CPN® and RN-BC: What's the Difference?

Most nurses choose PNCB's Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) credential because nursing care for children and adolescents is the sole focus of everything we offer and it shows in the quality of our exams. Make an informed choice with this comparison chart. PNCB is happy to answer your questions about what sets us apart. Contact info@pncb.org so we can help.

Credential Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC)
Certifying Body Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
# Actively Certified in 2015 22,963 2,145
# Testing in 2015 3,908 185
Endorsement from Specialty Organization Yes, by Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN) No
Accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies Yes Yes
Accepted for Magnet Recognition Status Yes Yes
Supporting the Pediatric Profession Attends national and select local conferences, such as Society of Pediatric Nurses to answer your questions

Created the Institute of Pediatric Nursing to encourage students to choose pediatrics
Has not recently exhibited or sponsored events at the Society of Pediatric Nurses

Certification Eligibility Criteria

Practice Hours 1,800 in the past 24 months 2,000 in the past 36 months
Practice Accepted Clinical, management, education, or consultation Clinical or direct clinical supervision only
Contact Hours Required None 30 hours in the past 3 years

Certification Exam

# of Questions 175 questions 175 questions
Testing Time 3 hours 3.5 hours
First Time Pass Rate for 2015 78% 87%
Free Sample Questions Yes Yes
Practice Test Yes, $35 for 50 questions No


2015 Application Fee $295 $395
($270 for ANA Members; ANA Membership ~$290/Year)
5-Day Expedited Processing Free $200
Hospital Benefit Yes: No Pass, No Pay launched in 2009
No shortfall penalty fee
Yes, launched in 2013
Includes a shortfall penalty fee
Retest Fee $245 $270
Wait Time to Retest 2-3 weeks 60 days

Staying Certified

Certification Duration 1 year 5 years
Cost to Recertify $50-65 depending on option $350
($200 for ANA Members; ANA Membership ~$290/Year)
Options to Recertify 15 contact hours or accepted equivalents (e.g., academic credit, clinical practice, lecture, authorship, posters, committee leadership, record review year) 150 contact hours or accepted equivalents. Options include Professional development + practice, or Professional development + testing
Free Contact Hours Yes, for anyone Yes, for ANA members
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The Faces of Certification

PNCB-certified nursing professionals work in a variety of roles and settings throughout the U.S. and beyond.
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