Comparing the ANCC and AANPCP Recertification Process

If you have recently graduated from a nurse practitioner program, you’re likely in the process of deciding which NP certification exam to take. A few weeks ago, we covered the ins and outs of the various nurse practitioner certification paths. Then, we received a request to discuss the differences in the recertification process between the two main NP certifying bodies, the ANCC and the AANPCP.

Planning for the future is always a positive, even when it comes to your nurse practitioner certification process. So, looking at what will be required of you to re-certify is one way to help you make your initial certification decision. Most nurse practitioners are certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP). Here’s a quick comparison of the recertification process for these two organizations.

How many practice hours are required to re-certify? 

With both the AANPCP and the ANCC, nurse practitioners must renew their certification every five years. Both organizations require the same number of practice hours. Provided that NPs have completed at least 1,000 clinical hours during the five year period and completed required continuing education credits, retaking the certification exam is not required. 

Nurse practitioners who have not completed the mandatory 1,000 practice hours will need to re-certify by retaking the NP certification exam. Due to the APRN Consensus model, certification exams are changing for some nurse practitioner specialties. This could complicate the renewal process if you let your certification lapse. It is recommended that currently practicing NPs keep their certification current through practice hours and continuing education. 

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How many continuing education hours are required to re-certify?

The AANPCP is straightforward when it comes to continuing education requirements. The organization simply requires that nurse practitioners complete 75 continuing education hours applicable to the NP certification population-focus in order to re-certify.

The ANCC’s requirements are more complex. All NPs renewing through the ANCC must complete 75 hours of continuing education with at least 25 of these hours being in pharmacotherapeutics. Nurse practitioners must also complete a “professional development” activity. Professional development activities include completing additional continuing education credits, obtaining academic credits, presenting as part of a conference or other healthcare event, authoring a publication or research, serving as a clinical preceptor, or volunteer service. 

What is the cost of recertification?

The cost of renewing your nurse practitioner certification doesn’t vary much between certifying bodies in the grand scheme of things. However, differences of a hundred dollars here and there do add up. As of June 2014, here’s a look at the cost of renewing your NP certification.

Cost of Nurse Practitioner Certification Renewal 

If your certification lapses, the ANCC tacks on an additional $125 reactivation fee. The AANPCP boosts recertification rates to $290 for AANP members and $365 for non-members who must recertify by retaking the certification exam. Overall, the AANP offers reduced rates when it comes to renewing your NP certification. 

What if my certification has lapsed?

If your AANPCP certification has lapsed, you will need to re-certify by retaking the national NP certification exam. If you are certified through the ANCC, you have additional options if your certification is not current.

The ANCC allows nurse practitioners holding expired certifications to reactivate their certification through professional development activities as well as practice hours provided that the certification has been expired for less than two years. NPs whose certification has been expired for more than two years must complete professional development activities as well as retake the national certification exam.

Overall, the AANPCP and the ANCC recertification requirements are similar, but the ANCC gets a bit more complex when it comes to certification renewal. Recertification requirements are constantly changing as the nurse practitioner role evolves, so make sure to get the most up to date information from your certifying body’s website.


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