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%)
  2. Ap​plied Clinical Pharmacology (24%)
  3. Physiology and Pathophysiology (24%)
  4. Anesthesia Equipment and Technology (18%)

CPC Examination Content Outline

The First CPC Examination

Nurse anesthetists who are initially certified prior to January 1, 2020:

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

To assist nurse anesthetists in preparing for the CPC Examination, the NBCRNA publishes a CPC Examination content outline and a list of references used to develop the CPC Examination items. In addition, sample examination questions have been developed to help familiarize nurse anesthetists with computer-administered examinations. These sample questions are  part of CPCE Practice.  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.