1. include an APRN on the visiting team when an APRN program/track is being reviewed; and

  2. monitor APRN educational programs throughout the accreditation period by reviewing them using established accreditation standards and processes.

Foundational Requirements for Certification

Certification programs providing APRN certification used for licensure will:

  1. follow established certification testing and psychometrically sound, legally defensible standards for APRN examinations for licensure (see appendix A for the NCSBN Criteria for APRN Certification Programs);

  2. assess the APRN core and role competencies across at least one population focus of practice;

  3. assess specialty competencies, if appropriate, separately from the APRN core, role and population-focused competencies;

  4. be accredited by a national certification accreditation body;10

  5. enforce congruence (role and population focus) between the education program and the type of certification examination;

  6. provide a mechanism to ensure ongoing competence and maintenance of certification;

  7. participate in ongoing relationships which make their processes transparent to boards of nursing;

  8. participate in a mutually agreeable mechanism to ensure communication with boards of nursing and schools of nursing.

Foundational Requirements for Education

APRN education programs/tracks leading to APRN licensure, including graduate degree-granting and post-graduate certificate programs will:

  1. follow established educational standards and ensure attainment of the APRN core, role core and population core competencies;11,12


The certification program should be nationally accredited by the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS) or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).


The APRN core competencies for all APRN nursing education programs located in schools of nursing are delineated in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (1996) The Essentials of Master’s Education for Advanced Practice Nursing Education or the AACN (2006) The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. The APRN core competencies for nurse anesthesia and nurse-midwifery education programs located outside of a school of nursing are delineated by the accrediting organizations for their respective roles i.e., Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).


APRN programs outside of schools of nursing must prepare graduates with the APRN core which includes three separate graduate-level courses in pathophysiology/physiology, health assessment, and pharmacology.

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