Posted on Categories CE

Renewing your ANCC Nurse Practitioner NP Certification – Using a filing system

Renewing your ANCC nurse practitioner (NP) board certification is required every five years. The process isn’t necessarily difficult, but it can be time consuming. Maintaining your certification throughout the five-year process by tracking your progress is key. If you wait until your renewal and must input between 75 and 150 hours of continuing education credit into the ANCC’s website, it will take a great deal of time. 

I’ve been an ANCC certified NP since 2012, so I’m in my third renewal cycle. I’ve found that by using a filing system to keep track of mandatory continuing education hours in addition to chosen renewal requirement categories makes the renewal more seamless.

To avoid retesting, an NP must renew their certification before it lapses and demonstrate proof of completion of the mandatory 75 continuing education hours. Twenty-five of the mandatory hours must be in pharmacology.

You’ll need to input your completed hours into the ANCC’s website. I have found that immediately printing your certificate, putting it into a file folder labeled for the window of your renewal cycle, then inputting these hours to the ANCC’s site, and tracking your total on the outside of the file folder is very helpful in tracking the mandatory hours you’ve completed.

Complete your 25 hours of required pharmacology here: 25 Hours Pharmacology All-Inclusive CE Package

According to the ANCC, if you’re renewing a current, not lapsed license, the steps are as follows:

Certification renewal eligibility when your certification credential is CURRENT. All requirements must be met within the current 5-year certification period. 

  • Hold a current, active RN license in a state or territory of the United States or the professional legally recognized equivalent in another country. 
  • For National Healthcare Disaster certificants, hold the same license, registration, certificate, or degree used for initial test eligibility. 
  • Hold a current ANCC board certification. 
  • Complete the Mandatory 75 continuing education hours. All certificants renewing a CNS or NP certification are required to complete 25 hours of pharmacology as a portion of the mandatory 75 CH. 
  • Complete at least one (1) of the eight certification renewal categories in its entirety. (See pages 7-8 for additional information regarding the renewal categories.) 
  • Pay the renewal fee. 

If you do lapse without renewing on time, the ANCC has a policy for reactivation. You can read about it in their policy: Certification Renewal Requirements

The Eight Certification Renewal Categories

  1. Continuing Education Hours – 75 hours in the certification specialty. This category can be chosen in addition to the Mandatory 75 Continuing Education Hours. 
  2. Academic Credits – Five semester credits or six quarter credits of academic courses in your certification specialty. 
  3. Presentations – One or more presentations totaling five (5) clock hours in your certification specialty. 
  4. Evidence-Based Practice (EBP), Quality Improvement Project (QI), Publication, or Research.
  5. Preceptor Hours – A minimum of 120 hours as a preceptor for students in an academic program related to your specialty. 
  6. Professional Service – Two or more consecutive years of volunteer service during your certification period with an international, national, state, or local healthcare-related organization; accepted volunteer activities include serving on boards of directors, committees, editorial boards, review boards, task forces, and medical missions. 
  7. Practice Hours – A minimum of 1,000 practice hours in your certification specialty, completed within five years preceding the date on your renewal application submission. Practice hours are not required to renew your certification. 
  8. Test or Portfolio – Sit for and pass the current test. 

Continuing Education Hours

Some important highlights regarding continuing education requirements: 

  • There are 75 mandatory continuing education hours, of which 25 must be in pharmacology. 
  • You can choose one of your certification renewal categories as an additional 75 continuing education hours for a total of 150 continuing education hours. 
  • For the mandatory hours, at least 60 of the 75 must be formally approved hours, i.e., hours from an accredited provider or approver of nursing education, for example, an ANCC approved provider. 
  • The hours can also be approved through Joint Accreditation or AMA, continuing medical education (CME) hours. 
  • You can claim credit for a specific course just once. Even if you take a course multiple times in the five-year renewal window, you can only claim credit once. 

For more information on renewing your ANCC license, visit the Certification Renewal Requirements.