Frequently Asked Questions About Certification
What professional certifications does the Association offer?
For sexual assault nurse examiners, the Association offers two certifications: the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner - Adult/Adolescent (SANE-A®) and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner - Pediatric (SANE-P®). Certification as a SANE-A® and/or SANE-P® signifies that a sexual assault nurse examiner has demonstrated the highest standards of forensic nursing practice.
In addition, in collaboration with the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the Association offers a certification via portfolio in Advanced Forensic Nursing (AFN-BC). The earned portfolio credential signifies that the recipient has achieved the highest standard of advanced forensic nursing. Certification through portfolio is an alternative assessment method for recognizing individual registered nurses in their specialty area. Nurses document their skills, knowledge, abilities, and career accomplishments as part of this alternative application assessment process. Certification through portfolio requires equivalent rigor to meet accrediting bodies' criteria to determine proficiency through a peer review process that is informed by nurse experts. Nurses who are certified through the portfolio assessment method are regarded as experts in their specialties and are considered to be among the highest qualified nurses in the world. These credentials foster both professional growth and job satisfaction, while demonstrating a nurse's commitment to providing excellent care. For more information, including eligibility requirements, and to apply online, visit ANCC.
Who can use the SANE-A® or SANE-P® designation? Who can use the AFN-BC designation?
Only nurses who have achieved a passing score on the SANE-A® or SANE-P® examination may use those designations. Only nurses who have successfully completed the portfolio review process may use the AFN-BC designation.
How do I list my credentials if I am certified as a SANE-A®, a SANE-P®, or an AFN-BC?
A nurse who holds both SANE-A® and SANE-P® certifications should designate each certification separately after his or her name. Example: Jane Smith, RN, CFN, SANE-A, SANE-P, AFN-BC.
How do I become certified as a SANE-A® and/or SANE-P®?
To become certified as a SANE-A® and/or SANE-P®, you must meet the eligibility requirements and successfully complete the certification examination. The current SANE Certification Examination Handbook is available for download.
How should I study?
Visit our "Study for the Exam" webpage for ideas.
How often are the examinations offered?
The examinations are offered in multiple locations two times a year (in April and September).
What happens once I apply to take the examination?
Once the Association reviews your application to verify that you have met the eligibility criteria, you will receive an email from our testing vendor, Castle Worldwide, approximately one month before the start of the testing window. The email will include instructions on scheduling your examination. For additional information, please consult the current SANE Certification Examination Handbook.
What if IAFN needs more information than is included on my application?
IAFN will contact you if your application requires clarification or additional information.
I attended a SANE training course offered by an accredited school of nursing. How do the course credits translate into contact hours to meet the minimum of 40 contact hours for a SANE training course?
1 academic semester hour = 15 contact hours
1 academic quarter hour =12.5 contact hours
How is the test scored?
Download our testing vendor's FAQs on Exam Scores.
What is a performance--or criterion referenced--standard?
Download our testing vendor's handout on Performance Standards and the Standard Setting Process.
Where do I find information about certification renewal?
You can find the most comprehensive information about SANE certification renewal in the current Certification Renewal Handbook (including a PDF application).
How many education hours do I need to renew my SANE certification?
You need 45 contact hours to renew. A minimum of 30 of those hours must be in Category A, and at least 6 hours of those hours must be granted from an approved/accredited nursing continuing education provider (unless the applicant is outside the United States).
What is an approved/accredited nursing continuing education provider?
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and many state nursing organizations are approved providers of continuing nursing education. Information about the organization providing the continuing education credits should be listed in the course brochure.
Can all my continuing education hours for the SANE renewal be in Category A?
Yes--as long as the educational activities you completed are relevant to the SANE test content outline for which you are seeking renewal.
I attended a SANE training course again. Can I use all the credits I received toward my certification renewal?
No. Because SANE training is considered basic preparation rather than continuing education, you may apply one-quarter (25%) of the credits you received for the training toward your certification renewal. For example, if the course was awarded 40 hours, you can use 10 hours toward your certification renewal.
Can all my continuing education hours be in Category B?
No. The maximum number of hours in Category B is 15 hours.
I attended a class sponsored by our local coalition against sexual assault and received a certificate of completion for 3 hours. Can I apply those hours toward my certification renewal?
Yes. You can apply the 3 hours. However, because these 3 hours are non-nursing continuing education hours, they cannot count toward the 6 hours of Category A that must be received from an approved/accredited nursing continuing education provider.
I attended the Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) course. Can I use those CE credits toward my renewal?
No. Although this course may be required for your job, the content does not relate to the SANE test content outlines and cannot be used toward your SANE certification renewal. The Certification Renewal Handbook contains a nonexhaustive list of courses that do not apply for renewal purposes.
What is included in Category A?
Category A includes: attendance at workshops, seminars, conferences, and conventions, such as contact hours given for completing an online continuing education course.
What is included in Category B?
Category B includes: attending or teaching SANE-related academic classes, publishing SANE-related content, giving SANE-related professional presentations or SANE poster preparation/presentations, and precepting new SANE nurses.
What is meant by an "academic class"?
An academic class is one offered by an accredited educational institution that addresses the areas of SANE nursing and healthcare.
I took a 3-credit class in forensic biology at my local community college and received a grade of "D." Can I apply this course in Category B for my renewal?
No. You must achieve a grade of “C” or better to use the course for certification renewal.
What are the guidelines to calculate how academic courses apply toward my renewal?
1 academic semester hour = 15 hours toward renewal
1 academic quarter hour = 12.5 hours toward renewal
What is considered a professional publication?
The content must be published in a recognized professional journal or newsletter, or by a recognized publishing house, and must be related to SANE nursing.
What kind of publication format may be considered?
The format may be a book, book chapter, article, or research paper.
How do I calculate the number of hours granted for a publication?
Authorship or co-authorship of a book = 15 hours toward renewal
Book chapter, article, or research paper = 5 hours toward renewal
If I give a presentation, can it count toward my SANE renewal?
Yes--as long as the presentation content is about SANE nursing. Each presentation is counted once during a renewal cycle. For example, if you give the same presentation twice during the renewal cycle, the hours may be counted only once on your Continuing Education Log.
I am giving a presentation about our SANE program to the Kiwanis club next week. Can I use this under Category B?
Yes. This type of presentation may be counted in Category B.
How do I calculate the number of hours granted for giving a presentation?
The presentation must be a minimum of 60 minutes in length.
60 minutes of presentation time = 3 hours toward renewal
If I am giving a 3-hour lecture on evidence collection techniques, how many hours apply toward my renewal?
You will receive 3 hours toward renewal for each 60 minutes of presentation (e.g., 180-minute presentation = 9 hours toward renewal).
What do I need to save from a class I taught to use that activity for my certification renewal?
Save the syllabus, course outline, handouts, or other course materials in the event your application is selected for audit.
I plan to present a poster at the International Conference. Can I use this for my certification renewal?
Yes. Poster presentations can be used in Category B. Poster presentations at national or regional meetings are given credit as follows:
Poster development = 1 hour toward renewal
Poster development and presentation = 3 hours toward renewal
If a poster presentation is given more than once, credit is limited to 1 presentation during the renewal period.
How do I count my preceptorship hours?
The hours must be logged by date, time, name of SANE supervisor, and a general description of the activity for each time period. The guidelines for preceptorship are: 45 hours as a preceptor = 5 hours toward renewal
To receive credit for precepting, you must have acted as a preceptor for at least 45 hours during the renewal period, but you may accrue those hours by precepting multiple individuals.
When I apply for renewal, what records do I need to save for possible audit?
Any certificates of completion for continuing education activities (including the name of the participant, the dates of the course, the length of the activity, the title of the course, and contact hours provided, if appropriate).
A grade report or transcript (if you are using academic course credit).
If you author a book: a copy of the title page, the number of pages, and the table of contents. If you author a chapter: a copy of the title page and the table of contents with the chapter name and author. If you publish a journal article: the table of contents with the title and author.
If you present a poster: the meeting syllabus, or the table of contents listing the presenter and the title of the poster.
If you taught a class: the syllabus, course outlines, handouts, and other course materials. Preceptorship hours require documentation by log as noted in the previous question.
If I took my SANE certification examination in April, can I apply toward my certification renewal the contact hours from the SANE review course I attended before I took the test?
No. The hours for certification renewal can only be accrued after the test date.
I plan to attend IAFN's next annual International Conference. Can I use the hours from the Conference toward my renewal?
Yes! You must complete all required continuing education activities by November 1. The International Conference typically is held in October, so the continuing education sessions can be completed prior to submitting the certification renewal application in the same year. All continuing nursing education contact hours accrued after November 1 of the year your certification expires are eligible to apply toward your next renewal cycle.
I lack sufficient hours to renew my certification using this option. What can I do?
You can renew your certification by using the renewal by examination option.
My Association membership expired. Can I still renew my SANE certification?
Yes. You do not need to be a member of the Association to renew your certification, but members enjoy discounted application fees for certification renewal.
Where do I send my renewal application?
If you are renewing by contact hours, apply online. Otherwise, send your completed application and fee by
email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
mail to: SANE Certification Renewal/Audit Committee c/o the International Association of Forensic Nurses 6755 Business Parkway, Suite 303, Elkridge, MD 21075
Phone: 410-626-7805 Email: email@example.com
If you are renewing by examination, complete the examination application online or the application that is included in the SANE Certification Examination Handbook.
When should I submit my renewal application?
Submit your application no later than November 1 of the year in which your certification expires. Renewal notifications are sent by December 31. Please retain a copy of all records, including a copy of your completed renewal application.
When I apply for renewal, should I submit documentation for all the classes I attended?
No. You will be asked to provide these materials only if your application is selected for random audit. You will be notified in writing if your application is selected for audit.
What documents do I submit for my SANE renewal?
Submit the following documents for your renewal:
Category A Continuing Education verification log listed in chronological order, typed legibly
Category B Continuing Education verification log listed in chronological order, typed legibly
Appropriate certification renewal fee(s)
What are the reasons that my certification renewal might be denied?
Certification renewal may be denied or revoked for any of the following reasons:
Falsification of the application or any other information requested by the Association/CFNC
Failure to meet or complete the requirements (e.g., insufficient amount and/or type of continuing education hours if renewing by contact hours; failure to achieve a passing score on the certification exam if renewing by retesting)
Any restrictions on the general or RN licensure, such as revocation, suspension, probation, or other sanctions by a nursing authority
Misrepresentation of the SANE certification status
Cheating on the certification examination
Failure to apply by the deadline
Failure to submit requested documentation if the application is audited
How often is certification renewal required?
Renewal of certification is required every three (3) years.