About CSSM

CSSM – Certified Surgical Services Manager

The Certified Surgical Services Manager (CSSM) certification program is for perioperative leaders interested in improving and validating their managerial knowledge and skills so as to advance the performance of their surgical services department.

CSSM certification validates the achievement of the baccalaureate prepared manager who demonstrates current proficiency as an administrator in the perioperative (pre-, intra-, and post-operative) setting.

CCI is developing and delivering the CSSM exam to recognize the important role managers have in directing staff, programs and budgets in delivering  safe patient care. The purpose of the CSSM exam is to provide recognition for the important and distinct role of surgical services managers.

How do I earn the CSSM credential?

  1. Meet eligibility requirements
  2. Complete online application and pay fee
  3. Pass the CSSM exam  


Apply online for the CSSM Credential

    Why should I seek the CSSM credential?

    The CSSM credential will:

    • Validate perioperative managerial competency at a two-year work experience level.
    • Establish a standard of excellence for managers working in the surgical services department. 
    • Position the manager for future developments in perioperative administration and leadership.

    Who is the target population for the CSSM® exam?

    The CSSM credentialing program is for professionals who work in the surgical services department in a managerial role. It is designed for those who oversee personnel, and/or a budget, business unit or service line. Professionals with the following titles are all eligible to take the exam: director, assistant director, manager, assistant manager, supervisor, coordinator, team leader, service line leader, charge nurse among others. Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements.

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    Surgical Services Manager Job Analysis

    The CSSM job analysis performed by CCI provides the framework for the exam. The job analysis for the surgical services manager body of knowledge was conducted to:

    1. Identify and validate tasks and knowledge important to the work performed by surgical services manager; and
    2. Identify professional development and continuing education needs as well as anticipate changes in the work role of surgical services managers.

    This job analysis details the tasks performed by surgical services managers and the knowledge and skills required to complete those tasks.

    CSSM Exam Domains (Subject Areas)

    From the job analysis work, CCI’s test development partner identified seven core subject areas in which all certified managers must be proficient along with the percentage of questions in each subject area. 

    Subject Area % of Questions # of Questions 
    Communication & Relationship Management 12%
    Strategic Management 14%
    Financial Management 16% 29
    Human Resource Management 16% 29
    Operational Management 22% 40
    Leadership 14% 25
    Professionalism 6% 11
     TOTAL 100% 180

    Important Details about the CSSM Exam

    Candidates will take the CSSM exam at a Prometric testing center. Prometric is a leading professional testing service agency with over 300 locations nationwide. Once your CSSM application is processed and approved, CCI will email you instructions on how to schedule your testing appointment. You will select a time, date and Prometric testing location that are convenient for you.

    The CSSM exam is a knowledge-based exam which assesses the knowledge (what a surgical services manager should know) and tasks (what a surgical services manager nurse should know how to do) with two years of managerial experience.

    • 180 multiple-choice question exam
    • Computer-based test
    • Each question has four answer options
    • Only one answer is correct
    • No multiple answers, i.e. “A and C”; “A, C, and D”, “All of the Above”
    • Can “mark” and “review” questions to return to later
    • Allow one minute per question
    • Answer all questions

    Upon successful completion of the exam, a candidate will be awarded the CSSM credential for a three year period. Your CSSM credential will expire on December 31st of the third year.

    Why a CSSM Credentialing Program? 

    A credentialing program for nurses working in a managerial role in the perioperative department would establish a standard of excellence for these professionals.

    In addition, the proposed credential would address a current deficit regarding a sub specialty-specific credential for this population. The scope of practice of the surgical services nurse manager differs from the roles identified in the CNOR, CRNFA and CNS-CP job analyses. 

    This credential program, supported by a rigorous eligibility and testing mechanisms, provides a benchmark to help ensure that managers are meeting this and other quality standards. 

    Also, a credentialing program for surgical services managers aligns with the recommendation from the Institute of Medicine Report on the Future of Nursing that nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training. 

    Credential Period

    Reflecting the fast pace of change in the surgical services arena, the CSSM credential will be valid for 3 years after which time a certificant must complete the CSSM recertification process to renew the credential.