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Application Process

We strive to make the process of applying for CNA certification as intuitive as possible. This page contains important details about what to expect before, during and after you apply.

Before you apply

Please note that you will need the following:

  • Your registered nurse, nurse practitioner or licensed/registered practical nurse licence number
  • The name, contact information and e-mail address of your endorser (for example, a supervisor or manager)
  • If applying under Option B (experience plus specialized education), electronic proof of completion of a post-basic specialty nursing course or program
  • If applying for wound, ostomy and continence certification, electronic proof of completion of a full scope wound, ostomy and continence nursing education program recognized by NSWOCC
  • If applying for gastroenterology, neuroscience, orthopaedic, perianesthesia and rehabilitation, the fall window (June 3 – September 12) is the last opportunity for nurses to apply write these exams. Learn more about CNA’s plans to retire these five exams.
  • A credit card (MasterCard or Visa)

CNA members receive a discount on certification. The member rate is available to nurses who are members of CNA through their provincial/territorial member association or college, except for Ontario and Quebec nurses, who can join CNA independently. Please visit the membership section of the website for more information. Other discounts and financial supports are also available.

When you are ready to apply

You can apply for initial certification via CNA’s MyCNA (formerly NurseONE) portal during the two application windows (January 10 – March 1 (closed) and June 3 – September 12).

How to apply and check the status of your application

  1. Log in to MyCNA (create an account if you do not have one).
  2. Click My Certification on the left menu.
  3. Click Initial Exam Application.
  4. Complete the application.
  5. Check the status of your application and perform other functions on MyCNA by scrolling down to the My Applications section.

What happens after you apply

  1. We will contact you after you submit your application
    1. You will receive e-mails to confirm your application and payment have been received.
    2. An e-mail will be sent to your endorser asking him or her to verify your application information and confirm your hours of specialty work experience. If you need to change your endorser and his/her contact information, you can do so on MyCNA.
    3. After confirmation from your supervisor has been received, the review of your application will begin.
    4. If you meet the eligibility criteria and your application is complete, you will receive a confirmation of eligibility e-mail. The email will include a link to access all of CNA’s certification online exam prep resources.
    5. Check the status of your application and perform other functions on MyCNA.
  2. Book your exam with Pearson VUE
    Within 10 days of receiving your eligibility e-mail, you will receive an e-mail from Pearson VUE to set up your exam date and location at one of their test centres across Canada. You will have the option to book your exam by either calling Pearson VUE or creating an account on their website.
  3. Prepare for the exam
    CNA offers exam preparation resources that will guide you on how to prepare for the exam and highlight important documents to use for your preparation
    In addition, within 10 days of receiving your eligibility e-mail you will receive an e-mail from Yardstick giving you access to an online practice test for your specialty. The test offers 100 questions related to your specialty and offers the same computer-based testing (CBT) environment used by the Pearson VUE exam centres.
  4. Write the certification exam

After you write the exam

  1. We will begin marking exams after the exam window is closed.
    • Please note that the marking of the CNA certification exam is a rigorous review process to ensure each certified nurse meets our high standards. Our testing consultants at Yardstick apply statistical analysis on each exam and they review performance results to ensure that the pass mark is fair and valid. This process takes a few weeks to complete for all 23 exams.
  2. Your exam results will be mailed to you six to eight weeks after the exam window is closed and will also be posted on MyCNA.
    • If you are successful, you will receive a certification portfolio containing your official result letter, your specialty certification pin and a certification certificate.
    • If you are unsuccessful, you will receive an official result letter. It will include your Certification Examination Performance Report, which outlines your performance in each exam category for your specialty.