Certified Clinical Transplant Nurse (CCTN) Exam

The American Board for Transplant Certification (ABTC) offers the Certified Clinical Transplant Nurse (CCTN) credentialing exam as a voluntary step in your career as a transplant professional.

Special testing accommodations are available for examinees who have conditions approved by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This request must be made in writing.

Some available accommodations typically include extended testing time, breaks, separate testing room, and large print test and answer booklets.


Eligibility to take this exam includes a total of 24 months experience as a registered nurse. At least 12 of these months must be in direct care of patients undergoing solid organ transplants.

What is the format of this exam?

CCTN is a computer-based exam in which you will have 3 hours to complete 175 multiple-choice questions. Of the 175 questions, 150 will count toward your score.

What subject areas and topics are covered on this exam? How many questions are in each cognitive skill, for each subject area?

This exam presents questions that are based on one of three cognitive skill levels.

The first cognitive skill level is recall, which means to remember previously learned material. The second cognitive skill level is application, which means to use previously learned material in new ways. The third cognitive skill level is analysis, which means to break down information to find relationships between different components.

Pre-transplantation Care – Recall questions: 9, Application questions: 11, Analysis questions: 3

The topics that will be covered under this subject area include end-stage organ failure, monitoring patients waiting for a transplantation, educating patients waiting for a transplantation, supporting patients and their psycho-social issues, and preparing patients for surgery.

Care Immediately Post-transplantation – Recall questions: 7, Application questions: 9, Analysis questions: 16

The topics that will be covered under this subject area include evaluating objective criteria, monitoring lab results, looking for complications, intervening when appropriate and evaluating such interventions, and taking care of the donor.

Transplantation Management – Recall questions: 8, Application questions: 11, Analysis questions: 10

The topics that will be covered under this subject area include assessing graft function, looking for signs and symptoms of infection, avoiding infections, looking for long term complications, supporting patients and their psycho-social issues.

Pharmacological Therapeutics – Recall questions: 4, Application questions: 8, Analysis questions: 14

The topics that will be covered under this subject area include giving immunosuppressive and non-immunosuppressive medications.

Education and Discharge – Recall questions: 6, Application questions: 17, Analysis questions: 2

The topics that will be covered under this subject area include properly discharging a recipient and making sure the recipient understands long term care plans.

Professional Responsibilities – Recall questions: 7, Application questions: 6, Analysis questions: 2

The topics that will be covered under this subject area include offering support to research and education related to transplants, ethical and legal issues, and speaking about trends related to organ donation.

How can I apply for this exam?

You can apply online or via a paper application. Once your application has been approved, you will be given a 90-day period in which you can schedule and take your exam.

What is the cost of the exam?

When taking the test in the U.S., you will pay $425. If you take the test in a different country, you will pay $650.

What are the testing dates and locations?

At one of the 300 testing centers, you can schedule to take your exam on dates Monday through Saturday, with the exception of national holidays.

What should I do the day of the exam?

Arrive at the center 15-30 minutes early. Getting to the test center late, could prevent you from being able to take the exam.

Be ready to present two forms of identification. One should include your name, signature, and photo. The other should have your name and signature.

This exam does not require a calculator. Other items that will not be allowed into the testing area include a cell phone, study materials, and food/drink.

What happens after I take the exam?

Before leaving the test center, you will receive your score report which lets you know if you have passed or failed.

What happens if I don’t pass the exam?

After waiting a 90-day waiting period, you may re-take the exam.

How Can I Prepare for the CCTN Exam?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: August 16, 2019