So many of our fellow CRNAs reach out and ask “What am I supposed to do regarding Core Modules and the new CPC timeline?”. We are here for you with a simple explanation and a roadmap for your success with the CPC recertification cycle! Rather watch than read?…..there is a video presentation if you scroll down paste the explanation narrative. 🙂

Understanding the 8 year cycle is your first step to success! The 8 years is comprised of 2 (4year cycles). The second 4 year cycle starts in 2020 or 2021 depending on your recertification timeline. You can find your personalized timeline on the NBCRNA portal. 

The first 4 years of your cycle you need:
-100 CE credits
-4 Core Modules [these are not mandated for the 2020/2021 cycle end but will be required for all 4 yr cycles thereafter]

You need 4 things to re-certify at the end of the 8 year cycle [2024/2025 cycle end and every 8 years thereafter]
-100 CE credits
-4 Core Modules 
- CPC Assessment  

2-year "check ins" occur in the middle of each 4 year cycle. This is for you to "touch base" with the NBCRNA and verify (1) you still have a valid license (2) you are still practicing as a CRNA (3) you are aware of your cycle requirements. You do NOT  have to offer proof of your CE at this time, but it provides a "self check" on your educational progress. NOTE THAT YOU NO LONGER PAY RECERTIFICATION FEES AT THE 2-YEAR CHECK IN! When you renew at the end of each 4-year cycle you will submit a $250 recertification fee.

If you are a new graduate CRNA that completed your initial certification prior to 2021, you will have a 4 year "optional " period for Core modules. If you received your initial certification in 2021, you will NOT have a grace cycle. Core Modules will  be mandatory for every 4 year cycle. 


All CRNAs are well-versed at acquiring CE credits for recertification. The CPC cycle simply breaks it down into two distinct categories to assure you are receiving adequate evidence based practice content as well as earning credits for your professional activities.

Class A CreditsClass B Credits
Minimum of 60 required for each 4-year recertification cycleMinimum of 40 required for each 4-year certification cycle. Class A credits in excess of 60 will automatically count as Class B credits.
Class A credits are continuing education (CE) credits. You earn them by participating in CE courses or activities that sharpen your skills and grow your knowledge—so you can keep delivering the quality patient care you take pride in.They are activities that do at least one of the following:
Enhances knowledge of anesthesia practice
Supports patient safety
Fosters understanding of the broader health care environment
Be prior approved by an accredited organization authorized to approve continuing education. Unlike Class A credits, Class B credits do not require prior approval.
Include an assessmentDo not require an assessment
Be relevant to nurse anesthesia practice or the improvement of the delivery of anesthesia care to patientsThere are currently 20 activities that count as Class B credits. For additional ideas, credit values and details about what professional activity information needs to be collected and reported to the NBCRNA, see the Class B Credits Table (PDF). Still confused? Watch this Class B explanation video.
Class A credit examples: Online courses, Webinars,Workshops & Core ModulesClass B credit examples: Teaching, Publishing research, Morbidity and Mortality conferences, research and data collection or Mission trips. It is solely the responsibility of the individual to maintain records and log Class B hours. Click here for assistance with documentation requirements.

Core Modules

Of all the components of the CPC cycle, this seems to be the most difficult for us to adapt to. What is a core module exactly?

Core Modules are a specialized type of Class A credit designed to help you stay current in your practice. Core Modules are focused on recently emerging information and evidence-based knowledge. A requirement for every 4-year recertification period starting 2020/2021. Lets break this down a bit further for you…… how do you complete a Core Module?

First, you must find an approved Core Module provider. The list is available on the NBCRNA website under Continuing Education/CPC tab.

*for a current provider program approval list visit https://www.nbcrna.com/continued-certification/core-modules

Once you have chosen the Core Module Provider, you must purchase and complete ALL 4 core modules within your 4-year cycle. You do not have to complete all the modules with the same provider but often times pricing is better if you purchase a complete Core Module bundle rather than the individual programs.

*Word of caution to you as a consumer. Please be aware of limitations to your program access. Some providers only allow customers as little as 1 year to complete purchased modules. Be sure to find a program that realistically fits into your schedule for anticipated completion. Shop around!

How do you actually complete the Core Modules? Once you purchase the program from an approved provider you will be given access information and complete the self directed program online at your own pace. You may also see providers advertising LIVE Core module courses. While they may offer the content in person, realize that it is a REQUIREMENT for the testing to be done on their approved online platform. Also, be aware that CPC exam prep review courses ARE NOT CORE MODULES. If you are unsure of what an advertised program includes, contact the educational company to clarify exactly what is covered in the program and remember to make sure the company is an approved Core Module provider from the NBCRNA list above.

Do the core modules include tests? Yes, Core Modules include a formal assessment, such as multiple-choice questions. You receive 3 attempts to pass the assessment with a score of 80% or higher. Once you have successfully completed your core modules, verification of completion will be automatically be reported to the NBCRNA by the provider! You will also receive a certificate of completion, and remember that the corresponding Class A credits can be applied to your required 4 year cycle 100 CE minimum!

*In the unlikely event that more than 3 assessment attempts are needed, you must repurchase the program and retest per NBCRNA guidelines.

What exactly are the Core Modules about? The modules are broken down into predetermined categories with required learning objectives developed by the NBCRNA. The modules are broken down into the following topics:

  • Airway Management
  • Applied Clinical Pharmacology
  • Human Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Anesthesia Equipment and Technology

The last component of the CPC recertification requirements is…. at the end of each 8 year cycle, all CRNAs must complete a CPC Assessment exam (CPCA). Yes…. this is the test everyone is worried about! Keep reading…. its not that bad, really!

Here are the details………. the assessment exam can be taken from your home or at a testing center…. basically wherever is most convenient for you. The associated cost of the CPC Assessment is $295.

What exactly is the CPC Assessment? It is a performance standard assessment. It assesses your knowledge in the four core domains of nurse anesthesia practice:

  • Airway Management
  • Applied Clinical Pharmacology
  • Human Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Anesthesia Equipment, Technology, and Safety

It is a closed book, three-hour assessment that includes 150 questions. The CPCA is different than the National Certification Examination (NCE). The CPCA is not pass/fail and does not impact your certification

It is designed to provide feedback on your strengths and weaknesses in different knowledge areas–similar to a self-assessment. Scores are measured against a defined performance standard to identify any areas where additional study is needed. Should you perform poorly in a particular area, additional targeted continuing education will be recommended for you. As little as 1 Class A credit may be required for your recertification to be completed.

You are required to take a CPCA once every eight years. You can take it in any testing window during your second 4-year cycle. The exact date is up to you, as long as the CPCA is completed at least six months before your credential renewal deadline. This allows you time to complete any additional credits prior to your recertification deadline. The CE will be turned in the same way your initial 100 credits are turned in, using whichever method is indicated based on your AANA membership status.

How quickly do I get my CPCA results? The timing and method of delivery of the results of the CPCA is something that is yet to be determined.

For information regarding test prep/practice exam opportunities refer to the NBCRNA website. The information regarding available testing centers and/or home testing links are projected for release in August 2021. They will notify you via email when the testing windows open. If you were an individual that did the beta or pilot CPC assessment testing you may be exempt from the first 8 year cycle testing. You can verify this by logging onto the NBCRNA site, it will state that “your CPCA requirement has been met”. If you feel you should have this statement listed but do not, contact the NBCRNA for clarification. *Update: Video explanation of the exam process is available here: https://youtu.be/FS76JZd-YMc

Well, that’s the CPC cycle in a nutshell. To assist you even further, we have uploaded our most recent “CPC Roadmap Map to Success” live lecture for you to view at your leisure. Our founder, Rebecca Sullivan DNAP, CRNA breaks down each requirement element, and offers strategies for your success! You got this!

* Please be aware at the time of this live lecture, minimal information regarding the exam process and CE requirements for poor performance was available. We recommend you view the newly released exam explanation video from the NBCRNA in addition to our Roadmap to Success presentation. https://youtu.be/FS76JZd-YMc

Ready to purchase a Core Module program from us? Go to our CPC Core Module page for purchase options!

Remember that Summit Anesthesia Seminars is CRNA owned and operated. We are here to make you successful at meeting your educational goals! If you feel you need any additional guidance please contact us at CMEprograms@sascrna.com