CPNP-AC Exam Eligibility

License & education requirements
Special timelines for the CPNP-AC exam continue to be in effect. See updates and FAQs here.

CPNP-AC Exam Eligibility

Learn about eligibility requirements and any supporting documents before you apply. 


Clinical Hours Requirement Note

In response to multiple queries regarding the 500 direct patient care clinical hours and the impact of COVID-19, the national leaders of nurse practitioner certifying and accrediting organizations as well as faculty and membership organizations met and affirmed this Unified Statement on NP Students and Clinical Hours released 3/23/2020.

  • The Unified Statement confirms ongoing adherence to the 2016 National Task Force Criteria for Evaluation of Nurse Practitioner Programs (NTFC) which requires a minimum of 500 supervised direct patient care hours, not to include skill lab hours or simulation.
  • Simulation may be used for NP programs or certification boards that require more than 500 hours, once the minimum has been met. The NTFC allows the use of telehealth towards the 500-hour requirement.
  • PNCB has always recommended 600 hours for acute care programs and will continue to recommend, not require, this number of hours in the near term.
  • PNCB emailed the Unified Statement to all PNP programs on 3/23/2020.
  • Your program, and not PNCB, determines how and where you complete clinical practice hours, and we urge you to contact your program with these types of questions.
Requirement Details

1. Licensure

Current, active, unencumbered RN license issued by a US state, US territory, or Canada and meet educational requirement below

2. Education

Graduation from an accredited college or university that offers a ACEN or CCNE accredited nursing master's or doctoral degree with a concentration in pediatric acute care as a nurse practitioner or formal dual primary/acute care program  


Graduation from a post master's pediatric acute care nurse practitioner certificate program from an accredited college or university

Education Notes

The didactic and clinical education listed below must be completed within the educational program(s) which provides the final transcript used to meet PNCB’s certification exam eligibility requirements.

  • A minimum of 500 (PNCB strongly recommends 600) supervised direct care clinical practice hours in acute care pediatrics. For more information on what is considered acute care, please see NONPF's Statement on Acute Care and Primary Care Certified Nurse Practitioner Practice (2012). Direct care clinical hours are hours in which hands on pediatric acute care is provided to individuals and families. These hours do not include skill lab hours, physical assessment practice sessions, or a community project if it does not include provision of direct patient care. 
  • And completion of three separate comprehensive graduate-level courses in: 
    • Advanced physiology/pathophysiology, including general principles or concepts across the lifespan.
    • Advanced health assessment, which includes assessment of all human systems, advanced assessment techniques, concepts and approaches.
    • Advanced pharmacology, which includes pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and pharmacotherapeutics for all broad categories of agents.

Faces of Certification

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

Karen Capusan, CPNP-PC Northwell Health New Hyde Park, NY
Jesse Kay, CPN, CPNP-AC Children's Hospital Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
Tyler Simpson, CPNP-PC, CPN Arkansas Children's Hospital Little Rock, AR
View more Faces of Certification