Ambulatory Care Nurse Exam

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The Ambulatory Care Nurse exam (ACN) is conducted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association. The exam is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification.

Function of the Test

Ambulatory Care Study Guide

The ACN is designed to certify nurses with a current, active RN license within the United States or an equivalent license in other countries. With the Ambulatory Care certification, nurses are able to specialize and provide care to patients that enter medical care centers in an ambulatory setting. [1]

Qualifications to Take the Test

Ambulatory Care Flashcards

The applicant must be a Registered Nurse, have either an Associate Degree or a diploma from an accredited 2-year RN program, have worked at least 2 years full-time as an ambulatory care nurse with 2,000 hours in the past 3 years, as well as have at least 30 hours of continuing education in ambulatory care nursing.

Test Administration

The ACN exam has two testing formats depending upon whether the nurse takes the exam before June 4, 2014 and after June 8, 2014. [2] The testing is available year round and candidates may schedule a test date during a 90 day window at a time and location that best suits them. [3]

Testing Fees

  • For non-members of the ANA, certification fees are $395.
  • For ANA members, certification fees are $270.
  • For members of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing, certification fees are $340.


If the candidate does not pass the initial exam, he or she may take the test again after 60 days. He or she may not test more than 3 times in a period of 12 months. [4]

Test Format

Sections of the ACN Test
ACN Test Subject Areas # of Questions Percentage
Clinical Practice 80 53.33%
Professional Issues and Communication 33 22.00%
Management of Clinical Environment 21 14.00%
Education 16 10.67%
Total 150 100%

Test Environment

On the day of the Ambulatory Care Nurse Exam, each candidate must show up at least fifteen minutes early, and bring an acceptable ID. This includes a Driver's License, a State Identification, a Passport, or a U.S. Military Identification. Paper, snacks, drinks, and electronics are not allowed in the testing room. The Exam periods last around four hours. To help test takers familiarize themselves with the exam, there will be a thirty minute tutorial, which is included in the four hours.[5]

Test Structure

The Ambulatory Care Nurse Exam is made up of 150 questions that consist of four domains: Clinical Practice, Professional Issues and Communication, Management of Clinical Environment, and Education. There are also 25 unscored, pretest questions that are mixed in. Each test-taker will be given three and a half hours to complete all 175 questions of their exam.[6]

Sample Questions

More free Ambulatory Care practice test questions.


The ACN exam consists of 175 multiple choice questions, 25 of those questions being experimental. The test has a maximum time limit of 3.5 hours. For the exam that is effective during the present up to June 4, 2014, there are five sections: [7]

Recent/Future Developments

The exam format will change on June 9, 2014 in order to transform from a five-section exam to a four-section exam. The new format also includes questions that have been updated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and Resident Nurses whom have Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification


  1. ^ Ambulatory Care Nurse Exam Review March 4, 2014
  2. ^ Ambulatory Care Nursing Test Content Outlines (TCO) March 4, 2014
  3. ^ Ambulatory Care Nursing Exam March 4, 2014
  4. ^ Retesting March 4, 2014
  5. ^ The Day of the Exam 17 June 2014
  6. ^ Test Content Outline 17 June 2014
  7. ^ Ambulatory Care Nursing Board Certification Test Content Outline Effective May 7, 2012 February 9, 2011