Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist (AOCNS®)

Are you ready to enhance your professional credibility and enjoy the feeling of personal accomplishment that comes from being certified? If you meet the criteria listed below, take the test for an advanced oncology certified nurse and become recognized for your specialty knowledge and advanced practice role in oncology nursing.

View Eligibility for Initial Certification

Pathway 1

  • Current, active, unencumbered license as a registered nurse in the US, its territories or Canada
  • Graduate degree from accredited CNS program with concentration in adult oncology, med-surg, family, gerontology or women’s health
  • 500 hours supervised clinical practice as adult oncology CNS during and/or following the graduate program within the past five years
  • One graduate level oncology course of at least 2 credits or 30 hours oncology Continuing Education within the past five years

Pathway 2

  • Current, active, unencumbered license as a registered nurse in the US, its territories or Canada
  • Graduate degree from accredited nursing program
  • 1000 hours practice as adult oncology CNS or 500 hours practice as adult, med-surg, family, gerontology, or women’s health CNS and 1000 hours practice as RN in adult oncology within the past five years
  • One graduate level oncology course of at least 2 credits or 30 hours oncology Continuing Education within the past five years

Pathway 3

  • Current, active, unencumbered license as a registered nurse in the US, its territories or Canada
  • Licensure or recognition as a CNS by US state or territory board of nursing or Current national certification as adult, med-surg, family, gerontology or women’s health CNS
  • 1000 hours practice as adult oncology CNS or 500 hours practice as adult, med-surg, family, gerontology, or women’s health CNS and 1000 hours practice as RN in adult oncology within the past five years
  • One graduate level oncology course of at least 2 credits or 30 hours oncology Continuing Education within the past five years

Eligibility pathways pdf

What is nursing practice?

Are you ready to enhance your professional credibility and enjoy the feeling of personal accomplishment that comes from being certified?  If you meet the criteria listed below, apply for certification and become recognized for your knowledge in advanced oncology nursing.

AOCNS® is the only nationally accredited test that validates an individual's specialized knowledge and is available exclusively to registered nurses.

The certification test a three-hour, 165 multiple-choice question test is based on the AOCNS® Test Content Outline (Test Blueprint). The Test Content Outline is based on the results of a role delineation study of advanced oncology nursing practice completed in 2014.

The AOCNS® Test Content Outline includes eleven major subject areas, each with a percentage assigned to it. Many nurses who have passed the test tell us the Test Content Outline was essential in helping them know what areas to study.  Remember, only generic drug names are used on ONCC tests. Once you pass the exam, your certification is valid for four years.

AOCNS® examinations are offered throughout the year. Candidates may apply at any time they meet the eligibility criteria. AOCNS® candidates should allow 4–6 weeks following application to receive their Authorization to Test (ATT), which will confirm eligibility to test and contain the information needed to make a testing appointment. The ATT will be valid for 90 days. It is the candidate's responsibility to schedule a testing appointment and take the test prior to the expiration of the ATT.

Test Dates, Application Deadlines and Fees

OCN®, CPHON®, AOCNP®, AOCNS®, CBCN®, and BMTCN®


Testing in the US/Canada

February 1 - December 31, 2016
(No application deadline date*)
ONS/APHON Member $286
Nonmember $406
ONS/APHON Member: Age 65+ $215
Nonmember: Age 65+ $305

* Candidates who apply after September 1 may not be accommodated, or may be accommodated in a test period of less than 90 days. Candidates who accept an abbreviated eligibility period may have limited choices of test dates and locations.


International Testing

November 1 - November 30, 2016 **
(Application deadline - August 3, 2016)
ONS/APHON Member $286 + $75
Nonmember $406 + $75
ONS/APHON Member: Age 65+ $215 + $75
Nonmember: Age 65+ $305 + $75

** International testing is available in November only. International candidates must pay an additional $75 international test site fee included in fees shown above.

Maintaining your certification

You should be very proud that you’ve passed the certification test! In order to keep your certification, you need to earn points for certification renewal by completing Continuing Education, Continuing Medical Education, Academic Education credits, or have work published in publications or give presentations. Follow this step-by-step guide to maintain your certification.

1. Determine where to log your information.
If you passed a test in 2012 or later, use your Learning Plan on LearningBuilder. If you renewed via ONC-PRO in 2012 to 2015, you must first take an assessment to determine how many points you’ll need. After you assess, you will be notified that your Learning Plan is available for tracking your points.

2. Plan your professional development.
Your assessment results or test score report will tell you the subject areas and number of professional development points – ranging from 25 to 100 – you’ll need to renew your certification.

3. Select the necessary subjects.
Use your score report or assessment results to see which subject areas you need further professional development. Then, refer back to the current Test Content Outline (Test Blueprint) to help you identify whether a program is in the subject area you need.

4. Enter your points on your Learning Plan on LearningBuilder.
Make sure you keep track of all of your information, as you earn the points, in your Learning Plan on the new online tracking tool called LearningBuilder.

5. Keep all documentation.
We strongly urge you to record your points as they are earned. Keep copies of all grade reports, copies of publications, program descriptions, educational objectives, and outlines, in case ONCC asks to review them.

 

Visit the Resource Center for the following information:

  • Acceptable Approval Bodies/Providers of Nursing Continuing Education
  • Online Continuing Education Resources
  • Websites featuring nursing continuing education
  • Journals

Continuing Education

View Eligibility Criteria for Certification Renewal

  1. Current AOCNS® certification
  2. A current, active, unencumbered license as a registered nurse in the US, its territories or Canada at the time of application and examination.
  3. A minimum of 1,000 hours of practice in roles of the clinical nurse specialist in adult oncology within the four years (48 months) prior to application.

What is Advanced Practice? ONCC uses the definition of Advanced Practice nursing provided by the American Nurses Association.

Renewing your certification

All ONCC certifications are valid for four years. Renewal candidates must have a current, active, unencumbered RN license. Three renewal options are available in 2016:

  • Option 1: Practice hours + Professional Development (ILNA Points)
  • Option 2: Practice hours + successful testing
  • Option 3: ILNA Points + successful testing

Candidates Who Are Renewing by Option 3 (ILNA Points + Testing)

Candidates who are using renewal Option 3 (ILNA Points + Testing) should submit both the application and Learning Plans by the test application deadline date. Option 3 candidates must submit a test application and Learning Plan at the same time.

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