March 19, 2024
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AANP vs. ANCC Certification 2024: Which One Should You Take?

If you’re about to graduate from a Nurse Practitioner (NP) program this 2024, you’re faced with an important decision. Which certification exam should you take: AANP or ANCC?

Both the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offer rigorous exams, yet they come with unique characteristics.

It’s crucial to understand these distinctions when making an informed choice that aligns with your career aspirations.

NPHub crafted this guide to delve into the specifics of both AANP and ANCC certification, providing insights and clarity. By the end, you’ll have the knowledge needed to make the right decision for your future.

AANP vs. ANCC Certification: A Brief Overview

Every NP must be licensed to practice, but not all states demand certification. Yet, the merits of certification go beyond state requirements.

Both the AANP and ANCC examinations verify an NP’s knowledge and skill set, with the ANCC being more research-oriented and the AANP having a strong clinical focus.

But which is right for you?

Exam Similarities & Differences

Both exams are recognized, rigorous, and respected in the field. However, their format, content, and focus differ.

The Pros and Cons

To provide a clearer picture, here’s a breakdown:

ANCC Pros:

  • Broad focus.
  • Multiple certification areas.
  • Only 10% of questions about the professional role.
  • Certification renewal every five years.

ANCC Cons:

  • More complex question types.
  • Slightly longer test.

AANP Pros:

  • Multiple-choice questions.
  • Strong clinical focus.
  • 3-hour test duration.
  • Flexible renewal options.

AANP Cons:

  • Limited certification areas.
  • Lower pass rate (compared to ANCC).

Benefits of Being Board-Certified

While some states don’t mandate certification, becoming board-certified can propel your career.

Not only does it boost confidence in decision-making, but it also sets you apart, signifying your dedication to excellence and expertise.


Choosing between the AANP and ANCC certifications is more than just picking an exam. It’s about aligning your career goals, professional aspirations, and the areas of nursing you’re most passionate about.

Both certifications have their merits, and neither is inherently better than the other. Instead, it’s about which one aligns more closely with your envisioned NP future.

Remember, no matter which path you choose — it will lead you to the same noble profession of nursing. Certification is but a stepping stone, ensuring you possess the necessary knowledge and skills to deliver the best care to your patients.

Stay informed, remain passionate, and trust in your choices.


Why is the AANP exam considered more clinical than the ANCC?

The AANP exam predominantly tests candidates on assessment, diagnosis, planning, and evaluation, giving it a strong clinical orientation.

Which exam should I take if I aim for an academic career?

Most NPs with aspirations in teaching, research, or policy typically gravitate toward the ANCC exam due to its comprehensive coverage of these areas.

Are the exams priced differently?

Yes, the AANP exam costs $315 for non-members, while the ANCC exam costs $395 for non-members.

Can I switch certification bodies?

Certainly! If you’re certified by one organization but wish to specialize in an area not covered by them, you can opt for the other.

Is it mandatory to renew certifications?

Both the ANCC and AANP certifications require renewal every five years, with specific criteria for each.

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