Frequently Asked Questions

An unencumbered license is one that is not currently subjected to formal discipline by any state board of nursing and has no provisions or conditions that limit the nurse's practice in any way. ONCC certification candidates and ONCC-certified nurses must notify ONCC in writing within 30 days if any restriction of any kind is placed on their RN or APRN license. Failure to notify ONCC may result in sanctions.

You must show two forms of acceptable identification, including one form of photo ID. Both forms of ID must contain your signature and be current, valid, and non-expired. The name on both forms of ID must match the name on your Authorization to Test (ATT).

You will not be admitted to the test without proper ID. Candidates who are not permitted to test due to invalid ID will forfeit their test fee, and must reapply and pay the full test fee to test at a later date.

Acceptable Identification for Admission to an ONCC Test

Follow the instructions on your Authorization to Test (ATT).

You may reschedule your test appointment within your 90-day test eligibility period by contacting Prometric at least two business days prior to the appointment start time.

To transfer to a later 90-day test eligibility period: You must request a transfer before the expiration of your current ATT. Log in to your ONCC account to request a transfer. If you have scheduled a test appointment, you must cancel the appointment by contacting Prometric at least two business days prior to the appointment start time. Transfers will not be granted to candidates who do not cancel their testing appointment at least 48 hours in advance. Failure to cancel an appointment will result in forfeiture of all test fees paid. Transfers are granted one time only and the test must be taken within the ensuing 12 months. Once a transfer is granted, no refunds will be issued, and all test fees will be forfeited if the test is not taken within 12 months.

Refunds: Test candidates may request a refund of all but $100 (processing fee) of the test fee before the expiration of their ATT. You must request a refund before the expiration of your current ATT (Login to your account at www.oncc.org). Refund requests received after the ATT has expired will not be granted. If you have scheduled a test appointment, you must cancel the appointment by contacting Prometric at least two business days prior to the appointment start time. Candidates who do not cancel a scheduled test appointment will forfeit their test fee and will not receive a refund.

Test candidates may request a refund of all but $100 (processing fee) of the test fee prior to the current ATT expires. Log in to your account at www.oncc.org to request a refund of a test fee. Refund requests received after the ATT expires will not be granted. If you have scheduled a test appointment, you must cancel the test appointment at least 2 days before the start of the appointment. Candidates who do not cancel a scheduled test appointment will forfeit their test fee and will not receive a refund.

Oncology nursing experience may be in clinical practice, education, administration, research or consultation. The role must require that it be filled only by an RN to qualify as nursing practice. Hours or months worked in positions that can be filled by non-nurses will not qualify as nursing practice. (Learn why the ONCC Board of Directors has clarified nursing practice for the purpose of certification.)

ONCC may request a candidate submit a current job description from the institution(s) at which the candidate is employed. The job description must be an official position description, not a job posting. It must include the company name/logo, job title, primary duties and responsibilities, and job specifications such as the education, skills and qualifications required for the position.

Nursing certification is a process to validate a registered nurse's qualification and knowledge of a specific area of nursing. To become certified, a nurse must meet minimal competency standards set by the agency that grants the certification. One purpose of nursing certification is to promote public safety. Certification assures the public that a certified nurse has completed all criteria required for a specific credential. Another purpose of certification is to develop specialty areas of nursing by establishing minimal competency standards and recognizing those who have met those standards.

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) recognizes the benefits of certification to patients and the public, and encourages oncology nurses to become certified. Read the ONS position on oncology certification of nurses.

In addition to certification programs, there are assessment-based certificate programs and continuing education programs. It is important for nurses to understand what each of these programs represents. The Institute for Credentialing Excellence has defined the differences between these programs.

The term "certification" doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. “Certification” programs offered by different providers may not represent the same level of achievement. For example, some providers label continuing education (CE) programs as "certification," and tell participants they may call themselves "certified" upon completing the program. Nurses who have passed a comprehensive, broad-based certification examination such as the OCN® test know that completing a CE program does not represent the same level of achievement. Nurses and employers need to understand what each type of program represents. Nurses and employers should not misrepresent themselves or those they employ as "certified" when they are not. Read full article.

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) recognizes the benefits of certification to patients and the public. ONS encourages oncology nurses to become certified. Read the ONS position on oncology certification of nurses.

In addition to certification programs, there are assessment-based certificate programs and continuing education programs. It is important for nurses to understand what each of these programs represents. The Institute for Credentialing Excellence has defined the differences between these types of programs.

The passing score for each ONCC examination is based on the number of test items that are answered correctly. The number of items answered correctly is converted to a scaled scare. A scaled score is not a percentage score, and is not the number of items answered correctly. A scaled score is a transformation of a raw score (number of items answered correctly) into a different unit of measurement. Two well-known tests administered in the United States that report scores as scaled scores are the ACT and SAT. A scaled score of 55 is the passing score for all ONCC tests. The 55 equates to different raw scores on various forms on the test depending on the difficulty of the form. Read more information on passing scores here.

Candidates who fail an ONCC examination on the first attempt may immediately apply for a retest, but may not take the same examination more than once during a 90-day test eligibility period.

Candidates who fail an ONCC examination on the second attempt may immediately apply for a retest, but may not take the same examination more than once during a 90-day test eligibility period.

Candidates who fail the test on a third attempt must wait one year before taking the test again if the three failed attempts occurred during a three-year (36 month) period. If the three failures occurred over more than three years (36 months), the candidate may immediately apply to retest, but may not take the same test more than one time during a 90-day test eligibility period.

Candidates taking a test for the second or subsequent time are not identified as repeat candidates at the test center. Candidates are not likely to receive the same form of the test as previously taken.

Review the tips for retaking a test.

In most cases, shortly after you renew your current certification by Option 1 (Professional Development Points). ONCC will send you an email that you’re eligible to take the assessment. The earlier you take the assessment, the more time you will have to earn points for renewal. You cannot earn points for renewal until after you take the assessment. (Note: AOCN®, AOCNS®, and CPON® candidates do not take the assessment.)

If you don’t take the assessment you may renew by submitting a minimum of 100 ILNA points that exactly match the weighting of the respective test content outline (test blueprint) categories, or by successfully retesting. You'll likely need fewer points for renewal if you take the assessment.

You can earn points immediately after passing a certification test or completing the assessment. If it’s your first renewal after passing a test, your test results report identifies the number of points you need for renewal and the subject areas where points may be earned.

If you're eligible to take the learning needs assessment, you can earn points after you take the assessment. Use your assessment results report to identify the number of points you need for renewal and the subject areas where points may be earned. Take the assessment as early as possible in your certification cycle to provide time to earn the required points.

ONCC sends certified nurses reminders and other communications by mail, email, and phone. It is important to keep your current contact information in your ONCC profile at all times.

If you have unsubscribed from bulk emails, or use a workplace email address you may not receive email messages as intended. Please use a personal email address or request your employer not block ONCC emails. Ask your email administrator to add emailer.realmagnet.com and realmagnet.com to your whitelist. Also, be sure to check your spam or junk mail folders regularly for communications from ONCC.

To resubscribe to emails, visit the Manage Your Email Subscriptions page.

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