About CNOR

About CNOR

What is Specialty Nursing Certification?

  • The formal process by which a certifying agency validates a nurse’s knowledge, skills, and abilities in a defined role and clinical area of practice, in this case, perioperative nursing.
  • The profession’s recognition of achievement, expertise and clinical judgment.
  • Based on predetermined standards
  • Achieved through specialized education, experience in a specialty area and passing a qualifying exam
  • Accredited specialty nursing certification is THE standard by which the public recognizes quality nursing care

What is CNOR Certification? 

As the only accredited credentialing program for perioperative registered nurses, CNOR certification is the gold standard. Earning the CNOR credential is a mark of distinction and a highly sought after personal as well as professional accomplishment. The CNOR credentialing program is for perioperative nurses interested in enhancing as well as validating their specialized knowledge and skills. CNOR certified nurses are committed to providing the highest quality care to their surgical patients. 

Specialty nursing certification is an objective measure of knowledge which validates that a nurse is qualified to provide specialized nursing care. More than 34,250 perioperative nurses currently hold the CNOR credential.

Candidates have 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the CNOR exam which has 200 multiple-choice questions.  These questions assess a nurses' proficiency in nine comprehensive perioperative nursing nursing subjects. Learn more about the CNOR exam

What Does CNOR Stand For?

CNOR is a definition not an acronym. CNOR certification is defined as: "the documented validation of the professional achievement of identified standards of practice by an individual registered nurse providing care for patients before, during and after surgery." CNOR means that you have demonstrated the knowledge and skills that denote competency in the specialized field of perioperative nursing.

For more than 30 years, nurses have used the CNOR credential to gain credibility and recognition from colleagues and patients, achieve their personal and professional goals, and enhance their career development. 

On the Magnet Journey?

The CNOR credential is a Category A national certification for the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program, a program designed to recognize health care organizations that provide nursing excellence. See the Selected Examples of National Certifications form on the Tools for Magnet Program Recognition page.

Proper Order for Listing Credentials

The members of AORN's Board of Directors have voted to support the ANA's position statement on standardizing nursing credentials. The position statement states that the following order of credentials should be used to ensure consistency and professionalism across nursing settings:

  • Education (list highest attained degree first)
  • Licensure (state designation or requirement)
  • National certification
  • Awards and honors
  • Other certification

For example, Nancy Nurse, BSN, RN, CNOR

CNOR Certification Handbook

Download the CNOR Candidate Handbook for a complete reference on the CNOR.

Download the CNOR Certification Handbook

Vision and Mission

Vision Statement
A growing community of lifelong learners for whom CCI is a catalyst and integral partner.

Mission Statement
To lead competency credentialing that promotes safe, quality patient care and professional development through lifelong learning.

Learn More about the CNOR