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Important FAQs for APRNs


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ANCC Certification-Related Q&A
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RN Action


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Get Connected with ANCC


ANCC Certification-Related Q&A

1. How do I apply for my ANCC APRN certification?

ANCC Certification Response: First, you can create an account and start entering your educational information, licensure, upload your documents, etc. on this account. It can also be used as a professional development tracker tool as you go along in your professional nursing career. Second, once ready, you can apply for your ANCC APRN Certification application. Payment will need to be submitted in order for your application to be reviewed. Don’t forget to take advantage of our Graduating Soon Discounts!

2. How can I prepare for my certification exam?

ANCC Certification Response: Students should review the certification specialty's:

Did you know that through the ANCC's Readiness Tests, you can ease your test taking anxiety and evaluate your preparedness for the ANCC certification exams. Readiness Tests allow you to assess your knowledge comprehensively or in a focused content domain, experience the timed, live-proctored testing environment, and receive valuable performance feedback before taking your certification exam. 

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3. Can I test for my ANCC APRN certification before I graduate?

ANCC Certification Response: Students can test prior to graduation but completed paperwork must be on file to test, this will include your unofficial transcripts. Once you have graduated, the transcripts with the conferred degree must also be submitted to us.

4. What is the Validation of Education (VOE) form?

ANCC Certification Response: The VOE form is a required program information document that must be submitted for your ANCC APRN Certification application and can be submitted by either a student or faculty. Once completed you can either upload it to your account or send it to

5. What is a Gap Analysis and who needs to complete it?

ANCC Certification Response: All post-master's students should have a Gap Analysis form completed by faculty, however, the May 2023 VOE does not require that this is submitted with the student's application.

Starting January 1, 2026, for post-graduate certificate (PGC) applicants, only PGC APRN program accreditation will be accepted for eligibility.  Institutional accreditation for APRN master’s or DNP programs will not be considered in leu of PGC accreditation, even if those programs contain parallel tracks to an instution's PGC program. Applicants must demonstrate their program held/holds an active PGC accredation at the time of graduation.

Eligibility criteria require candidates to hold a role/population specific master’s, post-graduate certificate, or DNP from an institution** accredited by a national nursing accreditor (CCNE, ACEN or NLN CNEA).

Please note that ANCC is not an accreditor of nursing education programs. ANCC’s review of accreditation is designed only for purposes of evaluating eligibility for certification.  If you need more details specifically related to accreditation status of a program and/or institution, we encourage you to review the below websites directly:

**ANCC has sent public notice of an eligibility change effective 2026. ANCC currently verifies institutional accreditation. 

6. What are the steps to apply for my ANCC APRN certification?

ANCC Response:

  1. Create an ANCC account
  2. Submit transcripts and Validation of  Advanced Practice Nursing Education Form. For more information, watch our How to Fill Out the New VOE Form Video
  3. Option 1:  Send all documents to or upload all documents within your online application
    Option 2: Fill out Supporting Documentation Form
  4. Submit your application through Our Certifications page.
  5. Apply for your verification so that it will be generated as soon as you become certified. The first verification is free.
  6. View the study aids that are available for each certification  by visiting the main Our Certifications page, click on your certification specialty, and scroll to the bottom.
  7. Once youreceive your Authorization to Test letter, schedule your exam through Prometric.
  8. Take your exam. Results are sent via e-mail after you have completed the test.
  9. Become certified once you pass the test or degree is conferred (if you test prior to degree conferral date). 
  10. Renew your ANCC certification every five years.

All eligibility criteria must be met prior to applicant approval and candidacy. APRN educational documents must clearly demonstrate eligibility criteria are met.

Educational documents must match final, official university transcript(s) including those of transfer universities. The applicant’s degree/post-graduate certificate, denoted on university transcript, must match, and directly align with, the ANCC certification per eligibility criteria and APRN Consensus Model.

7. Once I become ANCC Certified, what is the credential should I use at the end of my signature and how should I display my credentials?

ANCC Response: The credentials are located on each certification specialty page. Visit the ANCC’s Our Certifications page, then click on your certification specialty. We also recommend viewing our How to Display Your Credentials video below:


8. What are the Renewal Requirements?

ANCC Response: Once you become certified with ANCC, you will need to renew every 5 years. For more information, visit our Certification Verification & Renewal page and watch the renewal video below:


9. How will the ANCC Readiness Tests help me?

ANCC Response: ANCC Readiness Tests allow you to assess your knowledge comprehensively or in a focused content domain, experience the timed, live-proctored testing environment, and receive valuable performance feedback before taking your certification exam. For more information watch the ANCC Readiness Tests video below:


10. What if my organization is thinking about utilizing the Success Pays® program?

ANCC Response: You can help your nurses achieve certification while reducing test-taking anxiety and eliminate financial barriers! Easy as 1-2-3! For more information, visit the Success Pays® page and watch the ANCC Success Pays® video below:


11. How can my organization celebrate Certified Nurses Day™? 

ANCC Response March 19 is Certified Nurses Day™ and honors nurses worldwide who contribute to better patient outcomes through national board certification in their specialty. If your nurses are not already #ANCCCertified, invest in their lifelong professional journey through the #ANCCSuccessPays program!

Not seeing your question here? Visit the ANCC Certification FAQs page for additional ANCC certification-related Q&A



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