CPAN® and CAPA® Recertification

Recertification for perianesthesia nursing - CPAN and CAPA certificationCPAN and CAPA certification is conferred for a period of three years. In order to maintain certification after each three-year period is complete, all those who have earned their CPAN and/or CAPA designations must recertify. Recertification includes:

  • Possessing a current, unrestricted registered nurse license or equivalent
  • Completing a minimum of 900 hours of perianesthesia nursing practice during your three-year period of certification, and
  • Completing one of the following recertification options:
    1. Recertification by Exam- Successful completion of either the CPAN® or CAPA® examination (whichever credential you currently hold) * (option available through November 15, 2026)
    2. Attain 70 perianesthesia-related contact hours.

Prior to your certification expiration date, you will need to update your Learning Builder profile accordingly to document your learning plan. Please be sure to read the Recertification Handbook for complete information about the recertification process.

Follow these steps for recertification:

Gather information

  • Review online Recertification Handbook
  • Determine eligibility to recertify your current credential
  • Determine which recertification option you will choose (recertify by exam or continuing education)
  • Review recertification windows and fees
  • Use the Learning Builder Tutorials to assist you : How to use Learning Builder

I’m Ready to Certify/Recertify

Recertification Changes Background

Changes and challenges within the perianesthesia nursing environment have prompted ABPANC to take proactive steps to enhance our CPAN® and CAPA® recertification requirements.

Between September 2022 and March 2023, a Recertification Task Force consisting of members of ABPANC’s Board of Directors reviewed the eligibility and recertification requirements for our CPAN and CAPA certified nurses.

The Recertification Task Force considered results from a survey of CPAN and CAPA certified perianesthesia nurses conducted in the summer/fall of 2022. Other nursing specialty certification requirements were studied. This review included exam and recertification eligibility, contact hours, sources of CE, and direct versus indirect care requirements. The task force recommended that all CPAN and CAPA recertification requirements should focus on supporting professional development within the perianesthesia specialty scope of practice.

The perianesthesia scope of practice requirements include any role that supports or advances perianesthesia nursing, such as care coordination, direct patient care, education, informatics, leadership, navigation, patient/family liaison, quality improvement and research. The practice area for perianesthesia nursing is defined by Schick & Windle (2021) as:

“Perianesthesia nursing encompasses caring for patients during the pre-anesthesia level of care, (pre admission and day surgery/procedure), in post-anesthesia levels of care (Phase I, Phase II, and Extended Care), ambulatory care settings, extended observation settings, and special procedure areas (e.g. endoscopy, radiology, cardiovascular, oncology), obstetric units, pain management services, and physician or dental offices.” (p. xi).

In April 2023, the ABPANC Board of Directors approved the following recommendations of the Recertification Task Force with the directive that these changes be fully enacted beginning on January 1, 2024:

  • All contact hours must be perianesthesia related.
  • The number of required contact hours will be reduced from 90 hours to 70 hours.
  • The direct versus indirect care categories for contact hours will be eliminated.
  • The recertification reinstatement period will be extended from 15 days to 90 days.
  • Recertification by exam option will be available through November 15, 2026.

Please note: CPAN and/or CAPA nurses with a recertification period after January 1, 2024 will not be able to count contact hours that are no longer eligible, even if the activities had been previously uploaded to the renewal application in Learning Builder. Perianesthesia-specific contact hours eligible within the new guidelines, and previously loaded into Learning Builder, will count towards your 70-contact-hour renewal requirement.

Rationale for Recertification


Competence is the ability to perform a task or function within one’s professional role with confidence, knowledge and critical thinking. Competence is a collaboration between nurses, employers, professional organizations and regulatory bodies (Exstrom, 2001). Use of prior knowledge gained from experience, education and certification are important components to competence.


Recertification, as a validation of lifelong learning, is critical to maintain and validate ongoing competence. A multi-modal approach is used to verify ongoing competence.

900 Contact hours:

900 contact hours of perianesthesia nursing practice within the three-year recertification cycle are required. 900 hours in a three-year cycle allows for continued experience and current specialty expertise to maintain and improve current skills and knowledge, while still allowing for flexibility of job roles and assignments and less than full-time nursing practice.

Continuing Education:

Continuing education encompasses a wide spectrum of activities that ABPANC believes reflect continual learning and directly relate to the knowledge and tasks confirmed in the role delineation study. These activities not only lead to enhanced knowledge for the certified perianesthesia nurse but ultimately, to quality patient care. 70 hours of perianesthesia continuing education activities over a three-year period was determined as an appropriate amount of learning to maintain and increase the level of knowledge, skills, and competence required for a certified perianesthesia nurse while remaining attainable for the certificant.