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ANCC Vs. AANP: Which Is Better For Becoming An FNP?

Now that you are about to complete your nurse practitioner program, it is time to decide which certification exam you want to take. You can take your certification from any of the two certification boards, i.e., the ANCC or the AANP.

As a Family Nurse Practitioner, it is up to you to decide what exam you want to take to become certified. This differs from many other NP specialties with a fixed certification exam. However, this can also lead to confusion among students about which test best suits their needs. So in this article, we'll discuss both exams and their differences to help you decide which one to choose.

What is ANCC?

ANCC stands for the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which is governed by the American Nurses Association (ANA). ANCC's certification test has been there for a long time and covers more specialties than the AANP exam. As a result, some argue that the ANCC certificate carries more weight than AANP. In your job search, it will not be uncommon for you to notice a couple of employers that ask for ANCC certification. This certification is prescribed to those who want to work in a clinical setting instead of research or education, where theoretical knowledge will be more helpful.

The ANCC test can verify nurses for the following specialties:

  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP-BC)
  • Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP-BC)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-BC)
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PPCNP-BC)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHPNP)

What is AANP?

AANP is an acronym for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). The AANP certificate is more recent and has some essential differences that make it more appealing to quite a few NPs. Some even say that the test is more straightforward. But if that is true or not, we will discuss it in a later section.

The AANP exam can verify you for the following specialties:

  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GNP)
  • Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-C)

ANCC vs. AANP: Subject outline:

The subject covered in the ANCC exam are as follows:

  1. Foundations for Advanced Practice (37%):
    • Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology Across the Life-Span
    • Improvement of Outcomes through Clinical Prevention and Population Health
    • Advanced Health/Physical Assessment Across the Life-Span
    • Advanced Pharmacology For Treating Patients Across the Life-Span
    • Research Methodology
    • Informatics
  2. Professional Practice (17%):
    • Leadership, Advocacy, and Inter-professional Collaboration
    • Quality Improvement and Safety
    • Healthcare Economics, Policy, and Organizational Practices
    • Scope and Standards of Practice
  3. Independent Practice (46%):
    • Health Promotion and Maintenance Across the Life-Span
    • Illness and Disease Management
    • Care of Diverse Populations
    • Translational Science/Evidence-based Practice
    • Advanced Diagnostic Reasoning/Critical Thinking

The Subjects covered in the AANP are as follows:

  1. Assessment (36%):
    1. Collect subjective patient information including but not limited to relevant medical history (including travel, biopsychosocial, economic, family, military, environmental, occupational, and preventive components), chief complaint, history of present illness, and review of systems to determine health needs
    2. Obtain objective information regarding patient age/developmental level, health history, and comorbidities to further define and evaluate health needs and problems
  2. Diagnosis (24%):
    1. Formulate differential diagnoses
    2. Establish definitive diagnoses
  3. Plan (23%):
    1. Develop a patient-centered treatment and care plan that is individualized, cost-effective, consistent with the best evidence, age-appropriate, and culturally sensitive to address the diagnoses
  4. Evaluation (17%):
    1. Determine the efficiency of the plan of treatment and care based on outcomes
    2. Modify the plan of treatment and care as appropriate based on outcomes

ANCC vs. AANP: Exam duration

The ANCC exam will have between 175 to 200 questions which you have to finish in 3 to 4 hours. But still, you will have to answer a minimum of 150 questions. For all these questions, 15 questions will be pre-test and unscored.

On the contrary, in the AANP exam, you must solve only 150 questions in 3 hours. This exam also has 15 pre-test unscored questions.

ANCC vs. AANP: Types of Questions

There are significant differences between the types of questions asked in each exam. For example, in the AANP exam, you will be tested through multiple choice questions in which you will have to mark the correct option and move on to the next question.

On the other hand, ANCC will ask you different types of questions, such as:

  • Multiple choice questions: Select one option from many
  • Multiple answer questions: Select all the options that apply
  • Hot-spot questions: Mark a specific area of an image
  • Drag-and-drop

ANCC vs. AANP: Passing rate

The Passing rate of the AANP exam for FNP in 2021 was 84%, and that of ANCC was 87%.

2021 Pass Rate Report.pdf

ANCC vs. AANP: Which is more difficult?

There is no objective proof of one exam being more difficult than the other. Though individual experience may vary. The passing rates of both exams have been somewhat similar for many years, with a 2-3% difference in passing rates. So if you look at passing rates as the measure of difficulty, both exams have somewhat the same difficulty.

Conclusion: ANCC vs. AANP: Which exam should you take?

So the exam that you should take depends upon your career requirements. If you want to practice medicine, you should opt for ANCC, and if you want to go for academic fields, then AANP may be the exam you should choose. However, you should note that both exams will certify you as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

And if you want extra help preparing for your exam, you can check out our FNP review. It is designed to help you pass your certification exam on the first attempt.