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Nursing Skills Competency Program

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers course recognition to set the benchmark for what makes a course acceptable. This independent national standard measures the quality of courses designed to validate a nurse’s skill or skill set in the clinical setting. As a result, consumers, employers, and credentialing bodies gain a consistent, measurable expectation of the knowledge and abilities of nurses who complete an ANCC-recognized course.

The focus of this recognition is on the course, not the provider. Courses must be designed according to ANCC criteria, which include:

  • Selecting qualified faculty;
  • Demonstration of validity and reliability in the evaluation process; and
  • Observation of nurses successfully using the skill or skill sets in practice is also required.

In addition, a portion of courses may also qualify for contact hours.

How to apply

Uses of the Nursing Skill Competency Program

Courses recognized by ANCC help to assess a nurse’s competence in vital skills. These range from learning skills within their practice setting, to setting or specialty-specific skills, to skills for nurses to re-enter the field.

Useful examples include:

  • Hospitals substantiate their nurses’ skills to accrediting bodies, third-party payers, and patients;
  • Manufacturers and distributors of commercial health care equipment ensure appropriate use of their products in the health care setting;
  • Universities demonstrate the skills of graduating nurses and validate nurse refresher courses or skills taught in simulation labs; and
  • State nurses associations enhance nurse portability by providing members and regional employers with a nationally recognized skills competency course.

By designing a course according to ANCC criteria, nurses are best equipped to tackle the specific rigors of their role. Through extensive, validated testing methods, nurses are challenged to demonstrate their competence.

Relevance to organizations

The Nursing Skill Competency Program gives organizations the autonomy to design a course that is just right for them. In nursing’s ever-increasing scope, it is vital that organizations can choose specific competency courses; and have them validated by ANCC. This accreditation provides a common language which the public and nurses respect, and allows organizations to design exceptional training to advance health care for all.


  • Nurses have recognition of their proficiency, boosting both confidence and employability;
  • Patient outcomes are improved;
  • Organizations can communicate the high skill levels of staff to the public, stakeholders and accreditation bodies;
  • Nurses can be educated in cutting-edge methods and equipment;
  • Temporary agency workers or travelling nurses have proof of their expertise in specific areas;
  • Demonstrates an organizational commitment to nursing excellence;
  • Employers can select training based on a national performance benchmark;
  • With competency of nurses assured, risks are minimized;
  • State regulatory bodies can identify quality programs to validate the skills of nurses, in response to identified needs; and
  • Consumers gain confidence that nurses maintain continued competence in patient care skills.

Because our program is one of a kind, we were challenged to gather all the information necessary for the application process and meet the requirements. But our reward is validation that we provide a quality orientation program. It strengthens our customers’ trust in our nurses’ skills; helps us recruit high quality nurses; and reinforces, both internally and externally, that our nurses provide safe and consistent practice.

Pentec Health, Boothwyn, PA

Application Process

Applicants are not required to be an ANCC accredited provider of continuing nursing education, and course recognition is specific to single applicant entities only. Nursing skills competency course recognition is granted for three years with an option to renew.

First time and renewing applicants must:

  • Complete an Intent to Apply form describing the course, including curriculum, teaching strategies, instructor qualifications, learning environment, and successful completion criteria.
  • NSCP Staff confirms eligibility and an invoice for the application fee will be provided ($5,500 fee per course).
  • Complete Course Recognition Application and submit to the ANCC.
  • Answer questions from the review panel, if any, within 30 days.
  • Site visits are not required.

A review panel comprised of content experts and curriculum design specialists examines applications. The Commission on Accreditation makes the final decision.

Note: Individuals successfully completing a recognized Nursing Skills Competency Course are not individually certified in the skill or skill set. Individuals successfully completing a recognized Nursing Skills Competency Course have demonstrated competency in the defined skill or skill set.

Validate Nursing Skills Competency

The ANCC Nursing Skills Competency Program is the only credential to recognize courses used to validate a nurse's competency in a set skill, within a practice setting.

Recognized Competency Courses

Preceptor Development Pathway
Provided by HealthStream, Inc.
Expires: 4/21/2022

Breastfeeding the Late Preterm Infant: Evidence and Best Practices
Provided by: Medela, Inc.
Expires: 12/31/2019
Email Medela, Inc.

Administration of Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Course
Provided by: the American University of Beirut — Medical Center, Nursing Services — Staff Development
Expires: 3/31/2021
Email American University of Beirut (Medical Center Services — Staff Development)

Caritas Coach Education Program
Provided by: Watson Caring Science Institute
Expires: 10/01/2021
Email Watson Caring Science Institute

Intrathecal Nurse Training Program
Provided by: Pentec
Expires: 10/31/2019
Email Pentec

Use of Inhaled Essential Oils in the Healthcare Environment
Provided by: Soothing Scents, Inc.
Expires: 02/31/2020
Email Soothing Scents, Inc.

Central Venous Access Device Handling and Care
Provided by: the American University of Beirut — Medical Center, Nursing Services — Staff Development
Expires: 8/31/2020
Email American University of Beirut (Medical Center Services — Staff Development)

3M Perioperative Temperature Management Program
Provided by: 3M Healthcare, Medical Solutions Divisions
Expires: 12/31/2021
Email 3M

"Obtaining accreditation was a challenge, especially with concurrent accreditation activities taking place throughout the medical center. But our biggest challenge turned out to be our greatest reward: The interprofessional effort brought us together, built team spirit among the different disciplines, and demonstrated how fruitful collaboration can be."

American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon

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