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FNP National Certification Comparisons

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American Nurses

Credentialing Center


American Academy

of Nurse Practitioners


When formed

1991- Philadelphia, United States 

1985- Austin, Texas, United States 

Associated or Affiliated Organization

American Nurses Association

American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)


To promote excellence in nursing and healthcare globally through credentialing programs. 

Provide excellence in testing and certification for nurse practitioners.

Membership Numbers

More than 75,000 APRNs 

More than more than 105,000 PNs

Requirements for Certification

Candidates must meet the following:

● Category 1: Continuing education hours (an additional 75 hours)  

●  Category 2: Academic credits (5 semesters of academic courses)
●      Category 3: Presentations (1 or more presentations totaling 5 hours)
●      Category 4: Publication or research (1 article published in peer-reviewed journal, a PhD thesis, or a doctor of nursing practice final project)
●      Category 5: Preceptor hours (120 hours as a preceptor for a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, pharmacy, or medical student)
●      Category 6: Professional service (2 or more years of volunteer service) (aanpcert.org, 2018b)..

Candidates must:

-Have met specific educational requirements that assess national competencies of the APRN core, the NP role, and at least one population focus (ANP, AGNP, FNP, and GNP) area of practice. 

-Be currently registered nurse

-demonstrate professional knowledge in the NP role and population focus by passing the national certification examination.

-Maintain continued competence in the profession as an ANP, AGNP, ENP, FNP, or GNP through an established certification renewal process.

Requirements for Recertification

>Complete the MANDATORY 75 CH and 1 or more of the 8 renewal categories for the certification credential within the five years proceeding to renewal application submission. 

> Hold an expired ANCC certification. 

> Hold a current, active RN license in a state or territory of the United States or the professional, legally recognized equivalent in another country. 

> Pay the renewal fee plus a reactivation fee of $125 (aanpcert.org, 2018b)..

-Minimum 1,000 hours of clinical practice in the Nurse Practitioner role in any specialty appropriate for the population focus of certification within 5-year certification period.

-Minimum 100 contact hours of advanced CE

-Hold current RN licensure during the period of certification (aanpcert.org, 2018b).

Certification Validity Length

5 years

5 years

Cost of Certification

The testing fee for an ANCC exam is $295 for ANA members and $395 for nonmembers.

The testing fee for an AANP exam by an AANP member is $240. For nonmembers, it is $315 (aanpcert.org, 2018a).

Website Link



Exam Offerings

Available for ACNP, ANP, FNP, GNP, & PMHNP

Available for A-GNP, FNP, Adult Nurse Practitioners (ANP), Gerontologic Nurse Practitioners (GNP), and Emergency Nurse Practitioners (ENP) (aanpcert.org, 2018a).

Title Certification Recipient Receives

NP-BC with letter in front denoting specialty -FNP-BC, ACNP-BC, ANPBC, GNP-BC (nursingworld.org, 2020).

All specialties use NP-C, where C stands for certified.


-Gives one the opportunity to advance nursing career and prove your ability to provide the best patient care. 

-The ANCC recognition improves patient outcomes (nursingworld.org, 2016).

-Offers continuing education opportunities; the ability to network; and advocating for practice.

-Provide an individual with a sense of pride and professional accomplishment (aanpcert.org, 2018a).


The only drawback of ANCC certification is the desire of organizations to employ nurses holding ANCC certificate.

-Certification granted is time-limited.

-Exams are restricted to contents that can be tested in an objective format.

Other Important Characteristics

 Provides Magnet Recognition Program.

Assess entry-level nurse practitioner (NP).

-Knowledge and practice competencies required to provide safe and quality health care.





aanpcert.org. (2018b). AANPCB Family Nurse Practitioner Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner FNP & AGNPCertification: Candidate Handbook. Retrieved 3 March 2020, from https://www.aanpcert.org/resource/documents/AGNP%20FNP%20Candidate%20Handbook.pdf 

aanpcert.org. (2018b). Purpose of Certification - AANPCB. Retrieved 3 March 2020, from https://www.aanpcert.org/certs/purpose

nursingworld.org. (2016). 2017 CERTIFICATION RENEWAL REQUIREMENTS. Retrieved 3 March 2020, from https://www.nursingworld.org/~4aae16/globalassets/certification/certification-policies/ancc-generaltestingrenewalrequirements4-1-2017_final.pdf

nursingworld.org. (2020).Nursing certifications: Our Certifications | ANCC. Retrieved 3 March 2020, from https://www.nursingworld.org/our-certifications/