CPC Program - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Choose a topic below to read through a list of many common questions and answers. If you have a questions that isn't listed, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q What will the costs be of the CPC Program?
The cost of the entire Continued Professional Certification (CPC) Program is expected to be similar to the traditional “recertification program” when all is taken into consideration. Continuing education (CE) credits and Core Modules will be created and priced by CE vendors, and are expected to be priced similarly to current CE credits. These are often on average $25-$30 per credit.
- Continuing Education credits - 100 are required every 4-year CPC Program cycle, broken into Class A and Class B credits:
- Class A credits (like current CEs) = 60 per 4-year cycle (avg. 15 per year, or five fewer than in the current recertification program)
- Class B - professional activities = 40 per 4-year cycle (avg. 5 per year and are often no-fee activities, or activities you are already required to do otherwise by your hospital, etc.). See Class B Table
- Core Modules - voluntary the first 4-year cycle; 4 thereafter. Priced by vendors. Because the Modules, which focus on current literature, are prior-approved and include some type of assessment, they are also considered Class A. So your Core Module credits can also count as your Class A credit requirement – a double dip. See the list of current Core Module providers
- Exam - The exam will be taken every eight years and is expected to cost around $300. The per-year average then is $37.50, or just over the cost of one CE credit per year.
- Continuing Education credits - 100 are required every 4-year CPC Program cycle, broken into Class A and Class B credits:
CPC 2-Year Check-in
Q What is the two-year check in and why is it being required?
As you have been doing in the current program, you will check in every two years -- there will be no change in the billing timing or the fee under the CPC Program. Though the continuing education periods in the CPC Program are divided into two 4-year cycles, you will check in every 2-years just as you are used to doing now. We want to be respectful of the timing that has worked for CRNAs in the past and this timing will be continued in the CPC Program.
At this two-year check in, CRNAs will still pay the same fee at the same time they currently do now. For instance, at the check in, a CRNA certifying in 2016 will:
- validate your state license
- confirm continuing practice*
- pay the $110, just as you've been doing, while also
- update your contact information, just as you do now.
- Also at that time, you will be able to review your progress towards CPC Program compliance and make plans for the next two years.
Note that verification of licensure and practice is a requirement of not only the NBCRNA, but also of a wide variety of other regulators to whom the NBCRNA must answer. These include the state boards of nursing, our accreditors (NCCA, ABSNC), and local facilities.*With the new CPC Program, CRNAs are required to engage in practice to maintain CPC Compliance, but the NBCRNA does not prescribe minimum practice hours. State boards of nursing (or their regulatory equivalent) and facility credentialing bodies determine those requirements for practitioners and establish compliance at the state and/or institutional levels. Active anesthesia practice can be in clinical, education, research, or administration. Read more on the Billing Cycle/Check
Q What if I forget or am late to do my 2-year Check-in?
The 2-year Check-in is a requirement of the CPC Program, so it is necessary in order to maintain CPC compliance. If a certificant does not complete the 2-year Check-in/comply with this policy they will incur additional fees and will be notified that they are not in CPC compliance. The timing is as follows:*
- 1-30 days post expected 2-year Check-in deadline: The certificant would need to pay the current fee, but would incur no additional financial penalty; only notification of failure to comply with policy.
- 31-60 days post expected 2-year Check-in deadline: The certificant would need to pay the current fee, plus an additional $35 fee, and certificant would be notified of failure to comply with policy.
- 61-90 days post expected 2-year Check-in deadline: The certificant would need to pay the current fee, and the additional fee increases to $75. The certificant is also notified of failure to comply with policy.
- At 91 days post expected 2-year Check-in deadline: The certificant would need to pay the current fee, and at this point, the additional fee increases to $110. The certificant is notified of failure to comply with policy and will then be ineligible for future credential renewal until compliance is re-established.
* unless the NBCRNA in its sole discretion, determines that imposition of sanctions or additional fees would be unjust in the circumstances statement.
Q Is the CPC Exam another NCE and if not, what does it entail?
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 CPC Examination content outline is available for review, and the NBCRNA will be offering practice questions.
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.
Q First Exam: Performance Standard
Taken: By 2024/2025 and is taken only once with no impact on certification, no matter how the CRNA performs on the exam.
The Performance Standard Exam simply 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. At this point, that would mean taking a Core Module in the identified area of weakness.
Q Second Exam: Passing Standard
Taken: By 2032/2033 and can be taken up to 4 times, (but must be taken prior to six-months before the end of the given 4-year cycle to allow for any needed remediation).
The Passing Standard Exam is taken in the second 4-year cycle of the second 8-year period. 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.
Q Are Core Modules required during the first 4-year CPC cycle?
No, Core Modules will be voluntary during the first 4-year CPC cycle. However, since all credits in a Core Module also count as Class A credits, so they offer an efficient educational option. During the second 4-year cycle, 4 Core Modules will be required.
Q Do credits earned through the Core Modules also count toward the Class A requirement?
Yes. Core Modules provide Class A credits, which can be applied to the Class A requirement, so they count as a Core Module requirement and a Class A requirement – a “double dip.”
Q How much does it cost to take a Core Module?
The cost is determined by the CE provider. Market competition should keep the cost of Core Modules reasonable.
Q How do I report that I have completed a Core Module?
For AANA members, the AANA will automatically report completed Class A credits earned through Core Modules to the NBCRNA. For non-members, Core module information and the Class A credits earned will be reported to the NBCRNA similar to the way CE is currently self-reported.
Q Are Core Modules a good tool to prepare for the CPC Examination?
Yes. One of the strengths of the CPC Program is that the 4 Core Modules are linked to the content outline of the CPC Examination; however, the CPC Examination may cover content not addressed in the Modules.
Q If I successfully complete the Core Modules, will I pass the CPC Examination?
The Core Modules will serve as learning tools for content on the CPC Examination; however, performance on the Core Modules may not necessarily correlate to performance on the CPC Examination.
Q Where do I find Core Modules that qualify for the CPC Program?Reference the Core Module Providers page to see a list of CE providers who offer Core Modules recognized by the NBCRNA
Q What is the format for Core Modules?
The Core Modules are available through various electronic media, but also may be offered at in-person events.
Q How long/what is the length of the Core Modules?
Core modules are developed according to an existing list of Instructional Goals, Instructional Objectives & Performance Objectives, developed by the NBCRNA. The length and number of elements vary from content domain to content domain (e.g. pharmacology, airway). Consequently, the length of time necessary to cover the educational material addressed by these instructional and performance elements varies from Core Module to Core Module, with nine performance objectives for Anesthesia Technology, 11 for Airway, 23 for Pharmacology, and 63 performance objectives for Physiology/Pathophysiology.
Class A Requirement
Q Does all assessed continuing education (CE) include a test?
All continuing education that offers Class A credit must have an assessment, but this assessment may take many forms, such as simulation demonstrations, case studies, or self-assessment. The only Class A activities that must have a “test” are the Core Modules.
Q Where do I report information about the Class A credits that I have received?
For AANA members, completed Class A credit s will automatically be reported to the NBCRNA. For non-members, the NBCRNA will establish a way for Class A credits to be reported, similar to the way CE is currently self-reported.
Q Do Class A credits cost more than other CE activities?
CE vendors will determine the cost of their CE activities. We expect the level of competition in the marketplace to keep the costs affordable.
Q Do life support courses qualify for the CPC program?
Yes, credits from life support courses that are prior approved and have an assessment can be applied to the Class A requirement. If these courses are not prior approved and/or assessed, the credits can be applied to the Class B requirement. A nurse anesthetist may report up to a total of 20 credits per 4-year cycle of initial and/or renewal life support courses. Examples of life support courses include BLS, ACLS, PALS, NALS/NRP, ATLS.
Q If I complete a CE activity that is not assessed, can I still apply it toward the CPC Program?
Yes. Credits that are earned in CE activities that do not have an assessment can be applied toward the Class B requirement.
Class B Requirement
Q How do I 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. 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.
Q How does the Class B requirement relate to clinical practice?
Class B activities strengthen the nurse anesthetist’s understanding of the healthcare environment. These added experiences provide opportunities to translate information into clinical practice and improve patient outcomes. Many activities are ones that you would already be engaged in for your licensure, hospital requirement, or other activities such as a mission trip, a conference that you sit in on, precepting students, being a member of a board or committee, taking ACLS and PALS that aren’t assessed, or hospital inservice, for example.
Q When will I start compiling Class B credits?
If you recertified in 2017/by July 31, 2017, you are now entered in the CPC Program and can begin earning Class A and Class B credits for your 2017-2021 CPC Program cycle.
Q How much do Class B activities cost?
Many of the activities that would qualify as Class B requirements are not expected to have additional cost. Many activities are ones that you would already be engaged in for your licensure, hospital requirement, or other activities such as a mission trip, a conference that you sit in on, precepting students, being a member of a board or committee, taking ACLS and PALS that aren’t assessed, or hospital inservice, for example.
Q Can I report only Class B activities that are on the NBCRNA’s Class B Activities Table?
The NBCRNA has published the activities that have been approved to qualify as Class B credit: the Class B Activities Table If you do not see an activity you believe may qualify as a Class B activity and you wish to claim it, contact the NBCRNA to discuss whether that activity can be applied to the Class B requirement at CPC@nbcrna.com.
Q Do life support courses qualify for the CPC Program?
Yes, credits from life support courses that are prior approved and have an assessment can applied to the Class A requirement. If credit is earned from courses that are not prior approved and/or not assessed, those credits can be applied to the Class B requirement. A nurse anesthetist may report up to a total of 20 credits per 4-year cycle of initial and/or renewal life support courses. Examples of life support courses include BLS, ACLS, PALS, NALS/NRP, and ATLS.
Q Can Class A activities be used to fulfill the Class B requirement?
Yes, any Class A credits that are not applied toward a nurse anesthetist’s Class A requirement can be applied to the Class B requirement. So all Class A credits above he required 60 per 4-year CPC Program cycle can be applied towards the Class B requirement (of 40).