What is the CNOR Test ?

A CNOR exam is a national authentication test given for operating room nurses. It stands for Certified Nurse Operating Room. The candidates who pass this exam are designated as the CNOR. Operating Room nurses in most of the hospitals are not designated as the CNOR, but more number of them are choosing to be designated as one in order to take up and qualify for more responsibilities and a higher salary.

CNOR is a computer based test given across hundreds of locations in the U.S. This exam is scheduled well in advance and is held only during a certain period of time each year.

Eligibility/ Qualification

The eligibility for qualifying for CNOR exam is;

  1. A current license, without provision or condition, as a certified nurse in the country where you are currently practicing perioperative nursing.
  2. A minimum of two years and 2,400 hours of perioperative practice shall be completed as a certified nurse in an administrative, teaching, research, or general staff capacity, either full or part time.
  3. The applicant at the time of application must be currently employed in surgical nursing either full or part time.


An ocean of resources and tools are available to help you prepare for the CNOR exam ranging from test-taking tips to online practice tests, in addition to a comprehensive study guide. The questions on the current CNOR exam are settled on the bases of the 2011 AORN Standards and Recommended Practices. The 2011 Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices, published by AORN, Inc., is usable through the AORN bookstore. The following books can also be used for reference purposes:

  1. Competency for Safe Patient Care During Operative and Invasive Procedures, Mark Phippen, Brenda Ulmer, Maryann Wells, CCI, 2009
  2. Alexander's Care of the Patient in Surgery, Rothrock, J.C., 14th ed, 2010
  3. Berry and Kohn's Operating Room Technique, Phillips, N., 11th ed., 2007

The Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI) also publishes Ultimate Study Kit, Guide Book to CNOR Exam Preparation, Practice Question CD-Rom, and e-Practice Tests.


CNOR test has 200 questions which are to be answered in three hours and 45 minutes. Though there are various versions of this test, at least 75 percent of the questions must be answered in order for the candidate to pass. A blank answer and a wrong answer is counted same as a wrong answer. It now lies in the interest of the candidate to take a guess at the answer even though he/she is unsure.

CNOR Exam Dates

If you apply in. You can test in
 January February, March or April
 February March, April or May
 March April, May or June
 April May, June or July
 May June, July or August
 June July, August or September
 July August, September or October
 August September, October or November
 September October, November or December
 October November, December or January
 November December, January or February
 December January, February or March


    Regular Price AORN Member Price
 CNOR Exam Application Fee   $385 $310
 CNOR Exam Retake Fee   $385 $310
 Recertification: Contact Hour 1/1-7/1  $295 $240
   7/2-12/31 $370  $315 
 Recertification: Points  1/1-7/1 $295 $240
   7/2-12/31  $370 $315 
 Recertification: Exam  1/1-7/2 $385 $310
   7/2-9/30  $460  $385
 Reactivate by Portfolio   $295 $295
 Emeritus (Retired) Status   $95 $95
 File for Extension   $175 $175

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