Apply for Certification
Initial Certification Application
You may apply for this computer-based test year round and test during a 90-day window at a time and location convenient to you. The exam allows 4 hours to answer 200 questions (175 scored plus 25 pretest questions that are not scored). For exam prep resources, see the STUDY AIDS & CE left sidebar of this page. If you do not pass a certification exam, learn about retesting.
Step 1: Confirm Eligibility and Pricing
Hold a current, active RN license in a state or territory of the United States or hold the professional, legally recognized equivalent in another country.
Apply from Outside the U.S.
Learn about additional requirements for candidates outside the U.S.
Master’s, Postgraduate, or Doctoral Degree
Hold a master's, postgraduate, or doctoral degree* from a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (formerly NLNAC | National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission). A minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours must be included in your psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner program.
Three separate, comprehensive graduate-level courses in:
- Advanced physiology/pathophysiology, including general principles that apply across the life span
- Advanced health assessment, which includes assessment of all human systems, advanced assessment techniques, concepts, and approaches
- Advanced pharmacology, which includes pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacotherapeutics of all broad categories of agents
- Health promotion and/or maintenance
- Differential diagnosis and disease management, including the use and prescription of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions
AND clinical training in at least two psychotherapeutic treatment modalities.
*Candidates may be authorized to sit for the examination after all coursework for the degree is complete, prior to degree conferral, provided that all other eligibility requirements are met. Please note, Validation of Education form and transcript showing that coursework is completed are required before authorization to test will be issued. ANCC will retain the candidate's exam result and will issue certification on the date the requested documents are received, all eligibility requirements are met, and a passing result is on file.
Step 2: Apply
Step 3: Submit Education Verification Documents
PO Box 8785
Silver Spring, MD 20907-8785
To maintain certification, complete professional development requirements between the start and end dates of your certification, and provide this information on your renewal application.
Calendar Your Renewal Date
Certifications are renewed every 5 years. You may submit a renewal application up to 1 year prior to your expiration. You may be ineligible to practice beyond your expiration date.
Create an ANCC Account
Track professional development, mail preferences and purchases in one place. Online applications are also stored in your account. Visit Access My Account
Update Contact Information
If you move, change names or acquire a new phone or email, please update contact details in your account. Or email Customer Care or call 1.800.284.2378.
Display Your Credentials
Learn common questions and answers about displaying your credentials in the proper order.
Download How to Display Your Credentials .
Track Professional Development with ANCC
Online renewal is simpler when you store professional development activities in your ANCC account immediately upon completion. At renewal, you can transfer stored information to the renewal application, saving time. Note: To renew online, you must store professional development activities before starting the online renewal application.
- After each activity, gather proof of professional development.
- Click Track Professional Development to the right.
- Enter and save professional development activities.
- From account summary, top right column, under Professional Development find links to enter continuing education (contact hours), academic credits, presentations, publications/research, preceptorship and professional service.
- Log out.
Renewal Certification Application
Renew online OR by mail; not both. You may submit a renewal application up to 1 year prior to your expiration.
Step 1: Review Requirements, FAQs, and Pricing
Step 2: Submit Renewal Applicaiton