What is CCRN Certification?

What is CCRN Certification?

The Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification is a highly respected credential in the field of acute and critical care nursing. This certification, granted by the AACN Certification Corporation, signifies a nurse’s advanced knowledge and experience in caring for critically ill patients. With over 95,000 certified nurses worldwide, the CCRN certification is a testament to a nurse’s commitment to excellence in their field.

CCRN certification is a professional credential that validates a nurse’s knowledge and expertise in the care of acutely and critically ill patients. This certification is recognized by hospital administrators, peers, patients, and most importantly, by the nurses themselves. It promotes continuing excellence in the critical care nursing field.

Why Obtain CCRN Certification?

Obtaining CCRN certification has several benefits. It helps nurses maintain an up-to-date knowledge base of acute and critical care nursing. It provides a sense of professional pride and achievement, and reinforces the special knowledge and experiences required for acute and critical care nursing. Research studies have linked higher levels of clinical knowledge, skill, and experience with CCRN certification.

CCRN Exam Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the CCRN exam, candidates must hold a current, unencumbered RN or APRN license in the U.S. They must also meet one of two clinical practice requirement options:

  1. Practice as an RN or APRN for 1,750 hours in direct care of acutely/critically ill patients during the previous 2 years, with 875 of those hours accrued in the most recent year preceding application.
  2. Practice as an RN or APRN for at least 5 years with a minimum of 2,000 hours in direct care of acutely/critically ill patients, with 144 of those hours accrued in the most recent year preceding application.

CCRN Exam Details

The CCRN exam is a 3-hour test containing 150 items, with 125 items scored and 25 used for gathering statistical data. The exam is based on the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care, with 80% focusing on Clinical Judgment and 20% on Professional Caring and Ethical Practice.

The Importance of a CCRN Review Course

The Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification is a significant milestone for any nurse working in acute and critical care. Preparing for the CCRN exam can be a daunting task, and this is where a CCRN review course comes into play. These courses provide a comprehensive review of all exam materials, ensuring no critical topic is overlooked. They are led by experienced critical care nurses who offer expert guidance, helping candidates understand complex concepts and develop effective test-taking strategies.

CCRN review courses also offer practice questions and mock exams that mimic the actual exam’s format and difficulty level. This helps candidates familiarize themselves with the exam structure, identify areas of weakness, and build confidence. Additionally, these courses employ teaching methods designed for effective learning and retention, such as spaced repetition and active recall. Enrolling in a CCRN review course also provides access to a community of peers, offering support and motivation throughout the preparation process. In essence, a CCRN review course is a valuable resource that can significantly enhance exam preparation and increase the chances of success.

Maintaining CCRN Certification

CCRN certification is recognized for a 3-year period and can be renewed by retaking the CCRN exam or by meeting the requirements of the Renewal by Synergy CERPs (Continuing Education Recognition Points) program during the 3-year certification period.


CCRN certification is a significant achievement for any nurse working in the field of acute and critical care. It not only validates their expertise and dedication but also encourages them to continue learning and growing in their profession. By understanding the details and requirements of CCRN certification, nurses can better prepare for this important step in their career.

James Edge

James Edge

James is on a mission to uncover the greatest study guides and prep courses to ensure you pass your exam on your first attempt. He has personally assessed hundreds of study materials and developed courses himself.

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