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Program Description

Certification Examinations

AANPCB national certification examinations are competency-based examinations for nurse practitioners to reflect their knowledge and expertise in the role and population area of education.

Entry-Level APRN Certifications

AANPCB offers two entry-level APRN examinations:
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)

The Adult NP and Gerontologic NP examinations have been retired to comply with the Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification, and Education (2008).

Specialty Certification

AANPCB offers one specialty examination:
  • Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP)

The Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) certification is a specialty certification by examination developed to recognize eligible certified FNPs with expertise in emergency care.

Examination Development

The nurse practitioner competency-based national certification examinations are developed by the Professional Examination Service (ProExam) in conjunction with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB). Adult, Family, Gerontology, Adult-Gerontology, and Emergency nurse practitioner subject matter experts (SMEs) from representative work and academic environments, as well as geographical areas, assist in all phases of the development of the examinations.

Major components of the examination development process are:

  • Role delineation study, also known as a practice analysis.
  • Test specifications development.
  • Test construction.
  • Passing point determination.

The examinations are based on role delineation studies undertaken by AANPCB and ProExam as objective measures of the knowledge and skills required of competent nurse practitioners. Role delineation studies provide the foundation for defining the content domains (areas) of the competency-based examinations. Documents created by these expert panels are validated by representative samples of professionals selected from the adult, gerontology, emergency, and family nurse practitioner community. Test specifications derived from the role delineation studies for adult-gerontology primary care and family nurse practitioners serve as the blueprint for the national examinations.

Each examination consists of 150 multiple-choice items. Items are written and developed by practicing nurse practitioners with extensive knowledge and expertise, and placed in an item bank. All items which appear on the examinations have been reviewed at least four times:

  • Nurse practitioner item writers develop and review all items for content relevance, competency level, cultural bias, accuracy of scoring, and importance.
  • ProExam staff reviews each item for psychometric quality.
  • ProExam editorial staff reviews each item for grammar, spelling, and usage.
  • Additional panels of nurse practitioner content experts review and validate all items prior to approving them for inclusion on an examination.

Passing point determination follows test construction and establishes minimum passing scores using certification standard methods, such as Item Response Theory and modified-Angoff. The rigor of this examination development process promotes quality, competency-based certification examinations.

Questions may be directed to:


Capital Station, LBJ Building
P.O. Box 12926
Austin, TX 78711-2926

Office: (512) 637-0500
Toll-free (855) 822-6727