Certification Renewal


  1. Before completing your renewal application packet, review the Guidelines, these Instructions, and all of the required forms (Forms A, B, and C) and documentation listed in the Checklist.
  2. Read each form carefully for instructions. Only original signatures will be accepted – do not submit copies of 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. Make sure that your membership in DDNA is current and renew it if has expired. 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 renewal 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 will delay the processing of your application. Do NOT fax your certification renewal packet to DDNA.
  4. Include only one renewal 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 the pages will just increase your postage expense.
  5. Mail your completed renewal application packet to: DDNA Certification, 1501 South Loop 288, Suite 104 – 381, Denton, TX 76205. When mailing your renewal application packet, please remember that these packets are considered “Oversized” and require additional postage. Please have them weighed at the post office before mailing. If your application packet arrives at DDNA with “postage due” approval will be delayed. We appreciate your taking the time to make sure that your postage is correct.
  6. Please allow at least 60 days for the processing of the renewal application once it is received at the DDNA office. You will be notified via email of the outcome of the review.

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

Eligibility Requirements

The minimum eligibility requirements for certification renewal are:

  1. Minimum of one thousand (1,000) hours of active practice in IDD nursing within the two-year period from date of current certification approval;
    and a
  2. Minimum of 25 contact hours of continuing education specific to IDD nursing within the two-year period from date of current certification approval.
  1. Minimum of 500-999 hours of active practice in IDD nursing within the two-year period from date of current certification approval;
    and a
  2. Minimum of 40 contact hours of continuing education specific to IDD nursing within the two-year period from date of current certification approval.
  1. If less than 500 hours of active practice or no practice in IDD nursing within the two-year period from date of current certification approval;
    then a
  2. Minimum of 60 contact hours of continuing education specific to IDD nursing within the two-year period from date of current certification approval.

Education Requirement

The Education Requirement is satisfied by accruing contact hours of continuing education specific to IDD. Only IDD-specific course work will be accepted. Educational offerings not specifically addressing IDD issues will be reviewed by the DDNA Certification Committee for appropriateness. Course documentation such as outlines and/or a syllabus will help the committee to evaluate material and facilitate the review process.

Examples of acceptable IDD-specific course topics

Syndromes and conditions, epilepsy and seizure disorders, dual diagnosis, assessment innovations, ethics in IDD, AIDS and the consumer with IDD, nutrition specific to IDD, early intervention, aging and the consumer with IDD, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, issues in IDD nursing, and other IDD-specific course work.

Examples of acceptable related course topics

Alzheimer’s disease, end-of-life care, medication administration, psychology courses, anger management, sexual abuse, crisis intervention, and other IDD-related course work. A maximum of ten hours of IDD-related course work will be accepted toward the education requirement.

Examples of unacceptable course work

Certification renewal in the specialty of IDD nursing requires course work that demonstrates its specificity to IDD nursing. While many courses enhance general nursing practice, their lack of an IDD-specific focus prevents them from being acceptable for certification renewal. Examples of such courses are HIPAA and CPR training; general chemistry or biology, statistics, personal growth, time management, productivity, general management, venipuncture, first aid, domestic violence, bioterrorism preparedness, nursing and malpractice/legal issues, and other general course work. If you are an instructor for a course, you may not submit the hours that you spend teaching that course. DDNA does accept certain home study courses. Call the DDNA office at (800) 888-6733 to find out whether approval can be granted for the home study course you are considering.

DDNA will not accept CE from MedPage, MyFreeCE, MedScape, nurse.com, Western Schools, or VistaNursingCEUs, because the CE hours awarded by these companies do not meet DDNA’s criteria for required length of time for continuing education offerings for recertification.

Non-traditional learning

DDNA recognizes that the delivery of education is continually changing and will consider certain other types of educational activities. All non-traditional learning MUST be preapproved by DDNA before submission to DDNA and MUST be specific to DD nursing. Documentation of non-traditional learning requires that the applicant complete a required education verification component after completion of the activity. This verification could include submitting a paper or article to DDNA for publication, writing a DD-specific book review, submitting documentation showing satisfactory completion of a DD-specific college/university course, documentation of attendance at a DD-specific webinar, etc. If you are unsure whether an educational activity would meet the requirements for certification renewal and plan to use the hours toward recertification, please contact DDNA for preapproval.

How to earn continuing education (CE) credit

Attend workshops, seminars, and conferences offering acceptable course work, as outlined in this section on education requirements. Document attendance with copies of continuing education credit certificates or transcripts. The attendance certificate must include the participant’s name, event date, event title, event location, CE approval statement as provided by a recognized continuing education reviewer, and number of CE hours.

Participate in employer offered/authorized, formal in-service training designed to enhance professional skills. This does not include routine consultation, staffing or clinical supervision training. Only DD-specific training qualifies. For example, fire safety or CPR would NOT be consider DD-specific. Acceptable verification of this education credit requires submission of a copy of an official inservice record, highlighting the appropriate training. The record must include the date, time, length of training, name of instructor/presenter, and be signed by your supervisor for validation. A copy of this record must be included with the Developmental Disabilities Continuing Education Summary (Form C).


Your responsibilities: It is your responsibility to actively maintain your CDDN or DDC certification, which includes maintaining membership in DDNA throughout your certification period, awareness of your CDDN/DDC expiration date, gathering and completing the renewal application, and notifying DDNA of any address changes. Failure to receive renewal reminders does not relieve you of the responsibility to apply for certification renewal in a timely manner. Your certification expiration date can be found on your certification card, your certificate of certification, or by emailing the Certification Committee at [email protected]. Your membership expiration date can be found on your membership card and in your membership profile on this website. Please note once more: Maintaining membership in your professional organization is required to maintain your certification. Membership must be renewed annually. If your membership in DDNA expires, so does your certification.

Period of validity: Once renewed, certification is valid for two years. If your renewal application is not postmarked by the certification expiration date at the latest, your certification status is considered inactive and any petition to reinstate it would be governed by existing DDNA guidelines. This may require you to re-enter the certification process as a new candidate and successfully complete all steps required of a new candidate. Steps include submitting a new application, payment of all applicable fees, and retaking the certification examination with a passing score. Once you allow your certification to become inactive, you may not use the CDDN or DDC credential as part of your professional signature. Use of these credentials if your certification is expired is an ethical violation of your nursing license.

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 your renewal will be approved.

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 experience with CDDNs and DDCs. Nurses 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 IDD 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, the performance of the DDNA Board of Directors, Officers and Certification Committee, and most importantly, 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 people with IDD, 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. 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.
  2. Form A – Applicant Information
  3. Form B – DDNA Code of Ethics Agreement
  4. Form C – Developmental Disabilities Continuing Education
    See the education requirement for specific guidelines.
  5. Form D – Employment Verification
    A separate form must be submitted for each place of employment, specific to DD nursing, that occurred within the two-year certification renewal period.
    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 D) 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 her or his 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).
  6. Job description(s)
    To accompany Form C. The job description must be written by the employer. Each position documented must be specific to IDD nursing. List each position, period of employment, and/or facility. If the job description is not IDD 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 includes specifically the developmental disabilities aspect of the work responsibility.
  7. Brochure or program outline
    Include a brochure or program description, if available, for each facility and program documented on the employment verification form(s).
  8. Copy of your current curriculum vitae, resume, or bio sketch
  9. Renewal Fee
    See the certification fees page for details.

Important Information

  1. Please check to make sure that you are not submitting the same CE hours that you submitted during a previous certification period, e.g., the same HealthSoft DD course cannot be submitted more than once. We do review your past certification CE records as part of your current certification renewal approval process.
  2. Please make sure that the courses you submit as being DD nursing-specific are taught at the licensed nurse level, not at the level of DSP initial or refresher training.
  3. DDNA will not accept CE from MedPage, MyFreeCE, NurseCE4Less, MedScape, or VistaNursingCEUs, because the CE hours awarded by these companies do not meet DDNA’s criteria for required length of time for continuing education offerings for recertification.
  4. Please make sure that the CE hours you submit fall WITHIN your two-year certification period, not before. For example, if you take your certification exam on May 31st of 2010, you may not submit courses that you took BEFORE May 31st, 2010 when you renew. Likewise, you may not submit courses taken more than two years before any certification renewal date.
  5. If your certification renewal packet is NOT postmarked by your certification expiration date, include the late fee of $30. To avoid having to pay the late fee, make sure your certification packet is postmarked by your expiration date. There are a number of ways you can remember your certification date:
    1. Your expiration date is listed on your certification card and wall certificate, or you may email the Certification Committee at [email protected] if you are unable to determine your expiration date.
    2. Put your certification renewal date on your personal calendar or “to-do” list.


By downloading the Renewal Packet, you agree that you have read and understand the guidelines, instructions, and checklists for completion of certification renewal. Should you have any questions, please contact DDNA.  Click below to download the form fill PDF to complete and print.

Download the Renewal Packet (RN & LPN/LVN – pdf)

Approval process

Within approximately 60 days of receiving your application packet, DDNA will notify you whether your application is approved or deficient. Be sure to include your correct email address and phone number on the application forms, as this will be used to contact you.

If your renewal application is deficient:

You will be notified by email and given the opportunity to correct the deficiency. Common causes of a deficient application include: insufficient DD-specific or DD-related CE, work experience not specific to DD nursing, insufficient work experience, illegible forms, forms that are faxed rather than mailed, failure to provide supervisor’s original signature, failure to calculate and provide total hours worked, lapsed DDNA membership, and inaccurate/missing contact information.

If your renewal application is approved:

Once approved, you will be emailed a letter of approval, new certification card, and new eCertificate.