FAQs - AANPCB Recertification

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Q: What are my options for recertification?

A:  You have two options for renewal.

Option One is to recertify by meeting minimum direct clinical practice hours and continuing education (CE) requirements in the certification role and population at the advanced level within the current 5-year period of certification.

Option Two is to recertify by taking and passing the appropriate certification examination before expiration of the current certification. Due to retirement of the examinations, this option is no longer available for ANP or GNP certificants.

Current, active registered nurse licensure in the U.S., U.S. territory, or Canadian province or territory is required for both recertification options. For more information, see the Recertification Handbook.

Q: What is the recertification process?

A:  Log in to your online account and update your profile information, then click on the "Renew Your Certification" link under the "My AANPCB" box on the Welcome (Home) page. First choose your option for recertification (either through Clinical Hours and Continuing Education or Computer-Based Examination), then complete the online application.

If you choose to renew through Clinical Hours and Continuing Education, you will need to submit your CE certificates and verification of RN or APRN licensure to complete your application. These can be uploaded into your application using the arrow icon on each CE activity you have entered, or submitted by fax, email, or mail.

If you choose to renew through Computer-Based Examination, you will receive an email notifying you of approval to test. You will then need to schedule your examination with our partner company, PSI Services LLC (PSI). Applicants can schedule their testing appointment at a location and on a date convenient for their scheduling needs based on PSI testing center availability.

The option to renew via paper application is available and includes a $50 processing fee. The paper application can be found under "Form" on the navigation bar by selecting "Recertification Paper Applications".

Q: How do I create an online account?

A: If you have not previously created an online account, select "New User Registration" and create your login. Please allow 2 business days for a new account to link with our database before beginning your application.

Q: Why am I receiving an Authentication Error for my AANP Membership Number when I attempt to create my online account?

A: Your AANP Membership number is the number provided from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) if you are an active member; membership is renewed annually, and is not a requirement for certification through AANPCB. Your AANP Membership number is composed of only numerals and is different from your AANPCB certification number, which will begin with an A, AG, E, F, or G depending on your certification population focus.

Q: Do I need to belong to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) membership organization to renew my certification?

A: No. AANP membership is not required, but there are benefits to membership that may interest you, such as a discount on your recertification application fee and access to free continuing education for active members.
*If you become a member of AANP within 30 days of applying for recertification, send an email request for the discount reimbursement along with yourAANP Membership number to  certification@aanpcert.org  with subject ATTN: AANPCB Finance Department.
*If you completed your application but did not have your AANP Membership number with you at the time of submission, send an email request for the discount reimbursement along with your AANP Membership number within 30 days of applying for recertification to  certification@aanpcert.org  with subject ATTN: AANPCB Finance Department.

Note: When you access your online profiles, your AANPCB certification Username and Password may be uniquely different from your AANP Membership login information.

Q: I am not due to recertify until next year, but I have met all the minimum continuing education and clinical practice requirements already. How soon can I submit my recertification application?

A: An application for recertification can be submitted as early as 1-year prior to the expiration date of your certification. This allows busy NPs the opportunity to get their application process completed in advance in order to avoid expiration of certification.

Q: If I recertify early (for example 6 months before my certification expires), will that change the length or dates of my next certification period?

A: No. Your 5-year period of certification begin and end dates remain the same. Please note that continuing education must be completed within your 5-year certification period, so if you recertify early, any CEs taken within the months prior to the beginning of your new certification period will not apply to your next recertification.

Q: I’m not ready to recertify yet, but I have completed CE activities. Can I store my CE credits over time and apply them to my recertification later?
A: AANPCB now has over-time CE storage under "My Continuing Education". To reach this storage, log in to your online profile and choose "My Continuing Education" off the "My AANPCB" menu box. This will allow you to store CEs until you are ready to begin your recertification application. Please note, if you log CEs in the recertification application they will only be stored for 30 days, so remember that long-term storage should be logged in "My Continuing Education".

Q: Does AANPCB send renewal notification reminders?

A: Renewal of certification is the responsibility of the certificant. A courtesy reminder postcard and email are sent to the certificant’s last known contact addresses 1 year before expiration of their current certification. Another reminder postcard and email are sent again at 6 months if a renewal application has not yet been received. Finally, a reminder letter is sent at 6 weeks in advance if a renewal application has not yet been received. Recertification staff also attempt to make reminder phone calls between 3-6 weeks in advance of expiration. It is very important that certificants keep their contact information current with AANPCB so that courtesy reminders reach the intended recipient.

Q: Am I required to have a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree to recertify?

A: No. Current education requirements for certification and entry into NP practice is completion of a graduate or post-graduate NP program. While the number of schools that have transitioned their Master’s-level degree program to the Doctorate are increasing, the DNP is not a requirement for NP certification or entry into practice.

Q: How many clinical practice hours do I need to recertify?

A: A minimum of 1,000 clinical hours in direct patient care as a nurse practitioner in the population-focus for which you are certified, within the current 5-year period of certification is required.

Q: Can I include my faculty clinical site visits as clinical practice hours?

A: Faculty time spent with NP students and patients during clinical practicum hours can be counted as clinical practice hours. Credit is for actual time in the clinical agency and telehealth sites. Faculty may use a maximum of 500 clinical visit hours toward the 1,000 required clinical hours for recertification in the five-year certification period. Travel time to and from the site cannot be included in the clinical visit hours. No faculty clinical hours will be accepted for simulation, standardized patient evaluations, conference time, or clinical agency site evaluations.

Q: May I focus my NP career in a specialty (e.g., cardiology or gynecology) and still receive credit for my clinical work hours?

A: Yes. Your NP practice may focus on a specific patient population.

Q: I would like to do some volunteer work as an NP. Can I claim my clinical hours worked as an NP volunteer for recertification??

A: Clinical practice hours worked need to be at the advanced practice level, in the NP role, relate to the population of certification, and may be performed as a paid employee or as a volunteer. If you have questions about your clinical practice meeting certification renewal requirements, please send your inquiry to  certification@aanpcert.org .

Q: How many CEs do I need to recertify?

A: CE completed must be relevant to your area of certification specialty. A minimum number of 100 CEs in your advanced practice role and population-focus is required; 25 of the 100 CEs must be pharmacology credits designated explicitly on your CE certificate/s.

Note that the total contact hours awarded for a CE activity already include the pharmacology hours. You will record the total contact hours in the full amount, and the pharmacology hours in the stated amount. For example, if your CE certificate states, "Awarded 10 contact hours, 5 of which are pharmacology," you will record 10 contact hours and 5 pharmacology hours. You will not need to add or subtract any hours from those designated on the CE certificate.

Q: I am filling out the CE Log. Do I need to list every CE certificate I submit?

A: Yes. We need a complete list of the CE courses, as well as the certificates of attendance awarding credits. When completing the CE log, you will list the program title, sponsor, accreditor, date, and credits awarded (total and pharmacological). The only exception to this rule is if you have an account with an organization or company that provides you with a CE Tracker. See following questions for further information regarding CE Trackers.

Q: I have a CE Tracker that lists my CE courses. How do I enter the Tracker into my application?

A: CE Trackers are a convenient way to enter CEs. Many sponsors provide a list of the CEs you have completed. Some examples include the AANP CE Center, Audio Digest, and Medscape. Employers may also offer continuing education and Trackers, however you will want to verify that the CEs provided are accredited. Trackers must have your printed name, the program titles, dates completed, accreditor, number of pharmacology, and total CEs awarded.

These activities can be entered in the online log as one entry. You will "Add Individual CE" naming the activity "[Sponsor] Tracker" (ex. "Medscape Tracker") and listing the date of most recent CE completion, total hours, and pharmacology hours. You will need to submit a copy of the Tracker/listing so that we can verify the hours and other pertinent information.

Q:I took CEs through the AANP CE Center. Do I need to provide a list of those CEs or can you access them for me?

A: AANPCB does not have access to the AANP CE Center because the Certification Board (AANPCB) and the Membership Organization (AANP) are separate organizations. You will need to submit your AANP CEs and/or Tracker with your recertification application. If you submit a copy of your AANP CE Tracker, be aware that you must submit CE certificates for coursework labelled as "Self", which indicates the course was taken through another organization and has been stored at the AANP CE Center.

Q: What if my CEs are stated as AMA PRA Category 1 Credits, CNE, CME, CEUs, etc.? Is there a conversion rate?

A: For the purposes of recertification, AANPCB accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s) issued by organizations accredited by ACCME as an equivalent number of hours of participation. 1 AMA PRA Category 1 credit = 1 contact hour.

Continuing Medical Education (CME) content is developed for physicians to address medical and health care specialties. Accredited CME providers may issue documentation of participation in an activity to non-physicians specifying the number of hours of participation. 1 CME = 1 contact hour.

Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) is not acceptable unless it is accredited by a State Board of Nursing or nationally-recognized Nursing organization. 1 advanced practice CNE = 1 contact hour.

The exception to equivalency is Continuing Education Units (CEUs) designated by a university or other educational institution. A CEU is based on 60 minutes of instruction and expressed in tenths. 1 CEU = 10 contact hours.

Q: How do I know if my CEs will be accepted? Does AANPCB have a list of approved sponsors?

A: The number of sponsors offering continuing education for advanced practice nurses is constantly growing; AANPCB does not track each individual sponsor. However, we do maintain a sample listing of approved accreditors which can be located under "Recertify" tab on the navigation bar, on the "CE Providers" page. If the sponsor or program is accredited by one of these accreditors, it is considered appropriate for your recertification.

Q: What is CE accreditation?

A:  A CE accreditor is an organization that approves relevant, independent, and practice-based continuing nursing or medical education. CE certificates must show clear accreditation by an appropriate authorizing entity such as, but not limited to, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). More approved accreditors can be found under the "Recertify" tab on the navigation bar, on the "CE Providers" page.

Q: Can I take online CE courses?

A: Yes. We do not limit where you take your continuing education courses as long as they are accredited by an approved organization and are related to your work as a nurse practitioner. A sample list of approved accreditors can be located under "Recertify" tab on the navigation bar, on the "CE Providers" page. See the Recertification Handbook for additional information.

Q: I am currently in school. Can I use my coursework for CE credit?

A: Graduate level courses are accepted if the course content directly relates to advanced nursing practice for the population of certification. Courses are subject to approval and you will need to submit a university transcript to receive credit; unofficial transcripts are acceptable, as long as the student and university names are preprinted on the document. You may be asked to provide additional documentation, including course descriptions or syllabi, to verify course content. One credit hour = 15 contact hours (i.e., a 3-credit class = 45 contact hours).

Q: How do I claim preceptorship hours towards my CE requirement?

A: A total of 120 clinical preceptor hours may be used to replace a maximum of 25 non-pharmacology CE credits per 5-year certification period. Qualifying preceptor hours are defined as provision of direct patient care as a nurse practitioner while serving as a clinical preceptor for NP students. Serving as a preceptor for advanced practice Inter-Professional Education (IPE) students affiliated with dentistry, nursing, medicine, pharmacy, or physician assistant programs is also accepted.

To claim Preceptorship credit for your recertification, you will add an entry onto your CE Log. The program name should be listed as "Preceptorship", with the student’s University as the sponsor. The accreditor will be the organization that accredits that University’s Nursing graduate-level programs, which is typically either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), both of which are options in the accreditors drop-down list.

Appropriate documentation for Preceptorship includes the AANPCB Preceptorship Form (available under "Forms" on the navigation bar), a letter of appreciation from the university supervising faculty that states hours the student was precepted, or a certificate of appreciation awarded that states hours the student was precepted.

See the Recertification Handbook for additional information, including the conversion rate if you precepted less than 120 hours total.

Q: Do you accept life support courses for CE credit?

A: We do not accept Basic Life Support (BLS). However, Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO), Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS), Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) are accepted for ANP, A-GNP, FNP, and GNP recertification.

A CE certificate with course completion date and CE credit awarded is required; a wallet card will not suffice. If your provider did not issue a CE certificate, contact your State Board of Nursing to determine if the provider reported the hours. The SBON listing showing a provider number for coursework can also be accepted for CE credit.

Q: Can I use CEs/college coursework/etc. that I completed before I took the examination and became certified?

A: No. Only the CE hours obtained within your current 5-year certification period will be accepted for your recertification application.

Q: My certification will soon expire and I don’t have enough CEs. If I take CE courses after the expiration date, can I use them to recertify?

A: No. All CEs must be dated within the 5-year period of certification to be counted towards your recertification. If your certification expires, you will need to apply to take the initial certification examination.

Q: I have more than the required 100 CE contact hours. May I use the additional CEs for my next recertification?

A: No. Only CEs completed and dated during the 5-year period of certification may be used for renewal of that certification.

Q: How do I submit my CE certificates?

A: You have the option to upload your CE certificates and RN license when you apply online, by selecting the icon resembling an arrow found on each individual CE listed; this will allow you to browse and upload files saved on your computer. After you have submitted the application, you also have the option to fax, email, or mail the documentation at no additional cost.

Q: Can I upload my CE certificates after my application has been submitted?

A: Unfortunately, this is not currently a feature on the AANPCB website. Once your application is submitted, your CE Log is locked and cannot be edited to ensure hours cannot be adjusted. You will need to submit the CE certificates through fax, email, or mail. Once they are received, we will attach the documentation to your application.

Q: Will I need to pay the $50 processing fee if I email, fax, or mail my CE Certificates?

A: If you submit your application online, there is no additional fee to fax, email, or mail your CE certificates and/or verification of active RN licensure. The fee is only associated with processing paper applications, and is built into the price indicated on the payment page of that document.

Q: I have an RN or APRN license in more than one state, which one should I use for my application?

A: Use the RN or APRN license of your home state. The current license needs to include:

Q: Are certified Nurse Practitioners required to maintain both a state RN license and an advanced practice NP license? My state has separate RN and APRN licenses, and NPs are not required to renew their RN licensure. Which is required for certification?

A: NPs certified by AANPCB will need to hold active professional nursing licensure in order to maintain their NP certification. The requirements for nursing licensure differs among the regulatory nursing boards. Some states have combined RN/NP licensure while others have separate RN and APRN licensure. AANPCB will accept either the RN or APRN state license for certification purposes.

Q: I submitted an application for recertification, so why does my status say, "No Applications Pending"?

A: This status usually indicates that your application has proceeded through the final review and has been completed. If you are not currently recertified, you will be shortly! To see if you have been recertified, access your online profile and check My Documents and Wallet Card. Once you’ve been renewed, your Wallet Card will be updated to reflect your new expiration date. A certificate packet will follow by mail within 2-3 weeks.

Q: I will not have enough clinical practice hours or continuing education to meet the minimum requirements for recertification. What will I need to do?

A: As long as your certification exam is not retired, you can renew your certification by applying for, taking, and passing the appropriate examination before the certification expires. To allow for application processing time and grant a 120-day testing window, you are encouraged to apply to test as early as 1-year prior to the expiration date. The option to recertify by exam is not available after certification expires because the individual is no longer certified and the certification number is expired.

Note that examinations for ANP and GNP certifications have been retired; therefore, the only option to renew the ANP or GNP certification is to meet the minimum requirements for clinical practice hours and continuing education.

Q: My certification has expired. Am I still certified, and am I allowed to work?

A: Professional certification with AANPCB is time-limited for a 5-year period. If you allow your AANPCB certification to expire, you may not use the NP-C credential and you may not present yourself as an AANPCB-board certified nurse practitioner. State Boards of Nursing (SBON) regulate APRNs’ ability to practice. It is your responsibility to contact your SBON and employer regarding your ability to work should your certification expire.

If you have any additional questions that were not addressed in our FAQ, feel free to give us a call at 512-637-0500 during business hours, weekdays between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM Central.