Pediatric CCRN Exam

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)
offers the Pediatric Critical Care Nursing Certification (CCRN). The
certification exam is for registered nurses who provide direct patient care to acutely/critically
ill pediatric patients.


Candidates for the CCRN certification examination must meet
eligibility requirements:

  • Hold an unrestricted, current RN or APRN
    license; and
  • Have 1,750 hours in direct care of
    acutely/critically ill pediatric patients in the last two years, with 875 hours
    obtained in the year prior to application; or
  • Have 2,000 hours in direct care of
    acutely/critically ill pediatric patients in the last five years, with 875
    hours obtained in the year prior to application.

The application requires direct patient care experience

Application method
and cost

There are two methods to apply for the Pediatric CCRN exam –
online and paper. Individuals use the online application method. Group
registrations and candidates testing outside of the United States use the paper

The application fee is $235.00 for AACN members and $340.00
for non-members. The application is payable by Visa, MasterCard, American
Express, or Discover. AACN processes your online application on the same
business day it is received.

When your application is received, AACN sends an email that
confirms receipt of your application. If your application is approved, AACN’s
testing service sends you an approval-to-test notification via U.S. Mail and
email that identifies your testing window.

Scheduling the exam

Once you have received the approval-to-test notification,
follow the directions to schedule your examination within the indicated testing
window. The certification exam is offered two times a day, Monday through
Friday at over 300 testing centers nationwide.

Test design

The exam assesses your integration of knowledge, skills,
abilities, and experience delivering direct pediatric patient care and consists
of 150 multiple-choice questions. The test contains questions covering clinical
judgment (80%) and professional caring and ethical practice (20%) based on
AACN’s Synergy Model for Patient Care.

The clinical judgment content has five sections:

  • Musculoskeletal/Neurology/Psychosocial (16% of questions)
  • Multi-system (14% of questions)
  • Cardiovascular (15% of questions)
  • Pulmonary (16% of questions)
  • Endocrine/Hematology/Gastrointestinal/Renal/Integumentary (19% of questions)

Professional caring and ethical practice consist of
questions drawn from the following areas:

  • Advocacy/Moral agency
  • Caring practices
  • Response to diversity
  • Facilitation of learning
  • Collaboration
  • Systems thinking
  • Clinical inquiry

You have three hours to complete the computer-delivered

Test Day

Do not be late for your appointment and leave your
belongings at home or in your car. Two forms of valid, current identification
are required to check in; with one being government-issued. After your identity
is verified, you are directed to a testing station. Scratch paper is provided,
and you are not allowed to bring anything with you to your testing carrel.

At your station, you can take a pre-test to gain familiarity
with the delivery system. The time you spend on the pre-test does not count
against your examination time. Once you have completed the pre-test, your exam

Monitor your time, and do not spend too much time on each
question. You can mark questions on the exam to return to once you have worked
yourself through the exam. When you are finished, submit your test for scoring,
return the materials provided, and collect your official score report before
leaving the testing center.


Your official score is provided to you before you leave the
testing center. The passing score is determined by a criterion-referenced
standard that is based on the difficulty of the exam. Your score report indicates
your status (pass/fail) and provides information on your performance in each

Successful candidates receive a certificate in the mail
within four weeks of the 90-day window closing.

Candidates who did not pass are allowed to retake the exam up to four times in 12 months at a discounted rate.

How Can I Prepare for the Pediatric CCRN 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: November 9, 2023