Hello everyone,I'm currently in a BSN program and I had a question on how to become an AOCNP? What steps do you take after your bachelors? Thanks for the help!

Advanced Practice Columnist / Guide

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

9 Articles; 4,338 Posts

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 31 years experience.

Just to clarify, AOCNP is Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner. This is a certification program offered to NP's by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC).

The short answer is you need to attend a nurse practitioner program and in your case, a Master's or DNP program with NP focus is what you will need. However, there are a few things you should know before you embark on a goal of becoming an AOCNP.

1. The field of Oncology does employ Nurse Practitioners but this particular track is specialized and narrow in scope. Per the new APRN Consensus Model, specialized NP programs such as ones that focus on Oncology must also prepare the NP within the confines of the officially sanctioned NP tracks: FNP, Adult-Gero NP, Adult-Gero Acute Care NP, WHNP, Acute Care PNP, Primary Care PNP, NNP, and Family PMHNP. This means that NP programs that advertise as Oncology-focused must also train students in one of the officially-sanctioned NP tracks and prepare the graduates to sit for any of these certification exams.

2. The certification exam for AOCNP is adult-focused. This means that the only NP programs that will make the candidate eligible for AOCNP certification are the NP tracks that involve training in adult populations, these are FNP, the two adult NP tracks, and WHNP.

3. State boards of nursing have a variety of eligibility criteria for a nurse practitioner to be certified in a specific state. Some states only grant certification to NP's who passed a national certification board examination from ANCC, AANP, PNCB, and NCC. Other national NP certification boards such as ONCC and AACN are not recognized in all the states. What this means is that if you live in the states that do not recognize ONCC and AACN, you will need to make sure you are also certified by ANCC, AANP, PNCB, or NCC.

The link below was taken form the ONCC website and explains the eligibility criteria for AOCNP certification: