Certified Pediatric Nurse Exam

The Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) exam is a credential
offered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) that identifies the
knowledge and expertise of pediatric nurses.

Eligibility for the CPN

To sit for the CPN exam, you need to have a current,
unrestricted Registered Nurse license, and:

  • 1,800 hours of pediatric clinical experience in the past 24 months, or
  • Five years as a pediatric nurse, and 3,000 hours in pediatric nursing in the last five years with a minimum of 1,000 hours within the past 24 months.

Any hours earned in a pediatric nursing residency program
count toward the clinical requirement.

Registration, cost, and location for the CPN

Apply to sit for the CPN exam at the PNCB website. Your application includes providing the required documentation and submitting the required registration fee. The cost for the CPN exam is $255.00 for Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN) members and $300.00 for non-members. The registration fee includes a $100.00 non-refundable application fee. Payments are accepted by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and electronic check.

When your registration is approved, PNCB emails and mails
your Approval and Scheduling Notice. Print the eligibility letter you receive
and follow the directions to register for your exam. You have 90 days from the
day your application is approved to schedule your exam with a Prometric Testing
Center. The exam is delivered at over 300 locations nationwide by appointment
only. Exams are offered year-round, Monday through Friday, and Saturday
appointments may be available at some test centers.

What is on the CPN

The Certified Public Nurse exam tests your ability to apply
your knowledge and use your critical thinking skills in situations presented in
the exam. The test consists of 175 computer-delivered multiple-choice
questions. 25 of the 175 questions are not scored and are distributed
throughout the exam. You have three hours to complete the exam.

The CPN exam consists of three content areas:

  • Assessment – 38% of the exam, 57 questions

Your knowledge of physical and psychosocial
pediatric patient assessment is examined.

  • Health Promotion – 14% of the exam, 21 questions

This content area examines your ability to
identify the factors that influence health, provide guidance and education, and
refer appropriately to community resources.

  • Management – 48% of the exam, 72 questions

In the management content area, your skills,
abilities, and knowledge of acute and chronic illness, psychosocial and
behavioral development, palliative and end of life care, and professional
responsibilities are assessed.

Questions may address a specific clinical problem within a
content area, and the appropriate answers will focus on your ability to
identify and implement correct procedures and interventions.


How to prepare for Test Day

On the day of your exam, arrive 15 minutes before your
scheduled appointment time. Provide two forms of current identification, with
at least one a government-issued id with a current photograph. Leave belongings
at home or in your car. All test supplies are provided.

After you have completed the pre-test activities, you are
escorted to your testing station. You are given an opportunity to take a
15-minute computer tutorial before beginning your exam. Once your test has
begun, your time continues until you run out of time or submit your answers for
scoring. Answer all questions to the best of your ability; there is no penalty
for unanswered questions or incorrect responses.

Scoring on the CPN

At the conclusion of your exam, the test proctor provides
you unofficial pass or fail results of your exam. In two to three weeks after
the test, your official results are mailed to you. Your official score report
includes details of your performance in each content area.

You receive one point for each correct response (raw score).
Your raw score is converted to an approved scaled score, and your scaled score
becomes your official score. The scale score is on a scale of 200 (no correct
answers) to 800 (all answers correct) with 400 the required passing point.

If you need to retake the exam, you must wait until you
receive your official score report. Once it is received, you may reapply.

How Can I Prepare for the CPN Exam

Obtaining the Certified Pediatric Nurse credential can increase
your advancement opportunities, and the credential recognizes your continued
professional growth by obtaining skills and knowledge above that of a
Registered Nurse. Do not let one 175-question test waylay your career goals.

How Can I Prepare for the Pediatric Nurse 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