Why take the Nurse Executive exam?

The Nurse Executive board certification exam is designed for nurses who are seeking an advanced level of certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The Nurse Executive exam measures the competency, knowledge, and skills of nurses who manage the daily operations of service lines and units.

If you want to take your nursing career to the next level, passing the Nurse Executive exam will provide you with the Nurse Executive-Board Ceritified (NE-BC) or Nurse Executive Advanced-Board Certified (NEA-BC) credential. The NE-BC / NEA-BC is an Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification and National Commission for Certifying Agencies accredited 5-year credential that demonstrates your commitment to excellence in the field of nursing, and places your leadership skills front and center.


To apply to take the Nursing Executive board certification exam, you must hold an active, current Registered Nurse (RN) license in a territory or state of the United States. Alternately, you can apply to take the exam if you hold a legally recognized, equivalent professional license from another country. Additionally, you must hold a master’s degree or higher in nursing, or hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in a field other than nursing.

Because this is an advanced credential designed for leaders in the field of nursing, you need to have been employed at the nurse executive level in an administrative capacity, or have held a full-time faculty position at the graduate level in an executive level nursing program for at least 2 years within the last 5 years. Lastly, in order to demonstrate your commitment to professional development, you need to have completed at least 30 hours of continuing education in nursing administration within the past 3 years. If you hold a master’s in nursing administration, however, this final requirement will be waived.

Content, Structure, and Tips

The Nurse Executive board certification exam is electronically administered and contains 175 questions, with 150 scored and 25 unscored pretest questions. The pretest questions appear identical to the scored questions, so it is important that you answer every question on the exam. The pretest questions simply ensure the scored questions function as intended. Your score will be determined solely using the 150 scored questions.

The exam content areas include 42 structure and process questions, 44 professional practice questions, 45 transformational leadership questions, and 19 knowledge and practice application questions. One important aspect of planning for the Nurse Executive exam is to understand the content along with the structure of the exam, so take the time to review the following areas in detail on the ANCC website.

The first section explores your knowledge of laws and regulations, personnel policies, human resource functions, organizational theory, ability to communicate effectively, and other related skills. This section also addresses fiscal planning, accountability, budgeting, revenue management, and other related topics. Your community engagement will also be examined, as will your knowledge of compliance and organizational structure. Risk management, technological impact, and related laws and regulations are also included here.

The second section is focused on exemplary professional practice and will explore your knowledge of professional practice models, contemporary nursing theories, patients’ rights, as well as nursing authority and responsibility, among other related topics. This section includes an examination of standards of clinical practice, peer review practices, best care practices, and staffing-related skills, such as scheduling. Quality care and improvement are also addressed in this section, especially pertaining to techniques for continuous improvement, translating pertinent data, and other related skills and knowledge.

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The third section of the exam addresses your knowledge and skills in transformational leadership. This means you will see questions related to strategic planning, SWOT analysis, business practices, and the development of new programs and initiatives. Likewise, this section examines your advocacy in terms of ethics and ethical principles, as well as team and relationship building. Effectiveness of leadership is another key component in this section, and you can expect to see questions pertaining to work environment, mentoring, emotional intelligence, and your ability to develop an environment that encourages the advancement of knowledge.

The last section of the exam covers research and evidence-based practice, specifically in terms of new knowledge and practice applications. This means you will see questions related to grant writing and project planning, evidence-based practice (EBP), quality improvement, the dissemination of research, as well as reliance on EBP. This section also addresses your knowledge of current and emerging technologies and willingness to adopt new innovations, among other related topics.

Nurse Executive FAQ


What is the Nurse Executive certification?


The Nurse Executive certification is used to assess nurses who desire to oversee the daily operations of a unit.


How much does it cost to take the Nurse Executive?


If you are a member of the American Nurses Association, the cost is $270. For all other applicants, the cost is $395.


How do you become Nurse Executive certified?


To become a certified nurse executive, you must first hold a current RN license and have a bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing. You must also have held an administrative position, administrative teaching position, or an executive consultation position in the last five years. Finally, you must have undergone 30 hours of nursing administration classes in the last three years or have a master’s degree in nursing administration. After you meet those requirements, you must pass the Nurse Executive certification.


Is the Nurse Executive exam all multiple choice?


Yes, the Nurse Executive exam consists of 150 scored questions. There are also 25 unscored pretest questions.


How long do you have to take the test?


You are allowed 3.5 hours to complete the exam.


How do you sign up for the Nurse Executive exam?


To apply for the exam, visit the ANCC website.


What is the pass rate for the Nurse Executive test?


The pass rate for the Nurse Executive exam is 59%.


What is a passing score for the Nurse Executive exam?


You must achieve a scaled score of 350 or more to pass the Nurse Executive exam.

Test Preparation

In addition to having a good understanding of the content and structure of the Nurse Executive exam, getting enough rest before the exam and taking care of yourself physically will help you be successful on exam day.

However, the best method of ensuring you do well on the Nurse Executive exam is to prepare using the best preparation materials you can find. In addition to the basic exam materials you can find on the ANCC website, Mometrix Test Preparation offers a comprehensive Nurse Executive exam guide: Nurse Executive Exam Secrets.

This guide is unlike any other in that you get actual Nurse Executive exam questions that help strengthen your confidence before the exam. This guide was written by exam experts who understand how to successfully pass the Nurse Executive exam and earn your NEA-BC credential. Mometrix’s standardized test researchers have discovered the secrets of the Nurse Executive exam and are able to impart exactly how simple it can be to reduce your stress, pass the exam, and take your nursing career to the next level.

In addition to the Nurse Executive Exam Secrets study guide, Mometrix also provides test-takers with the Nurse Executive Flashcards and a comprehensive Nurse Executive Practice Test. Do the best you can do on the Nurse Executive exam by preparing, studying, and testing yourself with actual Nurse Executive exam content. Read the Nurse Executive Exam Secrets study guide, test your knowledge with the Nurse Executive Flashcards and Practice Test, and earn the NEA-BC credential you deserve as a leader in the field of nursing.

Online Nurse Executive Prep Course

If you want to be fully prepared, Mometrix offers an online Nurse Executive Test Prep Course. The course is designed to provide you with any and every resource you might want while studying. The Nurse Executive Course includes:

  • Review Lessons Covering All the Topics
  • 750+ Nurse Executive Practice Questions
  • More than 350 Electronic Flashcards
  • Money-back Guarantee
  • Free Mobile Access
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The Nurse Executive Test Prep Course is designed to help any learner get everything they need to prepare for their Nurse Executive exam; click below to check it out.