CPNP-PC Exam Eligibility

License & education requirements

As of January 1, 2030, all CPNP-PC and CPNP-AC candidates must have graduated within five years from their PNP program that met the exam eligibility criteria.  Please use the below information as a guide.

CPNP-PC 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 an ACEN, CCNE, or NLN CNEA accredited nursing master's or doctoral degree with a concentration in pediatric primary care as a nurse practitioner or formal dual primary/acute care program 




Graduation from a post master's pediatric primary 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 supervised direct care clinical practice hours in primary care pediatrics. For more information on what is considered primary 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 primary 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.

*University of Toronto students: Please contact your program director regarding this requirement. This program has been approved for graduates to sit for primary care PNP certification to partially meet Canadian APRN licensure requirements. Graduates considering applying for US APRN licensure must meet the state board of nursing’s requirements for the state in which they are applying. 

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