CGFNS Certification Program®

What is the CGFNS Certification Program®?

The CGFNS Certification Program® has three parts:

  1. A credentials evaluation of secondary education, nursing education, and nursing license
  2. The CGFNS Qualifying Exam®
  3. Demonstration of passing one of the accepted English language proficiency examinations

Who enrolls in the CGFNS Certification Program®?

The CGFNS Certification Program® is designed for first-level, general nurses educated outside the United States who wish to practice nursing in the United States.  A first-level, general nurse (as defined by the International Council of Nurses) may also be referred to as a registered nurse (RN) or a professional nurse.

Second-level nurses are not eligible to be licensed as registered nurses in the United States and therefore, do not meet the requirements to enroll in the CGFNS Certification Program®.

What are the benefits of the CGFNS Certification Program®?

  • The CGFNS Certification Program® is either required or accepted by approximately two-thirds of the State Boards of Nursing as a criterion for approval to take the NCLEX-RN® exam. The NCLEX-RN® exam is a requirement for licensure in the United States and Canada.
  • The CGFNS Qualifying Exam® component of the Certification Program satisfies the examination requirement of the VisaScreen®: Visa Credentials Assessment for immigration.

Certification Program Required Documents

Secondary School Information

Applicants must submit a photocopy of their secondary school diploma or external exam certificate for the highest level of secondary education they attained. Secondary school (high school) is the school attended between elementary school (primary school) and university, usually offering general, technical, vocational, or college-preparatory courses.

* This requirement is waived if the applicant completed secondary education more than 10 years ago.

License / Registration / Diploma Information

Applicants are required to have a current unrestricted license in their country of education. The license verification must be sent directly to CGFNS from the licensing body.

If that license has expired, the applicant must request that the licensing authority from which they have an active license provide verification of that license directly to CGFNS.

Note: Any relevant documents received and validated by CGFNS within the past three years may be used to satisfy these requirements.

Professional Education Information

Applicants must request their nursing school to provide CGFNS with a full academic record or transcript from each educational institution attended for the profession being evaluated. CGFNS defines a full academic transcript as a record of an applicant’s courses taken along with clock hours for the clinical hours that the applicant received for each course.

These documents must be in English or must be translated by an official registered translator. CGFNS can translate documents for an additional fee. CGFNS will not accept translations sent directly by applicants.

Passport-style photograph

All applicants are required to upload a passport-style photograph with a white or off-white background to CGFNS Connect.

The CGFNS Qualifying Exam®

Status Update on CGFNS Qualifying Exam®: We are continuing to administer the CGFNS Qualifying Exam® however, some of our exam sites may be closed due to COVID-19. Those not able to take the exam due to travel restrictions or the closure of an exam site should please contact CGFNS Support.

Choosing Your Examination Date

The CGFNS Qualifying Exam® is delivered at Kryterion testing centers during four annual one-week testing windows. The testing windows for 2021 are as follows:

  • March 8-12, 2021
  • July 12-16, 2021
  • September 13-17, 2021
  • November 8-12, 2021

Once the credentials evaluation is complete and all other requirements have been met, an Authorization to Test (ATT) notification letter is sent via email to the applicant. The ATT provides the applicant with their approved testing windows and a link to schedule their testing appointment. Applicants are only permitted to schedule one testing appointment in either the first or second testing window.

Changing Your Exam Date or Location

Applicants may change their exam date or cancel their exam appointment at least 72 hours before the scheduled exam appointment. All changes or cancellations must be completed via Webassessor.

If an applicant does not appear for their scheduled exam appointment or does not cancel at least 72 hours in advance, they will forfeit the eligibility provided through the ATT. The applicant will be required to pay a re-examination fee before they can schedule another testing appointment.

*If your test center location has been changed to read “COVID-19 Placeholder Center,” your original test center is closed due to COVID-19. Please access Webassessor to reschedule your testing appointment here.

Topic Areas included on the Qualifying Exam (Topic %):

  • Safe, Effective Care Environment (24-36%)
    • Management of care (16–22%)
    • Safety and infection control (8–14%)
  • Health Promotion and Maintenance (6–12%)
  • Psychosocial Integrity (6–12%)
  • Physiological Integrity (30-64%)
    • Basic care and comfort (6–12%)
    • Reduction of risk potential (13–19%)
    • Pharmacological and parenteral therapies (10–16%)
    • Physiological adaptation (11–17%)

Format of the Qualifying Exam

  • The CGFNS Qualifying Exam® is a computer-based examination delivered through the Kryterion testing network.
  • Each examination consists of 165 multiple-choice items (150 scored questions/15 unscored pretest questions).
  • Three hours of testing time is allotted for the exam.

Score Reporting

Approximately 10 business days after the last day of the testing window, diagnostic profile reports will be made available to applicants. The diagnostic profile report contains feedback based on the total test score and sub-scores for each of the main topic areas covered on the exam.

English Language Proficiency Requirement

CGFNS International requires evidence of English-language competency for both spoken and written English as demonstrated through passing scores on one of the accepted ELP examinations:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language, Internet-Based Test (TOEFL® iBT)
  • Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC®)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

* CGFNS does NOT currently accept the at-home versions of English Language Proficiency exams.

Exemption from the English Language Proficiency Requirement

To be exempt from taking an English language proficiency examination, applicants must meet the following requirements:

English must have been the language of instruction, including the language of the textbooks;

AND

Entry-level nursing education was completed in one of the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Canada (except Quebec, the only schools approved for exemption are: McGill University, Dawson College, Vanier College, John Abbott College, and Heritage College)
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Certification Program Certificates

CGFNS Certification Program® certificates are awarded to individuals who meet all of the requirements described above. Certificates are mailed directly to the applicant. Applicants are required to request a certification verification letter that will be sent to the licensing board to which they are applying for licensure.

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that CGFNS has their recent address on file. Copies of certificates and certification verification letters are available to all applicants at an additional cost.

FEES

CGFNS Certification Program® Frequently Asked Questions

Certification Program & Qualifying Exam

1. Applying for the Certification Program
2. Certification Program - Reprocess an Expired Order
3. English Language Requirements
4. Qualifying Exam® Schedule
5. Scheduling your CGFNS Qualifying Exam®
6. Test Centers
1. Applying for the Certification Program

The application for the CGFNS Certification Program® is online in the CGFNS Connect Portal.

On the CGFNS.org homepage, select Apply or Login to be taken to CGFNS Connect.

If you have already registered to the new CGFNS Connect Portal, select For Returning Users of the Legacy Connect Portal with a personal email address

If you have not registered to the new CGFNS Connect Portal, please select For New Users of the New Connect Portal.

Once you have created and submitted your personal profile, please select “Shopping Cart” in the upper right-hand corner for a full list of CGFNS programs and services.

2. Certification Program - Reprocess an Expired Order

1. After I submit my Certification Program order, how much time do I have to take all required exams?

You have one year to take all the required exams once you submit your order for the Certification Program. Your order will expire after 12 months if all requirements for the program have not been met.

2. What is the Certification Program Reprocess of an Expired Order?

All applicants have 12 months to become Authorized to Test (ATT). If you have not been Authorized to Test in 12 months, your Certification Program order will expire. CGFNS offers applicants the opportunity to reprocess an expired Certification Program order.

3. What if my Certification Program order expires?

If your Certification Program order expires, you can process another Certification Program order once the status listed on your account is noted as “EXPIRED.” You cannot apply for a reprocess of your expired order until your order status is officially designated as EXPIRED.

4. What are the benefits of reprocessing my expired order?

Once you reprocess an expired Certification Program order, you automatically have another year to submit all documentation required to become Authorized to Test (ATT).

5. How do I submit another Certification Program order?

You can submit another Certification Program order by following these simple steps:

  • Log in to your CGFNS Connect account and choose the option to purchase a CGFNS service.
  • At the service selection menu, choose Certification Program (CP) Reprocess Application.
  • If you are within one year of your order’s expiration date, you will be automatically prompted to order the reprocess service.

6. After I submit a new Certification Program order, how much time do I have to become Authorized to Test?

Once you submit a reprocess Certification Program order, you have one year to submit all necessary documentation to become Authorized to Test.

7. If my Certification Program order expires a second time, can I submit a second Reprocess of an Expired Order?

No. If your Certification Program order expires a second time, a new Certification Program order must be placed at full cost.

3. English Language Requirements

(NOTE: CGFNS does not accept the at-home versions of English Language Proficiency exams)

To complete the CGFNS Certification Program®, you must submit scores from one of three accepted English language proficiency examinations:

ELP ExaminationPassing ScoreProviding Scores to CGFNS
TOEFL® iBT83Please reference code number 9988 on your Certification Program application
TOEIC®725Please request the ETS test center to mail your TOEIC® Listening and Reading test results to CGFNS
IELTS6.5 (Academic Only)Please provide your Test Report Form (TRF) number on your Certification Program application form and request IELTS to have your exam scores made electronically available to CGFNS

Please pay attention to the following when considering the English language requirements for the Certification Program:

  • Scores must be from an English language exam taken within two years of the CGFNS Certification Program Qualifying Exam®.
  • You are not required to submit English language test scores in advance of taking the Qualifying Exam®. However, if you pass the Qualifying Exam®, you will not receive a Certification Program certificate until CGFNS receives your English language proficiency exam scores.
  • If you do not meet the English language proficiency requirement within two years of taking the Qualifying Exam®, you will be required to take the Qualifying Exam® again in order to receive a Certification Program certificate.

Exemption from the English Language Proficiency Requirement

To be exempt from taking an English language proficiency examination, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. English must have been your language of instruction, including the language of the textbooks; AND
  2. Your entry level nursing education was completed in one of the following countries:
    • Australia
    • Barbados
    • Canada (except Quebec, the only schools approved for exemption are: McGill University, Dawson College, Vanier College, John Abbott College, and Heritage College)
    • Ireland
    • Jamaica
    • New Zealand
    • South Africa
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • United Kingdom
    • United States

If you meet these criteria, you do not need to take an English language proficiency examination.

4. Qualifying Exam® Schedule

The CGFNS Qualifying Exam® is offered four times per year during five-day test windows. Test windows include specific dates, times, and locations for applicants to take the Qualifying Exam®. Traditionally, exam dates are in the months of March, July, September, and November.

Once you successfully complete the credentials evaluation, an Authorization to Test (ATT) email will be sent to you. You will then be provided with two test windows. You may select only one test window with a specific date, time, and location to take the Qualifying Exam®. If you choose more than one test window, your registration will be cancelled, and you will receive notification that you are required to make a single test window selection.

5. Scheduling your CGFNS Qualifying Exam®

1. What are the steps to schedule the CGFNS Qualifying Exam®?

After you have been approved to take the CGFNS Qualifying Exam®, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) email with a password and a registration link.

2. What are the required steps once I go to the CGFNS website?

Once you have entered your CGFNS ID number and password where requested, please follow these steps:

  • Select your country and/or city to determine if there are any exam centers nearby.
  • After you have located an exam center, you will be shown a calendar listing available test dates at that center.
  • Navigate to the month of the exam in which you are interested. Available test dates will be highlighted in bold. If no test dates are listed, it may be that the exam center has no vacancies or is closed during the period of the test window selected.
  • Select a date and time on the calendar for which you wish to sit for the CGFNS Qualifying Exam® and confirm your selection.

3. May I change my exam date or location once I have made a selection?

Yes. All changes must be done no later than 72 hours before the originally scheduled date and location.

4. The two test windows are not good for me. May I change them?

No. Unfortunately, you may not change the two test windows you are offered.

5. I could not go to the designated location and missed my exam. Can I get a refund?

No. If you do not show up for your scheduled exam, you are not eligible for a refund.

6. Can I reschedule a Qualifying Exam® using a fee I have already paid?

No. A fee paid for one Qualifying Exam® cannot be used for another Qualifying Exam®.

7. How do I know if a testing center is closed due to COVID-19?

Many testing centers remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A current list of closures is available through Kryterion’s website.

6. Test Centers

The CGFNS Qualifying Exam® is administered in collaboration with Kryterion, which has a global network of testing locations. To find out if there are any testing centers near you, go the Kryterion location database.

Please note: Some test centers may not be available during CGFNS Qualifying Exam® test windows.

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