ANCC Certification FAQs
Q: Where can I find a testing facility near me?
A: Please visit www.prometric.com/ancc and select "Locate a test center."
Q: Do I have to complete my education in order to submit my application?
A: You may submit your application in advance of your graduation date. ANCC will hold your application and will review the completed application when your final transcript, with degree conferred, is received.
Q: What is the pass rate for ANCC exams?
Q: How many nurses are certified by ANCC?
Q: The exam application requires me to send in transcripts and a validation of education form. How can I send in these items if I have applied online?
A: Hard-copy transcripts and education validation forms may be sent directly to:
American Nurses Credentialing Center
8515 Georgia Avenue, Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Transcripts and APRN validation forms may also be sent electronically (transcripts must be sent directly from the university registrar's office) to email@example.com.
Q: Does my job qualify me for this exam?
A: Your job title might not match the title of the exam application, but you may be practicing in the role and specialty that exam tests. Please refer to the Test Content Outline for details and compare it to your job function.
Q: Is the $140 administrative fee included in the fee for my application?
A: Yes. For example, if you paid $395 to apply for an exam and then chose to withdraw or were deemed ineligible for the exam, ANCC would retain $140 and provide a $255 refund.
Q: What is the policy regarding name changes for exam purposes?
Your first and last names must be spelled correctly and match the first and last names on your government-issued identification.* If any of these items is incorrectly listed on this letter, please contact ANCC immediately by calling 1.800.284.2378, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Examples of acceptable discrepancies of names on identification vs. application:
- Absence or presence of a middle initial: John Smith vs. John E Smith
- Absence or presence of a middle name: John Smith vs. John Evans Smith
- Absence or presence of appendages: Jr., Sr., II
- Maiden name as a middle name and as a given name: Mary Ellen Smith vs. Mary Jones Smith
Requests for legal name change due to marriage, divorce, or a court-approved legal name change must be sent, in writing, with a copy of the marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court-approved legal name change document. For clinicians who have applied in the past under one name and are currently applying under a different name, please note that ANCC requires copies of legal name change documents before proceeding with the application review process.
Send request for legal name changes, by mail, with accompanying documentation to:
ATTN: Name Change
8515 Georgia Avenue, Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Q: How early can I submit my application?
A: Renewal applications may be submitted up to one year prior to the certification expiration date.
Q: How many times can I use ACLS and PALS in a renewal cycle?
A: ACLS and PALS may be used only once in a renewal cycle if the content is the same. Details can be found at Accreditation FAQs.
Q: How do I know which contact hours are accredited/approved?
Formally approved continuing education must meet the following criteria:
- Continuing nursing education (CNE) approved for nursing contact hours by an accredited provider or approver of nursing continuing education
- Continuing medical education (CME) approved for CME hours
- Sponsored by organizations, agencies, or educational institutions accredited or approved by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), or the Commission on Dietetic Registration
- Provided by one of these accepted agencies:
- American Nurses Association (ANA)
- American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
- American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)
- American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM)
- American Psychiatric Association (APA)
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA)
- Emergency Nurses Association (ENA)
- National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH)
- National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners (NAPNAP)
For a list of ANCC accredited organizations, please visit Accredited Organizations
Q: If I don't have enough contact hours, can I combine/convert academic credits to contact hours?
- 1 semester credit = 15 contact hours
- 1 quarter credit = 12.5 contact hours
Q: It says, "Session expired . . ." What should I do?
A: Click "Log out" in the upper right corner of the screen. Attempt to log in again. If this is unsuccessful, please contact ANCC for assistance.
Q: What is the difference between entering professional development in Access My Account and the online application?
A: Access My Account is the master list of professional development entries. Once an online application is created, all professional development entries in Access My Account are copied into the application at that time. After the application is created, no more entries from Access My Account are copied into the application. Additional entries must be entered in the online application if they are to be included on the application. Entries made in the application will automatically be added to the master list in Access My Account.
Q: When submitting an online verification request, what does the status "in process" mean?
A: The status "in process" means that the clinician has applied for the certification but the review process is not complete. A verification letter is not yet available with the status "in process."
Q: I am having trouble finding my login. What should I do?
A: Contact ANCC for assistance and staff can assist in providing or creating your login.
Q: How do I enter contact hours if I have multiple certifications?
Before starting any applications, enter all your contact hours in Access My Account. This is the master list of contact-hour entries. After entering all your contact hours, apply for each of the multiple certifications one at a time. All your contact hours from Access My Account will copy into each application. Please retain the contact hours applicable for each specific application, deleting those that do not apply from the listing in the application. Do not delete items from Access My Account. Repeat for each application.
Pharmacotherapeutic Contact Hour Requirements
Renewal Application Pharmacotherapeutic* Contact Hour Requirements for NPs and CNSs
Information for certification renewals by ANCC Certified Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) and Nurse Practitioners (NP) – effective January 1, 2014:
- 25 of the 75 required contact hours must be in pharmacotherapeutics. Important note: If you double category 1, there is NO requirement to double the number of pharmacotherapeutic hours.
- These 25 pharmacotherapeutic hours do not need to be formally ANCC accredited/approved, provided the certified nurse meets the requirements for Category 1 contact hours. (That requirement is: at least 51% of the total number of contact hours must be in your certification role and specialty and at least 50% must be formally ANCC accredited/approved.)
- If an educational program includes pharmacy content, please refer to equivalency table below to determine the number of pharmacotherapeutic hours that could be counted towards re-certification.
1 contact hour = 60 minutes
1 contact hour = 0.1 CEU
1 CEU = 10 contact hours
1 academic semester credit = 15 contact hours
1 academic quarter credit = 12.5 contact hours
1 CME = 60 minutes or 1 contact hour
- The educational presentation or conference agenda may be submitted as evidence to validate the contact hour calculation. A narrative note describing pharmacology content within the agenda may also be necessary to validate content. Keep for your records and submit only if audited.
- The same hours submitted to renew certification may be submitted to a State Board of Nursing for re-licensure.
- Pharmacotherapeutic content does not need to be presented by a nurse for the hours to be eligible for certification renewal, however, the presenter must have content expertise in pharmacology.
- If a provider is developing content to meet the ANCC pharmacotherapeutic hour requirement, content must specifically address pharmacotherapeutics.
- Pharmacotherapeutic content does not need to be presented by a nurse for the hours to be eligible for certification renewal however the presenter must have content expertise in pharmacology.
- When developing the content for an educational activity, it is recommended that the provider delineate the number of pharmacotherapeutic contact hours.
- Existing continuing education courses/programs that include pharmacotherapeutic content may be reviewed to calculate the appropriate number of pharmacotherapeutic contact hours.
- We recommend that the pharmacotherapeutic contact hours contained within a presentation be calculated when a speaker develops content for an educational activity.
*Pharmacotherapeutic content may include but is not limited to drug-specific information, safe prescribing practices, safe medication administration, prescribing methodologies, new regulations, or similar content.
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