CPC Examination Overview and FAQs

CPC Examination Structure and Purpose
The CPC Examination will assess knowledge in the 4 core domains of nurse anesthesia practice. The domains and the corresponding weighted percentages on the CPC Examination are as follows: 
1. Airway Management (28%) 
2. Applied Clinical Pharmacology (28%) 
3. Physiology and Pathophysiology (28%) 
​4. Anesthesia Equipment and Technology (16%) 
 
The First CPC Examination
Nurse anesthetists who are initially certified prior to January 1, 2020
For the first CPC Examination, certificants will need to meet a performance standard. This provides nurse anesthetists with an opportunity to become familiar with the CPC Examination content outline and the electronic examination format.  Not meeting the performance standard in any core domain on the examination will not result in 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.

Individuals who currently hold the CRNA credential will take the CPC Examination one time by 2024 or 2025, depending on an individual’s CPC cycle.

The Second CPC Examination
All nurse anesthetists who currently hold the CRNA credential will need to achieve the passing standard on the CPC Examination by 2032/2033, depending on an individual’s CPC cycle.
Nurse anesthetists will be allowed 4 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 6 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 less than $40 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 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.  
 

FAQs

What is the difference between a performance standard and passing standard?
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.

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 performance standard.

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 2020.

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?
Once. The first CPC Examination 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 6 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, the nurse anesthetist will 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 4 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 4 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 © 2014 by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).
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