification

  • Certification Renewal

Here’s an overview of the steps you’ll take to earn your specialty, subspecialty or advanced practice certification for the first time. For in-depth information about exam eligibility and the application process, consult the handbook for your specific exam and the Certification Exam Policy Handbook.
  • 1Validate your eligibility for certification

  • 2Apply for certification online

  • 3Prepare for your exam

  • 4Schedule your exam date

  • 5Take the exam

  • 6Celebrate your certification!

  • 7Learn about certification renewal

Get Certified
Your certification journey starts here
When it’s time to renew your certification, the steps below will get you there. For in-depth information about eligibility and the renewal process, consult the Certification Renewal Handbook for your specific certification.
  • 1Validate your eligibility for renewal

  • 2Track your CE/CERP progress from your AACN dashboard

  • 3Store your CE/CERP documentation, to submit if audited

  • 4Apply for your certification renewal online

  • 5Receive confirmation of your successful renewal

  • 6Access online verification and/or wallet card

Renew Certification
Reaffirm your commitment to nursing excellence

Tools to Help You Prepare

Get ready for your certification exam or renewal application with these AACN resources.


Handbooks With Test Plan
Document featuring the test plan, testing/policy details, sample questions, bibliography and more


Practice Questions
Practice question booklets aligned with current test plans, most with rationales for correct and incorrect answers


Self-Assessment Exam
Online practice questions for self-testing, including rationales and score report – available for CCRN, CCRN-K, CCRN-E, PCCN and PCCN-K
Review Courses
In-depth certification reviews presented by national experts, with CE available upon completion


Bookstore Resources
A rich array of clinical references and products to assist you in preparing for certification 



Testing Information
Details about testing locations, exam scheduling, the day of your exam and candidates with disabilities


Schedule of Events
Find local programs and events, including regional certification reviews


Continuing Education
Access and track a wide variety of CE/CERP activities for certification renewal

Certification Discounts

Enjoy significant savings and get more of your nurses certified