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 (26-38%)
    • Management of care (17–23%)
    • Safety and infection control (9–15%)
  • Health Promotion and Maintenance (6–12%)
  • Psychosocial Integrity (6–12%)
  • Physiological Integrity (38-62%)
    • Basic care and comfort (6–12%)
    • Reduction of risk potential (12–18%)
    • Pharmacological and parenteral therapies (9–15%)
    • Physiological adaptation (11–17%)

Preparing for the Qualifying Exam

CP Study Guide

  • Each approved candidate receives a copy of the CP Study Guide
  • Provides a general overview of the exam and the topics covered on the exam.
  • Includes a list of resources to review to prepare for the exam.
  • Contains sample test questions with rationales.

CGFNS Self-Assessment

  • Two examinations available for purchase
  • Exams are taken over the internet at home.
  • Applicants can select the pacing for the exam; it can be taken using the same timing as the Qualifying Exam or can be self-paced (untimed).
  • Helps candidates to become familiar with the question formats and the examination interface prior to exam day.
  • Each test form contains questions that were previously used on the Qualifying Exam.
  • Candidates receive a score report that provides performance information on each of the topic areas.
  • Performance Interpretation Guidelines are provided to assist candidates to identify relative strengths and weaknesses.

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

May I change my exam date or testing location after I have scheduled a testing appointment?
What happens if I do not cancel my testing appointment at least 72 hours in advance of my exam or if I do not appear for my scheduled testing appointment?
After evaluation, my file shows as deficient. What does this mean? What do I do now?
I didn’t pass the CP exam. What do I do now?
What do I do if I receive an email that my testing appointment has been rescheduled to a new center that is not close to my home or if my testing appointment has been rescheduled to a “COVID-19 Placeholder Center”?
What should I do if I have cannot take an examination during one of my approved testing windows due to situations beyond my control (e.g., travel restrictions, public health crises, natural disasters) that prevent me from taking the examination?
May I change my exam date or testing location after I have scheduled a testing appointment?

Applicants may change their exam date or testing location or cancel their exam appointment if changes are made at least 72 hours before the scheduled exam appointment. All changes or cancellations must be completed via Webassessor (http://www.webassessor.com/cgfns).

What happens if I do not cancel my testing appointment at least 72 hours in advance of my exam or if I do not appear for my scheduled testing appointment?

You will be required to pay the re-examination fee before you can schedule a future testing appointment.

After evaluation, my file shows as deficient. What does this mean? What do I do now?
  1. CGFNS will review your theoretical and clinical hours. If these are deemed deficient, CGFNS will email you a letter stating which subject areas may be lacking.
  2. Your evaluator will contact your university to confirm the educational hours as correct. If incorrect, they may provide the evaluator the corrected information along with explanation.
I didn’t pass the CP exam. What do I do now?

If you wish to pursue CGFNS Qualifying Exam Certification you must re-apply, please refer to the website for published dates and deadline dates for each administered examination.

What do I do if I receive an email that my testing appointment has been rescheduled to a new center that is not close to my home or if my testing appointment has been rescheduled to a “COVID-19 Placeholder Center”?

This is a generic placeholder that is used if the testing center where you have been scheduled to test is closed. Please access Webassessor to change your testing appointment to another location during your approved testing windows.

What should I do if I have cannot take an examination during one of my approved testing windows due to situations beyond my control (e.g., travel restrictions, public health crises, natural disasters) that prevent me from taking the examination?

Please submit a formal request for an exception to change your ATT to different testing windows. This request should document the specific issue that has occurred that prevents you from taking the exam during your approved testing windows.

Qualifying Exam

How many questions are on the Qualifying Exam?
Why do I have to take questions that are not included in my score?
How much time do I have to complete the Qualifying Exam?
How is the exam administered?
Can I return to questions after I answer them?
What if I need to take a break during the exam?
Will there be calculations on the exam?
How many questions are on the Qualifying Exam?

165 questions (150 scored/15 unscored)

Why do I have to take questions that are not included in my score?

All scored questions have already been reviewed for accuracy. Unscored questions are being administered to gather information to make sure that they are accurate and reliable prior to being selected as scored items on future exam forms.

How much time do I have to complete the Qualifying Exam?

The exam is three hours (180 minutes) long

How is the exam administered?

The examination is delivered via computer at Kryterion testing centers

Can I return to questions after I answer them?

No, the exam is delivered in “forward only” sequence. Applicants may not return to questions once they have responded to or skipped.

What if I need to take a break during the exam?

There are not any “built-in” breaks. If you need to take a break, you must notify the proctor. The exam clock will continue to run during your block.

Will there be calculations on the exam?

You may encounter some questions that require calculations. A calculator feature is included on the examination to assist with any calculations.

Qualifying Exam Scoring and Score Reporting

How long will it take to receive my examination results after I take the test?
What is the passing score for the Qualifying Exam?
How can my score be over 150 if there are only 150 questions on the exam?
Why does the Qualifying Exam use scaled scoring?
Can I request that my exam scores be rescored?
How long are my scores valid?
Can I take an ELP exam prior to taking the Qualifying Exam?
How much time do I have to provide passing ELP scores after passing the Qualifying Exam?
How long will it take to receive my examination results after I take the test?

Exam results are posted within 10-15 business days after the close of the testing window.

How can my score be over 150 if there are only 150 questions on the exam?

The total test score reported to examinees for the Qualifying Exam is known as a “scaled score.” A scaled score is a conversion of an examinee’s raw score on an exam to a common scale.

A raw score represents the number of questions an examinee answers correctly. The Qualifying Exam has 150 scored questions so the maximum raw score that an examinee can achieve is 150. If an examinee provides the correct response for 100 of the 150 questions, the raw score would be 100.

As mentioned above, a scaled score is a raw score that has been adjusted and converted to a consistent and standardized scale. The range of possible scaled scores on the Qualifying Exam is 0 to 800. The minimum passing scaled score for the Qualifying Exam is 410.

Why does the Qualifying Exam use scaled scoring?

The Qualifying Exam, like most certification exams, uses multiple versions or forms of the exam at the same time. The scale is used to control for slight variations from one version of the exam to the next. Using scaled scores allow for accurate comparisons between examinees and ensures that examinees who took a more difficult test are not penalized, and examinees who took a less difficult test are not given an unfair advantage. Scaled scores are an industry standard for high-stakes certification examinations.

Can I request that my exam scores be rescored?

No. All scores undergo rigorous quality control prior to score reporting to ensure that scores are computed correctly.

How long are my scores valid?

All Qualifying Exam scores are valid for 2 years.

Can I take an ELP exam prior to taking the Qualifying Exam?

Yes, scores from English Language Examinations are valid for use toward a CP certificate up to two (2) years after the date of passing.

How much time do I have to provide passing ELP scores after passing the Qualifying Exam?

Once the applicant has passed the Qualifying Exam, they have two (2) years from the date of passing to submit English scores.

CGFNS Certificate

How long is the CGFNS certificate valid?
What do I do if I do if I moved and I do not receive my CGFNS certificate?
How long is the CGFNS certificate valid?

The CGFNS certificate is valid for a lifetime

What do I do if I do if I moved and I do not receive my CGFNS certificate?

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that CGFNS has their current address on file. Additional copies of certificates are available to all applicants at an additional cost.

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