How to Apply
The National Certification Examination for School Nurses is offered periodically. The exam is given in a computer-based format at testing centers across the United States.
In order to take the exam, you must apply within the designated time frame. Each application window is for a specific testing window. When applying, be sure to apply with the corresponding application window. The application cutoff date is 30 days prior to the start of the testing window.
Exam Administration & Fees
The exam is administered on behalf of NBCSN by PSI, a testing-provider with locations across the U.S. PSI provides the testing site and conducts the exam.
Nonrefundable Application fee
- $370.00 Early Bird rate (In place from date application window opens until 2 weeks prior to application deadline)
- $390 Regular rate (In place during the last two weeks of the application window)
- Any application submitted after the deadline will be assessed and $50 late fee in addition to the regular fee.
Scheduling Your Examination Appointment
Once NBCSN has processed your application and determined that you have met all eligibility requirements, we will notify you via email with your Authorization To Test (ATT). Your ATT email will include all of the information you need to schedule your testing date and location within your testing window. You cannot schedule your exam until you receive this ATT communication. If you have not received your ATT within one week of submitting your application, contact NBCSN at 833-276-0986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Appointment times are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. We recommend you schedule your appointment as soon as you receive your ATT email in order to maximize your chance of testing at your preferred location and on your preferred date. It is your responsibility to contact PSI to schedule the exam appointment.
Withdrawal from Exam
- If it is 24 hours or more prior to your scheduled appointment or the end of the testing window, you may withdraw your test appointment for a $75 fee. To do so, you must complete two steps:
- Contact PSI and cancel your original appointment.
- Withdraw your application by logging into your NBCSN account and completing the withdrawal request found in your original application. $75 of your exam fee is non-refundable.
- If you are less than 24 hours prior to the end of your testing window or test date, you are unable to withdraw from the exam. You must appear and sit for the exam or all fees will be forfeited.
Late for Testing Appointment / No Show
The entire testing fee is forfeited for candidates who are more than 15 minutes late for a test appointment or who fail to appear for an appointment.
Failed Exam Application Audit Refund Policy
School nurses holding a baccalaureate degree or higher in nursing are automatically educationally qualified to sit for the NBCSN exam.
School nurses who do not meet current eligibility requirements will fail the audit and be charged a $75.00 failed audit fee.
If you need to retake the NBCSN exam, you may reapply during any subsequent exam session after the end of your testing window. The retake fee is the same as the regular exam.
The exam is held periodically throughout the year. It is offered at various locations throughout the country.
The application cutoff date is 30 days before the start of the testing window.
The exam will be available for three testing windows in 2023:
- Fall Testing Window: October 26 – November 19, 2023
- Registration Window: August 3 – September 26, 2023
The exam will be available for three testing windows in 2024:
- Spring Testing Window: March 1 – April 2, 2024
- Registration Window: November 20, 2023 – February 1, 2024
- Summer Testing Window: July 8 – August 11, 2024
- Registration Window: April 3 – June 7, 2024
- Fall Testing Window: October 24 – November 24, 2024
- Registration Window: August 12 – September 24, 2024
The exam is a written computerized exam composed of a maximum of 200 multiple-choice, objective questions with a total testing time of four (4) hours.
For a complete Content Outline and Sample Questions, refer to our Handbook for Candidates. The exam will be weighted in approximately the following manner:
- 26% Health Appraisal
- 27% Health Problems and Nursing Management
- 20% Health Promotion/Disease Prevention
- 14% Special Health Issues
- 13% Professional Issues
Exam preparation is a unique process for each candidate. School nurses have formed study groups, attended school nurse curriculum workshops, and reviewed school nursing and related texts in preparation for the examination. The examination is national in scope and reflects the broad variety of student and community populations, specialty practice situations, and legal and current health issues that school nurses confront in everyday practice. Exam questions are chosen from a larger pool of questions
which provides for enabling variation of exam content and undergo a rigorous process to ensure their validity, reliability and applicability to current school nursing practice.
Although there is no single study guide, the List of Resources included in the Handbook for Candidates may be helpful in preparing. Many of those resources are available on the NASN website and through the NASN bookstore. In addition, you will find Sample Questions in the handbook.
It is recommended to review the NBCSN Exam Preparation webpage for more information.
An individual may appeal a failed examination due to technical issues or denial of recertification.
Appeals related to technical issues incurred during the examination process should be immediately addressed to PSI for investigation of the testing center and computer issues. All other appeals or challenges are to be submitted in writing, and addressed to the NBCSN President within 30 days of the denial or receipt of the examination results, citing all of the reasons for the appeal or challenge.
The NBCSN President shall issue a decision on the matter in writing within 30 days of the receipt of the appeal or challenge. The individual will then have an additional 30 days to submit a written appeal to the NBCSN Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall issue a written decision within 30 days from the receipt of the appeal. The decision of the NBCSN Board of Directors shall be final.
Disclaimer of Endorsement
NBCSN does not endorse or support any certification preparation program of study, course, or study guide advertised to prepare school nurses to take the certification (NCSN) examination. Such programs, courses, and guides are not affiliated with the National Board for Certification of School Nurses, Inc. (NBCSN), even if their materials and advertisements suggest otherwise. Representatives of these programs and courses have no involvement in the development, preparation, review, or administration of the NCSN examination. They are neither sanctioned nor approved by the National Board for the Certification of School Nurses.
NBCSN does not sanction or recommend any commercial study guide, course, or program of study
In addition, references in this site to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by NBCSN. While NBCSN strives to make the information on this website as timely and accurate as possible, NBCSN makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of this site, and expressly disclaims liability for errors and omissions in the contents of this site.
NBCSN strives to ensure that issues of bias and sensitivity are addressed in its exams and recertification procedures related to characteristics that have no bearing on the competencies being measured such as ethnic background, race, color, religion, gender, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, economic status and any other concerns unrelated to ability.
Candidates with foreign educational degrees must submit validated transcripts with both general academic and professional licensure evaluation reports from an accredited foreign educational credential evaluation service indicating the degree is equivalent to an accredited program in the United States, such as those with memberships in the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).