Step 3 of 6 – Apply for Certification


  1. Before completing your application packet, review the Guidelines, these Instructions, and all of the required forms (Forms A, B, and C) and documentation listed in the Checklist (below).
  2. Read each form carefully for instructions. Only original signatures will be accepted – do not submit copies of any signed forms. Type or neatly print the requested information on the forms. Documentation that is altered in any way (whiteout used, information crossed out, etc.) or is illegible will not be accepted and must be replaced with correctly completed forms. It is your responsibility to check your application packet for accuracy and completeness before submitting it to the DDNA Certification Committee for review. The certification credential is a reflection of your professional dedication. The application packet should reflect the same professionalism.
  3. Submit all required forms, documentation, and fees as part of the application packet. The Certification Committee and DDNA will not initiate transfer of information from other sources. Omission of any required item in the certification application may result in a significant delay in the processing of your application.
  4. Only one application per envelope. Do not staple, tape, or paper clip forms together. All documents submitted should be on standard 8½” x 11″ paper. Include only the items listed on the Checklist. Do not include printouts of the certification instructions, because the weight of these pages will unnecessarily increase your postage expense.
  5. Mail your completed application packet to: DDNA Certification, 1501 South Loop 288, Suite 104 – 381, Denton, TX 76205. If you are interested in a specific examination date, submit the application at least five weeks before that exam to allow sufficient processing time.
  6. When mailing your application packet, please remember that these packets are considered “oversized,” which requires additional postage. Please have the packet weighed for correct postage before mailing. If your application packet arrives at the DDNA post office box with “postage due,” it will be returned to you by the post office. We appreciate your taking the time to make sure that your postage is correct.
  7. Please allow a minimum of five weeks for application processing once it is received at the DDNA office. You will be notified of the outcome of the review, including approval of or deficiencies in the application.

If you need help or would like further clarification of the above instructions, please call DDNA at (800) 888-6733 during business hours.


Documentation All documentation submitted is subject to verification and becomes the property of DDNA.

Fees All fees are non-refundable. Payment of application fees does not guarantee that approval to take the certification examination will be granted.

Period of Eligibility Once approved, candidate eligibility is valid for a period of two years. Candidates may choose when to take the exam within two years of being approved. After the two-year period, the candidate must submit a new application and fee. The certification approval expiration date will be listed on your letter of confirmation.

Recognition of certification Certification is voluntary. No governmental or other regulatory entity currently requires certification. Any value or credence given to certification by an agency, employer, or third-party insurer is entirely at its discretion. Such value or credence should be based upon knowledge of the certification standards and upon experience with CDDNs and DDCs. Individuals seeking certification choose to do so of their own free will and, in doing so, agree to accept the decisions of DDNA. The authority of DDNA is derived from those persons who are dedicated to service as practicing I/DD nurses and are, as such, those who are most affected by certification.

Credibility of certification The credibility of certification results from the standards established by DDNA, by the performance of the DDNA Board of Directors, Officers and Certification Committee, and most importantly, by the professional competence and integrity of the Certified Developmental Disabilities Nurse or the Developmental Disabilities Certified Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse.

The role of DDNA Although DDNA encourages and promotes the work of other professional associations and other organizations involved in the various facets of providing services to individuals with I/DD, it is an independent body and seeks to remain free from any vested interest.


The following forms, documentation, and fees are required for the application:

  1. Form A – Applicant Information
  2. Copy of nursing license
    A photocopy of your current nursing license on standard 8½” x 11″ paper, marked void. Do not cut out the license. You may also print out a copy of your license from your state’s licensing website.
  3. Form B – DDNA Code of Ethics Agreement
  4. Form C – Employment Verification
    A separate form must be submitted for each place of employment specific to I/DD nursing at which you have been employed within the five-year period prior to applying for certification.  Some examples: Sally is employed at one facility for five or more years prior to applying for certification. Sally will submit one form. Brian has been working at his current facility for the last three years. Before that, Brian worked at a different facility for four years. Brian will submit two forms. Diane has worked at the same facility for ten years. During that time, she was promoted twice. Diane will submit one form.
    For independent practitioners: The Certification Committee has developed an alternative process to determine the validity and duration of work experience for independent practitioners, such as business owners, consultants, and direct care contractors. The Employment Verification form (Form C) must be completed and may be signed by a business partner, the representative of an agency to whom the applicant is contracted, or any professional who is in a position to verify the work involvement of the applicant. The applicant may sign his or her own job verification form onlyif the documentation of the hours worked is substantiated by contracts or service invoices, and the party affiliated with the contracts and/or invoices is not available to sign the employment verification form (Form C).
  5. Job description(s)
    To accompany Form C. The job description must be written by the employer. Each position documented must be specific to I/DD nursing. List each position, period of employment, and/or facility documented. If the job description is not I/DD specific, then an addendum written on facility letterhead and signed by a supervisor is required.
    For independent practitioners: For independent practitioners, the Committee will accept a job description, designed and signed by the applicant, if it specifically includes the I/DD aspect of the work responsibility.
  6. Brochure or program outline
    Include a brochure or program outline, if available, for each facility and/or program documented on the employment verification form(s)
  7. Copy of your current curriculum vitae, resume, or biosketch
  8. Application Fee (NON-REFUNDABLE) – Must be paid by check or money order.
    Submit only the application fee (see the certification fees page for details). Do not include payment of exam fees at this time.

Application Forms for CDDN/DDC certification

By clicking the ‘download forms’ link on the sidebar, you are confirming that you have read and understand the Guidelines, Instructions, and Checklist outlined above and want to download the forms now.

Mail to:  DDNA Certification, 1501 South Loop 288, Suite 104 – 381, Denton, TX 76205.

Forms, including instructions (9 pgs):

Forms A, B, and C, including instructions for RN certification application (CDDN).

Forms A, B, and C, including instructions for LPN/LVN certification application (DDC).

Forms only (4 pgs):

Forms A, B, and C for RN certification application (CDDN)

Forms A, B, and C for LPN/LVN certification application (DDC)

Approval process

Within five weeks of receiving your application packet, DDNA will notify you as to whether your application is approved or deficient. Be sure to include your correct email address and phone number on the application forms, as these may be used to contact you.

If your application is deficient:

You will be notified by email and given the opportunity to correct the deficiency. Common occurrences that cause an application to be deficient include: work experience not specific to I/DD nursing, insufficient I/DD-related work experience, illegible forms, forms that are faxed rather than mailed, incorrect fees paid, and inaccurate/missing contact information.

If your application is approved:

Once approved, you will be emailed a letter of approval and an examination registration form. Your eligibility to take the certification exam is valid for two years from the date of the application approval. The expiration date is on the letter of approval.

If you do not understand the Guidelines, Instructions, and Checklist, please email the Certification Committee at: [email protected]