CGFNS Certification program is administered by Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) for the credentialing of nurses and health care professionals educated outside United States. The program has been developed for assessing nursing skills expected from first level, general nurse in United States. Passing this examination is an indication that the candidate is eligible for NCLEX exams and can pass NCLEX-RN examination. Certification process consists of verification of academic credentials, passing qualifying exam, and passing English proficiency test. These are the parts of Visa Screen® Visa Credentials Assessment. The Visa Screen® certificate can be attached with the visa application, which helps in qualifying for occupational visa.
The test is taken by foreign candidates willing to practice nursing in United States. They must meet the following criteria-
- Must have completed at least Secondary school education in own country other than nursing education.
- Must have done a government approved, general nursing program in own country, not less than two years in length.
- Must have gone through adequate theoretical and clinical instructions in adult health, obstetrics (excluding gynecology), pediatrics, and psychiatric/Mental health nursing (excluding neurology).
- Must be holding current, initial license or registration as a first level general nurse in own country.
The CGFNS exam is conducted in two sessions- Nursing Part I and Nursing Part II. The Part I exam is offered in morning session of a test day. It consists of 150 items and is allotted a time of 2 hours and 30 minutes for completing the exam. The Part II exam is held after a lunch break. It is administered in 2 hours and has 121 items in total. There is no criminal background check and fingerprinting required or included under the program. Both the assessments of qualifying exam are based on evaluating skills and knowledge in general, adult health, obstetrics, pediatrics, and mental health nursing. The exam is based on four subject areas- Safe and effective care environment, Physiological integrity, Health promotion and maintenance, and Psychosocial integrity. The internet based test is a single combined examination, which is administered in three hours time. Both, CGFNS qualifying exam and NCLEX-RN has same blueprint. So, passing this test assures eligibility for NCLEX exams.
It is an objective test consisting of multiple choice questions and alternate- item type questions. It can be taken through paper and pencil based testing or internet based testing.
The exam is conducted in 5 days testing windows in months of March, July, September and November. It is offered at more than 469 locations while the designated months. For registration, the candidate needs to enroll for the Certification Program or in International Standards for Professional Nurses program. The enrollment for Certification Program can be done on the official website of CGFNS by creating an online account. He/she has to undergo a credential review, after which, the applicant receives an “Authorization to Test” notification along with instructions for how to schedule the exam. CGFNS exam can be taken only on one test date in one of the two months mentioned in “Authorization to Test” notice. The selection of more than one date, time or location leads to cancellation of the registration. The change of date is possible by notification 72 hours before the scheduled exam date.
The results are released after two weeks from the end of a testing window. It contains a diagnostic profile of the four subject areas and the overall score. CGFNS exam result is posted in online account of the candidate. The passing score of the qualifying exam is 411.
The fee for Certification Program application is $445. The re-examination fee is $350. The other additional fees and charges are mentioned at the official website of CGFNS (http://www.cgfns.org/sections/apply/fees.shtml).