Nursing Professional Development Exam

This exam is
computer-based and consists of 175 multiple-choice questions. Of the 175
questions, only 150 will count toward your score. You will not know which
questions are pretest, and which will count toward your score, so it is best to
attempt all 175. You will be given 3.5 hours to complete the exam.

In order to
be eligible to take the exam, you must:

  • Currently
    have an active RN license in the United States, its territories, or equivalent
    for other countries.
  • Have
    a minimum of a Bachelor’s in Nursing.
  • Have
    at least two years’ experience as an RN.
  • Have
    at least 4,000 hours of clinical practice in the last five years, in the area
    of nursing professional development.
  • Have
    accomplished at least 30 hours in nursing professional development continuing
    education, within the last three years.

If you have
a condition covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act that requires
special accommodations, be sure to submit this request on the letterhead of a
physician or other healthcare professional. The letter should be typed, dated,
and signed. Once you receive confirmation that your request has been approved,
you can schedule your appointment.

Some of the
arrangements that can be accommodated include extended testing time, additional
breaks, paper/pencil exam, separate testing room, adjustable height table,
anti-glare screen, ergonomic keyboard, flat screen monitor, left-handed mouse,
screen magnifier, and Jaws and Dragon (speech recognition and screen reading)

What domains and topics are covered on this exam?

  • Education – 29.33%
  • Leadership – 14.67%
  • Communication – 12.67%
  • Ethical/Legal – 20%
  • Practice and Process Improvement – 8.67%
  • Technology – 7.33%
  • Program and Project Management – 7.33%


This category will address topics such as teaching and learning theories, professional development models, Systems Theory, the framework of critical thinking and clinical judgment, education design process, educational activities, evaluation models, and providing continuing education.


This category will address topics such as principles and concepts of organization, organizational structure, change management, principles of leadership, and professional practice.


This category will address topics such as communication methods and principles, conflict management, consultation, and collaboration and negotiation.


This category will address topics such as professional standards, documentation requirements, risk management principles, line of authority, the protection of sensitive information, ethics principles, Copyright law, boundaries, regulations, and accreditation.

Practice and Process Improvement

This category will address topics such as the research process, excellence initiatives, evidence-based practice, evidence evaluation, performance improvement methods, and organizational performance indicators.


This category will address information management and systems, business tools, and technology principles.

Program and Project Management

This category will address project management tools, project management processes, marketing, public relations, program evaluation, resources, and roles of team members.

How can I register for this exam?

Register online. After registering, you will receive an Authorization to Test notification, and have 90 days to schedule and take the exam. If for some reason, you are unable to take the exam in the 90-day period, you will be given one opportunity to extend this timeframe, for a fee of $100.

What is the cost of the exam?

As a member of the American Nurses Association, you will pay $270. Non-members will pay $395.

What are the testing dates and locations?

This exam is offered year-round, at a test center location that is convenient for you.

What should I do the day of the exam?

Report to the testing site approximately 15 minutes early, to allow for checking in.

Bring a valid form of identification, such as a driver’s license, state identification card, passport, or U.S. military card. The ID should include your name, signature, and photo, and must not be temporary or expired. Invalid identification will prevent you from taking the exam.

There are many items prohibited from the testing area. Some of these include food/drink, cell phone, calculator, study materials, and purse.

Can I take a break during the exam?

Although there is no break scheduled into this exam, you may take a restroom break. If a restroom break is necessary, the testing time clock will not stop while you are away.

What happens after I take the exam?

Before leaving the testing center, you will receive a copy of your test result. It will let you know if you passed or failed. If you pass, your certificate and pin will be mailed in four weeks. Your credential will be valid for five years.

What is the passing score of this exam?

The maximum score you could receive is 500. You must obtain a score of at least 350 in order to pass.

What happens if I don’t pass the exam?

After 60 days from your testing date, you can re-take it. You will be allowed no more than three attempts in a one-year period. The re-test fee is $270.

How Can I Prepare for the Nursing Professional Development Test?

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: November 9, 2023