CNS-CP Recertification

The certified status of a Clinical Nurse Specialist is conferred by CCI for a period of five years, at which time a CNS-CP may seek recertification. The recertification process requires a CNS-CP to choose a method of recertification, complete recertification activities during the accrual period, and meet recertification eligibility requirements.

  • Recognizes the individual Clinical Nurse Specialist who is proficient in practice.
  • Supports the development of theoretical constructs which strengthen advanced perioperative nursing practice.
  • Enhances professional development through continued learning that results in acquisition of current knowledge to expand advanced practice skill sets.

Recertification Cycle

Application Process

CNS-CP Recertification Steps


Check your eligibility (this differs from requirements for first-time certification)


Complete recertification requirements during your accrual period


Submit application, documents and pay fee


Begin next 5-year certification cycle


Recertification Eligibility Requirements

Recognizing that certificants transition into a variety of roles, and all patients benefit from the care provided by a certified nurse, CNS-CP recertification candidates must meet the following eligibility requirements at the time of application:

  • Hold an active CNS-CP credential.
  • Hold a current, unrestricted RN and/or APRN license.
  • Be currently employed as a CNS in the perioperative setting in one or more of the following areas:
    • Clinical expert in delivery of advanced perioperative care
    • Consultant (intra- and multidisciplinary)
    • Educator of nurses, other healthcare providers, patient, family, and/or community
    • Researcher



Accrual Period

Your accrual period is the time period in which you must complete recertification activities. It begins on January 1 of the year you became certified or recertified, and continues through December 31 of the fifth calendar year.

Enter your initial certification year or last recertification year in the table below to calculate your accrual period.

Calculate Your Accrual Period

My Accrual Period
Recert Year
Jan 1 of Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Dec 31 of Year 5
Recertify Jan 1 - Dec 31
Start Here

Dates populated are dependent on the accuracy of the certification or recertification year you entered. For personalized information, please contact us.

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Recertification Methods

If you will complete 1,000 hours as a CNS in the perioperative setting during your five-year recertification cycle, you may recertify by Continuing Education and Professional Activities. If you will not complete 1,000 clinical practice hours, you may recertify by Professional Portfolio.


Recertification by Continuing Education and Professional Activities

CNS With 1,000+ Perioperative Practice Hours

  • Complete 125 Professional Activity points
  • Complete your continuing education contact hour requirement based on the results of your CNS-CP exam or the self-awareness component of your Professional Portfolio
  • Complete 1000 hours as a CNS in the perioperative setting in the 5-year recertification cycle. If the number of practice hours accrued during the recertification cycle does not meet the minimum requirement, you must recertify by Professional Portfolio.
  • Practice hours may be accrued in any of the following areas:
    • clinical expert in delivery of advanced perioperative care
    • consultant (intra-and multidisciplinary)
    • education of nurses, other healthcare providers, patient, family, and/or community
    • clinical inquiry (evidence-based practice projects and/or research)

To apply for recertification by this method, complete the Recertification by Contact Hours and Activities Application with Log and submit to CCI.


Recertification by Professional Portfolio

CNS Without 1,000 Perioperative Practice Hours

The CNS-CP Professional Portfolio is a mechanism for demonstrating advanced levels of knowledge and skills in perioperative practice. The hallmark of a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in the perioperative setting is to assist in managing the care of complex surgical patients. The portfolio is therefore based on a project whose purpose is to promote quality patient outcomes.
The portfolio application process includes two steps:

  1. Submission of the CNS-CP Pre-Approval Form:
    The following documents must be submitted with the pre-approval form and approved before an applicant may begin the portfolio process:
    1. Photocopies of RN and/or APRN license(s) or a photocopy of the online verification of current licensure from the state board(s) of nursing.
    2. An original transcript showing degree conferred and all graduate-level coursework. No faxed, scanned, e-mailed, or photocopied transcripts will be accepted.
    3. Verification of CNS primary certification, if held. A physical or electronic copy is acceptable.
  2. Once approved, the applicant will be given access to an electronic storage file and instructions on how to complete and submit the professional portfolio.

To prevent your credential from lapsing, a professional portfolio must be submitted for peer review no later than November 1st of the year the credential is due to expire.

If you have questions about applying for CNS-CP certification or would like more information, please contact us.

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Emeritus Status

Retiring nurses or those moving out of the specialty may choose to preserve their credential by applying for Emeritus status or CNS-CP(E). The Emeritus credential does not expire or need to be renewed. You must currently hold the CNS-CP credential in good standing to apply for the CNS-CP Emeritus status.

Download the paper application to apply for Emeritus Status between January 1 and December 31 of your recertification year.

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Recertification Application and Fees

Recertification by Continuing Education and Professional Activities
Recertification by Professional Portfolio
CNS-CP Emeritus
CNOR Discount

CNS-CP certificants who also hold the CNOR credential receive a $50 discount on their CNS-CP recertification (excludes CNS-CP Emeritus).

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Get Prepared

Recertification Resources

CNS CP Handbook

CNS-CP Handbook

The complete guide on the CNS-CP credential including eligibility requirements.

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CCI Staff Support

CCI's nursing staff is available to answer questions about eligibility or the portfolio process.

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