Certification Comparison

Which Certification is right for me?

There are two certification exams offered in the specialty of medical-surgical nursing. The Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB) provides this table of comparisons between the two certification programs to help you make an informed choice of which one is right for you.

Certification Comparison
 
 
CMSRN
RN-BC
 
Credential
Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN)
Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC)
 
Certifying Body
Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB) msncb.org
American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) nursecredentialing.org
 
Endorsement from Specialty Nursing Organization
Yes, by AMSN (Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses)
No
 
Accreditation by ABSNC (Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification)
Yes
Yes
 
Accepted by ANCC for Magnet Recognition Status
Yes
Yes
 
Certification Duration
5 years
5 years
Certification Eligibility Criteria
 
 
CMSRN
RN-BC
 
Practice as an RN
2 years
2 years
 
Hold a current unencumbered RN license
Yes
Yes
 
Type of Practice
Clinical, management, or education
Clinical
 
Practice Hours in Past 3 Years
2,000 Hours
2,000 Hours
 
Contact Hours
None
30 CH/3 Years
Certification Exam
 
 
CMSRN
RN-BC
 
# of Questions
125 (25 unscored experimental)
125 (25 unscored experimental)
 
Testing Options
In-Person Test Center
Live Remote Proctor
In-Person Test Center
Live Remote Proctor
 
Based on Practice Analysis
Yes
Yes
 
Special Test Site at Your Facility
No
No
Certification Pricing and Discounts
 
 
CMSRN
RN-BC
 
Application Fees
$375
$395
 
Member Fees
$255 AMSN Member*
$295 ANA Member
 
Facility Registration Program
Yes, FailSafe Certification Program™
Yes
Renewal Options
 
 
CMSRN
RN-BC
 
By Contact Hours
Yes
Yes
 
By Exam
Yes
Partially
 
By Exam Exemption
Yes
No
Renewal Eligibility Criteria
 
 
CMSRN
RN-BC
 
Current Certification in Medical-Surgical Nursing
Yes
Yes
 
Hold a current unencumbered RN license
Yes
Yes
 
Type of Practice
Clinical, management, or education
N/A
 
Practice Hours in 5 Years
1,000
N/A
 
Contact Hours in 5 Years
90 CH (including academic courses, presentations, publications, preceptorship, research)
Mandatory 75 CH + 1 or more of 8 renewal categories
Renewal Pricing and Discounts
 
 
CMSRN
RN-BC
 
Renewal Fee
$275
$350
 
Member Fee
$175 AMSN Member*
$250 ANA Member
Examination Prep Resources
 
 
CMSRN
RN-BC
 
Sample Questions
Yes
Yes
 
Online Prep Test
Yes, from MSNCB
Yes, through Credentialing Knowledge Center
 
Publications/Online
Yes, many through AMSN
Yes
 
2-Day Certification Review Course at your health care organization
Yes, through AMSN $6,000

$5,000 for FailSafe participating organization
+ faculty hotel
Yes
 
* AMSN Dues = $85 year
 
 

Please contact us with any questions you may have about Certification.

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