Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN®)

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 oncology certified nurse and become recognized for your specialty knowledge in oncology nursing.

View Eligibility Criteria for Initial Certification

  1. A current, active, unencumbered license as a registered nurse in the US, its territories or Canada at the time of application and examination.
  2. A minimum of one year (12 months) of experience as an RN within the three years (36 months) prior to application, and
  3. A minimum of 1,000 hours of adult oncology nursing practice within the two-and-one-half years (30 months) prior to application. Nursing practice may be in clinical practice, nursing administration, education, education, research or consultation. To qualify as nursing practice, the role must require it be filled only by a Registered Nurse.
  4. Completed a minimum of 10 contact hours of continuing nursing education in oncology or an academic elective in oncology nursing within the three years (36 months) prior to application. The contact hours must have been provided or formally approved by an acceptable accredited provider or approver of continuing nursing education. A maximum of five of the 10 required contact hours in oncology may be continuing medical education (CME) in oncology.

Applying for certification

The certification test is a three-hour, 165 multiple-choice item test based on the OCN® Test Blueprint. The Blueprint was created after the results of a role delineation study of basic adult oncology nursing practice conducted in 2012.

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

Test Dates, Application Deadlines and Fees


Testing in the US/Canada

February 2 - December 31, 2015
(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 test window may have limited choices of test dates and locations.

International Testing

November 2 - November 30, 2015 **
(Application deadline - August 5, 2015)
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, or 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. If you are renewing in 2015, you will use ONC-PRO this year; but it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the new process for future reference.

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 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.
ONC-PRO is being phased out. 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 Learning Builder.

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 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 OCN® certification
  2. A current, active, unencumbered license as a registered nurse in the US, its territories or Canada.
  3. A minimum of one year (12 months) of experience as an RN within the three years (36 months) prior to application, and
  4. A minimum of 1,000 hours of adult oncology nursing practice (adult care) within the two-and-one-half years (30 months) prior to application.

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 2015:

  • Option 1: Practice hours + Oncology Nursing Certification Points Renewal Option (ONC-PRO)
  • Option 2: Practice hours + successful testing
  • Option 3: ONC-PRO + successful testing

The ONC-PRO point requirements for 2015 OCN®

Total points:
(Renewal Option 1 & 3)
100 points – at least 65 in oncology

Point limits:

Continuing Medical Education    

no more than 50
Precepting/Volunteer Service* no more than 20 points, combined

*These categories are not required

When applying for renewal by ONC-PRO, you must submit both an application and your completed ONC-PRO logs.


Online application submission

ONC-PRO log submission

Fees and Renewal Deadlines for 2015

Candidates Who Are Renewing by Option 3 (ONC-PRO + Testing)

Candidates who are using renewal Option 3 (ONC-PRO + Testing) should submit both the application and ONC-PRO logs by the test application deadline date. Option 3 candidates must submit a test application and ONC-PRO logs at the same time.

If you are renewing more than one credential at the same time, or if your employer is paying for the renewal of multiple candidates at the same time, you must download and return this form. All other candidates must login to their profile page and renew online. When applying online, you must submit both your application and completed ONC-PRO logs.

Renewals in 2016 and Beyond

ONC-PRO is being replaced by the Individual Learning Needs Assessment (ILNA).

Certification Renewal Overview

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