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CCRN after ADN


Specializes in trauma and neuro.

I am in an ADN program right now. I was looking around recently and saw that my CC had a critical care program and after finishing it you can sit for the CCRN exam.

I am looking for advice here, if this would be good to go for right after my ADN, or wait until after my BSN.

As far as my career goals are I am looking to get some years in the ICU at some point and I the CCRN would help. Then I would go for a Masters.


Specializes in trauma and neuro.

Forgive the typos, at work at the terrible browser won't ever let me edit OPs on this site....

You have to have two years(I think) of ICU experience to get your CCRN. You will have no concept as a new grad about how to pass the CCRN, wether it be ADN or BSN. It is a very difficult test and requires clinical experience. I passed mine on the first try after 3 years experience with an ADN. Good Luck!

You will have to sign an affidavit saying you have had so many hours in the past year of bedside hours in an ICU and give the name of someone that can verify it. You can go to AACN online and see the exact criteria. It's not as simple as taking a class and taking the test if you have not been in the ICU.

Edited by iluvhrts
Additional info

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pedi. Has 10 years experience.

For all nursing certification exams (not just CCRN), you need RN experience in the specific specialty.

CCRN requires 1750 hours of critical care experience in the 2 years immediately preceding the exam.

Initial CCRN Certification

Whether you have an ADN or a BSN matters not as far as this exam is concerned... it matters that you have critical care nursing experience. So, you actually can't take the CCRN after completing a "critical care program" at your community college. You need to be an RN working in critical care.

Sun0408, ASN, RN

Specializes in Trauma Surgical ICU. Has 4 years experience.

As others have stated, I have yet to hear of a new grad allowed to sit for the CCRN. Taking the class may be beneficial to you in the future but it may not be. Its easier to apply the knowledge in a working environment.


Specializes in trauma and neuro.

Oh dang! Well that course page is really misleading or maybe there is more to it in my school case, I have no idea. Critical Care at Tidewater Community College

Thats the program, hmm... so confused now.... I think the might just talk to the person who runs this program and ask about the hours and stuff. I guess they expect nurses to do that program after some experience nursing then.

BSN first then, thanks guys, had no idea. Going to go for it one day though :)

Says: "With certificate:

  • Nurses may sit for the
    Critical Care Nurses exam (CCRN)


which is why I got confused I guess, lack of info!

ckh23, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER/ICU/STICU. Has 6 years experience.

As others have stated, you need to have experience in order to sit for this exam. However, it does not need to be critical care experience it just needs to be acute care experience.

I wouldn't speak with the program director, they are just trying to make money so I would take what they say with a grain of salt. Contact someone at aacn.org and you should be able to get a straight answer from them.


NICUmiiki, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU/PICU Flight Nursing. Has 5 years experience.

If you're already an RN you may get some acute bedside experience in that program(paying attention to technicalities: I didn't see on the AACN website where it says it has to be paid experience) with acute care patients, but there's no way you can get 1750 hours of it in that curriculum. The whole program is two semesters with clinicals only in the second semester. So you wouldn't be eligible to sit for the CCRN exam.

Nurse Leigh

Specializes in Telemetry.

[h=2]here is what i found on aacn's website regarding the ccrn. i am planning on sitting for pccn (progressive care certification). i have been told these exams are very in depth and difficult, and it was recommended one study for at least 6 months prior to the exam. though 2 years experience is the minimum, i would think chances of passing would increase a lot with more experience.

ccrn exam content[/h]

  • the ccrn exam is a 3-hour test consisting of 150 multiple-choice items.
    • of the 150 items, 125 are scored and 25 are used to gather statistical data on item performance for future exams.

    [*]the ccrn exam focuses on adult, pediatric and neonatal patient populations.

    [*]of each exam, 80% focuses on clinical judgment and is age-specific for the adult, pediatric or neonatal population.

    [*]the remaining 20% covers professional caring and ethical practice.

    • these questions may be asked about any age across the life span.


[color=#336699]initial eligibility requirements[/h]

  • current unencumbered licensure as an rn or aprn in the united states is required.
    • an unencumbered license is not currently being subjected to formal discipline by any board of nursing and has no provisions or conditions that limit the nurse's practice in any way.
    • candidates and ccrn-certified nurses must notify aacn certification corporation within 30 days if any restriction is placed on their rn or aprn license.
    • if randomly selected for audit, you will be asked to provide a copy of your rn or aprn license — please do not submit with your application.

    [*]practice as an rn or aprn is required for 1,750 hours in direct bedside care of acutely or critically ill patients during the previous two years, with 875 of those hours accrued in the most recent year preceding application.

    • eligible hours are those spent caring for the patient population (adult, pediatric or neonatal) of the exam for which you are applying.
    • clinical practice hours for the ccrn exam or renewal eligibility must take place in a u.s.-based or canada-based facility or in a facility determined to be comparable to the u.s. standard of acute/critical care nursing practice, as evidenced by ancc magnet status or joint commission international accreditation.

    [*]nurses serving as manager, educator (in-service or academic), aprn or preceptor may apply their hours spent supervising nursing students or nurses at the bedside.

    • nurses in these roles must be actively involved in caring for patients at the bedside (e.g., demonstrating how to measure pulmonary artery pressures or supervising a new employee or student nurse performing a procedure).

    [*]the name and address of a professional associate must be given for verification of eligibility.

    • a professional associate is defined as either a clinical supervisor (rn or physician), or rn colleague with whom you work.
    • if randomly selected for audit, this associate will be asked to verify in writing that you have met the clinical hour eligibility requirements.

    [*]aacn certification corporation may adopt additional eligibility requirements at its sole discretion from time to time.

    • any such requirements will be designed to establish, for the purposes of ccrn certification, the adequacy of a candidate's knowledge and experience in caring for acutely and critically ill patients.

turnforthenurse, MSN, NP

Specializes in ER, progressive care. Has 7 years experience.

The ANCC requires a certain number of hours to sit for the CCRN exam. To be eligible, you have to have at least 1,750 hours of solid bedside experience within the past 2 years with 875 hours within the most recent year before sitting for the exam.

1,750 hours is equal to 1 year of full-time nursing experience in the appropriate field. CCRN candidates take care of acutely or critical ill patients - this includes ICUs (medical/surgical ICU, surgical trauma ICU, cardiac ICU/cardiac surgery ICU, etc). A step-down/telemetry floor does not qualify for the CCRN. The ANCC has a separate exam for nurses who work in those areas called the PCCN (progressive care certification).

I have never heard of a new grad sitting for the CCRN exam. I think what you found is misleading!