• Certifications
  • ONP-C - Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner-Certified

    • Cost $345-$460
    • Renews every 5 years


    In Person


    The Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner-Certified (ONP-C) certification, offered by the Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB), validates that a nurse practitioner (NP) has exceptional experience and knowledge in caring for orthopedic patients. The ONP-C certification distinguishes the orthopedic NP as a researcher, educator, and leader in orthopedic nursing and medicine.


    Applicants must have the following to take the ONP-C exam:

    • An active, unencumbered license as a registered nurse (RN)

    • Three years of experience as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)

    • A master's degree or higher from an NP program

    • At least 2,000 hours of experience as an NP working with patients with musculoskeletal conditions

    Completion Time: Candidates have 3 hours to complete the ONP-C exam


    • $345 for American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON), Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs (NOVA), or Canadian Orthopaedic Nurses Association (CONA) members

    • $460 nonmembers

    Course Format

    In Person

    Exam Format

    The ONP-C Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner-Certified exam is a computer-based, 150-question exam. Only 135 of these questions count toward the score, and the candidate must correctly answer 96 questions to pass. Candidates have 3hours to complete the exam.

    The exam includes questions on the conditions and tasks related to the Orthopaedic NP roles, with a certain number of questions in each of the following key areas:


    • Degenerative Disorders (53)

    • Orthopaedic Trauma (24)

    • Sports Injuries (19)

    • Inflammatory Disorders (11)

    • Metabolic Bone Disorders (11)

    • Congenital/Pediatric (8)

    • Neuromuscular (5)

    • Musculoskeletal Tumors (4) 


    • Clinician/Practitioner (85-95)

    • Consultant (11-19)

    • Educator (13-23)

    • Researcher (3-9)

    • Manager (3-9)

    Test Dates

    The ONP-C exam  may be taken in-person or as an online proctored exam. Candidates may schedule their exam on Scantron's website for any date within 4 to 90 days.

    Exam Day Instructions

    On exam day, candidates must:

    • Arrive 15 minutes early 

    • Be prepared to show a government-issued ID

    • Bring the Scantron confirmation of authorization to test

    If candidates fail to bring the required documents or don’t attend their exam appointment, they forfeit their fee. Candidates may reschedule exams up to 2 business days before the exam date.

    Candidates receive a pass/fail score immediately after completing their exam on the Scantron website. If they fail the ONP-C exam, they must wait 90 days to retake it. The score detail also includes information on areas that need additional study.

    Successful exam candidates receive an email congratulating them and offering access to their certification documents, a digital badge, and a certificate within 6 weeks.


    To apply for ONP-C certification, prospective candidates must:

    • Download and read the ONP-C candidate handbook

    • Complete an attestation in the handbook

    • Have a supervisor complete and sign a form verifying 2,000 hours of RN or NP experience with musculoskeletal patients

    • Apply for and pass the ONP-C exam

    During the application process, the candidate completes an attestation that they have read the candidate handbook. Scantron reviews the application and, if approved, emails the candidate an authorization to test (ATT).


    The ONP-C credential is valid for 5 years. All candidates must apply for renewal at least 6 weeks before their expiration date to keep their certification from lapsing. Certificate holders may renew by continuing education (CE) or by exam.

    Renewal by CE

    To renew by CE, candidates must:

    • Maintain an active, unencumbered license as an RN

    • Have 1,500 hours of clinical experience as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) or NP within the past five years

    • Earn 100 CE hours, with at least 65 hours related to orthopedics

    • Submit renewal fees with a completed online or paper application

    Renewal by Exam

    To renew by exam, candidates must follow the same process for initial certification.

    Renewal Fees

    • Online submission: $285 for NAON members, $400 for non-members

    • Paper submission: $335 for NAON members, $450 for non-members

    Other Resources

    Additional resources that may aid nurses studying for the ONP-C Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner-Certified certification include:

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    Frequently asked questions

    Am I eligible to take the ONP-C exam?

    You may be eligible to take the ONP-C Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner-Certified certification exam if you’re an APRN with a master's degree, 2,000 hours of NP experience with musculoskeletal patients, and three years of general APRN clinical experience. 

    How much does the ONP-C exam cost?

    The ONP-C exam costs $345 for NAON, AANP, NOVA and CONA members and $460 for non-members.

    What score is needed to pass the ONP-C exam?

    To pass the ONP-C exam, test takers must correctly answer 96 out of the 135 scored questions, or about 72%.

    When do I get the results of my ONP-C exam?

    ONP-C exam candidates can log into Scantron's website immediately after their computerized exam to see their scores.

    When does the ONP-C certification expire?

    The ONP-C certification expires after 5 years.

    What other certifications does the ONCB offer besides the ONP-C?

    The Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB) also offers the following:

    • Orthopaedic Nurse Certified (ONC)

    • Orthopaedic Nurses Certification - Advanced Certification (ONC-A)

    What organization offers the ONP-C?

    The Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB) offers the ONP-C.