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CNA Certification Program

“Certification really gives that extra knowledge that makes a difference in your nursing care.” Read what certified nurses say about the value of their credential.

What is certification?

CNA certification is a nationally recognized nursing specialty credential for nurses. The CNA Certification Program consists of 22 nursing practice specialties — check out the list.

To become certified, you must pass a rigorous computer-based exam. There are two exam windows annually (see important dates). Your exam preparation will be unique, depending on what you already know in your specialty. We offer many exam preparation resources, as do many nursing specialty associations.

If you become certified, your credential will be valid for a five-year term. At the end of five years, you can renew by submitting a record of continuous learning hours or rewriting the exam.

Interested in applying?

Read our important dates to learn when you can apply for and renew your specialty certification. A promotional poster is also available for download. If you’re ready to apply for or renew your certification, log in to MyCNA.ca (formerly NurseONE). Before doing so, you may want to learn more about the application process or renewal requirements.

Missed your renewal? Please contact the certification team to discuss your options.

Recently added exams

Some of our newest certifications include:

  • Medical-surgical and gerontology for licensed practical nurses and registered practical nurses
  • Gerontology as well as psychiatric and mental health for registered psychiatric nurses
  • Pediatrics for registered nurses and nurse practitioners

The CNA Certification Program consists of 22 nursing practice specialties — check out the list.

CNA members receive significant savings on their certification application fee. Visit our membership webpage for fees, benefits and instructions on how to join.

Retired 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. Five certification exams – gastroenterology, neuroscience, orthopaedic, perianesthesia and rehabilitation – were considered no longer sustainable for CNA. After much consultation with the respective nursing specialty associations, CNA decided to retire these exams effective November 2019.

Please note: Nurses certified in any of these five specialties can maintain their credential by renewing every five years through continuous learning only. Renewal by exam is no longer being offered.

Care to Be the Best

The first certification exam, offered in 1991, was in neuroscience nursing. Today, more than 16,000 nurses are CNA certified (see breakdown by specialty and province/territory).

Certified nurses are…

  • Recognized nationally for their practice excellence and commitment to lifelong learning
  • Valued by employers, because their certification demonstrates specialized knowledge and brings many benefits to organizations
  • Viewed as having enhanced professional credibility

Please note:

  • All certifications set to expire in this calendar year are due to renew.
  • Certified nurses in gastroenterology, neuroscience, orthopaedic, perianesthesia or rehabilitation can maintain their credential by renewing through continuous learning only. Renewal by exam is no longer offered.