Perioperative Nursing Certification:Best Approved Guide

If you’re looking to advance in your nursing career through the perioperative nursing certification, then this guide is for you. If you desire to build a nursing profession and if you yearn for the excitement of a hectic operating room, you might want to think about the Perioperative Nursing Certification to increase your abilities.

The ideal option to increase your understanding of medical procedures and patient care is to pursue perioperative nursing, also known as operating room nursing.

But obtaining certification is one approach to publicizing your expertise if you’re looking to stand out in a field filled with gifted, highly trained nursing professionals.

We’ll go through how to become an operating room nurse, the different qualifications that are offered, and how they might help your career in the future in this blog post. Read on to know more about perioperative nursing certification.

What Is CNOR?

The credentials for a certified perioperative nurse are abbreviated as CNOR. It is a specialty certification for nurses who spend the majority of their time intra-operatively while providing perioperative services.

Experienced perioperative nurses and CVOR nurses with at least two years of perioperative experience are eligible for this nationally recognized certification. More than 40,000 nurses currently possess these qualifications.

The credentials for a certified perioperative nurse are abbreviated as CNOR. It is a specialty certification for nurses who spend the majority of their time intra-operatively while providing perioperative services.

For experienced perioperative nurses with at least two years of perioperative experience, this nationally recognized credential is available.

CNOR Eligibility 

Before you can pursue your OR nurse certification, or CNOR, you’ll need to be eligible to take the CNOR exam. According to the Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI), you’ll need to have the following qualifications before taking the exam

  • To practice unrestrictedly, you must be a registered nurse or RN. Whether you graduated from a 2- or 4-year nursing program, RN status serves as the foundation for all nursing credentials.

  • You must work full- or part-time for a perioperative practice or another organization with a perioperative specialty. Your ongoing employment demonstrates both your dedication to the industry and your breadth of experience.

  • A certain minimum amount of hours must be worked in the field. 2-3 years of work experience in a perioperative setting are required for many certifications. A minimum of 2 years and 2,400 hours of experience in perioperative nursing, with a minimum of 1,200 hours in the intraoperative setting.

CNOR Exam Overview

  • 34%: Intraoperative Care
  • 16%: Infection Prevention and Control
  • 15% Perioperative Patient Assessment and Diagnosis
  • 11% Communication and Documentation
  • 10% Emergency Situations
  • 6%: Professional Accountability

It takes 3hr. 45 min. to complete the exam. 200 multiple choice questions.

Certification Opportunities

Overall, if you want to work as a certified perioperative nurse, the CNOR is the certification you need to be familiar with.

Perioperative nurses can, however, also obtain other certifications. Although they aren’t always necessary, the following certifications can help you stand out from the competition when applying for jobs as an OR nurse.

Additionally, they demonstrate that you have aced tests that assess your expertise in a particular area.

The CNOR, CRNFA, CSSM, and CNS-CP are among the various certifications offered to OR nurses. The definitions of these certification categories and the necessary skills for each are covered below.

  • CRNFA – The Certified RN First Assistant is for nurses who assist doctors and surgeons during surgery by preparing and handling surgical tools. First assistants might also perform suturing and control bleeding.

  • CSSM – The Certified Surgical Manager Credential is for nurses who specialize in management in operating room settings. These nurses might organize the flow of staff in and out of the operating room.

  • CNS-CP – The Clinical Nurse Specialist Perioperative Certification is for nurses with a master’s degree who may be interested in furthering their studies or giving themselves a competitive edge in the field. 

Scheduling Your Career

You might be keen to start your certification process right away. Though you won’t be able to start working as a perioperative nurse until after you’ve achieved certification.

You must first invest time in gaining hours and experience. You might even enroll in coursework designed specifically for operating room labor.

Therefore, be sure to start by taking into account real-world experience while arranging your timeframe.

How Long Will It Take Me to Get Certified?

After gaining sufficient job experience, the CCI advises that you schedule at least three months of study time to get ready for the exam.

It is totally up to you whether you wish to cram for three consecutive months or space out your study as your schedule allows.

It takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the 200 multiple-choice questions that make up the CNOR exam. It yields a grade of pass or fail. 1 The CCI states that in addition to testing your understanding of perioperative care, the exam will also include subjects like:

  • Plan of care
  • Patient assessment and diagnosis
  • Emergency situations 

Your operating room nursing certification is valid for five years after you receive it. You can recertify by taking the exam after five years.

Why Get Certified?

Although you already know that a CNOR or comparable certification is not required to work as a surgical nurse, there are several good reasons to obtain one:

  • Your talents and areas of expertise on your resume are highlighted by your qualifications. Since of your knowledge, employers may choose to choose you above other candidates because they can more easily recognize your skills.

  • You will be able to list your credentials following your name, demonstrating to potential clients, coworkers, and patients that you are more professional and knowledgeable.

  • Certifications can also serve as milestones in a person’s career. CNOR coursework can help you strengthen your surgical nursing skills over time and keep current in a continuously evolving sector.

  • Obtaining a certification might be the first step you need to advance your profession. You’ll not only be qualified for more specialized tasks, but you might also position yourself to succeed in obtaining a higher OR RN income.

There are various benefits to becoming certified. Above all, getting certified is a goal you can confidently pursue.

Additionally, you can do it whenever it works best for your schedule. You can take your time to develop a strategy that works for you because there isn’t a set period of time during your career when you must take a certification exam.

To advance your nursing education, learning about the exam, preparing for it, and passing it are all steps you can take at your own pace.

Discover Special Possibilities with Host Healthcare

Your next step after receiving your operating room certification for nurses is to put your newfound knowledge to use in the environment of your choice.

If you want to combine your job with travel nursing, join Host Healthcare as an OR nurse and discover fascinating regions of the nation.

At Host Healthcare, traveling surgical nurses can benefit from a competitive salary, comprehensive benefits, and hassle-free accommodation. Additionally, we’re dedicated to giving you plenty of flexibility and choice in your clinical placement, whether you choose the mountains or the sand.

To advance your perioperative nursing career from coast to coast, find out how to submit your travel nurse application right away.

A company that specializes in perioperative professional certificates for nurses is called the Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI).

The formal procedure by which a certifying organization evaluates a nurse’s knowledge, skills and abilities in a defined function and clinical area of practice is described by CCI as specialty nursing certification.

Employers and healthcare organizations honor certified nurses on March 19th each year for their commitment to seeking excellence in their field.

How to Become CNOR Certified

Prior to submitting an application for CNOR certification, three particular conditions must be satisfied.

Nurses must have an unrestricted RN license in the state where they work, be employed full- or part-time in a perioperative clinical setting (or in perioperative nursing education, administration, or research), and have at least two years of experience in the perioperative setting with more than 1,200 hours of intra-operative experience in order to be eligible.

Candidates must successfully complete a multiple-choice exam with 200 questions covering a range of OR-related topics in order to become certified perioperative nurses. The exam is broken down as follows:

  • 34% Intra-operative care

  • 16% Infection prevention and control

  • 15% Perioperative patient assessment and diagnosis

  • 11% Communication and documentation

  • 10% Emergency situations

  • 8% Plan of care

  • 6% Professional accountability

While studying for the exam is necessary, it is not a difficult process because skilled nurses frequently have firsthand knowledge of the correct response from working in operating rooms.

The test is not intended to be very challenging; rather, it intends to show that a nurse is familiar with best practices and intraoperative patient safety.

More Reasons Why You Should Seek CNOR Certification

A perioperative nurse may be interested in obtaining professional certification for a variety of reasons.

Studying for the recommended three months, buying exam preparation materials, and then passing the test requires time and work. To entice nurses to obtain certification, some facilities will pay for the test or study materials.

A Record of Excellence

The operating room (OR) is a demanding workplace that necessitates proficiency in many technical skills that are not covered in nursing school.

The following professional step is becoming a certified nurse after spending at least two years working in the operating room to learn the basics.

By spending the effort to earn this certification, nurses can achieve their individual objectives while also demonstrating a professional commitment to patient safety by maintaining high clinical standards.

Increased Pay

Nurses with CNOR will often receive better hourly compensation from facilities. The wage rise that comes with certification varies by location and facility but can range from $0.50/hour to $3/hour over the course of a year.

According to a 2018 wage survey by AORN, the professional organization for perioperative nurses, qualified nurses make an extra $1700 year on average compared to non-certified nurses.

You can take this simple action in your profession to increase your long-term earnings without putting in extra time for overtime compensation or accepting on-call assignments.

Expansion of Job Opportunities

Although certification is not a prerequisite for employment as an RN, it does help construct resumes and demonstrates a desire to further your professional development.

Passing the CNOR test increases your likelihood of becoming a valuable contributor to the hospital because it focuses on patient safety and best practices. The competitive edge that separates you from other candidates may be your certification.

Maintaining CNOR

After five years, the CNOR certification expires and must be renewed by either continuing education credits (CEs) or points accumulated while enrolled in a nursing school program (ex. BSN or MSN programs).

A minimum of 75 of the 125 continuing education credits (CEs) needed for renewal must be perioperative-specific. Prior to renewal, all CEs must be verified and posted to the CCI website.

At least 500 hours spent in a perioperative setting throughout the accrual period must have been completed in order to be eligible for renewal.

Represent Certified Perioperative Nurses 

OR nurses have the chance to be acknowledged for their dedication by their department and facilities by achieving CNOR.

The time investment required to earn certification is well worth the higher compensation and enhanced value to your resume.

It takes years of experience, a commitment to patient safety, and the desire to progress to achieve professional certification in a nursing specialty. The following prerequisites must be met before taking the test.


In conclusion, the process of earning perioperative Nursing Certifications can be routed through various kinds of certification candidates. Some of these certifications include;


The CNOR certification is now held by more than 35,000 perioperative nurses. According to research, licensed nurses are more satisfied with their jobs and more assured in their abilities.

Hospitals and institutions all over the world support the CNOR program because it makes them stand out as desirable employers and because they are aware that having a certified nursing workforce is associated with a reduction in unfavorable patient outcomes.


For perioperative leaders interested in verifying their managerial knowledge and abilities, the Certified Surgical Services Manager (CSSM) certification program is available.

The achievement of the baccalaureate-prepared manager who exhibits current competence as an administrator in the perioperative (pre-, intra-, and post-operative) situation is validated by CSSM certification.

The CSSM test is offered by CCI to recognize the crucial role managers play in overseeing employees, initiatives, and spending in order to provide safe patient care. The CSSM exam is designed to recognize the significant and unique function of surgical services managers.


For Clinical Nurse Specialists with a master’s degree, CCI provides the Clinical Nurse Specialist Perioperative Certification Exam (CNS-CP) (CNS).

The transition from initial APRN certification to specialty practice is facilitated by specialty certification.

The CNS-CP credential satisfies the requirements of the Consensus Model, verifies perioperative skill at an advanced practice level, and qualifies the CNS for future advancements in advanced practice.

Certification and Career Progression

Perioperative nurses pursue certification for a variety of reasons, including professional validation, personal accomplishment, and career advancement. Certification allows nurses to demonstrate their commitment to exceptional patient safety and adhere to current standards in their field of practice.

  • Demonstrate your dedication to patient safety
  • Validate your knowledge and skills
  • Gain the recognition you deserve
  • Realize your career potential

Advanced Practice Nursing Certification Fees

Click here to find out.

In Conclusion:

In addition to these benefits, studies have shown that on average certified nurses earn more annually compared to nurses that do not hold certifications. Certified nurses on average earn $1700 more annually. Are there questions you have about perioperative nursing certification, please leave them in the comment section.

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