CPC Examination Structure and Purpose
The CPC Examination will assess knowledge in the four core domains of
nurse anesthesia practice. The domains and the corresponding weighted percentages on
the CPC Examination are as follows:
1. Airway Management (34%)
Clinical Pharmacology (24%)
3. Physiology and Pathophysiology (24%)
4. Anesthesia Equipment and Technology (18%)
The First CPC Examination
Nurse anesthetists who are initially certified prior to January
This first CPC examination is not a pass/fail exam, but rather a Performance Standard exam. Its purpose is simply to identify potential areas where a CRNA may need additional education. For the first CPC exam, CRNAs will maintain their certification, even if they do not meet the performance standard. Additional continuing education will be required in any area of weakness. Right now, this would be taking an additional Core Module, but the NBCRNA is considering other options as well.
The Second CPC Examination
All nurse anesthetists who currently hold the CRNA credential will need to achieve
the passing standard on the second CPC Examination by 2032/2033, depending on an
individual’s CPC cycle.
Nurse anesthetists will be allowed four attempts to achieve the passing standard on the CPC Examination prior to their 2032 or 2033 deadline. The NBCRNA does not report the results of an individual examination to the licensing boards. The NBCRNA reports the certification status at the end of the 4-year CPC cycle. A nurse anesthetist must pass the CPC Examination by the end of the appropriate CPC cycle, using up to 4 attempts, in order to remain certified.
Cost for the CPC Examination
Although it is difficult to precisely speculate about costs
that are several years away, the NBCRNA estimates that if the CPC Examination were
developed and administered today it would cost a nurse anesthetist applying for
the CPC Examination approximately $300. This equates to $37.50 per year
for the 8-year CPC Program period. This estimated CPC Examination fee covers
all NBCRNA-related costs for examination development and administration.
Preparing for the CPC Examination
assist nurse anesthetists in preparing for the CPC Examination, the CPC
Examination content outline and a list of references used to develop the CPC
Examination items will be posted on the NBCRNA website. In addition, sample
examination questions will be developed to help familiarize nurse anesthetists
with computer-administered examinations. Each nurse anesthetist is in the best
position to determine what review methods may be necessary for him or her when
preparing to sit for the CPC Examination.
What is the difference between a performance standard and
The term performance standard is used in relation to the first
CPC Examination to establish expectations that must be met for an examinee’s
performance to be appraised as satisfactory. There will be no impact on certification no matter how the CRNA performs.
The NBCRNA uses the term passing standard in relation to the second and future
CPC Examinations in order to determine the passing point for the examination.
When will I take the CPC Examination?
Nurse anesthetists will take a CPC Examination every other 4-year CPC cycle;
i.e., once every 8-year CPC Program period.
Currently certified nurse anesthetists will take the first CPC Examination
either in the 2020-2024 or 2021-2025 CPC cycle, depending on the individual’s
certification schedule. The first CPC Examination will be measured against a
Does the first CPC Examination affect my certification?
No. The score for the first CPC Examination is measured against a
performance standard for all currently certified nurse anesthetists as of
This first attempt is intended to provide feedback on the nurse anesthetist’s
relative strengths in different knowledge areas. This will not result in a loss of certification. For those areas in which the performance standard was not met, NBCRNA is currently considering options other than the current requirement, which is taking an additional CPC Core Module.
How many times may I take the first CPC Examination?
This Performance Standard exam is only taken once. It is intended only to provide feedback and
point out areas where further study may be needed. The first
CPC Examination should be completed at least six months before the end of an
individual’s CPC cycle to allow time for completion of any additional requirement(s).
What happens if a nurse anesthetist does not meet the performance standard
on the first CPC Examination?
In this case, there is no impact on the nurse anesthetist's certification, however, they will need to complete an additional requirement for each area that the performance standard was not met. For those areas in which the performance standard was not met, NBCRNA is currently considering options other than the current requirement, which is taking an additional CPC Core Module.
What if I decide not to practice or if I retire within a given CPC cycle?
The requirements completed in one CPC cycle allow the nurse anesthetist to
remain certified into the following cycle. If you do not intend to practice
beyond the current period in which you are certified, it would not be necessary
to meet any of the requirements for the next CPC cycle.
Where will I take the CPC Examination?
At this time, the NBCRNA plans to deliver the CPC Examination at a secure
testing facility; however, we continue to evaluate alternative options.
What is the cost of the CPC Examination?
Our goal is to keep the annualized cost of the CPC Program similar to current recertification costs. In today's dollars, the cost of the CPC Exam would be expected to be about $300.
How long is the CPC Examination?
The examination will consist of 150 scored items. The total time
allowed for the examination will be four hours.
Can I take the CPC Examination any time during the 4-year cycle?
Yes, you can take the CPC Examination in any year of the second 4-year
cycle. The NBCRNA has not yet determined when the CPC Examination will be
offered during each year.
Will there be review sessions for the CPC Examination? Will review courses
be awarded CEs?
The NBCRNA will make the test blueprint and practice examination tutorials
available. In compliance with our accreditation guidelines, NBCRNA will
not offer review courses. The AANA CE department or another CE approval body will determine whether
review courses offered by vendors meet the criteria for CE.
What happens if I don’t achieve the passing standard on the second CPC
Examination by 2032 or 2033?
A nurse anesthetist must pass the CPC Examination by the end of the
appropriate CPC cycle in order to remain certified. Nurse
anesthetists will be allowed four attempts to achieve the passing standard on the
CPC Examination prior to their 2032 or 2033 deadline. If a nurse anesthetist does not meet the passing standard, the mechanisms for reentry are outlined under Reentry Program.
If you can't find the answer to your question, contact us at CPC@nbcrna.com or call toll-free (855) 285-4658.
Copyright © 2016 by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). All Rights Reserved.