PNCB Exams

Exams types, accreditation, and statistics

Exams Overview

PNCB certifications empower nursing professionals to practice confidently with every child and adolescent in their care. 

Children and teens aren't little adults. They need expert clinicians in hospitals, schools, pediatric practices, specialty clinics, home health care, or any other setting where youth physical and emotional well-being needs support. Nurses must understand how children develop and thrive to help them achieve the best life possible, now and in the future.  

PNCB offers 4 types of certification exams to assess the knowledge and critical thinking of pediatric nursing professionals. More than 50,000 actively certified nurses rely on their PNCB credentials to prove they've met the highest standard in the unique specialty of pediatrics. 

As a nurse, you want to be at your peak when practicing. As a pediatric nurse, you're passionate about making a meaningful impact on child health. Make it official with PNCB certification. 

Explore exam and certification statistics, then find your fit with our certification programs. PNCB also offers more than 100 hours of pediatric-focused continuing education, open to all.

This certification, launched in 1989, is for the nurse who has extensive experience in pediatric practice and who demonstrates knowledge and abilities related to pediatric nursing beyond basic RN licensure. Nurses passing this exam are called Certified Pediatric Nurses and earn the CPN® credential, which they are entitled to use as long as they actively maintain their certification. Learn about CPN certification.

This exam is for the advanced practice nurse with extensive knowledge related to the diagnosis and management of primary care pediatric health care issues. PNPs passing this exam earn the designation Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care (CPNP® ) and are entitled to use this credential as long as they actively maintain their certification, which is linked to licensure in most states.

The CPNP role is historic and represents the first nurse practitioner role developed in the United States. This certification was launched in 1977. Learn about CPNP-PC certification.

We created this exam in response to the emerging role of acute care PNPs. These advanced practice pediatric nurse practitioners manage the acute and urgent care needs of children in hospital, clinics and home settings. Successful candidates earn the title of Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care and can use the CPNP-AC® credential as long as they actively maintain their certification, which is linked to licensure in many states. This certification was launched in 2005. Learn about CPNP-AC certification.

First offered in 2011, our Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist (PMHS®) exam validates the added knowledge, skills, and expertise of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in the early identification, intervention, and collaboration of care for children and adolescents with mental and behavioral health concerns. PMHS certification does not replace primary APRN certification required for licensure. Learn about PMHS specialty certification.

PNCB exams are recognized and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN), the Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (AFPNP) and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP).

All PNCB exams are approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Veterans can now be reimbursed for the cost of their exam. For more information, call 1-888-GI Bill (442-4551) or visit the VA website.

Exam Accreditation

PNCB's Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) and Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care and Acute Care (CPNP-AC/PC) programs have met the rigorous national accreditation standards of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The NCCA is the designated Accreditation Council of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE).

Initially granted in 1996, PNCB accreditation is evaluated every five years. Our CPN and CPNP (Primary Care and Acute Care) programs are accredited by the NCCA through 2027. Our Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Speciality (PMHS) program earned NCCA accredition in 2022 and is accredited through 2027.

PNCB certification programs are recognized by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and individual state boards of nursing. PNCB is also a member of the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS).

Learn what accreditation means for employers, certificants, and the public.
Download this File

Faces of Certification

PNCB-certified nursing professionals work in a variety of roles and settings throughout the US and beyond. Share your photo today!

Tyneisha Orr, CPNP-PC Swope Health Central Pediatrics Kansas City, MO
Amairani Jimenez, CPN Tripler Army Medical Center Honolulu, Hawaii
Gia Nguyen, CPNP-AC St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Arlington, VA
View more Faces of Certification