Individual Learning Needs Assessment (ILNA)

The ILNA Renewal Method

The Individual Learning Needs Assessment (ILNA) method is the primary certification renewal method used by ONCC. It combines an assessment of current knowledge with completion of professional development activities.  This method will help to ensure that every certified nurse has current knowledge in the subject areas represented by the credential.

Here is how it will work. A certified nurse will take a learning needs assessment based on the test content outline (test blueprint), before starting to prepare for renewal. The assessment results will identify the nurse’s knowledge strengths and weaknesses. Based on the assessment results, the nurse will complete professional development activities to strengthen his/her knowledge. Completion of these activities will earn points for certification renewal.

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When Should You Take the Assessment?

Click Assessment Timeline and learn when you should take the assessment to prepare for renewal. Find out what to expect when taking the assessment.

Taking the Assessment

  • Once you access the assessment, you will have 2 hours to take the assessment. It must be completed in one sitting. You may not exit the assessment and return to it later.
  • The assessment can be taken on any computer, tablet, or mobile device with a stable internet connection.
  • You can take the assessment using the latest version of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. Note: Internet Explorer 10 works best. You may experience problems navigating the assessment with older versions of these browsers.
  • You must have the 'cookies enabled' feature set on the browser.

When planning where and when to take the assessment, keep these points in mind:

  • Take the assessment in a quiet place where you won't be interrupted. 
  • Take the assessment alone. Receiving or providing assistance is strictly forbidden. The results are intended to reflect your individual learning needs.
  • At the beginning of the assessment, you must accept a Non-Disclosure Agreement indicating that your participation in any irregularity such as giving or obtaining unauthorized aid, as determined by subsequent analysis, may result in invalidation of your results or other appropriate action such as revocation of your certification. ONCC investigates any noted irregularities. Disclosure of the items on the assessment is forbidden, including discussion of the contents orally, in writing or by any other means. Theft of items is punishable to the fullest extent of the law.


Due to renew? Review related resources on the right to learn more about ILNA.


ILNA Points

ILNA renewal requires the certification renewal candidate to accrue a minimum number of points by completing professional development activities in one or more categories. These categories include: continuing nursing education (CNE), continuing medical education (CME), academic education, publications or presentations. Candidates are not required to submit points in every category.

ONCC uses an online tool, LearningBuilder, to help you record and submit your points. This is where you’ll find your online learning plan. ONCC will notify you when you can access LearningBuilder. Keep documentation of ILNA points that you earn, such as CE certificates, detailed program descriptions, or grade reports, with your test score report or assessment results so you’ll be able to access the information easily when you need it. Also, do not use ONC-PRO logs to record your ILNA points. ONC-PRO logs are no longer acceptable for submission of ILNA points.

Time Period to Earn ILNA Points

  • Candidates renewing certification for the second or subsequent time after testing must take the assessment before earning points for ILNA renewal. Points may be earned through the date the renewal application and learning plan are submitted. All points must be earned by the final ILNA application deadline.
  • Candidates renewing certification for the first time after testing may submit points earned from the date they pass the test through the date the renewal application and learning plan are submitted. All points must be earned by the final ILNA application deadline.
  • AOCN® and CPON® renewal candidates may submit points earned since their last renewal. (AOCN® and CPON® renewal candidates do not take an assessment.)
  • Candidates who do not take learning needs assessment, and who are not renewing certification for the first time after testing may submit 100 points that correspond to the subject areas and weighting of the current test content outline. If submitting 100 points that match the test content outline, points may be earned from January 1 of the current certification period through the date the application is submitted.  All points must be earned by the final ILNA application deadline.

ILNA Point Categories

Continuing Education (Continuing Nursing Education & Continuing Medical Education)

  • Points Awarded: 1 contact hour = 1 ILNA point
  • CE programs must have been provided by or formally approved for contact hours by an accredited provider or approver of continuing nursing education or continuing medical education. Points are awarded for completing an eligible educational activity one time during the accrual period. No points are awarded for repetition of educational activities with identical content during the accrual period.
  • Records to Keep: Keep the certificate awarded by the CE provider for each offering completed. The certificate must include an accreditation statement or provider number, the candidate's name, title and date of the CE offering, and the number of contact hours awarded. Keep the program, syllabus, or other material that describes the program content or objectives. You may be requested to provide documentation for specific ILNA points claimed.

Academic Education

  • Points Awarded: 1 academic credit = 15 ILNA points
  • Points are awarded for completion of academic courses that address the subject area(s) required for ILNA points, as identified by the learning needs assessment or test score report. These may include courses required for a nursing major, or other courses that address the biopsychosocial knowledge base of professional human service. The candidate does not have to be enrolled in a degree program. Courses must be provided by accredited colleges or universities. A grade of "C" or higher must be achieved for each course.
  • Records to Keep: Keep a copy of the grade report(s) and course description(s) provided by the school for each course attended. Transcripts may be submitted in place of grade reports. The grade report or transcript must include the candidate's name, title of the course(s), date the course(s) attended, and the grade(s) earned. If your application is selected for audit, you will be required to provide this documentation.

Professional Publications

  • Points are awarded for items published in books, journals, professional newsletters, or electronic media (e.g., Internet, CD-ROM, video) for which the candidate has served as an author, editor, or peer reviewer. Only publications of content that address the specific subject area(s) identified by the learning needs assessment or examination score report are acceptable. Points are not awarded for materials that are "in press."
  • Records to Keep: Keep a copy of each publication. If your application is selected for audit, you will be required to submit a copy of short publications or a copy of the title page, the page showing the date of publication, and table of contents where your name is listed as an author for longer publications.
  • Points Awarded: Points for joint authorship are determined by dividing the total number of points for the publication by the number of authors.
    • Book, author or editor (300 pages or more) – 60 points
    • Book, author or editor (less than 300 pages) – 40 points
    • Book chapter (more than 15 pages) – 25 points
    • Book chapter (15 pages or less) – 20 points
    • Doctoral dissertation – 10 points
    • Master's thesis, unpublished – 10 points
    • Original research article, peer-reviewed journal, lead author – 20 points
    • Original research article, peer-reviewed journal, co-author – 15 points
    • Original journal article, peer-reviewed journal, lead author – 15 points
    • Original journal article, peer-reviewed journal, co-author – 10 points
    • Guest editor for journal issue – 20 points
    • Article, non-peer reviewed journal, any medium – 5 points
    • Journal column – 5 points
    • Editorial in peer-reviewed journal – 5 points
    • Book review – 5 points
    • Multimedia Educational aids  5-10 points (depending on length and content)
    • Research abstract – 5 points
    • Article in newsletter or magazine, more than 1000 words – 5 points
    • Article in newsletter or magazine, 250-1000 words – 3 points
    • Journal reviewer – 1 point per article
    • Editorial board member – 1 point per column edited


  • Points are awarded for educational presentations made to nurses, other healthcare providers, or the public. The presentation must be delivered within a structured framework of teaching/learning. The presentation content must address a subject area(s) on the learning needs assessment or examination score report. Presentations or lectures that are part of a candidate's job expectations may not be submitted for points (i.e., presentations made to institution staff by a staff educator).
  • Points Awarded: 1 hour of presentation = 3 points; Poster presentation = 3 ILNA points Points are awarded only for the first time a presentation/poster is given. No points are awarded for repeat presentations of the same material. Note: In the case of multiple presenters, the candidate may claim points only for his/her portion of the presentation. For example, if 3 nurses present a 1-hour panel discussion, each nurse may claim one point.
  • Records to Keep: Keep a copy of the program(s) or proceeding(s) that list your name as a presenter and the title, date, and length of your presentation(s). If your application is selected for audit, you will be required to submit copies of this documentation.

What Counts?

ILNA Categories & Points for Commonly Used CE – identifies how some popular online CE offerings may fit into your learning plan.

ILNA Categories & Points for Conferences and Events – identifies how some CE conferences and events you've attended should be recorded in your learning plan.

Note: You may choose to earn points through programs offered by a variety of providers of nursing CE. You are not required to earn points from any specific provider.

Did you complete a program not included in above categories? You may complete CE programs that don't indicate if the content applies to ILNA points. Test Content Outlines & Keywords can help you determine whether a program fits into a specific content area. Check out these Test Content Outlines & Keywords

How to apply your continuing education points to your Learning Plan

Some CE programs are a clear fit for a category on your Learning Plan, while others may apply in several places. To determine how to apply points to your Learning Plan, follow the steps below. Keep in mind that one contact hour of CE equals one ILNA point.

  1. Review the program objectives or learning outcomes.
  2. Divide the total number of contact hours for the program by the number of objectives. (e.g., a course offers 8 contact hours and has 4 objectives. Each objective is worth 2 ILNA points)
  3. Identify the subject area where each objective best fits using the Test Content Outline or Test Keywords. Use your best judgment. (e.g., 2 objectives fit into End–of-Life Care, 1 objective fits into Symptom Management and 1 objective fits in Professional Practice)
  4. Multiply the number of objectives in each subject area by the points per objective to determine the number of ILNA points for each domain.
    For example:
    End-of-Life Care = 2 objectives x 2 points per objective = 4 ILNA points
    Symptom Management = 1 objective x 2 points per objective = 2 ILNA points
    Professional Practice = 1 objective x 2 points per objective = 2 ILNA points

Note: if a program is 4 contact hours or less, you may choose to apply all of the ILNA points to one subject area, or divide it among more than one subject area.
      For example:
     A course offers 4 contact hours and has two objectives.
     Survivorship= 1 objective x 2 points per objective = 2 ILNA points
     Professional Practice = 1 objective x 2 points per objective = 2 ILNA points
     4 ILNA points can be assigned to either Survivorship or Professional Practice or 2 points can be assigned to each Survivorship and Professional Practice.

ONCC Can Code your Programs
Nurses - if a CE offering is not listed on the charts in Related Resources, (right), and you're unsure how it fits -  Ask ONCC to code it for you or review your coding.

Where to Find CE When planning to attend conferences, look for a statement that the program has been approved for CE credit by an acceptable approver or provider. Consider online programs as well. A few resources where you can find accredited CE online are listed on Continuing Education section.

Do you offer CE programs?

Your programs may be more appealing if nurses know how they can be used for ILNA renewal.

ONS & APHON Chapters: Request ILNA Coding Services for your Chapter.

CE Providers: Learn about ILNA Coding for CE Providers.

What is LearningBuilder?

LearningBuilder is the online system where you will record and submit your ILNA points. This online plan is your learning plan for renewal. You will be given access to LearningBuilder after you take your assessment or pass a certification test. ONCC will notify you by email when you can access LearningBuilder. You’ll sign in using your Profile username and password.

Account Login

Note: only nurses who have been notified by ONCC that they have an active Learning Plan can log into LearningBuilder. Nurses are notified they have a learning plan after passing a test or taking the assessment. (Note: AOCN and CPON certified nurses are given learning plans shortly after renewal of certification in order to prepare for their next renewal.)

Read about LearningBuilder

User’s Guide to LearningBuilder – view this handy reference for making entries on your learning plan

Test Content Outlines (Blueprints) – Review the certification test content outline to identify topics that qualify for points in specific subject areas

AOCN® & CPON® Renewals
Note: AOCN® & CPON® candidates will not take the assessment, but will submit points on LearningBuilder. AOCN® must submit 100 points, at least 65 points must be in adult oncology. CPON® candidates must submit 100 points, at least 50 in pediatric oncology.

When you can access LearningBuilder
Access your Learning Plan on LearningBuilder by the 15th of the month after you take the assessment. ONCC will send you an email notifying that you have access to LearningBuilder. Here’s a quick look at when you can access your personal learning plan on LearningBuilder.

Pass an ONCC Test inYou can access your
Learning Plan on LearningBuilder
FebruaryMarch 15
MarchApril 15
AprilMay 15
MayJune 15
JuneJuly 15
JulyAugust 15
AugustSeptember 15
SeptemberOctober 15
OctoberNovember 15
NovemberDecember 15
DecemberJanuary 15