• Certifications and Licenses
  • CEN - Certified Emergency Nurse

    • $370
    • Renews every 4 years
    • Current test version effective January 2022

    COURSE FORMAT

    Online
    In Person

    About

    The Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) is a national recognition to show the knowledge and expertise of nurses working in emergency care settings, such as:

    • General Emergency Room (ER)

    • Stroke Units

    • Cardiac Care

    • Burn Units

    • Trauma Departments

    The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) awards this credential by exam. 

    Approximately 41,000 nurses hold this certification. ER nursing is highly specialized. These nurses thrive in fast-paced, challenging work environments. The CEN certification tells employers, colleagues, and patients that an ER nurse has the skills and abilities to provide the highest level of urgent, life-saving care.

    Course Format

    The CEN examination is a timed (3 hour), computer-based exam consisting of 175 multiple-choice items. Only 150 items are scored. The remaining 25 are pre-test questions used to gather statistical data for future exams. They do not affect the final results. Candidates must answer 106 items correctly to pass. When the exam is updated passing scores may change. 

    BCEN conducts job analysis and Role Delineation Studies (RDS) every 4-5 years to ensure that exam content reflects the most current and relevant practice.

    In Person

    Tests are administered through PSI at test centers nationwide Monday through Friday. 

    Online

    Live Remote Proctored (LRP) exams can be scheduled virtually anytime, subject to proctor availability. This YouTube video from PSI offers a walkthrough of the LRP testing process.

    Certification

    Obtaining CEN Certification

    Prerequisites:

    Nurses must hold a current, unrestricted Registered Nurse (RN) license in the US or Canada to qualify for this exam. International nurses with a nursing certificate equivalent to RN may be eligible and must be verified through the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).

    BCEN recommends two years of work experience, but it is not required.

    Nurses who are suspended, restricted, on probation, or otherwise under disciplinary action from a nursing board are disqualified from the examination.  

    Steps to Obtaining CEN Certification:

    1. Create a BCEN account on the BCEN Account login page.

    2. Start a New Application in the BCEN portal.

    3. Apply and pay testing fees online or by mail. 

    4. Schedule the CEN exam within 90 days.

    5. Study for the CEN exam.

    6. Take the CEN exam and retrieve the results.

    Online applications with payment are processed immediately, and candidates can schedule their tests the same day they apply. Mail applications may take four weeks to process, and then an Exam Eligibility email is sent, allowing candidates to schedule the testing appointment.

    Test Fees

    • Initial Examination Fee: $370 

    • Fee for Retest: $340

    • Discounted Fee for Military: $195

    And the CEN certification is reimbursable under the MyCAA program for military spouses. Visit MyCAA for more information.

    Results

    The exam is scored electronically. Pass/Fail results are displayed on the screen immediately on completion of the exam, and results are emailed to the candidate. Official, detailed score reports are mailed from the BCEN after the exam.

    Examinees who fail must reapply, pay a retest fee, and retake the exam after a 90-day waiting period.

    Renewing CEN Certification

    Nurses must renew their CEN certification every four years by re-examination or attesting to 100 hours of Continuing Education (CE) credits. At least 50 contact hours must come from an accredited source such as BCEN Learn, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), or Emergency Nurses Association (ENA). A minimum of 75 contact hours must be specific to the nurse’s practice area.

    Renewal Fees

    • Recertification Fee: $350 

    • Discounted Renewal with ENA membership: $210

    • Discounted Fee for Military: $195

    Retired nurses can keep up their certification through the CEN Retired Designation, which costs $75 every four years.

    Other Resources

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    Frequently asked questions

    Will I receive Continuing Education (CE) credit for sitting for or passing the exam?

    No, the CEN exam does not earn CE credit.

    How difficult is the CEN exam?

    The CEN specialty exam is difficult. Nurses must correctly answer approximately 75% of the questions to pass. The pass rate for the CEN exam in 2021 was approximately 51%.