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CNS-CP Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to apply for the CNS-CP exam, candidates must meet three requirements:

Education Requirement

Candidate must meet one of the two requirements:

  1. Graduated from an accredited (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)) graduate, post-master’s certificate, or postgraduate program in nursing (Master’s or higher) which has prepared the applicant for the CNS role. The program must contain both didactic (pharmacology, pathophysiology, and physical assessment) and clinical components, OR 
  2. Masters in Nursing along with documentation of serving in an advanced practice role may be accepted in lieu of advanced core courses (pharmacology, pathophysiology, and physical assessment) and 500 hours of supervised clinical hours.

Licensure Requirement

Candidate must meet one of two requirements: 

  1. Hold a current, full, unrestricted license (RN and/or APRN), OR
  2. Hold a current full, unrestricted RN license with recognition as a CNS by state board of nursing. 

Experience Requirements

Candidate must meet one of the two requirements:

  1. If enrolled in a CNS program accredited with current accreditation standards (pharmacology, pathophysiology, and physical assessment and 500 clinical hours), candidate may sit for the CNS exam upon graduation, OR
  2. If graduated from a CNS program prior to implementation of these standards, candidate must validate 2,400 hours and 2 years as a practicing CNS.

Candidates must also:

  • Have completed a minimum of (2) years and 2,400 hours of experience in perioperative nursing, with a minimum of 50% (1,200 hours) in the intraoperative setting.
  • Be currently employed as a perioperative nurse.

A candidate's national origin, race, lifestyle, religion, ethnicity, disability, marital status, gender identity, sexual orientation or age is not a factor in determining eligibility for certification or recertification.