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Employer Zone

Employer incentives
Employer Recognition Award

The CNA Certification Program is Canada’s only bilingual, nationally recognized nursing specialty credential. It offers certification in 20 specialty areas:

  • Cardiovascular
  • Community Health
  • Critical Care
  • Critical Care Pediatrics
  • Emergency
  • Enterostomal Therapy
  • Gastroenterology
  • Gerontology
  • Hospice Palliative Care
  • Medical-Surgical
  • Nephrology
  • Neuroscience
  • Occupational Health
  • Oncology
  • Orthopaedics
  • PeriAnesthesia
  • Perinatal
  • Perioperative
  • Psychiatric and Mental Health
  • Rehabilitation

Top health-care employers across Canada support certification because they want RNs who are confident in their skill and have expertise in the latest standards of practice and care. CNA is now offering incentives to employers who sponsor 10 or more nurses in becoming certified.

What having CNA certified nurses in your organization means

  • Better patient and human resource outcomes
  • Enhancement of employer reputation for quality care
  • Optimal patient care to support professional leadership and liability insurance
  • National standards for best practices
  • Connections to specialty nurses for support and learning
  • Added value to interprofessional teams
  • Efficient scheduling with more flexible exam dates and computer-based testing
  • Fostering a learning environment
  • Recognition as a leading employer

A number of studies report a positive association between nursing certification and patient safety and satisfaction. The data shows improved patient outcomes along with reduced falls, hospital-acquired conditions and pressure ulcers.

Certified nurses are

  • Recognized nationally for their practice excellence and commitment to lifelong learning
  • Valued by many employers, because their certification demonstrates specialized knowledge
  • Viewed as having enhanced professional credibility, because their certification shows that they Care to Be the Best!

What employers of certified nurses are saying…

  • “Certification confirms an RN’s competency and specialized knowledge.”
  • “CNA-certified nurses are recognized for having met a national standard.”
  • “Certification helps our organization recruit and retain the best nurses by improving job satisfaction.”
  • “Having certified RNs on staff not only fosters safe, high-quality care, it also raises our organization’s entire education culture.”
  • “The CNA Certification Program has helped establish us as an employer of choice for RNs.”

If supporting nursing specialty certification has made a difference to your organization, please share your story with us.

Initial and renewal certification

Today, there are nearly 18,000 CNA-certified RNs. To become certified, nurses must meet important eligibility requirements and then write an exam.

The certification program’s bilingual exams are rigorously validated by subject matter experts from across Canada. These experts collaborate with testing and measurement consultants from Assessment Strategies Inc., which ensures the exams reflect the latest research and workplace best practices.

Nurses must renew their credential every five years. They can do so by submitting a record of continuous learning or by re-writing the exam.

New in 2016

This year brings many exciting changes to the certification program as we celebrate our 25th anniversary!

  • Certification goes paperless! Online applications and computer-based exams offer benefits to nurses and employers, including maximum scheduling flexibility. Read an article from Canadian Nurse magazine.
  • Financial incentives for employers


  • November 30, 2016 — Deadline for online applications for renewals by continuous learning
  • Spring:

    • January 3 to March 1, 2017 — Applications to write or renew by exam
    • May 1 to 15, 2017 — CNA certification exam window
  • Fall:

    • June 1 to September 1, 2017 — Applications to write or renew by exam
    • November 1 to 15, 2017 — CNA certification exam window
    • January 3 to November 30, 2017 — Renewal by continuous learning

Employer incentives
Employers who sponsor ten or more nurses in becoming certified qualify for group discounts on certification exams and renewals:


Special group rates for employers (plus applicable taxes)

Non-Member Price CNA Member Price Examinations % Discount $ Discount New Price
$756 $570 30 + 20% $114 $456
$756 $570 10-29 10% $57 $513

RENEWALS (by continuous learning)
Special group rates for employers (plus applicable taxes)

Non-Member Price CNA Member Price Examinations % Discount $ Discount New Price
$395 $317 30 + 20% $63 $254
$395 $317 10-29 10% $31 $286

Start the certification process for your nurses today!

  1. Send your e-mail request to certification@cna-aiic.ca and include the number of certification vouchers you require (one voucher per nurse).
  2. CNA will invoice employer (within two business days).
  3. Payment by employer of the invoice will generate vouchers to be used by the nurses for their online registration.
  4. Once you share these vouchers with your nurses, they will be able to register online at getcertified.cna-aiic.ca.

Note: Vouchers represent the full CNA-member certification fee. Certification candidates who are not CNA members must pay an additional fee. This fee is waived if nurses sign up for CNA membership when applying for certification. Vouchers are non-refundable.

If you have questions, please contact us by e-mail at certification@cna-aiic.ca or call 1-800-361-8404.

CNA certification and the Employer Recognition Award
CNA honours one health-care facility each year for outstanding support of the certification program with its Employer Recognition Award. In addition to the award’s prestige, employers receive significant recognition in Canadian Nurse magazine, at CNA’s biennial convention, etc.

To be eligible for the award, employers must:

  • be a health organization or hospital
  • be nominated by a current CNA-certified RN or certification candidate
  • be nominated by a group of CNA-certified RNs and/or candidates with the same employer
  • nominate themselves

Visit our Employer Recognition Award page for details.