CE Hours: Which Count for Nurse Practitioner Recertification?

Have you ever wondered if continuing education hours offered by an organization like the American Medical Association (AMA) count towards those required for nurse practitioner recertification? To maintain certification, nurse practitioners must complete a certain number of continuing education hours. With the range of CE providers out there, it can be difficult to know which education activities count toward this requirement. 

Fortunately for nurse practitioners, continuing education hours do not need to be completed through a nurse practitioner organization. Rather, certifying bodies accredit a large number of CE providers, giving nurse practitioners a wide range of options when it comes to completing continuing education. How do you know which CE activities count toward your certification requirement?

The Basics

There are two distinctions you must understand when looking at the validity of continuing education activities. 

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  1. Continuing Education Providers – Organizations that offer their own continuing education activities. For example, the Pri-Med website offers free CE activities online, making Pri-Med a continuing education provider.  
  2. Continuing Education Approvers – Organizations that approve/accredit other organization’s continuing education offerings. Approvers are usually professional organizations like certifying bodies. For example, the ANCC may accredit a continuing education activity created by Pri-Med. 

As you look for continuing education opportunities (like these 9 audio CME activities that will change your commute), the activity will note its approving organization, typically in small print at the bottom of the activity summary. For example, if you visit CE provider Pri-Med’s website, you might notice that activities state ‘1 AAFP Credit’. This means that the activity is approved by the American Academy of Family Physicians for one hour of continuing education. This begs the question – since this activity is approved by a physician organization, will it count toward your continuing education requirement as a nurse practitioner?

Which Hours Count?

In short, yes (most likely). Each advanced practice certifying body, for example the ANCC and AANP, publish a list of eligible continuing education providers and approvers. Continuing education activities approved by these organizations and/or provided by these companies are valid to meet your nurse practitioner certification continuing education requirement. This list is not limited to nurse practitioner specific organizations. The ANCC, for example, lists a number of approved agencies on their website including organizations like the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Nurse Midwives. They also offer a search tool allowing nurse practitioners to look for approved continuing education providers and approvers.

For nurse practitioners certified through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the AANP also provides a list of continuing education providers and approvers. On this list are organizations like the American Medical Association and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). So, if a nurse practitioner certified by the AANP completes continuing education hours approved by the AMA or ACEP, these hours count toward the NP’s continuing education requirement. 

In Summary 

Overall, the lists of accepted providers and approvers for each nurse practitioner certifying body are long. Chance are, if you’re completing a continuing education activity provided or approved by a well recognized healthcare entity, you’re in the clear. It’s always a good idea, however, to double check your certification organization’s list of accepted providers and approvers to make sure your hours will be accepted when it comes time to renew your nurse practitioner certification. 

How do you meet your nurse practitioner continuing education requirement?


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