National Certification Examination for School Nurses (NBCSN)

The National Certification Examination is offered by the National Board for Certification of School Nurses. It is given to credential nursing students and reflects their competence and professionalism.

Who is Eligible:

In order to be eligible
to take the exam, a candidate must:

  • Submit a copy of
    their RN license:

    • The license must be from within the United States.
  • Submit either an
    academic transcript or proof of current certification that shows you have
    attained one of the following:

    • A bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing, or if you’re
      from another country, an equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in nursing, OR
    • A bachelor’s degree or higher in a health-related
      field relevant to school nursing.
    • If you have a bachelor’s that is not nursing or health
      related, you will need six additional credits for undergraduate or graduate
      courses in any combination of:

      • Health assessment
        of children and/or adults.
      • Public
        health/community health/epidemiology.
      • Management of
        primary healthcare problems of children and/or adolescents, OR
    • Current certification by NBCSN as an NCSN.
  • A candidate must
    also meet the clinical practice requirements of a minimum of 1,000 hours, three
    years prior to taking the exam.

What is the Exam Format?

4-hour, Computer-based
exam consisting of 200 multiple-choice questions.

How do I Complete the Application?

You may complete the
application on the official NBCSN website: You will be
provided with instructions on how to complete the application from there.

What is the Application Fee?

The fee for the
application is $360. You may pay via Visa, Mastercard, American Express,

How do I schedule my exam?

Once you’re approved to
take your exam, you will receive an email with your Authorization to Test
(ATT). This ATT includes all of the information you need to schedule your exam.

It’s important to note
that exam appointments are scheduled on a first come, first serve basis.

What happens if I need to reschedule my exam?

  • If you need to reschedule
    your exam, you will not be charged a fee if it is 30-days prior to your
    scheduled exam. To do this you will need to contact Prometric to reschedule.

    • If you need to withdraw from the exam entirely, you
      will be charged a $75 fee.
    • You will need to log into your NBCSN account to
      withdraw your application.
  • If you need to
    reschedule your exam, you will be charged a $50 fee payable to Prometric if it
    is between 29 and 5 days prior to your scheduled exam.

    • If you need to withdraw you will be charged a $125
      fee. Be sure to log into your NBCSN account to withdraw your application.
  • You will not be
    able to reschedule your exam if it is 5 days prior to your scheduled exam. If
    you don’t show up for the exam the fee that you paid will be forfeited.

What is the Exam Content?

  • Health Appraisal –
    26% Including, but not limited to:

    • General Physical and Psychosocial Health
    • Systems
    • Nose, Mouth, and Throat
  • Health Problems
    and Nursing Management – 27% Including, but not limited to:

    • Emergency Care
    • Communicable Diseases
    • Disaster Preparedness
  • Health
    Promotion/Disease Prevention – 20% Including, but not limited to:

    • Immunizations
    • Health Education
    • Counseling
  • Special Health
    Issues – 14% Including, but not limited to:

    • Special Health Needs
    • Legal Considerations
    • Educational/Health Management
  • Professional
    Issues – 13% Including, but not limited to:

    • Code of ethics
    • Medication
    • Legal Issues

How Should I Expect on Test Day?

On the day of the exam
plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early. You must have a signed, valid
government issued photo ID on you.

Small, simple calculators
are permitted. However, any other personal electronics are not.

When will I receive my results?

You can expect your
results in the mail approximately six to eight weeks after taking the exam.

What if I failed?

If you failed the exam
you may retake it as often as you need to as long as you pay the required fees.

How Can I Prepare for the NBCSN Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see links to both!


Last Updated: November 9, 2023