Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Questions frequently asked by applicants and NCSNs are listed below and are posted here for your convenience. Additional questions may be directed to

Questions regarding the Application for the NCSN Exam

What specific documentation do I need to provide to apply for the NCSN Exam?

In order to apply to take the Nationally Certified School Nurse Exam you need the following documentation which must be uploaded to your account in a .pdf, .jpeg, .tif, or .png, format.

  • Submit a copy of your current RN license in one of the United States. This documentation must show that your license is current and show the expiration date.
    • If your state no longer provides paper copies of your license, you may:
      • Show a screenshot of your state’s license verification page for your license. 
      • Provide a copy of your online license verification. Your state nursing board will often allow you to verify your license on their website. Many states use the following Nursys website for license verification:
      • If you have trouble uploading your documentation, please contact us at
  • Submit a copy of your degree or transcript (may be unofficial or computer downloaded) indicating that your baccalaureate degree is in nursing, your name, and the date it was conferred.
  • Submit documentation of at least 1,000 hours of clinical practice that have been worked within the three (3) years prior to applying for the exam. This should be a letter from your employer on letterhead that indicates dates and hours of employment and the number of days you are expected to work per a school year.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at if you have questions or need help.

Questions regarding the examination

General Information

New test items (questions) are written every year to keep up with new research, position statements, best practice, and changing school nurse resources. New exam forms (or tests) are also developed each year. No two tests in any one year are exactly alike.

Exam items require knowledge of a wide breadth of school nursing topics so you may apply, analyze, and evaluate clinical scenarios presented on the test. Whenever you might hear advice to “definitely memorize the immunization schedule” or “no need to worry about vaccine storage,” please know this advice comes from a test taker’s personal experience and NOT knowledge of the active exam items. Remember that this is a national test and is geared to global, not local, standards.

Test development activities have to remain firewalled from any test preparation activities. Individuals involved in test development cannot be involved in test preparation and vice versa per accreditation standards. Any sample questions you may come across are representative of the type of questions on the exam, not specific questions from the exam.

What should I know about selecting materials to prepare for the exam?
There are many study guides out there using NBCSN in the title, promising great things and guaranteeing results. The National Board for Certification of School Nurses (NBCSN) does not endorse any particular resource or study guide. Just because a product says NBCSN that does not mean that it was developed or endorsed by NBCSN. The NBCSN Study Road Map provides further information on this.

NBCSN is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Nursing Specialty Certification (ABSNC). As an accredited certification board, our staff and subject matter experts, volunteer NCSNs who help develop and review the exams, cannot develop any preparation materials for the certification exam. We can develop sample questions that provide information about the structure and format of the questions on the exam.  We can also develop practice tests, the purpose of which is to familiarize candidates with the exam experience. Practice exams may provide a score that equals the number correct but not pass/fail status, diagnostic information, or a prediction of performance or success.

NBCSN cannot develop preparatory examinations which provide information on the knowledge, skills, or abilities of a candidate as they relate to the certification for which they are preparing. These products can provide information on performance to indicate readiness or a prediction of success.

It is essential that school nurses understand that while a preparatory product may use “NBCSN” or “NCSN” in its title, it is not necessarily developed by the National Board for Certification of School Nurses. Right now, the only preparation materials NCSN is associated can be found on the Exam Prep webpage.

There is a list of resources on the NBCSN website which provides a list of materials that may be helpful for school nurses to use to prepare for the exam. Using those resources does not guarantee success but they are resources that are relevant to school nursing, many are used in the exam development, and they can be helpful in preparation. Our statistics show that candidates who participate in small study groups are most successful.

If you would like more information about NBCSN or about the exam eligibility, preparation, or test dates you can visit our website at  or email us at

Please note that the suggestions above are not exhaustive, and review will not guarantee success for every candidate. The purchase of any preparation materials does not guarantee a passing exam score.

Do I have to work full-time to be eligible to take the exam?
Please refer to the Candidate Handbook to access current information regarding the eligibility requirements to take the exam.

I am interested in taking the examination to become an NCSN. Is there a class available to prepare for the exam?
NBCSN runs an online study group thanks to the generosity of NASN, which allows us to run a group through NASN SchoolNurseNet. The group runs every exam application window starting about seven (7) weeks before the start of the exam window. You do not have to be a NASN member to join, just create an account, go to NASN SchoolNurseNet, click on Communities, scroll down to National Certification Exam Candidates, and click JOIN next to the community name.

There are a lot of new exam prep materials. Visit our Exam Prep Page to see what is available. Contact us at for information. There is also a recorded review course available from NurseBuilders to single purchasers. Check out the Exam Prep page for more information.

What is the exam pass rate?

Please refer to the exam statistics.

How many questions do you have to get correct to pass the exam?

That is a question that is not easily answered. The passing score is determined by a psychometric formula and is different for every exam.  The number of correct answers is converted to what is known as a “scaled score,” which for our exam is 620, but it is not a consistent percentage or number of correct answers. 

Questions regarding Exam Prep Materials

Are you looking for NCSN Exam Prep Materials?

Check out our Exam Prep Materials and be sure to download the Candidate Handbook.

Questions regarding liaisons

Can you give me the contact information for the NBCSN liaisons?
You can find your state liaison on the liaison page of this site.

I am interested in becoming a liaison; what is the next step?
We allow a maximum of two-state liaisons per state. Please fill out an online application to become a state liaison. For further information, please visit the Liaison page.

Questions regarding recertification

What type of continuing education credits are acceptable for re-certification?
Please visit the recertification page of the website to access all of the current information about acceptable continuing education credits.

What specific documentation do I need to provide for my NCSN recertification application?

After January 1, 2019, documentation for your current RN license, your work history, and all continuing education hours will be required before you can submit your application for recertification.

All documentation must be uploaded to your account in a .pdf, .jpeg, .tif, or .png format.

RN License

You don’t need to submit documentation of your current license until you submit your application. This documentation must show that your license is current at the time of your recertification and show the expiration date.  If your state no longer provides paper copies of your license, you may show a screenshot of your state’s license verification page for your license.  Many states use the following Nursys website for license verification:

If you have trouble uploading your documentation, please contact us at

Work History

You can submit work hours annually or when you are changing employers.  If you do change employers, you will need documentation on their letterhead, and it will be easier to get at the time.

The letter must be on school or district letterhead from an individual who has the authority to verify your hours. The letter should include the number of days you are expected to work per contract year, the number of hours worked per day, and dates of employment.

Continuing Education Activities

NASN Membership cards should be uploaded annually.

You will find it much easier to upload documentation of your continuing education activities as you earn them rather than to try to do it all at once at the end of 5 years.

Documentation of your continuing education hours must include the name of the approved accreditation or certification body. Organizations such as hospitals, state nursing associations, etc., may work with approved/accredited providers to provide continuing education programs and should note the collaboration and the provider/accreditation name on certificates. Please see the Recertification page on our website for specific details about providers, activity types, and approved providers.

It is the responsibility of the candidate to maintain active/current address and contact information with the NBCSN. Deadlines missed due to forwarded and lost mail are the responsibility of the candidate and may incur late fees or forfeited recertification status.

How do I contact someone if I have questions or concerns or am having a problem with my application?

Email us at