CNOR Test Guide

The CNOR Test Summary
What: The CNOR exam certifies registered nurses in operating room nursing.
Who: Registered nurses with two years of nursing experience and 2,400 hours in operating room nursing are eligible to test.
Where: Tests are offered at Prometric Test Centers throughout the US and Canada.
When: Tests are given between July 1 and December 31, Mondays through Saturdays.
How: Tests are administered via the computer.
Type: All questions are multiple-choice.
Why: The test is a requirement for CNOR certification.
Time: Three hours and 45 minutes.
Language: English.
Preparation: CCI recommends study groups and other study guide materials.
Cost: $295 for AORN members; $375 for non-members.

By Erin Hasinger, Tests.com


The operating room certification (CNOR) is a way for nurses to demonstrate their knowledge and professional achievement for the particular skills required of operating room nursing. The certification is designed to recognize proficient operating room nurses, improving standards of patient care and nursing education and enhancing professional development.


Certification is achieved by passing the CNOR exam administered by the Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI). Registered nurses must have two years of experience and at least 2,400 hours specifically as an operating room nurse to be eligible for CNOR certification. A bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) is not required for certification.

The CNOR exam is a computer-based exam that includes 200 multiple-choice questions, 15 of which are not scored. The questions that are not scored are not revealed to test takers. Three hours and 45 minutes are given for the exam.

Exam topics include:

·         Intraoperative activities (37% of the exam)

·         Cleaning, disinfecting, packaging and sterilizing (15%)

·         Patient assessment and diagnosis (12%)

·         Expected outcomes and plan of care (10%)

·         Communication (7%)

·         Emergency situations (6%)

·         Professional accountability (6%)

·         Personnel management (5%)

·         Discharge planning (2%)

Exam candidates must apply to take the exam and pay the exam fee at that time. The exam fee is $295 for members of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and $375 for non-members. The exam application is available online at http://www.cc-institute.org/cert_cnor_appl.aspx. It may be completed online, or candidates can print and mail in a paper copy.

Once an application has been approved by CCI, the candidate will receive an Authorization to Test form in the mail from Prometric Test Centers, which will include an authorization number and instructions for scheduling the exam. Tests are hosted July 1 through December 31 at 300 Prometric Test Centers throughout the United States and Canada. Tests may be scheduled any day, Monday through Saturday, except on holidays.

The CNOR exam is offered in two test windows, each with their own deadline. To test between July 1 and September 30, applications must be received between March 1 and May 31. To test between October 1 and December 31, applications must be received between June 1 and August 31. Candidates who wish to retest may only do so in the next test window.

Scores are scaled, and candidates must score at least 620 to pass. Within four to six weeks following the exam, candidates will be notified of their score. Those who pass will be mailed their certificate at this time. Certification is valid for five years.

CCI recommends that test candidates take advantage of the many test preparation materials available, and especially recommend studying in groups. To find test prep materials for the CNOR exam, visit our CNOR Test Directory.