Policies and Procedures

A summary of CSSM Policies and Procedures is also available in the CSSM Candidate Handbook. The following policies are detailed below:

Steps to Locate the Closest Testing Center to You

  1. Visit www.prometric.com
  2. Under the “Academic, Professional, Government, Corporate” option, select “CSSM:  CCI: Competency and Credentialing Institute”
  3. In the “Get Started” box, select “Locate a Test Center”
  4. Search by state

Testing is available Monday through Saturday, except holidays, at hundreds of locations nationwide. 

Test Center and ID Requirements

You will need to arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment to complete the required admission procedures. 

You must present a current government issued photo identification that contains your SIGNATURE.
These are acceptable forms of identification:

  • Driver's license
  • Passport
  • Military ID

The name you use to register for the exam must exactly match the name on your ID. If the testing center administrator questions your identification, you may be asked for additional proof of identity. You may be denied access if the testing center administrator is not convinced you have proven your identity.

Admittance to the test center and examination does not imply that your identification is valid or that your scores will be reported.

Do not bring any study materials into the testing center such as:  study guides, reference books, or notes.  Doing so is considered misconduct, and the Testing Center Administrator may report you for misconduct.

You are not allowed to take anything into the testing room including, but not limited to, the following items:

  • Electronic devices such as cell phones, smart phones, pages and recording devices
  • Cameras
  • Backpacks or briefcases
  • Computers or computer bags,
  • Handbags, purses, or wallets
  • Digital watches
  • Books
  • Notepaper
  • Outerwear (coats, hats, sweatshirts, sweaters)
  • Food and beverages
  • Facial tissue
  • Pocket contents

Small lockers are provided for purses, wallets, keys, cell phones, pages, etc.  The lockers are not large enough to accommodate briefcases, packpacks, laptops or large purses and bags.  Do not bring large items to the testing center.  The testing center staff will not take responsibility for these items.

You will not be allowed to leave the testing room without permission at any time during the testing session.  Also, you are not allowed to leave the test center/building at anytime. If you do so, your exam will be cancelled. 


A predetermined percentage of certification and recertification applications will be randomly selected for audit.  If selected for audit, you will be notified after you have submitted your application.  However, if there is reason to believe that there has been a breach in the integrity of the certification or recertification process by an individual, CCI will also select those individuals for audit.  Applicants chosen for audit will be required to submit copies of all requested documentation.  Please note, if you are recertifying, you must clear the audit process by December 31st in order for your credential to remain active.

Certification applicants selected for audit must do nothing.  CCI will verify employment and other necessary information with your employer(s). 

Recertification applicants selected for audit must submit:

  • Copies of all certificates of attendance and educational certificates of contact hours
  • A copy of the appropriate transcript including the specific course(s) being submitted if academic credits are being used for recertification by contact hour method.  Please note, “unofficial” transcripts are acceptable.
  • A completed contact hour record form.  A printout of your CCI contact hour log is acceptable.
  • A written letter with signature from your supervisor or Human Resource Department.

If the required documents are not submitted or if the contact hours do not meet the stated criteria, candidates will be offered the opportunity to retake the CSSM exam.

Loss of certified status will result if the applicant:

  • Fails to comply with the conditions of the audit.
  • Fails to meet the specified deadlines.
  • Fails to achieve a passing score on the recertification examination.
  • Is found to have submitted altered certificates of attendance.
  • Misrepresents certification status.
  • Shows unethical behavior or behavior affecting performance.

Rescheduling or Cancelling Your Appointment

See our Rescheduling and Cancelling Page for instructions.

Appeal Policy

  • There shall be an external board of appeals available to a certificant seeking appeal of a decision made by the CCI. The board of appeals will be composed of six past members of CCI (three members and three alternates appointed annually by the CCI Governance Committee). Three members will review the appeal and make a decision. The president will designate one member as chair. Appointment of alternates will be made by CCI in the event of a conflict of interest.
  • The board of appeals will review a decision made by CCI to determine whether it is inappropriate only if (1) the decision was based on material errors of fact, or (2) CCI failed to follow published criteria, policies, and procedures. Only facts and conditions up to and including the time of the CCI's decision will be considered during appeal.
  • A written request for appeal, including supporting documentation, must be submitted by the certificant within thirty (30) days after the certificant has received CCI's decision. Notification of receipt of the request for appeal (including a scheduled appeal date) will be sent to the certificant by the chair of the board of appeals within thirty days of receipt from the staff. If a request for appeal is not received within that thirty-day period, the matter will be considered closed and the notification procedures in the appeal section, item "D" will be applicable.
  • At its discretion, the board of appeals may consider the appeal at a meeting in person, by conference telephone call, or by other means. The board of appeals will not conduct a hearing, but will limit its activities to review of the written record. The written request for appeal, supporting documentation, and information related to CCI's decision will be evaluated by the board of appeals according to the criteria and policies in effect at the time the complaint was brought.
  • The board of appeals will notify the certificant and CCI of its decision in writing within two weeks of the review meeting. The decision of the board of appeals, including a statement of the reasons for the decision, shall be reported to the individual who filed the complaint, the directors of the Competency & Credentialing Institute, and to relevant licensing boards. The organization may also make this information available to the public.
  • The decision of the board of appeals shall be final and binding. There will be no refund of any fees if certification is revoked or suspended.

Duplicate Score Report

You may order a duplicate score report directly from Prometric. The fee is $25.00, and only money orders (no checks) are acceptable.  Mail the money order (payable to Prometric) to:

      1200 Lenox Drive, Suite 100
      Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

Forfeiture of Fees

You must schedule and take the exam during the testing window you've chosen, or you'll forfeit all fees. Any of the following will result in forfeiture:

  • Failure to cancel the appointment with the testing organization within the required time.
  • Failure to appear as scheduled to take the exam.
  • Arrival at the testing organization without proper identification and a current valid RN license.
  • Failure to achieve a passing score on the exam.

In any of those circumstances, you must repeat the entire application process, including payment of application fees, to take the exam at a future date. You may test only once in each testing window.

American with Disabilities

Whenever possible, CCI is committed to providing reasonable accommodations in its examination processes to otherwise qualified individuals with physical or mental disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Pursuant to the ADA, accommodations are provided to qualified candidates with disabilities to the extent that such accommodation does not fundamentally alter the examination or cause an undue burden to the agency.

Candidates with disabilities must notify CCI in writing no later than 90 days prior to the examination testing window stating the type of accommodation needed and providing appropriate documentation of the disability. Documentation should include correspondence from a healthcare provider with first-hand knowledge of your disability that describes the nature of the disability and specific recommendations for accommodating the disability. The letter should be on that professional's letterhead stationery and include his or her title, address, phone number, and original signature.

Examples of requests for special testing accommodations that may be granted include modification of seating or other physical arrangements in the examination facility, providing for the examination to be taken in an accessible location, or providing for a reasonable extension of testing time.

Examples of requests for special testing accommodations that may be denied include modification of the content of an objective multiple-choice examination, providing for unlimited testing time, permitting a reader to paraphrase test material, or having the material translated into another language.
All accommodation determinations will be made by CCI at its discretion.

Request for Amendment

If you wish to request an amendment of a CCI policy, you must submit a written request, accompanied by supporting documentation, to CCI. Mail your request for amendment, by certified mail, to the Competency and Credentialing Institute, 2170 South Parker Road, Suite 120, Denver, CO 80231.

How to File a Complaint

  • Complaints must be submitted in writing to the organization at the following address: Competency & Credentialing Institute, 2170 South Parker Road, Suite 120, Denver, CO 80231. Only written complaints will be considered, but the organization may itself initiate complaints and investigate actions that may constitute complaints based on information obtained by the organization when a formal complaint is not filed.
  • The complaint should include the following: the name and contact information of the person initiating the complaint, a statement of the certificant's alleged misconduct, and reasons why that misconduct warrants disciplinary action. Supporting documentation, if available, should accompany the written requests.
  • If the chief executive officer determines that the complaint does not have merit, the complaint will be dismissed and the complainant so notified. If the organization's chief executive office determines that the complaint has merit, the certificant accused of misconduct will be notified that a complaint has been filed against him or her.  The notice will include the basic facts of the complaint, identify the alleged violation, provide a copy of the procedures, and request any specific information that should be provided. In addition, the notice should state (1) that the certificant may submit a written response and supporting documentation within thirty (30) days of receiving the notification by the organization, and (2) that the certificant may request the opportunity to appear in person or by teleconference before the organization's board of directors (CCI).  The written notification will include the date of an upcoming CCI meeting at which the complaint will be considered.

Disciplinary Procedures

Certificants are required to continue to meet all applicable legal, ethical, and policy requirements of CCI during the time that they hold the CSSM. Disciplinary action, including sanctions of public or private reprimand, censure, or suspensions or revocation of certification, may be taken by CCI for failing to meet or otherwise violating these requirements. In addition, in the course of applying for certification or recertification, certificants are made aware of the bases for which certification can be revoked or other disciplinary action taken. Grounds for revocation or other disciplinary action include:

  • Falsification of information on the certification or recertification application, or in other submissions to CCI
  • Revocation of current RN license by a state board of nursing
  • Suspension of current RN license suspended by a state board of nursing
  • Imposition of probation or other disciplinary action by a state board of nursing.
  • Commission of a breach of the confidentiality agreement signed at the time the examination was taken (i.e., via public or printed communication, Internet, etc.) or breach of security in connection with a CCI examination, including cheating, failure to follow test center instructions, or violation of any examination policy.
  • Misuse of or misrepresentation with respect to the CSSM credential. (Note that any misuse or misrepresentation of the CSSM credentials by those not currently holding the credentials shall be subject to legal action by CCI separate from these procedures).
  • Commission of a crime or gross negligence in the practice of nursing.
  • Violation of any CCI policy or procedure.

Investigation and Decisions

  • CCI staff members will be assigned to investigate the complaint and may seek additional information. If the response to the notification is considered satisfactory by CCI staff members, the matter will be considered closed and the certificant and complainant will be so notified. General information will also be provided to CCI board members. If the response is not considered satisfactory at the CCI staff level, the matter will be forwarded to CCI for consideration and notification provided to the certificant and complainant.
  • CCI will consider the matter at regularly scheduled meetings. Review of the matter will not be a trial-type proceeding; instead, CCI will review the written record, and the certificant alleged to have failed to meet or otherwise violated CCI requirements will have an opportunity to appear in person or by telephone to make a presentation and allow CCI to ask questions. If the certificant wishes to include counsel at this appearance, a request must be made to, and approved by, CCI in advance. CCI will then deliberate and issue a decision and determine what disciplinary action, if any, is required.
  • Written notification stating the CCI's decision will be sent to the certificant within thirty (30) days following the meeting at which the complaint was heard. Notice will also be sent to the individual who initiated the complaint.

Revocation of Credential

Grounds for revocation or other disciplinary action by CCI include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Certificant has provided falsified information on the certification or recertification application.
  2. Certificant’s current RN license has been revoked by a state board of nursing.
  3. Certificant’s current RN license has been suspended by a state board of nursing.
  4. Certificant has been placed on probation by a state board of nursing.
  5. Certificant has breached the confidentiality agreement signed at the time the examination was taken (via public or printed communication, the Internet, etc.).
  6. Certificant has outstanding debts to CCI.
  7. Commission of a breach of the confidentiality agreement signed at the time the examination was taken (i.e., via public or printed communication, Internet, etc.) or breach of security in connection with a CCI examination, including cheating, failure to follow test center instructions, or violation of any examination policy.

You cannot receive a refund if, for any reason, your CSSM status is revoked. Certified nurses will be notified by letter of CCI’s decision to revoke the CSSM status. CCI also reserves the right to notify the employer of any certificant that the credential has been revoked.


No personal belongings are permitted in the test center except for the pencils and scratch paper you have been given by the test center administrator. The computer will keep the official time. You may not eat, drink, or use tobacco in the testing room. The test center administrator is authorized to dismiss you from the test session for any of the following reasons, and to notify Prometric and CCI of the action taken:

  • Failure to follow the test center administrator’s directions
  • Creating a disturbance of any kind
  • Giving or receiving assistance of any kind
  • Using prohibited aids, such as reference materials, mechanical listening devices, and recording or photographic devices
  • Removing or attempting to remove test questions and/or responses (in any format) from the testing room
  • Removing or attempting to remove scratch paper from the test center
  • Attempting to take the test for someone else
  • Attempting to tamper with the operation of the computer
  • Leaving the testing room without permission
  • Leaving the test center/building at any time
  • Using electronic communications or recording equipment such as Palm Pilots, pagers, cellular phones, etc;
  • Using notes, books, or other aids
  • Bring any materials to the test center that may compromise the administration
  • Share information about the test and test questions with any unauthorized persons

If a proctor witnesses what may be believed to be a security breach, the exam is stopped immediately; all related materials are retained and an incident report is generated and routed to Prometric. The Prometric Security Office makes a copy of the video and reviews it for quality and to determine if there was any inappropriate action requiring follow-up with the test center personnel. The copy of the video and any related materials are forwarded to Prometric, which would then facilitate delivery to CCI.

If it is believed that an applicant or certificant violates the Misconduct Policy, breaches security or fails to follow test center directions the CCI may render sanctions against the individual that may include but not be limited to:

  • Suspension from the examination for an indefinite or specified period of time
  • At the Boards discretion, notify the State Board of Nursing, employer, insurance company, or other public health agency


Information on applications is subject to verification by authorized CCI personnel, who check each application for accuracy and reasonableness. Information gained through verification will be confidential except in instances in which the law requires disclosure of facts. Should any information on the application be found false, you will be notified and declared ineligible to continue the certification process.


CCI’s training and educational materials – in print and electronic form - are protected under federal copyright law.  No part of these publication may be reproduced, copied, modified, or transmitted in any form by any means – electronic or otherwise – without the prior written permission of CCI.  Any unauthorized use of CCI materials is strictly prohibited.  Violation of CCI’s valuable intellectual property rights may incur substantial damages, including statutory damages of up to $150,000 for a single willful violation of CCI's copyright.  CCI has attempted to ensure that all information in this publication is accurate and consistent with standards of good practice from a health and legal perspective.  However, nothing in this publication should be construed as medical or legal advice or opinion and readers should make their own independent practice decisions based on the particular circumstances and the advice of a licensed professional, as appropriate.  CCI does not make any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose and is not liable for any claims or damage resulting from use of the information in this publication.

Download the CSSM Certification Handbook