Heart Failure Certification 2013

Frequently Asked Questions


1. Will AAHFN offer study guides/materials?
Yes, we have the Heart Failure Nursing Certification - Core Curriculum Review-Second Edition

The Official Study Guide of the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses and an online Heart Failure Nursing Review Course, both are available in the AAHFN online Bookstore.

For more information or questions regarding examination preparatory resources please call AAHFN and speak to Gail Haas  - 1-888-452-2436 ext. 3

2.Why is it important to keep my contact information up to date?
To assure that you receive all future information regarding certification and re-certification details. Contact the AAHFN-CB (information@aahfn.org) with changes in name or contact information; such as mailing address, e-mail address, or phone number. Or you can log-in to your account and make the changes. It is your responsibility to ensure that we have correct contact information

3. Date of exams
pen and paper exam will be offered June 24 ,2020 / 2:00 -4:00 pm at the AAHFN Annual Meeting, in Boston, MA.

 Refer to the chart below for additional Computer Based Testing at Testing Centers.

Application Window Testing Window
December 1 - January 31 March 1-31
(Computer Based Testing)
March 1- May 10 June 24, 2020 / 2:00 - 4:00 pm
Boston, MA
(pen and paper exam at Annual Meeting)
June 1 – July 31 September 1 – 30
(Computer Based Testing)
September 1 - October 31 December 1—31
(Computer Based Testing)

4. Will the exam be paper and pencil or electronic?
Paper and pencil at the annual meeting. At the testing centers it will be on a computer.

5.What is the credential designation going to be?
CHFN - Certified Heart Failure Nurse
CHFN-K - Certified Heart Failure Nurse - Knowledge Based

6. Do I have to be a member of AAHFN to take the exam?
No, you do not have to be a member of AAHFN to take the exam. It is financially beneficial to be a member due to the discounts given to take the exam and educational materials that AAHFN offers its members.

7. How much will it cost to take the exam?

Certification AAHFN member Non AAHFN member
Pen & Paper at Annual Meeting $275.00 $375.00
Computer Based Testing $350.00 $450.00

Recertification AAHFN member Non AAHFN member
Pen & Paper at Annual Meeting (Option 2) $200.00 $300.00
Professional Development (Option 1) $200.00 $300.00
Computer Based Testing (Option 2) $275.00 $375.00

8. When will the application site open and close?
Refer to the chart listed at top of page.

All paper and online applications for the pen and paper exam must be postmarked or time stamped by May 10 of current year.

For the pen and paper exam, applications postmarked or time stamped after May 10, of current year will not be considered.

9. How many questions are on the exam and how long is the exam window?

Examination consists of 100 multiple choice questions, plus 10 questions that are not scored, but are being pretested for future use. Candidates have two hours to complete the exam for both the CBT and pen/paper exam formats.

10. Where can I find the outline of the test?
A content outline is available online. Please click here to view.

11. How long does it take to find out the results of my exam?
Results for pen and paper exam will be 4-6 weeks after the exam date. The computer based testing results will be immediate.

12. How long will the certification last before I need to renew?
Certification is good for 3 years. Please click here to see the Re-certification Eligibility requirements.

13. Will there be sample questions available for me to study?
AAHFN published the Heart Failure Nursing Certification – Core Curriculum Review book, which is the official study guide of the AAHFN certification exam. This book is a comprehensive guide for all nurses who provide care to patients with heart failure. Each chapter includes study questions for self-review and resources for further reading. For additional study resources, visit the Exam Prep section


1. What qualifies as clinical hours?
Clinical hours are defined to be broad in scope. A nurse can work directly with patients (assessment, care planning, interventions and evaluation of care) as a patient caregiver, advance practice nurse, case manager, preceptor, discharge educator, etc. Care delivery can be in any care setting (home, hospital, physician office or clinic, long-term facility,...), by any means (telephone, in-person, digitally/remotely,...) and it can be continuous or intermittent as long as you have 1200 hours of time caring for patients with heart failure in a 2 year period.

Further, nurses may meet the requirement for clinical hours by working directly or indirectly with heart failure "populations". For example, a clinical nurse specialist may not have a patient assignment, but can meet the clinical hour requirement by (1) educating nurses about heart failure care delivery in a clinical or academic setting (hospital, clinic/office, skilled nursing facility, classroom, etc.); (2) developing, implementing or evaluating new initiatives that improve heart failure performance measures, quality indicators or other outcomes, (3) developing, implementing, translating or disseminating clinical research that involves patients with heart failure; (4) working in the fields of telemonitoring/telehealth , health maintenance organizations, insurance companies, or for funded research projects sponsored by a company or organization, and (5) working as a population-based case manager, care coordinator, transitions coach, manager or preceptor if work responsibilities relate to clinical heart failure at a population level.

2. Does Acute Coronary Syndromes [ACS] and Acute Myocardial Infarction [AMI ] qualify as Heart Failure [HF ] CNE’s?

NO, ACS and AMI are related topics, but NOT the same as HF. You can use ACS and AMI CNEs to meet overall eligibility requirements, but not HF eligibility requirements. The eligibility requirement states: Have completed 30 hrs of accredited continuing education within the last two (2) years, of which a minimum of 15 hours must be related to HF care.

If a non-HF topic (atrial fibrillation, diabetes, COPD, renal dysfunction, etc) was presented at a HF conference (e.g., atrial fibrillation in heart failure, or chronic renal failure and heart failure - the cardiorenal syndrome) , then the CNE hours can count as part of the 15 hours of HF education; however, we will most likely ask to see the syllabus if the title of the talk does not include the words HF.

Note: some all-day programs have content that is HF related and non-HF related. It is OK to split the hours between the HF education requirement and the overall education requirement, if the course content is not all HF, but to receive credit for attending CNE associated with the 15 hours of HF content, the course MUST be directly related to HF(medical, cardiac device or surgical care; assessment; evaluation; etc). HF topics can involve HF-REF, HF-PEF, and right or left ventricular dysfunction.

Topics like ACLS and CPR do not meet criteria for HF credit as they do not contain HF specific content. They may quality for non-HF related CNE if indeed you received CNE for attending. ACS, AMI, obesity, cardiac women's health, diabetes, and lung transplant may be related to HF but the burden of evidence falls to you if the title does not clearly state HF. Please save your course syllabi or handouts (i.e., slides) so that you can show evidence that you meet the CNE credits for HF, per the current criteria.

3. What if heart failure is not clearly stated in title of course?
Request copy of syllabus and breakdown of course titles if professional development is from a symposium or conference. Send copy of professional development courses with syllabus to information@aahfn.org for review

4. Can someone other than an RN take the exam, even if they do not want the credentials?
No. The CHFN test is built on a job analysis of nurses (RNs) with 2000 hours of clinical experience as an RN. The tasks have been aligned around the nursing process. All states and all nursing organizations support that only RNs can provide a nursing assessment, determine a nursing diagnosis, and devise a nursing care plan. AAHFN endorsed the ANA definition of nursing and was a sponsor of the Scope and Standards of CV Nursing.


5. What qualifies as RN full-time or equivalent for two years?
Hold a current, active RN license within a state or territory of the United States or the professional, legally recognized equivalent in another country and have practiced full time as a registered nurse for at least two (2) years or its equivalent that equates to approximately 4160 hours.


6. Do the continuing education courses have to be accredited?

Yes, AAHFN-Certification Board only accepts CEs that are by an approved accredited organization.


7. How do I know if a continuing education course is offered by "an approved accredited organization"?

There should be a statement on the certificate that similar to this: "ABC Hospital is approved as a provider of continuing education by..." Usually the approved provider is the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the state nurses association.


After the Examination


Misconduct After the Exam

If you engage in discussion of the contents of the examination with other potential exam candidates, your certification may be revoked and examination fees will not be refunded. You are only permitted to refer them to educational resources, such as the Heart Failure Nursing Core Curriculum Review Guide, the online Heart Failure Review Course, the exam outline of topics on the AAHFN website, and the heart failure guideline links on our website.


Post Test Questions

1. How is score determined?

"The minimum score required to pass the examination is determined by using a process known as the Angoff method, in which subject-matter experts estimate the difficulty of each item on the examination for the "minimally competent practitioner" (MCP). These judgments are averaged to determine the minimum passing score, which represents the amount of knowledge an MCP would likely demonstrate on the examination. This method is the most commonly used method for establishing passing scores for credentialing examinations."

2. How to appeal a score?
Verification of examination scores from electronic responses can be requested in writing for a fee of $25. Candidates should mail requests to AMP, 18000 W. 105th Street, Olathe, KS 66061-7543 within one year of the examination date and include a check or money order payable to AMP for $25. The request should also include the candidate's name, address and date of examination. Handscore requests will be processed and candidates notified of the results within approximately two weeks following receipt of the request.

3. Can scores be given over the phone?
To protect the confidentiality scores are not reported by telephone, electronic mail or facsimile and that holds for the AAHFN-CB as well as AMP

Additional Certification Fees



One time transfer from one quarter to the next without a penalty fee provided the exam applicant has notified AMP within AMP's specified time frame.

Pen/Paper transfer to CBT - $75

Re-schedules a second time - $100

If the exam applicant has scheduled the exam with AMP and is a "no show", they can re-schedule the next quarter for $100

$10 reprint of certificate.

No Refund

Must take the exam within 1 year of original application or submissions of fees.

1120 Rt 73, Ste 200,
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054

888.45.AAHFN / 888-452-2436


For questions concerning exam educational resources, contact Gail Haas 888-452-2436

For questions concerning the exam for certification questions, contact Cindy Tavormina 888-452-2436 ext. 2 

Need Leadership support for obtaining your CHFN? Click here for letter and flyer.