CFPN - Certified Foundational Perioperative Nurse

  • Cost $195
  • Nonrenewable




The Certified Foundational Perioperative Nurse (CFPN) certification validates that a registered nurse has met the required standards for practice during their early perioperative career period. CFPN certification is a benchmark of perioperative nursing competence and the starting point in the professional growth journey of new perioperative nurses. It’s unique because it allows nurses to validate their basic knowledge in perioperative nursing practice and provides additional, progressive elements to help them grow. The Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI) administers the CFPN certification exam.


Candidates must meet all the following requirements to be eligible for the CFPN exam:

  • Hold a current, unrestricted RN license

  • Earn a Certificate of Completion from a Perioperative Nursing Orientation program with classroom and clinical components

  • Submit application within 23 months of initial hire date in the operating room

  • Currently working as a perioperative nurse

Completion Time: Candidates have 2.5 hours to complete the CFPN exam.

Cost: $195

Course Format

Exam Format

Applicants must pass a knowledge-based exam with 120 multiple-choice questions, including 100 score questions and 20 unscored and unidentifiable pre-test questions distributed throughout the exam. Once CCI approves their exam application, candidates have a 90-day window in which to take their CFPN exam. The exam is graded pass/fail. 

CFPN certification exam content areas include:

  • Pre/postoperative Patient Assessment and Diagnosis (15%)

  • Plan of Care Development and Expected Outcome Identification (8%) 

  • Intraoperative Care:

    • Patient care and safety (25%) 

    • Management of Personnel, Services and Materials (9%) 

  • Communication and Documentation (11%)

  • Infection Prevention and Control of Environment, Instrumentation and Supplies (16%) 

  • Emergency Situations (10%) 

  • Professional Accountabilities (6%)

Test Dates

Applicants may apply for the Certified Foundational Perioperative Nurse certification exam year-round. However, they may only test once during any 90-day testing window. Candidates can take the Knowledge-Based Test 24 hours daily as long as appointments are available. CFPN certification candidates must pass the knowledge-based exam before they can begin the next step in the certification process.


Exam candidates must take the CFPN certification exam remotely via Remote Secure Proctored Examination (RSPE) at an appropriate testing location using their personal computer. PSI administers the online exam for CCI and enforces extensive check-in and security measures throughout the exam.

After applicants submit their applications and payments, they can access the schedule option in their CCI account. Click the "PSI Exam Scheduling" button to schedule online or call PSI at 855-834-8752 to schedule a remotely proctored exam.

Applicants must use a computer with a camera, microphone, and internet connection during the exam. They should review details in the CFPN candidate handbook for minimum operating system requirements.

Before the exam begins, candidates must present their photo ID and PSI may ask for a second form of identification, so be prepared. PSI doesn’t accept military identification for remote proctored exams.

Candidates receive their pass/fail results immediately after completing the online exam. They receive their official results via email from PSI within 24 hours of completing the CFPN exam. PSI scores the CFPN exam using a scaled score from 200 to 800 and candidates must achieve a total scaled score of 620 to pass the exam.


Application Process

Create a CCI account or log into an existing account. The following information is required to complete the online application:

  • Personal contact information, including address, email, home and workplace phone numbers

  • RN License Information, including RN license number and expiration date, state(s) licenses to practice

  • Perioperative work history including the date they began working in the OR, current job, and area of practice.

  • Contact information for the employer, including facility name, address, and phone number and supervisor’s name, address, phone number, and email address

  • Detailed perioperative orientation course syllabus and certificate of completion

  • Payment information

Besides passing the certification exam, CFPN candidates must complete three other components during the certification process. These additional steps include:

  • Complete a self-assessment of competency through the Perceived Perioperative Competence Scale – Revised (PPCS-R)

    • Ungraded self-assessment of 40 items regarding perioperative specific competence

    • Assessed in CCI account

  • Complete the PSI 16PF Sixth Edition survey instrument

    • Measures skills, personality traits, and leadership potential

  • Complete a reflective learning exercise

    • Create a professional development plan to guide the next 2 years of their careers and earn their next credential

    • Graded on a pass/fail basis

Within a week of finishing all four certification components, candidates receive their CFPN certification in their CCI account.


The CFPN credential doesn’t have a recertification option.  RNs can no longer use the CFPN title once their credential expires. After completing 2,400 hours of perioperative experience and holding an active CFPN credential, nurses become eligible to apply for CNOR or CNAMB at a faster pace.

Other Resources

CCI doesn’t require any specific preparation books or courses. The CFPN Candidate Handbooks contains sample questions on page 39 and CCI supplies a CFPN Study Plan. Candidates may also purchase a CFPN On-Demand Prep Course for $149.

The following are recommended references for the CFPN certification examination:

  • Guidelines for Perioperative Practice. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc; current edition.

  • Odom-Forren, J. Drain’s Perianesthesia Nursing: A Critical Care Approach. 7th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2018. 

  • Phillips N. and Hornacky A. Berry and Kohn’s Operating Room Technique. 14th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2021.

  • Rothrock JC, ed. Alexander’s Care of the Patient in Surgery. 16th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2019

Related Certifications

The CCI also offers the following certifications:

  • Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR)

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist Perioperative Certification (CNS-CP)

  • Certified Surgical Services Manager (CSSM)

  • Certified Ambulatory Surgery Nurse (CNAMB)

  • Nursing Professional Development Advanced – Board Certified (NPDA-BC)

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Frequently asked questions

How long should I study for the CFPN certification exam?

CCI recommends that CFPN certification exam candidates study for a minimum of three months.

Do I get the same test if I retake the test?

No. CCI has multiple forms of the CFPN Knowledge Based Test. 

How do I request accommodations for the CFPN exam under the Americans With Disabilities Act, ADA?

Notify CCI in writing at least 90days before your CFPN certification test date if you require accommodations eligible under the ADA. You must provide supporting documents from a healthcare provider. CCI considers each request individually.

How soon can I reschedule the CFPN certification test if I don't pass?

Each testing window lasts 90 days and you can only take the exam once during any testing window. If you fail the exam, you must wait until the next testing window begins to apply to retake the CFPN certification exam.

Is the CFPN certification exam challenging?

Any professional certification exam is difficult without proper study. However, of the 57 candidates who attempted the CFPN certification exam in the first half of 2022, 100% passed.

How long do I have to complete the Perceived Perioperative Competence Scale – Revised, 16PF Questionnaire & Competency Report, and Reflective Learning Exercise after passing the Knowledge Based Test?

You must complete all components within two years of your start date in the OR.

What other certifications does the CCI offer besides the Certified Foundational Perioperative Nurse (CFPN)?

The CCI also offers the following certifications:

  • Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR)

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist Perioperative Certification (CNS-CP)

  • Certified Surgical Services Manager (CSSM)

  • Certified Ambulatory Surgery Nurse (CNAMB)

  • Nursing Professional Development Advanced – Board Certified (NPDA-BC)

What organization administers the Certified Foundational Perioperative Nurse (CFPN)?

The Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI) administers the Certified Foundational Perioperative Nurse (CFPN).