Steps to CPNP-AC Certification

Acute Care Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner exam information

Steps to CPNP-AC Certification


The Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care (CPNP-AC) exam certifies graduates of acute care pediatric nurse practitioner programs. Learn about the role.

Use these steps to understand requirements, prepare, and apply.

You will need a current, valid, unrestricted, and unencumbered RN license plus final official transcript(s) sent directly from your school to PNCB.

  • Exam cost: $395 - Includes $130 nonrefundable registration fee.

  • Re-exam cost: $280 - Not refundable. Current PNCB eligibility criteria must be met when re-applying. Candidate can reapply after official PNCB exam results are mailed. A new testing window is assigned. See exam schedule updates for current timelines.

  • Extension: $150 - Not refundable. See this page for full details.

  • Dual PC and AC PNP Graduates: Save money when you plan to apply for both exams at the same time.
    • Contact to request a one-time-use discount voucher for either the PC or AC exam application after you have applied for one of these.
    • You will not need to take both exams on the same day. 

Payment accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and ACH electronic check.

You must complete your exam application with all supporting materials within 12 months of initial receipt of payment, or your application will be cancelled, and all fees forfeited. All fees are subject to change without notice.

After review of your complete application in Step 5, PNCB sends you an Approval & Scheduling Notice and a 90-day window in which to schedule and test. Approval happens quickly, so use this timeline to understand the process.

The exam is 3 hours and asks 175 multiple-choice questions based on categories in the content outline, an essential study reference. We offer these resources to help you prepare.

Are you retesting? If so, click here to review steps you need to take prior to retesting. 

To apply for your exam:

1. Create an online account and complete the online portion of your application.

  • Application for the AC exam
  • Log in or create an account with the link above. In your portal under Navigation, select the Exam Applications link to find your exam type. 
  • Graduates of dual AC/PC PNP programs currently can apply for each exam separately, but request a one-time-use discount voucher from

Re-applying? Use the application link above and click here to review steps you need to take prior to retesting.

Need an Extension? To request an extension for your current testing window, contact PNCB at 1-888-641-2767 or

Requesting ADA Act Special Accommodations? Note this on your application and promptly submit a completed Special Accommodations Form.

2. Request supporting documents. Your application is not complete until transcript(s) or any other needed documents are received by PNCB. See transcript requirements and address.


Check your application status regularly to ensure that all necessary documents have been received and that your application is complete.

Tracking your status online, in real time, means you can follow up on documents not yet received and keep your application moving forward.

Don't forfeit fees! It's your responsibility to understand all exam policies, procedures, and requirements before you arrive to test. Download your PNCB Exam Candidate Handbook and CPNP-AC exam content outline now.

PNCB does not schedule your exam for you. You will schedule with Prometric, a licensed testing center with over 300 locations. Once your application is complete, PNCB emails your Approval & Scheduling Next Steps Notice with a personalized testing window. Promptly download your Eligibility Letter with instructions on how to schedule your exam, then set a date and time with Prometric. Learn how to schedule your exam plus tips on what to expect at the testing center.

Test within your assigned window. Arrive 30 minutes early with required IDs that match your name on the exam application, and take your exam. 

You receive official results by email within 2-3 weeks of your testing date (unless otherwise noted). Verification of your certification is available on-demand for boards of nursing listed on your application.

Log in to your portal for your wallet card.

Our suggestion is to always list your degree first, then licensure followed by certification. Should you have any awards or honors, these come last. Listing your highest degree first is fairly standard. If you have a non-nursing degree, this would come next then licensure. If you have multiple certifications, often people list the one earned first in the first position, and the one earned most recently in the final position.

       Terry Moore, DNP, MPA, RN, CPNP-AC

Let others know the value of your PNCB certification by introducing yourself as a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner to patients, their families, and peers. Mention your credential in your biography on your employer's website. If you want to use your CPNP-AC credential when charting, be sure to check your employer's policy on doing so. The CPNP-AC credential is federally trademarked and may only be used by those who earn and actively maintain their certification.

  • Recertification is annual, so start planning how you will fulfill requirements now. You will recertify between November 1 and January 31 prior to the expiration date on your online wallet card. If you passed this year, you won't need to recertify until the next calendar year.
  • Explore your Recert Dashboard to get familiar with renewal requirements.
  • Use My ReCErt Tracker any time of the year to archive contact hours and other activities. When you recertify, these will conveniently pre-load in your recertification application.
  • See your CPNP Corner for resources like free CE, benefits, discounts on nursing-related products, and more.

Faces of Certification

PNCB-certified nursing professionals work in a variety of roles and settings throughout the US and beyond. Share your photo today!

Tyneisha Orr, CPNP-PC Children's Hospital & Medical Center Omaha, NE
Amairani Jimenez, CPN Tripler Army Medical Center Honolulu, Hawaii
Gia Nguyen, CPNP-AC St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Arlington, VA
View more Faces of Certification