AACRN Recertification Information

AACRN Recertification Policy and Protocol 


HANCB has developed protocols for recertification requirements to ensure AACRNs have continued to maintain competence and/or expanded his or her HIV/AIDS knowledge base within the four (4) year certification/recertification period. There are two (2) ways a nurse may recertify as an AACRN. The first is by re-examination. The second is by continuing education credits. Recertification protocols will be reviewed by the Recertification Committee at a minimum of once a year to determine if the requirements are complete and meet the goals of maintaining competence and/or enhancing HIV/AIDS nursing practice. 


A.  Certification Renewal by Re-Examination
AACRN certification renewal by re-examination is obtained by sitting for the Specialty Certification Examination in Advanced HIV/AIDS Nursing Practice and receiving a passing test score.  To register for recertification through examination, please click here

B.  Certification Renewal by Continuing Education Points (CEPs)  
The continuing education points (CEPs) option includes a wide spectrum of continuing education activities performed by the advanced HIV/AIDS nurse. It includes both formal and informal educational experiences for the advanced HIV/AIDS nurse. CEPs are also granted for other activities besides continuing education such as HIV/AIDS publications, presentations, teaching activities, grant writing activities, research activities, and volunteer/leadership responsibilities.  To download a printable recertificaiton application, please click here. 

AACRN certification renewal by CEPs is obtained by accumulating a total of 90 CEPs within a 4 year period. A minimum of 45 CEPs in Category I are required. The remaining 45 CEPs can be accumulated in Categories I-VI, although there are limits to the number of CEPs accepted in each of the remaining categories (II-VI).   CEPs must be accumulated during the 4 year recertification period. CEPs obtained prior to taking the AACRN examination cannot be applied towards recertification. A recertification period begins with the passing of the examination or recertification and ends 4 years later when the certification expires. Courses taken prior to the start of the recertification period cannot be applied for credit towards recertification. A description of the acceptable continuing education activities can be found in Appendix A. 

HANCB will randomly audit a certain percentage of AACRN applications. If audited, you will be asked to submit copies of certificates and other documents, as described in Appendix A, to verify your CEP activities with your renewal application. During each 4 year period, all AACRNs are encouraged to keep all documentation and be prepared to submit it upon request if audited.   All applications are subject to audit at the discretion of the HANCB.

If you have been selected for random audit, you will be notified in a special letter that will accompany your first renewal notice. This first renewal notice is sent approximately 120 days prior to renewal. Therefore, it is important to notify HANCB of any changes in name and/or address. It is the responsibility of the renewing AACRN to submit all required documentation at the time of renewal. Failure to submit documentation, as required, may delay recertification.  Furthermore, a percentage of AACRNs not audited at the time of initial notice will be selected for audit as a part of the ongoing performance improvement program of the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board.  Finally, non-audited AACRNs may be required to submit supporting evidence of recertification requirements at any time.

The process for recertification by CE is:

FEES:   All recertification payments are payable to the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board.  The recertification fee for the AACRN  is:


Appendix A

Continuing Education Activities Approved for CEPs 

CATEGORY I: HIV/AIDS Nursing Continuing Education (Minimum 45 CEPs)

 Description of Activities:

This category includes HIV/AIDS nursing programs granting contact hours or CEPs. These programs must address topics that have direct application to the nursing care needs of person living with HIV disease or their significant others and family members.  

CATEGORY II: Academic Course Credit (Maximum 15 CEPs)

Description of Activities:

This category includes formal academic courses offered by an accredited college or university. These courses should address the biopsychosocial knowledge required to practice advanced HIV/AIDS professional nursing. Courses should have clear applicability to HIV/AIDS nursing practice.

Examples of academic courses applicable to Category II include graduate level courses in immunology, virology, cell biology, pathophysiology, epidemiology, research methods, statistics, mental health, addictions and substance use, graduate nursing courses related to HIV/AIDS, physical assessment, differential diagnosis, and pharmacology.   Pre-requisite nursing education courses are not acceptable. Examples of courses which are not acceptable include but are not limited to history, math, art, music, English, psychology, sociology, philosophy, chemistry, biology, human anatomy, physiology, and health care management. 

In the semester system, one semester credit or hour is equal to 15 CEPs. In the quarter system, one quarter credit or hour is equal to 10 CEPs. In the trimester system, one trimester credit or hour is equal to 12 CEPs. If audited, a photocopy of a formal transcript or grade report is required. If the course title or subject is not identifiable as being related to nursing, a course description of syllabus should be included.

CATEGORY III: AIDS Education and Training Center Clinical Practicum (Maximum 20 CEPs)

 Description of Activities:

AETC officially sponsored clinical practicum, rotations or training experiences are eligible for CEPs.  

CATEGORY IV: Continuing Medical Education (Maximum 45 CEPs)

 Description of Activities:

Category IV includes continuing medical education credits.

 CATEGORY V: Professional Activities (Maximum 20 CEPs)

Description of Activities:

Category V includes a variety of professional activities in which HIV/AIDS nurses are involved. Acceptable activities in category V include: publications, presentations, and grant writing activities. These professional activities should have clear applicability to HIV/AIDS nursing. A maximum of 20 CEPs can be earned in category V.


Publications include professional nursing articles or chapters where the AACRN was author, co-author, or editor. The article or chapter must be published in a professional nursing journal or textbook. 


Presentations include professional nursing presentations where the AACRN delivered content to nurses, other health care professionals or the public about topics specifically related to HIV/AIDS. 

Grant writing:

Grant writing activities for HIV/AIDS programs can be applied in this category. 

CATEGORY VI: Volunteer Activities (Maximum 15 CEPs) 

Description of Activities:

Recognizing the leadership role many AACRNs have in HIV/AIDS nursing, CEPs can be earned through volunteer activities with an established HIV/AIDS volunteer service or non-profit organization. 


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