In addition to the FAQs below, be sure to also check out the CPC Assessment TOOLKIT for a suite of helpful resources to help you learn about and prepare for the CPC Assessment including:
• Practice exams
• Content outline
• Overview video
• Podcasts and more
CPC Assessment FAQs
Q How is the CPCA scored?
The CPCA is more like a self-assessment--it is not pass/fail and does not impact your certification. The pass/fail component was removed in February 2019.
It is designed to provide feedback on your strengths and weaknesses in different knowledge areas--similar to a self-assessment. Scores are measured against a defined performance standard to identify any areas where additional study is needed.
Q Will my performance on the CPCA affect my credential?
No, your performance on the CPCA will not affect your CRNA credential as long as you successfully complete additional targeted continuing education--a minimum of one Class A credit--in any area where the performance standard is not met. The choice of additional continuing education, as well as the number of credits (at least one), is completely up to you. If you meet the standard, no additional credits are needed (outside of the standard CPC Program requirements).
Q When do I need to take the CPCA?
You are required to take a CPCA once every eight years. You can take it in any open testing window during your second 4-year cycle. The exact date is up to you, as long as the CPCA is completed at least six months before your credential renewal deadline.
To see your personalized CPC Program Timeline, log into your portal on the NBCRNA website.
Q What is the cost?
The cost of the CPC Assessment is $295 every eight years. That's an annualized cost of $37 per year.
Q Where will I take the CPC Assessment?You have the option to take the CPC Assessment in either the comfort of your home or quiet, distraction-free place of your choosing, or at a testing center. Providing two assessment options gives you the flexibility to select the setting that works best for you to minimize travel time and time away from practice, while reducing related costs. The first testing windows will open in August and November 2021, with applications opening July 1, 2021. Detailed information on the application process will be available in early June.
However, there is no need to rush to schedule a testing time in these first windows. Multiple windows will be available in each subsequent year offering plenty of opportunities to take the CPCA.
Q What is the difference between a performance standard and passing standard?The term performance standard is used in relation to the CPC Assessment to establish expectations that must be met for an examinee’s performance to be appraised as satisfactory. The CPCA is a performance standard exam, not a pass/fail exam.
CRNAs will not lose certification regardless of CPCA performance, but will need to successfully complete additional Class A education credit in the area(s) where they did not meet the established performance standard. However, the type and amount of additional Class A (above the required 60) is up to the CRNA (minimum one Class A credit in that area/domain where the standard was not met). CRNAs who meet the standard will not need to do anything outside of the current CPC requirements.It was announced that the passing standard requirement was removed from the CPC Assessment in February 2019--no longer pass/fail.
Q How many times may I take the CPC Assessment?The CPC Assessment is more like a self-assessment and is only taken once. It is intended to provide feedback and identify any areas where brush-up may be needed. The CPC Assessment should be completed at least six months before the end of your second CPC cycle to allow time to complete any additional Class A credit that may be needed.
Q What happens if a nurse anesthetist does not meet the performance standard on the CPC Assessment?If the overall performance standard is not met, the CRNA will not lose certification regardless of CPCA performance, but the domain areas where remediation is needed will be identified. Then a minimum of one additional class A credit in each of those identified domains will need to be taken. However, the type and amount of additional Class A (above the required 60) is up to the CRNA (minimum one Class A credit in the area(s)/domain(s) where the standard was not met). CRNAs who meet the standard will not need to do anything outside of the current CPC requirements.
Q 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.
Q How long is the CPC Assessment?The assessment will consist of 150 scored items. The total time allowed for the assessment will be three hours.
Q Can I take the CPC Assessment any time during my second 4-year cycle?Yes, you can take the CPCA in any open testing window in your second 4-year CPC cycle. Remember, there is no CPC Assessment requirement in your first 4-year CPC cycle. The first windows will open in August and November of 2021, and there will be multiple windows offered each year.
Q Will there be review sessions for the CPC Assessment? Will review courses be awarded CEs?The content outline, or "blueprint," for the CPC Assessment is available on the NBCRNA website here. The NBCRNA also offers a free practice exam called the Quick20, or the option to purchase more robust practice assessments called the CPCA Practice I and II that also offer Class A credit. Find out more about these practice exams here.
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.
Q Is my certification time-limited?NBCRNA’s national accreditors (NCCA and ABSNC) and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) no longer accept the concept of “once certified, always certified.” Therefore, beginning 1/1/2020, NBCRNA certification will be time-limited. The transition from “recertification” to “continued professional certification” occurred with the 2016 launch of the CPC Program. If, for whatever reason, a certificant is not in compliance with the requirements for certification, it will result in a loss of certification. (See pages 19-20 of the CPC Program Handbook.)
The NBCRNA must comply with the requirements set forth by these organizations, which include time-limited certification. The NBCRNA is dedicated to protecting the CRNA credential and failing to comply with these regulatory authorities would threaten the value, validity and recognition of the credential in all 50 states and by all 52 boards of nursing.
Q Do I need to have completed my Class A/Class B/Core Modules to take the CPCA?No, you do not have to have completed your requirements to take the CPCA. You can take it in any open testing window of your second 4-year CPC cycle. Remember, there is no CPC Assessment requirement in your first 4-year CPC cycle, rather it is taken once every eight years in your second 4-year cycle. The first testing windows will be in August and November of 2021, with sign-up beginning in June 2021. Detailed information on the application process will be available in early June. However, there is no need to rush to schedule a testing time in these first windows. Multiple windows will be available in each subsequent year offering plenty of opportunities to take the CPCA.
Q What other resources are available to prepare for the online test taking experience?PSI has an online exam guidance page that can be found here.
Q Did you participate in the CPC Assessment pilot?
More than 1,500 CRNAs participated in the NBCRNA CPC Assessment (CPCA) beta/pilot study. For participants, this attempt counts towards the assessment component of your CPC compliance and you will not need to take the assessment again in this first 8-year CPC period. Either way, it is not a pass/fail exam. You can reach out to NBCRNA at email@example.com with any additional questions.
Certification Status FAQs
Q Is my certification lifelong or time-limited?NBCRNA’s national accreditors (NCCA and ABSNC) and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) do not accept the concept of “once certified, always certified,” but rather recognize certification as being time-limited. The NBCRNA must comply with the requirements set forth by its accreditors, which includes time-limited certification. Therefore, beginning 1/1/2020, NBCRNA certification will be time-limited.
The NBCRNA is dedicated to protecting the CRNA credential and failing to comply with these regulatory authorities would threaten the value, validity and recognition of the credential in all 50 states and by all 52 boards of nursing.
Q If I retire, can I still say I’m a CRNA?You can still proudly continue to indicate that you were a CRNA or nurse anesthetist. If you choose to retire and/or not continue your certification (CPC Program requirements), you will no longer be certified and thus cannot use the “CRNA” acronym. There is no status of "CRNA-Retired."
Practice Assessment FAQs
Q What is CPCA Practice?CPCA Practice (version I and II) is an online, interactive assessment that provides practice with the type and format of questions a CRNA would be likely to see on a Continued Professional Certification (CPC) Assessment. After successfully completing each 40-question practice assessment, you'll have access to all 80 questions in that form, for a total of 160 questions when you successfully complete CPCA Practice I and II--and you'll earn four Class A credits (two each).
Q What are CPCA Practice benefits?
CPCA Practice I and II (and the 20-question sample, Quick20) will provide you with insightful feedback. You may find it helpful to reference this information when selecting future CE topics. Each 40-question version of CPCA Practice also provides two Class A credits upon passing with an 80%. Afterward, you''ll then have access to all 80 questions. So, for CPCA Practice I and II, you could have acess to up to 160 questions.
Q What kind of questions are on CPCA Practice?
CPCA Practice includes multiple-choice questions, multi-select questions (more than one correct answer), and clinical scenario sets which have several questions related to a single case. There are no hotspot or short answer questions.
Q How much does CPCA Practice cost?CPCA Practice I & II can be purchased separately for $30, or purchased together for $50. This includes the opportunity to earn two Class A credits and gain access to all 80 questions in the question bank for each version of CPCA Practice.
Q What if I experience technical difficulties?
If you are experiencing any technical difficulties, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Technical difficulties include:
- Difficulty navigating from question to question
- Test not accepting answers (check browser - Internet Explorer not recommended; Chrome is preferred.)
- Presentation issues on mobile devices
- Page responsiveness when loading a question or page on the site (check internet connection)
Q Where do CPCA Practice questions come from?
CPCA Practice questions are not retired questions from other exams. They are specifically developed by a diverse panel of CRNAs and other content experts from a variety of practice settings. The questions they develop are exclusive to the CPCA Practice.
Q Is there Class A CE available?
Yes. You can earn two Class A CE credits for CPCA Practice by achieving an 80% score within three attempts on 40-question test sets. For each subsequent attempt after the first time, half of the questions will be new questions. If you don’t achieve an 80% score in three attempts you can self-report this activity for 1 Class B credit for every 60 minutes you were engaged in the assessment up to two Class B credits. There is no CE for the Quick20.
* Note: The program (CPCA Practice I) has been prior approved by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists for 2.00 Class A CE credits; Code Number 1038257; Expiration Date 9/30/2022. AANA designates this program as meeting the criteria for up to 0.50 CE Credits in pharmacology/therapeutics.
* Note: The program (CPCA Practice II) has been prior approved by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists for 2.00 Class A CE credits; Code Number 1040254; Expiration Date 5/31/2024.
Q Are the questions available after the CE is completed?
Yes. When you have either achieved an 80% score or used all three attempts, you will have access to all 80 questions in the test bank until the product expiration date, which for the CPCA Practice, is one year from the date of purchase.
Q What kind of feedback will I receive?
When you finish the test portion of CPCA Practice, you will receive a score report with results by domain, and the percentage correct, complete with correct answer rationales. When you have completed the CE element or the third attempt, you will have access to correct answers and rationales for all 80 questions in the question bank for one year from date of purchase.
Q Will CPCA Practice prepare me for any future CPC or other assessment?
CPCA Practice is not designed to prepare nurse anesthetists for any particular assessment. Success or failure to achieve any score is not an indication of likelihood of success or failure on a CPC or other assessment.
Q Is there a time limit once I begin my 40-question set?
No. There is no time limit once the test begins.
Q Do I have to complete the test in one sitting?
No. You may leave it and return to it later. You will have access to the test/questions for one year from the date of purchase.
Q Can I use outside resources as I take the assessment?
You may decide to refer to outside resources as needed.
Q How can I review the questions after I’ve completed the assessment?
After you either earn the CE or use up your three assessment attempts, you will have access to all the questions in the pool.
Q Why can’t I review my test question rationales and answers after I completed my test?
Per CE rules, you will either need to achieve an 80% score on your test or complete 3 attempts to view question rationales and answers.
Q Can I take CPCA Practice with my friends or colleagues?
No. It is to be done by one individual rather than a team. The CPCA Practice is the intellectual property of the NBCRNA. Unauthorized distribution of any aspect of the CPCA Practice, including without limitation, the CPCA Practice questions, answers to questions, and rationales is strictly prohibited.
Q How is my CE reported?
NBCRNA will report CE completions to the AANA on a monthly basis.
Q What happens if I don’t achieve an 80% score on the CPCA Practice in three attempts?
You will still have access to the questions for one year after purchase and can self-report this activity for 1 Class B credit for every 60 minutes you were engaged in the assessment. This would be reported for Class B credit under the Non-Prior Approved/Non-Assessed CE category.
Q What is your refund policy?
CPCA Practice is nonrefundable.
Q Do you keep my credit card information?
No. We use Stripe to process payments and no credit card information is stored.
Q I just purchased the CPCA Practice, but did not receive my receipt or access email.Please contact us at email@example.com.
Q How can I change my email or password?
In your Profile, you can:
- Change your email address
- Change your password
- Change your title, name, and your AANA number.
Q What browsers are supported by SelfStudyPLUS?
CPCA Pilot FAQs
Q What is the Continued Professional Certification Assessment (CPCA)?NOTE: The Pilot and Beta administration of the CPC Assessment (CPCA) were conducted (2019-2020).
The purpose of the CPCA is to assess and drive enhancement in the evidence-based core knowledge of CRNAs in the four core domains of nurse anesthesia practice:
• Airway Management (34%)
• Applied Clinical Pharmacology (24%)
• Physiology and Pathophysiology (24%)
• Anesthesia Equipment, Technology and Safety (18%)
The CPCA is not pass/fail, but rather a performance standard assessment. Its purpose is simply to identify potential areas where a CRNA may need additional education. CRNAs will maintain their certification, even if they do not meet the performance standard, provided that they complete additional focused continuing education in any area where the performance standard is not met. CRNAs who meet the standard will not need to do anything outside of the current CPC requirements.
Q Why should I participate? What are the benefits to me?NOTE: The Pilot and Beta administration of the CPC Assessment (CPCA) were conducted (2019-2020).
NBCRNA conducted this pilot to assure that registration and administration processes are working smoothly. By participating as pilot testers for the CPCA, you served your profession by providing feedback on how the CPCA registration and administration were functioning. In addition, you received a discounted fee for the CPCA.
Also, participants had the opportunity to take the assessment prior to its official release and so completed this requirement at the earliest opportunity. For those who met the performance standard, this attempt counted towards the assessment component of their CPC compliance. For those who did not meet the performance standard, they do not take the CPCA again (in this 8-year CPC period), but instead will need to take additional continuing education in the area(s) where improvement was indicated as being needed.
Q Will there be any compensation or honorarium for participation?NOTE: The Pilot and Beta administration of the CPC Assessment (CPCA) were conducted (2019-2020).
Participants paid a reduced CPCA fee (almost 50% off; $150 vs. $295), but did not receive compensation for travel-related expenses to take the assessment. Also, there was no honorarium for participation and this activity does not qualify for the award of any CE credits.
Q If I do agree to participate what do I have to do?NOTE: The Pilot and Beta administration of the CPC Assessment (CPCA) were conducted (2019-2020).
Participants were required to:
• submit a recent headshot photo for your file at NBCRNA.
• register for the CPCA, providing all necessary information and paying the $150 fee when the registration period opens December 2, 2019.
• take the assessment in the condition (remote or testing center) to which you were assigned.
• thoughtfully complete the survey at the end of the CPCA to assist NBCRNA in evaluating the Pilot process, and, will respond to any follow-up questions from NBCRNA.