CPN® Exam Frequently Asked Questions

Browse the categories below and click the questions for answers. If you don't see your question here, use our search feature at the top of this page or email pncb@pncb.org for assistance.

Exam Eligibility Requirements

Is a BSN required?

How much pediatric nursing experience is needed?

I'm an LPN. Am I eligible to take the Exam?

Preparing & Studying

How can I prepare for the exam? Can you recommend a particular review course or book for study?

Benefits of Certification

What are the benefits of being a Certified Pediatric Nurse?

Recertification Requirements

Once I am a CPN®, what are the recertification requirements?

The Application Process

How do I document my clinical practice hours when applying?

Do I need to submit my transcript to the PNCB?

What is the registration process for year-round testing?

How long does it take to determine my exam eligibility?

Taking the Exam

Do I need computer knowledge to take the exam?

How long is the exam?

Will I be able to take the exam at the time and place I want or need?

How are disability-related needs and special accommodations managed?

Exam Scoring and Re-Examination

When will I receive my exam results?

Can I take the exam again if unsuccessful? If so, how soon can I apply to re-examine?

Exam Policies & Procedures

What if I am unable to take the exam once I have applied?

May I extend or have my 90-day testing period reassigned?

What if I do not show up to take the exam at my assigned date and time?

Once my exam is scheduled, may I reschedule within my 90-day testing period? How do I switch from an On-site Exam to computer-based testing with Prometric?

What circumstances would cause me to forfeit the exam fee?

Duplicate Lapel Pins & Certificates

How can I receive a duplicate CPN® lapel pin?

How can I receive a duplicate CPN® wall certificate?

Exam Eligibility Requirements

Is a BSN required?
No. Education requirements for RNs who work in a pediatric nursing specialty are a Diploma, Associate's, Baccalaureate or Master's degree in nursing.

How much pediatric nursing experience is needed?
You must provide documentation of a minimum total of 1800 hours as an RN in a pediatric nursing specialty within the past 24 months on the online application. This experience must be in U.S. or Canadian facilities. Practice hour requirements must be met at time of application. Pediatric nursing experience includes direct patient care, teaching, administration, clinical research, or consultation in pediatric nursing.

I'm an LPN. Am I eligible to take the Exam?
When we developed the Certified Pediatric Nurse Exam, we undertook an extensive role delineation study that specifically looked at the kinds of tasks RNs perform. LPN and RN roles are different and training for each is different. LPNs and RNs are also not viewed the same under state nurse practice acts. This information guided our development of this exam, and the RN license is a requirement to sit for the exam. We hope that LPNs working in pediatric settings will consider us should they become RNs in the future.

Preparing & Studying

How can I prepare for the exam? Can you recommend a particular review course or book for study?
The PNCB does not provide, endorse, or encourage specific review courses or materials, but we can suggest questions for you to consider when making your choices. Do take time to see the CPN Study Resources webpage and become familiar with the CPN Content Outline. The Study Resources webpage offers a CPN Reference List of texts for possible study. If you'd like to become familiar with the structure and presentation of the exam, our CPN Exam Prep is a learning activity that may help.

Benefits of Certification

What are the benefits of being a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN®)?
The Certified Pediatric Nurse exam provides registered nurses a special mechanism for recognition of knowledge and practice excellence in pediatric nursing. Recognition as a CPN® has fostered career growth, provided opportunities for clinical leadership and contributed to the continuing education of registered nurses. For more about the benefits of certification, click here.

Recertification Requirements

Once I am a CPN®, what are the recertification requirements?
CPNs® maintain national certification through annual required participation in the PNCB Recertification Program.

The Application Process

How do I document my clinical practice hours when applying?
Your online application will require you to attest that you've completed this requirement, which is subject to audit.

Do I need to submit my transcript to the PNCB?
No, transcripts are not needed for application.

What is the registration process for year-round testing?
Once registration is complete, the PNCB sends each candidate notification of eligibility. This email and postcard will indicate the candidate's assigned 90-day testing period and how to access specific instructions that provide details about the process of scheduling a testing date and time within the 90-day eligibility period. The candidate is responsible for scheduling, and if necessary, rescheduling and cancelling the appointment after it is made with Prometric.

How long does it take to determine my exam eligibility?
Once the PNCB receives your application, notification of eligibility will be emailed and mailed to you. Determination of eligibility will be completed within a timely manner following receipt of all required materials.

Taking the Exam

Do I need computer knowledge to take the exam?
No. Computer knowledge is not required to take a computer-based exam. Before the exam begins, a customized introductory lesson is provided that explains the procedure used to select an answer and move from question to question. This introductory lesson does not reduce your assigned testing time.

If you'd like exposure to a simulation of the computer-based testing experience, our CPN Exam Prep learning activity offers 5 contact hours and a practice test to help you become familiar with the presentation of exam questions.

How long is the exam?
The exam includes 175 multiple-choice questions. Total testing time is 3 hours.

Will I be able to take the exam at the time and place I want or need?
Probably. However, in order to obtain a desired time and place within your testing period, an appointment must be made as soon as possible. Many other groups use Prometric for testing. Waiting to make your appointment may jeopardize your scheduling needs.

How are disability-related needs and special accommodations managed?
In order to facilitate disability-related needs, we work with Prometric to arrange specific accommodations. Please call our office at 1-888-641-2767 for a "Request for Special Exam Accommodations" or click here to print a PDF version, then complete and mail it to the PNCB office.

Exam Scoring and Re-examination

When will I receive my exam results?
Preliminary exam results are received immediately after taking the exam. No results are given by phone or email. Official PNCB notification confirming your exam results are mailed approximately 2-3 weeks after the testing date.

Can I take the exam again if unsuccessful? If so, how soon can I apply to re-examine?
Unsuccessful candidates may repeat the certification exam provided they meet the PNCB's eligibility criteria at the time they apply for re-examination. Application for re-examination may be made once scores are finalized and you have received your official results in the mail. An online application form and your re-application fee are needed to reapply. No other documentation is needed.

Exam Policies & Procedures

What if I am unable to take the exam once I have applied?

May I extend or have my 90-day testing period reassigned?

What if I do not show up to take the exam at my assigned date and time?

Once my exam is scheduled, may I reschedule within my 90-day testing period? How do I switch from an on-site exam to computer-based testing with Prometric?

What circumstances would cause me to forfeit the exam fee?

For procedures and policies on any of the above, please refer to the current candidate handbook appropriate for your exam:

Computer-based Testing Handbook

Duplicate Lapel Pins & Certificates

I've lost my CPN® lapel pin. How do I get another?
Simply email pncb@pncb.org and we'll be glad to send out a free replacement.

I would like a duplicate CPN® wall certificate. Can you mail me one?
We'll be glad to send you another copy. Order a duplicate certificate>>

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