ANCC Accreditation Criteria Review: Structural Capacity 3 (SC3)

Whether you are an accredited provider such as i3 Health or you are an educational partner working with an accredited provider, it’s still important to understand the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) criteria that underlie nursing continuing professional development (NCPD) activities. This is part of a periodic series of posts looking at what each criterion means in general and what it might mean for you.

The second set of ANCC accreditation criteria focus on the structural capacity (SC) of the NCPD program. The three criteria within this section consider the commitment, accountability, and leadership of the program.

Criterion SC3 states:

How the Accredited Provider Program Director/Nurse Planner provides direction and guidance to individuals involved in planning, implementing, and evaluating CNE activities in compliance with the ANCC accreditation criteria.

It is rare for an NCPD program to work alone. Many are part of larger organizations and collaborate with other departments who are planning activities. It is the responsibility of the Accredited Provider Program Director and any Nurse Planners (NPs) in the Provider Unit (PU) to assist these outside planners with meeting the accreditation requirements.

Even if the Provider Unit is responsible for the planning process, chances are the presenter is from outside the PU. There may be a marketing team who is in charge of disseminating information about the activity or an outside expert who is serving as an independent reviewer of the materials to be presented.

Whatever the exact structure of the PU, it does not work in a vacuum. This criterion is focused on all of those roles that collaborate with the PU to make education happen.

To meet this criterion, an NCPD program must describe how they guide the individuals in these outside roles. This guidance needs to include assurance that these individuals understand the ANCC criteria and that there is a process for informing them of any updates to the criteria when they occur.

While the hierarchy of a PU requires an Accredited Provider Program Director to oversee the program as a whole, this criterion does not require the individual in that role to have a hand in the processes used to meet SC3. A PU with several Nurse Planners may delegate the direction and guidance of collaborators to the NPs.

The creation and implementation of NCPD requires a team of people. This criterion is where the program shows that they make sure everyone knows what the ANCC requires for accreditation.

Other Posts in This Series

Structural Capacity 1 (SC1)

Structural Capacity 2 (SC2)


ANCC (2021). Writing to the ANCC NCPD Accreditation Criteria Self-Learning Guide. Available at:

ANCC (2021). ANCC NCPD Accredited Provider Applicant Journey Guide. Available at:

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