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Initial Certification

“I have found that having my certification has helped me be the successful candidate for positions that I have applied for over the years.” Read what certified nurses say about the value of earning their credential.

Thank you for your interest in the CNA Certification Program and for pursuing your specialty certification credential!

To become certified for the first time (initial certification), you must apply for and pass the exam. The exam application period, however, is closed for 2019. It reopens January 9, 2020.

New exams in 2019

The first exam in gerontological nursing for licensed/registered practical nurses and the first exam in pediatric nursing for registered nurses is taking place in the November 1-15 exam window. Please note the application period for these and other exams is now closed for 2019. It reopens January 9, 2020.

Licensed/registered practical nurses: CNA membership is now available to you — visit our membership webpage for fees, benefits and instructions on how to join. Members receive a significant discount on their certification application fees.

Retiring exams in 2019

For a certification exam to be feasible there needs to be enough nurses practising in the specialty. This ensures a minimum number of exam writers annually. At this time, five certification exams – gastroenterology, neuroscience, orthopaedic, perianesthesia and rehabilitation – are considered no longer sustainable for CNA.

After much consultation with the respective nursing specialty associations, CNA has decided to retire these exams after November 2019. (Watch this video message from CEO Mike Villeneuve.)

Please note:

  • November 2019 is the last opportunity to write an exam to become certified in or renew certification in gastroenterology, neuroscience, orthopaedic, perianesthesia and rehabilitation (see important dates).
  • RNs certified in any of these five specialties will be able to maintain their credential by renewing every five years through continuous learning. Renewal by exam will no longer be offered after November 2019.

Care to Be the Best!

Join the growing network of more than 16,000 CNA-certified nurses at the leading edge of health care.

As a certified nurse you are…

  • Recognized nationally for your practice excellence and commitment to lifelong learning
  • Valued by employers, because your certification demonstrates specialized knowledge
  • Viewed as having enhanced professional credibility, because your certification shows you Care to Be the Best!

For nurses in Quebec, CNA certification is accredited by the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec. Obtaining certification can be claimed as 36 continuous learning accredited hours

Important dates — 2019 initial exam

2019 Poster [PDF, 1.2 MB]
Application window Exam window Results
Spring Exam application period closed May 1 – 15 June
Fall Exam application period closed November 1 – 15 Dec.

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