Answers to common recertification questions from Primary Care CPNPs


Find the answers to common questions below. If you don't see the answer you need, consult your CPNP-PC Recert Guide or CPNP-AC/PC Recert Guide or email recert@pncb.org for assistance.

Recert Basics

How do I get my updated wallet card?

You can access your online wallet card at any time by logging in to Profile & Wallet Card. Your wallet card updates 15 minutes after Recert payment is processed. Online wallet cards allow you to receive your updated card faster and lets you print a new one at any time should you misplace it.

Can I recertify if I no longer hold a license?

Licensure is needed to maintain your certification. You'll need to hold a current, valid registered nurse license to practice as a registered nurse or APRN and remain in good standing with no current disciplinary action pending in any jurisdiction. 

How to Enroll

How can I complete and pay for my recertification application?

During annual Recert enrollment (November 1 through January 31), you will complete an online application. Payment is by credit card, ACH electronic check, or No Pass, No Pay code (if your employer participates in this program for Recert fees).

Can I get paper Recertification forms?

We no longer offer paper forms. Our online Recert application for processing credit cards and electronic checks meets the highest industry standards for security. When using credit cards and electronic checks, we protect the security of your information by using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) software, which encrypts information you input.

I don't have a computer. How can I enroll?

Public libraries offer free access to computers. You might also want to ask your employer, a relative, or friend if you could use a computer. 

Tracking My Recert History

What options did I complete in the past?

Log in to your Recert Dashboard to see your past Recert enrollment submissions. This tool will tell you where you are in your 7-year Recert tracking cycle and can help guide your choices for options to select in the years to come.

What contact hours did I submit last year?

Log in to your ReCErt Tracker to see your past Recert enrollment submissions.

Do I need to take a Pediatric Updates module this year?

The easiest way to keep track of what you've done in the past is to log in to Your Dashboard and review which Recert options you've already completed in your current 7-year cycle and see Pediatric Updates requirements, or review your recertification guide. Unless you've waited until the end of your 7-year cycle to complete required Pediatric Updates, you have the flexibility to choose when to complete these activities. 

Contact Hours/ Continuing Education

What is the difference between continuing education and contact hours?

Continuing education includes lectures, seminars, conferences, online education, grand rounds, etc. that you attend as a learning exercise. Contact hours can be earned for attending a continuing education course. Typically 1 contact hour is equivalent to a 60 minute educational program. Organizations that offer continuing education must apply to an accrediting agency to award contact hours. Review your recertification guide for more information about contact hours.

What if I don't have enough contact hours?

Review your recertification guide to see what other options are available to you, including Professional Practice Learning (PPL), free CE resources, academic credit, and Pediatric Updates.

If I attend a conference that awards more than 15 contact hours, can I use the remainder of the contact hours the following year?

If you attend a conference earning more than the required amount of contact hours, you may apply the remainder to the following year as long as the contact hours are earned within 24 months preceding your Recert enrollment application date.

How many contact hours must I document if using the contact hour only option?

You must document 15 contact hours earned prior to submission of your application. Contact hours must have been earned within 24 months of enrollment.

What contact hours are accepted? Do they have to have certain content or be accredited by a particular organization?

 Review your recertification guide for specific information on accepted contact hour content for your certification as well as a list of accepted agencies.

What is needed to complete a documentation option? 

When you select a documentation option that includes contact hours, academic credit, or PPL, the hours you document must be earned within 12 (clinical practice) or 24 months (other PPL, contact hours, academic credit) of your Recert enrollment submission. You will be asked to provide certain information, such as the name of the activity, dates, etc. Review your recertification guide for details on each type of documentation option.

Do I need to send you my continuing education certificates?

Please do not send copies of any documentation. We'll only need to see these if you are selected in our annual random audit. You will attest that the information you submitted is true on the online Recert enrollment application. 

PNCB's Pediatric Updates

What if I earn less than 70% on my PNCB Pediatric Updates? 

Certificants who do not earn a 70% or greater on their Pediatric Updates will be given a free retest opportunity. Retest details will be emailed to those needing this information. You must successfully complete the Pediatric Updates prior to applying it to your Recert application. Once you successfully complete a module, your CE certificate will be processed within 24 hours and CE credit will be available to apply to your Recert application. Contact ce@pncb.org if you do not receive your CE certificate within 24 hours or have other continuing education questions.

How do I answer Pediatric Updates online?

View our Answering Your PNCB Module Online resource for more information. All answers must be submitted online. 

Clinical Practice Hours

Are clinical practice hours required for my Recert?

No. You may choose this option if desired. Review your recertification guide for details about using clinical practice for Recert. For PNCB Recert, 200 clinical practice hours can count as 5 contact hours, and 400 clinical practice hours can count as 10 contact hours.

How do you define "clinical practice hours"?

Clinical practice hours are work or volunteer hours that involve the direct "hands-on" assessment or clinical management of pediatric patients or indirect care such as management, supervision or education of other personnel or students to help achieve patient care goals. Faculty hours and IRB research counts too. Review your recertification guide for examples of activity that will meet PNCB's clinical practice criteria for Recert.

Can I count charting to meet clinical practice hours?


What if I have more than 200 clinical practice hours?

If you have 400 clinical practice hours, you can count this as 10 contact hours.

I am a faculty member. Does supervision of students meet the clinical practice requirement?

Yes, faculty can count direct clinical supervision of students in the same certification specialty (advanced practice faculty must have direct supervision of advanced practice students). Faculty can also count teaching class time that awards accredited academic credit to students (advanced practice faculty teaching class time must be to advanced practice students). 

Academic Credit

What types of courses can I document for academic credit?

Courses must be relevant to your certification specialty. You must be the learner, not the instructor. The course can be either a semester or quarter course and must have been completed within 24 months prior to Recert enrollment. The course must have been completed successfully. DNP courses are accepted for CPNP Recert.

Professional Practice Learning (PPL)

I want to use the contact hour/PPL option. How many contact hours or academic credit hours are required when I apply PPL?

PPL is equivalent to 5 contact hours for your Recert. You can combine PPL with either 10 contact hours or 1 semester or quarter hour of academic credit.

Can I document 2 PPLs and only document 5 contact hours, or 2 PPLs and no contact hours?

No. You must document 10 accredited contact hours with a PPL, or 1 semester or quarter hour of academic credit with a PPL.

I am a CPNP and want to use the Pediatric Updates/contact hour/PPL option. How many contact hours are required and how much PPL?

One CPNP Pediatric Updates module equals 7.5 contact hours, so you can combine a Pediatric Updates module with documentation of 2.5 earned contact hours plus 1 PPL option.

What are the requirements when using a lecture for PPL? Can a lecture I gave at my hospital or a conference count?

For non-academic lectures, you can use a lecture of at least one hour in length that is sponsored by an employer, a membership or educational organization, that awards CE to attendees, and for which you provided learning objectives and a reference list. The lecture must have been related to pediatric nursing or nursing leadership and accomplished in the last 24 months prior to your Recert enrollment. You can only use a specific lecture once for PPL credit. 

I am a CPNP who precepts RN-level students? Does this count as precepting?

Precepting must be level-appropriate for your certification type. CPNPs must precept graduate PNP (or FNP students focused on mastery of pediatric clinical content) to count for PPL.

What are the guidelines for submitting a scholarly poster for PPL credit?

You will need to be able to demonstrate that your poster was juried (accepted and presented) by the organization to which you presented. Content of your poster must be related to pediatric nursing or nursing practice. The poster must have been developed and presented in the last 24 months prior to your Recert enrollment.

What are the requirements for applying a scholarly article or textbook contribution for PPL? Does the article need to be a certain length?

Authorship must have been for a peer-reviewed journal article or textbook contribution and may be co-authored. There is no set length or word count for an article. Articles must have been published in the last 24 months prior to Recert enrollment, be nursing-related professional articles, using professional references, but do not need to be published in nursing publications.

Does my doctoral dissertation/capstone project or Master's thesis meet authorship criteria?

Yes, unpublished or published doctoral dissertation/capstone project or master's thesis meet this requirement if completed within the past 24 months prior to Recert enrollment. 

I serve on a national nursing committee. Does this count for PPL?

Yes, membership on a committee within the past 24 months at a state or national level as an officer or committee member of a task force can be used for recertification. Nursing committees must be pediatric or nursing related. 

I am a CPNP and serve on a pediatric nursing, not advanced nursing committee. Does this count for PPL?

Yes, advanced practice nurses can use committee membership on a pediatric nursing practice committee or task force as PPL. You must have served in the past 24 months, at a state or national level, as an officer or a task force member. 

What type of nursing awards can be counted for a recertification PPL option?

Examples of awards include but are not limited to: PNCB, Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN), or National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) annual awards, Daisy Award, Nightingale Award, GEM Award, or Magnet Nurse of the Year.  

CPNP Verification

Can I request free verification for more than 1 state board of nursing?

Verification of certification is available 24x7 to all state boards of nursing. A Board can verify or re-verify information on-demand and as many times as needed. 

My name on my advanced practice nursing license is different than on my PNCB account does this matter?

Yes. The State Board of Nursing receives verification of certification in your name as printed on your wallet ID card. If either your PNCB record or licensure is not listed as your legal name, please update this information with the appropriate party.

For PNCB, please log in to Applications/Forms to complete our Name Change Application and upload required supporting documents.

Dually Certified: CPNP-PC & CPNP-AC

I have Dual Certification and need to recertify in both Primary Care and Acute Care. How many options do I need to fulfill per year to maintain both?

Only one per year. For details on maintaining both Primary Care and Acute Care certification, review your recertification guide. As an example, if you passed the Acute Care test in 2017, this year you will only need to Recert for Primary Care as a newly certified grace period applies in your case. Then next year, you'll begin the Dually-Certified AC/PC Recert Program.

I was previously certified as a Primary Care CPNP and am now also certified as an Acute Care CPNP. What happens to my Recertification Program?

Once you enter the Dually-certified AC/PC Recert Program, you begin a new 7-year cycle. This allows for tracking your new Dually-certified Recert requirements, which are different than what was required when you held only one CPNP certification. When do you enter this new cycle? Check your online wallet card for the expiration date of your newest certification. You will enter the Dually-certified Recert program between November 1 and January 31 prior to this expiration date. 

Dually Certified: CPN & CPNP-PC

I am dually certified as a CPN/CPNP and attended a conference that is relevant to both roles. Can I use this conference to maintain both certifications?

Some conferences, such as NAPNAP, offer content for both roles. You will need to identify which sessions you attended and which of the attended sessions you are using for each certification.

I am dually certified as a CPN/CPNP and working as a PNP. Can I use my clinical practice to maintain my CPN certification?

Clinical practice hours must be relevant to the type of certification. The CPN and CPNP roles are different and include different competencies. Recertifying your CPN certification requires you to document continuing education, Professional Practice learning, etc. you have completed to maintain your competency in the CPN role.

I completed a Pharmacology Pediatric Updates module for my CPNP recertification. Can I use this module to maintain my CPN certification?

Yes, enter the module as CE on your CPN recertification application. Some PNCB Pediatric Updates modules are relevant to both nursing roles and there will be a sentence in the product description that tells you which ones.

I completed CE specific to the PNP role. Can I use this to maintain my CPN certification?

No, the CE content must be relevant to the CPN role.

I completed Pediatrics in Review for my CPNP certification. Can I also use this CE for my CPN recertification?

You can use Pediatrics in Review for your CPN recertification if the review is of a disease from diagnosis to follow up. If the content is only relevant to advanced nursing practice you may not use this to maintain your CPN certification. 


How can I order a lapel pin or replacement wall certificate?

Order your lapel pin in our gear store or a new certificate in your portal's marketplace

I'm retiring. How can I let the PNCB know?

We hope you enjoy your retirement! Visit our Retirement page for information about notifying us. We want to be sure to keep you from getting Recert reminders, plus we want to send you a letter thanking you for your years of service!

What is your policy on appeals?

Should you need to consider an appeal concerning Recertification, please consult our Appeals Policy and Procedures

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