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Renewal by Exam

There are two online application periods available:


Opening of application system delayed

This is an important notice for those planning to apply to write a certification exam or to renew their certification: the application window will not open on January 9, as previously advertised. We anticipate the window will open on January 20 or soon after. Check back here in the coming weeks for a confirmed date.

Why is the application window delayed? CNA is making several improvements to the online certification application system. We require additional time to ensure the system is running smoothly for certification applicants. CNA thanks you for your understanding.

  • January 9 – March 2 › Application window to write exam
  • May 1 – 15 › Certification exam window

FALL 2020

  • June 1 – September 10 › Application window to write exam
  • November 1 – 15 › Certification exam window

You are eligible to renew your credential by rewriting the certification exam if you:

  • Are CNA-certified
  • Are registered or licensed to practise
  • Have completed 2,925 hours of experience in your nursing practice specialty over your past five-year certification term

However, most candidates renew through continuous learning.

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 has decided to retire these exams effective November 2019.

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


If you renew by exam, you will have to pay the exam fees at application time. Note: a Pearson VUE test centre fee will be additional. Pearson VUE will email you to set up your exam date and location at one of their many writing centres across Canada. This fee is paid directly to Pearson VUE.