Apply for Recertification

Are you ready to apply to recertify your Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) credential? There are two options to recertify – by continuing education or by exam.

If you are still in the planning stages for recertification, we have some tips and suggestions to help you along. MSNCB recommends you begin planning soon after certification. Learn more.

When you choose to recertify by continuing education, you will find the CMSRN Tracker is your online resource for planning, tracking, and applying for recertification.

If you haven’t become familiar with the Tracker, we recommend you log in and take a look around. It’s a simple tool that packs a lot of convenience.

CMSRN Recertification & Exam Exemption Guide

Download this handy guide for all you need to know about CMSRN recertification.

Recertification Application Deadlines

You are able to apply for CMSRN recertification starting one year prior to and up to one year after your current certification expiration date. After this period, certification through MSNCB may be obtained by taking the CMSRN exam.

Allow up to 30 days for self-reported contact hours (CHs) to be reviewed and verified by MSNCB staff. After all required CHs are verified, submit your application at least 30 days prior to your expiration date to avoid a late fee. This policy enables a continuous period of certification by allowing sufficient time for application processing.

*Applications submitted after the application deadline will be assessed a $79 late fee in addition to the application fee.

CMSRN Recertification Application Options

Recertify by continuing education – Option A

This is the most popular option. Make sure you have enough contact hours and practice hours to apply. Confirm that your 90 contact hours are entered and verified in the CMSRN Tracker. Read more on contact hours.

Eligibility Criteria

You are eligible if you:

  • Hold a current medical-surgical nursing certification and
  • Hold a current RN license or foreign equivalent and
  • Have accrued 1000 practice hours in a med-surg setting in the last 5 years and
  • Have earned 90 contact hours in the last 5 years

Read more on eligibility requirements


You can apply online using the CMSRN Tracker

Note: As of January 1, 2018, recertification applications are being accepted online only.

Before applying, be sure you have:

  • Met all of the eligibility requirements
  • Entered all of the required 90 contact hours in your Tracker
  • Confirmed that all required contact hours have been verified by MSNCB
    MSNCB staff manually reviews self-reported contact hours so allow up to 10 business days after entry for your account to be updated.
  • Provided the requested employment information

When your 90 contact hours have been entered and verified, you’ve entered the required employment information, and you are within the application time frame, the online application can be accessed from your Tracker.


Approximately 2 weeks after your renewal has processed, you will receive an email to obtain your digital badge then a lapel pin will be sent by mail a few weeks later.

Review My Status and Apply for Recertification

Recertify by Exam – Option B

Another option to renew your credential is by taking the CMSRN exam again. Make sure you meet the exam eligibility criteria. Your exam application must be submitted at least 30 days prior to your current certification expiration date.

Exam eligibility criteria

You are eligible if you:

  • Are a registered nurse (RN) in the United States or any of its territories with a current, full, unrestricted license and
  • Have practiced 2 calendar years as an RN in a medical-surgical setting and
  • Have accrued a minimum of 2,000 hours of practice within the past three (3) years in a medical-surgical setting. (Practice may include clinical, management, or education.)

Tip: Allow ample time for studying, application processing, and exam scheduling.

Learn more about taking the CMSRN exam.

Inactive or Retired Status

Learn more about applying for inactive or retired status.