The Continued Professional Certification (CPC) Program replaces the former "recertification" program. It focuses on lifelong learning and was developed in response to changing accreditation requirements, changing needs within the health care environment, the increasing role of CRNAs in the health care scene, as well as technology changes.
The CPC Program is based on 8-year periods comprised of two 4-year cycles and officially went into effect on August 1, 2016. When the Program launched, more than 22,000 CRNAs had already recertified and had entered into the CPC Program, getting a head start on accumulating (Class A and Class B) credits. CRNAs newly certified in 2016 entered immediately into the CPC Program. CRNAs who recertified by July 31, 2017 are now also entered into the CPC Program.
In addition to earning Class A and Class B credits and taking optional Core Modules, the next step in the CPC Program will be the 2-year Check-in. The Check-in window will be available starting in April 2018 for those that recertified or originally certified in 2016. Find out more on the 2-year Check-In page. Additional information and resources for the CPC Program can be found throughout this CPC Program section of the website.
The CPC Program consists of 8-year periods, and each period is comprised of two 4-year cycles. Every two years CRNAs will check in through a simple, online process known as the 2-year Check-In. In addition to practice and license requirements, the program includes 4 main components:
Click to view the full CPC Program brochure below.
CPC Program Requirements
Class A Credits - Requirement: 60 per 4-year cycle.
These are most similar to the CE credits you've been accumulating in the past. Class A credits are activities that are 1) prior approved (e.g. by the AANA), 2) include an assessment of some type, and 3) are related to nurse anesthesia practice. The CE provider determines the cost of the courses they produce, but they are similar to current CE credit pricing. CE Vendors promote the courses as Class A elgible. Note: You can use "extra" Class A credits (anything over the 60 required per 4-year cycle) to meet Class B requirements.
Regarding the assessment component: The CE activity must include an assessment. An assessment can take many forms, such as multiple choice questions, simulation demonstrations, case studies, or self-assessment.
Regarding prior approval: Just like current CE activities, an appropriate approval entity, such as the AANA, evaluates the activity and provides prior approval.
Regarding the activity being directly related to anesthesia: The CE activity must be directly related to nurse anesthesia practice and the delivery of, or the improvement of, anesthesia care for patients.
Class B Credits - Requirement: 40 per 4-year cycle.
Class B credits are the most flexible component of the CPC Program. Class B credits include a wide range of professional activities that enhance knowledge of anesthesia practice, support patient safety, or foster an understanding of the health care environment. A few examples include: Grand rounds, morbidity and mortality conferences, precepting, teaching, infection prevention courses, data collection, mission trips, public education, journal reviewing, and more.
Note: Prior approval and assessment are not required for Class B activities. If you obtain more than 60 Class A credits in the 4-year cycle, they can be applied to fulfill your Class B requirment.
Watch the new CPC Class B videos!
See the Class B Table for more ideas and credit values. The relationship between hours spent and Class B values is not one-to-one, with the exception of Class A assessed CE. The Class B Activities Reference Table provides the values for Class B activities and the documentation that will be needed if audited by the NBCRNA.
How to document/track Class B credits? The NBCRNA has developed a Class B Activities Table that details what information needs to be collected and retained for Class B credits. To assist you in your record-keeping, documentation templates are provided for each type of activity on the Table. Alternately, AANA members can access an online portal to record Class B credit participation and upload all supporting documentation to evidence involvement in that Class B activity. You can submit a Class B credit through AANALearn by logging in at www.aanalearn.com. There you'll click on the tab at the top of the page, “Class B Self Reporting.” On the left hand side of the page is a menu that says “Class B Learning” and there will be a link titled “Submit new learning;" click on this link. Follow the steps and click "submit." A video tutorial of this process can be found here.
If you are not an AANA member, you will maintain your Class B credit records on your own and report them to the NBCRNA every 4 years, much like you have managed your CE credits in the past.
Core Modules - Requirement: 4 per 4-year cycle.
The Core Modules provide a means for nurse anesthetists to stay informed about current literature and evidence-based knowledge. Each module is linked with the content outline of the CPC examination and includes a formal assessment, such as multiple choice questions.
Core Modules are voluntary for the first 4-year cycle: cycles ending in 2020 or 2021. Core Module credits also cross-count as Class A credits, as they are both prior-approved and include an assessment.
Using a common set of objectives, continuing education (CE) providers will develop CE programs that address the four areas of anesthesia practice which apply to all CRNAs, regardless of practice focus: Airway Management; Applied Clinical Pharmacology; Human Physiology and Pathophysiology; and Anesthesia Equipment and Technology. The CE provider determines the length and cost of the Modules they produce. The AANA determines the Class A credit value of each Module. View the CPC Program Core Module Providers page for a list of current providers.
TIP: 60 Class A credits are required per 4-year cycle. Class A credits exceeding 60 can be applied towards the Class B requirement.
CPC Examination - Requirement: Taken every 8 years.
The first exam, the Performance Standard Exam, will be taken between 2020-2024 and will include 150 questions with a four-hour time limit. There will be no impact on certification, no matter how one performs on this exam.
The CPC Exam is NOT the National Certification Exam (NCE). We know that the knowledge required of an experienced practitioner is different from the knowledge that is required of a new practitioner. To that end, a professional practice analysis of practicing nurse anesthetists was conducted to inform the CPC examination content outline. That professional practice analysis surveyed hundreds of practicing nurse anesthetists to identify just what they did in the course of practice. The goal is to make sure that the knowledge tested is common to all CRNAs, regardless of practice focus.
The exam will assess knowledge in the four core domains of nurse anesthesia practice, which are:
- Airway Management;
- Applied Clinical Pharmacology;
- Physiology and Pathophysiology; and
- Anesthesia Equipment and Technology.
The CPC Examination content outline is available for review, and the NBCRNA will be offering practice questions.
First Exam: Performance Standard
Taken: Between 2020 - 2025 and is taken only once with no impact on certification.
The Performance Standard Exam provides an opportunity to become familiar with the CPC examination content and electronic format. It will identify areas in need of additional study without impacting your certification. Additional continuing education will be required in any area of weakness.
Currentlyonly Core Modules may be used to meet this requirement.
Second Exam: Passing Standard
Taken: Between 2028 - 2033
The Passing Standard Exam is taken in the second 4-year cycle of the second 8-year period, so taken by 2032/2033. The cost of the exam in today's dollars would be $300, which averages out to be $37.50 per year over the eight years. At this point, although the exam is up to eight years away for the first low-stakes ("Performance Standard") exam, we would anticipate the test to be taken at a testing facility. However, with the rapid pace of technology, we can certainly envision other methods or options for taking the test, taking advantage of some of those technologies.
2-year Check-In - Requirement: Every 2 years during the CPC cycle.
In the CPC Program, CRNAs will check back in every two years--the same timing as in the former "recertification" program. But this check-in will be a brief, online process. Though the continuing education periods in the CPC Program are divided into two 4-year cycles, you will check in every two years to respect the timing that has worked for CRNAs in the past.
For more information view the 2-year Check-in page.
NBCRNA Evaluating Alternatives to the CPC Exam
Credential Verification for your SBON
Visit the SBON Credential Verification page to view the steps on how to obtain credential verification for your State Board of Nursing. The credential verification request must be made after receiving the recertification confirmation of approval email from the NBCRNA.
2017 - 2021 Recertification
The 2017-2021 recertification cycle closed on July 31, 2017. Those who successfully recertified have now entered the Continued Professional Certification (CPC) Program. See below for more information.
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