The CCRN certification is one of a series of AACN Certification Corporation specialty certifications for acute or critical-care nurses. Registered (RN) or advanced-practice registered nurses (APRN) qualify for this certification by completing a certain amount of actual bedside experience. This work experience can be with either adult, pediatric or neonatal patients.
Once a nurse with the requisite experience is ready to get certified, she must take a CCRN exam based on the type of patient for which she has accumulated the required training. Those who pass the exam get CCRN certification on a national level from the AACN Certification Corporation.
CCRN Work Experience Certification Requirements
You must complete these experience requirements as an RN or APRN. In other words, you may have some acute or critical-care experience as an assistant or lesser nurse position. But that would not count towards the certification experience requirements. In the two years before you apply, you must have a total of 1750 hours of bedside care. It could be in acute or critical care in one of three categories of patients: adult, neonatal or pediatric.
Of those 1750 hours, at least 875 (50%) must be in the year before you apply. U.S. and Canada medical facilities and hospitals qualify. Those in other countries qualify only if they have ANCC Magnet status or accreditation from Joint Commission International. Supervisory time does count so long as the supervised individuals are taking care of actual patients.
CCRN Certification Exam
After getting the required work experience, a critical-care nurse needs to start preparing for the CCRN exam. There is a handbook published by the AACN Certification Corporation that provides all sorts of information and reference lists for the test. You can access that handbook from the Resources section below. There are also some CCRN review courses and links to a commercial certification test practice exam on the AACN.org website (see Resources link).
Once you are ready to take the test, then apply online using the Resources link below. As of February 2011, first-time test takers pay $225 if they are an AACN member and $330 if not a member. It is usually worth it to join as a member for at least one year because the discount for the CCRN certification test is more than the standard cost of $78 for a yearly membership.
CCRN Certification Exam Handbook
Applying Online for the CCRN Certification Test
AACN Membership Details
CCRN Exam Preparation (Including Review Courses and Practice Test)