Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification: The Best in 2022


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    Hello, and welcome to Nurse Code!

    Today we discuss the ACNP Certification extensively and summarize how to acquire Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification.

    We promise that at the end of this read you will understand how to get an ACNP Nurse Certificate, how to go about your ACNP Certification Exams, the recertification process, and how important these certifications are to your Nursing career.

    In this study guide we covered in-depth:

    How to become an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    What is ACNP Certification?
    ACNP Certification requirements
    What ACNP Certification Exam is all about

    Let’s dig in!

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      What is ACNP Certification?

      Advanced Practice Registered Nurses who specialize in caring for patients with exacerbated chronic illness or new acute conditions are known as Acute Care Nurse Practitioners.

      Acute Care NPs function in a medley of settings, including urgent-care clinics, hospital emergency rooms, and operating rooms, and may specialize in either children or adults.

      Patience and commitment are usually required to become an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner in an acute care setting.

      To provide high-quality health care, you’ll need the appropriate training.

      Before becoming an APRN, an aspiring ACNP must first obtain an undergraduate degree, a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing), or an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing).

      They would then pursue an accredited master’s or doctoral degree (DNP) in Nursing.

      They must also obtain a license as a Registered Nurse (RNs).

      After completing their program, an aspiring Nurse Practitioner must still obtain certain national certifications such as Acute Care NP Certification before offering patient care.

      ACNP credentials verify that an aspiring ACNP possesses the necessary knowledge and skills to safely administer care.

      The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is a professional organization that certifies future Acute Care Nurse Practitioners.

      The AACN administers a board certification exam with 170-200 questions, 150 of which are graded.

      The remaining questions are then used to compile statistical data to determine whether or not they should be included in future exams based on overall performance.

      ACNPs, particularly those who specialize in adult-gerontology, can be certified by the ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center).

      How to Become an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

      To work as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, you’ll need to complete additional training beyond that required to become an RN (Registered Nurse).

      Acute Care Nurse Practitioners must earn their Registered Nurse license by successfully passing the state board exam after completing a four-year bachelor’s degree in Nursing.

      Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on becoming an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner:

      Obtain Your BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)

      You must first have a bachelor’s degree in Nursing before becoming an ACNP.

      You must first obtain a bachelor’s degree if you only have an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN).

      This is a requirement before beginning any graduate program.

      If you’re an RN with an ADN, there are two programs that can help you reach your objectives.

      Obtain Your BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)

      An online BSN Program and an RN-BSN Bridge Program.

      Each program has its own set of requirements, so make sure you know which ones you qualify for before applying.

      Also, decide whether you want to learn in a classroom or an online setting.

      Pass the NCLEX-RN to Obtain RN Licensure

      Future ACNPs can take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses about 42-45 days after graduation.

      Test takers must answer between 75 and 265 questions on the computer adaptive exam.

      Obtain Acute Care Nursing Clinical Practice

      Applicants for an MSN with a concentration in Acute Care Nurse Practice are frequently required to hold a current RN license and twelve to twenty-four months of Nursing experience.

      Get Your Master of Science in Nursing Degree

      A master’s degree in nursing should include specialized coursework focusing on the responsibilities of Acute Care Nurse Practitioners.

      Most Schools of Nursing will offer this degree as part of a twenty-four-month (two years) program with roughly forty hours of coursework.

      Typical coursework in an ACNP Program includes the following:

      • Role of the APRN (Advanced Practice Nurse)
      • Advanced Pathophysiology
      • Health Promotion 
      • Advanced Health Assessment
      • Advanced Pharmacology
      • Clinical Practicums
      • Family and Child Development
      • Health Informatics
      • Evidence-Based Practice

      Complete an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program

      There are three types of Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Programs available online and in-person for Nurses with a BSN:

      MSN-NP Program

      This is a part of the most popular NP Program options.

      The MSN-NP is for students who already have a BSN and wish to enter the program at the graduate level.

      The basic admission requirements: The applicant must have a bachelor’s degree in Nursing.

      DNP Program

      Doctor of Nursing Practice, a Nurse Practitioner Program, allows students to earn a doctorate while also completing the requirements for becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

      The DNP is best for Nurses who want to work in a more research-based or academic environment.

      The basic admission requirement: Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in Nursing.

      Post-graduate Certificate Program 

      If you already have a graduate degree in any other field apart from the one you want to specialize in with your NP, look for a college of nursing that offers a post-master’s certification option that will allow you to enroll in the program right away.

      Basic admission requirements: You must have a Nurse Practitioner qualification or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in another specialty to enroll in post-graduate certificate programs.

      Successfully Complete the Certification Exam

      Acute Care Nurse Practitioners can earn board certification through the AACN (American Association of Critical-Care Nurses).

      The National Commission for Certifying Agencies has accredited AACN Certification Corporation Exams.

      Fill Out An Application for An APRN License

      Individuals must apply for an APRN license from the state Board of Nursing after passing the certification exam.

      Individuals can hold multiple state board licenses (similar to RN), but these can only be applied for after the initial board certification has been completed.

      The requirements for initial certification and recertification vary by state.

      Additional information can be found on the state Board of Nursing’s website.

      ACNP Certifications and Requirements

      AGACNP-BC (Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification)

      The ANCC AG-ACNP Board certification exam is actually a competency-major entry-level examination used in assessing the AGACNP’s skills and clinical knowledge in a reliable and valid manner.

      This certification follows the APRN Regulation Consensus Model: (L-A-C-E) Licensure (L), Accreditation (A), Certification (C), and Education (E).

      You will be vested the certification: AGACNP-Board Certified if you meet the eligibility prerequisites to take the certification examination and pass it.

      This certification is good and useful for only sixty months (5 years).

      Preserving your license and satisfying the recertification requirements at the right time of your credential renewal will authorize you to continue to use this credential.

      AGACNP-BC (Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification)

      This ANCC certification is accredited by the Accreditation Board created for Specialty Nursing Certification.

      For First-Time candidates please ensure you have your required documents ready in an accepted electronic layout to adequately upload during the process for faster service.

      If your required documents aren’t ready when you apply, you can upload them later.

      The Board-Certified AGACNP Certification is from the ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center).

      Eligibility Prerequisites:

      • Current, active Registered Nurse license in the U.S.
      • Master’s, postgraduate, or DNP from an accredited Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP Program, with at least 500 supervised clinical hours in an AG-ACNP role
      • Three advanced graduate courses in health assessment, pharmacology, and pathophysiology/physiology
      • Health promotion or maintenance content, disease management, and differential diagnosis

      Registration Cost: $290 to $395

      Renewal Specifications for the AGACNP-BC:

      Eligibility for Renewal

      Complete one or more of the eight categories of ANCC renewal:

      • Academic credits
      • Presentations
      • Evidence-based practice
      • Quality improvement project, publication, or research
      • Preceptor hours
      • Professional service
      • Practice hours
      • Assessment

      Renewal Cost: $275 to $375

      Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (ACNPC-AG) from AACN (American Association of Critical-Care Nurses)

      Eligibility Basic Requirements:

      APRN or US RN License

      Graduate degree from an Adult-Gerontology ACNP advanced practice education program at an accredited nursing school, including didactic coursework and supervised clinical hours pertinent to Adult-Gerontology ACNP practice.

      Registration Cost: $260 to $370

      Renewal Specifications for ACNPC-AG: Every five years

      There are three options for renewing certification every five years:

      • Practice hours and continuing education (CE) points
      • Practice hours, an exam, and pharmacology CE
      • CE points and an exam

      Recertification fees range between $180 and $355 depending on the route.

      Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB)

      Eligibility Prerequisites

      Minimum of 2,000 direct emergency care clinical practice hours as a Certified Nurse Practitioner, 100 hours of emergency-related continuing education credits, and a minimum of 30 continuing education credits in emergency-related procedural skills within the past five years;

      Or completion of an approved academic graduate or postgraduate Nurse Practitioner Program in emergency care;

      Or completion of a recognized emergency fellowship.

      Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB)

      Cost: $240 to $365

      Renewal Prerequisites

      Requires renewal every five years

      Valid FNP Certification

      At least 100 hours of continuing education applicable to advanced emergency care practice, including 25 hours of pharmacology credits.

      Precepting of a Nurse Practitioner or other advanced practice health care interprofessional scholar in emergency care may substitute for up to 25 CEs outside of pharmacology.

      During the five-year certification period, at least 1,000 hours of clinical practice as an emergency NP.

      Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Acute Care (CPNP-AC) from the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)

      Eligibility Prerequisites

      Current, active, and unencumbered RN license in the U.S.

      Graduation from an accredited nursing master’s program, a doctoral program with a concentration in Dual Primary/Acute Care Program, or pediatric acute care as an NP, or from an accredited Pediatric Acute Care NP Postgraduate Certificate Program.

      Successful completion of the Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Acute Care (CPNP-AC) examination.

      Fees: $385 for the exam, plus a non-refundable $130 registration fee

      Renewal prerequisites for the CPNP-AC:

      Annual recertification plus seven-year cycle requirements are required.

      Current, active, and unencumbered RN or APRN license in the U.S.

      15 contact hours per year

      Seven years of pediatric pharmacology coursework totaling 15 hours.

      Four PNCB Pediatrics Updates modules presented over the course of seven years.

      Costs: Varies

      How Do I Study for AGACNP Exam?

      If you’re studying for the AG-ACNP Exam, you’re probably looking for the best resources available.

      Exam Outline for the ANCC AG-ACNP:

      • Professional Caring and Ethical Practice 21%
      • Clinical Inquiry 4%
      • Caring Practices 4%
      • Systems Thinking 3%
      • Advocacy/Moral Agency 3%
      • Collaboration 3%
      • Facilitation of Learning 2%
      • Response to Diversity 2%
      How Do I Study for Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification exam?
      • Clinical Judgement 79%
      • Integumentary 2%
      • Musculoskeletal 4%
      • Psychosocial/Behavioral/Cognitive Health 4%
      • Hematology/Immunology/Oncology 5%
      • Gastrointestinal 5%
      • Endocrine 5%
      • Renal/Genitourinary 6%
      • Neurology 7%
      • Multisystem 10%
      • Pulmonary 11%
      • Cardiovascular 17%

      Whatever AG-ACNP Exam resources you use to study for the exam, making sure you have enough time to practice and prepare is crucial.


      ACNP Certification is a graduate nursing credential that makes an ACNP stand out from the lot.

      ACNPs assist patients with acute illnesses in improving their overall health.

      In addition to serving patients, becoming an ACNP may allow Nurses to advance their clinical leadership skills, pursue a high-growth job field, increase their earning potential, and become more integrated into interdisciplinary health care teams.

      According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Nurse Practitioners in the United States is expected to increase by 47-50% between 2019 and 2029.

      Nurse Practitioners are expected to help meet the increased demand for preventive and acute care among the elderly, as well as fill in for Nurses who are retiring.





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