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Nursing Skills Competency Program

ANCC offers course recognition, an independent national standard to measure the quality of courses designed to validate a nurse's skill or skill set in the clinical setting. Consumers, employers and credentialing bodies gain an ongoing, consistent and measurable expectation of knowledge and abilities from nurses who complete ANCC-recognized competency courses. A portion of courses may also qualify for contact hours.

The focus of this recognition is on the course, not the provider. Courses must be designed according to ANCC criteria, which include selecting qualified faculty and demonstration of validity and reliability in the evaluation process. Observation of nurses successfully using the skill or skill sets in practice is also required.

These may be skills or skill sets specific to a setting or specialty, skills recently included in academic nursing programs, skills needed to re-enter the field, or new skills developed since the nurse's initial preparation. For example:

  • Hospitals substantiate their nurses' skills to accrediting bodies, third-party payers, and consumers.
  • Manufacturers and distributors of commercial health care equipment ensure appropriate use of their products in the health care setting.
  • Universities demonstrate the skills of graduating nurses and validate nurse refresher courses or skills taught in simulation labs.
  • State nurses associations enhance nurse portability by providing members and regional employers with a nationally recognized skills competency course.

Applicants are not required to be an ANCC accredited provider of continuing nursing education. Course recognition is specific to single applicant entities only. Note: Individuals successfully completing a recognized Nursing Skills Competency Course are not individually certified in the skill or skill set. Individuals successfully completing a recognized Nursing Skills Competency Course have demonstrated competency in the defined skill or skill set.


  • Nurses can claim and prove proficiency in their specialized skills, offering a competitive edge in the job market.
  • Employers can select training based on a national performance benchmark, thus affirming nurses possess or gain appropriate knowledge, skills and abilities. This saves money, ensures quality education, reduces the likelihood of mistakes, and improves patient outcomes.
  • State regulatory bodies can identify quality programs to validate the skills of nurses, in response to identified needs.
  • Consumers gain confidence that nurses maintain continued competence in patient care skills.