Certification Updates Related to COVID-19

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AACN recognizes the changing needs, shifting priorities and growing personal and professional concerns of our nursing community during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we have implemented temporary changes in certain areas of AACN certification. These changes are intended to support nurses impacted by ongoing pandemic-related challenges.

Please know that we are closely monitoring the evolving situation and will continue to update you as appropriate.

Micro-Credential: COVID-19 Pulmonary and Ventilator Care

In response to COVID-19 and its associated pulmonary complications, AACN created a micro-credential to help employers and their employees validate their knowledge in caring for mechanically ventilated patients.

The "COVID-19 Pulmonary and Ventilator Care" micro-credential is based on the free course "COVID-19 Pulmonary, ARDS and Ventilator Resources" and offers:

  • Validation by AACN, your trusted nursing education provider and resource
  • An achievement to be added to resumes and online professional profiles
  • An online verification tool for current and potential employers

Testing Sites

Our testing vendor, PSI, has reopened PSI-owned-and-operated test centers across the U.S. as permitted by state and local authorities. Face masks are optional for employees and candidates in test centers; please bring your own mask as they will not be provided. To access information on test centers in your area as well as testing FAQs, please visit PSI's COVID-19 page.

Certification Testing Extensions

In response to the continued challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are temporarily extending all certification testing time frames.

Effective March 20, 2020, candidates applying for an AACN certification exam will automatically be given a 180-day testing window in place of the usual 90-day window.

Please note that non-digital processes, such as mailings, may be delayed. For example, you can expect to receive your congratulations packet and wall certificate in about six to eight weeks rather than the typical three to four weeks. Thank you for your understanding.

If you or your current/prospective employer need to verify your certification before receiving your certificate, please access AACN's free online verification tool, which allows you to print or email your certification verification letter.

Certification Renewal Extensions

Specialty & Subspecialty Certifications (CCRN, CCRN-E, CCRN-K, PCCN, PCCN-K, CMC, CSC)

AACN will consider a certification expiration date extension for nurses who request one before their certification expires. These requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with a possible one-time extension of three months. Please email extension requests to certification@aacn.org.

  • Certificants already have a grace period that allows them to complete the renewal process up to 90 days after their scheduled renewal date. Required CERPs and practice hours must, however, be completed before your certification expiration date. If a certificant is unable to meet this requirement, they may request a three-month extension.
  • Certificants granted a one-time three-month extension will be allowed an additional 90 days to complete renewal eligibility requirements. This does not apply to nurses who hold Inactive status. Please note that an extension results in a change to your certification expiration date.
  • Certificants renewing by exam will be granted an extended testing window and also have their expiration date extended, if needed.
  • Certifications that have expired are eligible for retroactive Inactive status.


Advanced practice (APRN) certificants are not eligible for an extension but may be considered for retroactive renewal if eligibility requirements are met before your certification expiration date. Please email APRNcert@aacn.org for details.

Certification Practice Exam and Questions Subscription Extensions

Effective March 25, 2020, customers who purchase a premium subscription to any of the Certification Practice Exam and Questions products will be granted 180-day access in place of the standard 120-day access.


For a timely response to any questions you may have, please email info@aacn.org and one of our dedicated AACN Customer Care representatives will get in touch with you promptly.