Certification Frequently Asked Questions

Interested in Becoming Certified

Application Process

Preparing for the Exam

Exam Results

Already Certified?


NOTICE: As a reminder, NAMSS is no longer mailing printed paper certificates. Digital badges and a PDF certificate are available via Credly for new and renewal certificants. Learn more.


Interested In Becoming Certified?

What is the difference between the CPCS® and the CPMSM® and how do I know which one I should take?

Review of the Candidate Handbook will provide details regarding the exam differences and the eligibility requirements (Please refer to the Candidate Handbook Pages 4-5). To best determine which exam is right for you, examine your qualifications and skill set and select the most appropriate fit.

What is the passing rate for the exams?

View the CPCS & CPMSM exam statistics.

How can I convince my organization that certification is a necessary step in my career?

The CCN has developed an MSP Certification Toolkit to help support discussions with your CMO, CEO, or other organization leadership.


Application Process

How do I apply for examination?

Visit the Application Procedures/Instructions page to learn more.

How do I find an exam site?

Visit the Scheduling Your Exam Appointment page to learn more.

How do I request a testing accommodations during my exam?

NAMSS complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act to accommodate candidates with special needs. Candidates with documented visual, physical, hearing, or learning disabilities that would prevent them from taking an examination under standard conditions may request special testing accommodations and arrangements. For the exam administrations, special needs must be documented in writing by the candidate’s doctor or other qualified professional on official letterhead. This written documentation must accompany the CPCS®/CPMSM® application. Please note that requests for accommodations must be received at least eight (8) weeks prior to the start of a testing period.

How can I transfer an exam to the next test window?

You must notify NAMSS of your desire to transfer your exam into the next test window within a minimum of 5 business days prior to the scheduled exam. If you do not meet this timeframe, then your transfer cannot occur (See Candidate Handbook Page 7).

If you are not eligible for a transfer to the next testing period, you may still move your test date to another day within the current testing period, a new test day, or even a different location. Any changes to your testing date within the current testing period is based on seating availability. Contact Meazure Learning to reschedule your test date within the current testing window and they will accommodate your request as best as they can.

Can NAMSS approve my work experience so that I may qualify to take the exam?

NAMSS is unable to “pre-approve” any specific experience. We can refer you to our Candidate Handbook for an outline of duties we generally consider when reviewing candidates’ applications (See Candidate Handbook Page 5).


Preparing for the Exam

How many questions are on both exams?

There are 150 questions on the CPCS exam and 175 questions on the CPMSM exam (See Candidate Handbook Page 5).

How long do I have to take the CPCS ®/CPMSM® exam?

The CPCS® exam is three hours and the CPMSM® examination is four hours (See Candidate Handbook Page 5).

How much does it cost to take the exam?

Please see the Candidate Handbook for details regarding the cost of the exam.  (See Candidate Handbook Page 7).

What standards are on the exam?

Please see the Candidate Handbook for details regarding the standards used to develop the exam content (See Candidate Handbook page 11).

Are the tests modified during the testing period as standards change?

Exams are written to the standards in effect at the time the exam is assembled (typically April of each year). The exam forms assembled in April are administered in the following Fall testing window and subsequent Spring and Summer testing windows. (For example, exams assembled in April 2022 were administered in the Fall 2022, Spring and Summer, 2023 testing windows.)

Why is the test so broad?

The exams are developed to assure employers that candidates holding either one or both NAMSS certifications possess the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities to work across all fields of the medical services and credentialing profession.

Is the test all multiple choice? Essay?

There are no essay questions. All questions on the examinations are multiple choice. There will be one correct answer, and two plausible, but incorrect answers.

Are there “trick” questions on the exam?

There are no “trick” questions on the exams. However, each item will have two plausible distracters, which will challenge the candidate to discern what is the one correct answer.

What is the percentage of pass/fail rates for candidates who took the prep courses?

The CCN does not collect this specific data. For specific information relative to the NAMSS Prep Course, please refer to the Education tab of the NAMSS website.

Do the instructors (of the prep courses) know the questions on the test?

No, prep course instructors do not know actual test questions. However, instructors teach based on the same exam content outline provided to the candidates in the Candidate Handbook which the Certification Commission uses to create the exam. Review of the candidate handbook will provide details regarding the standards used to develop the exam content.

Are the CCN practice exams a good indicator to measure how prepared a candidate is? For example, if a candidate receives 80-90% correct on a practice exam, can I assume that I am prepared to take the test?

The practice exams are designed to give potential test candidates a sample of the way the questions will appear on the exam and what one correct answer, and two plausible distracters look like. There is no correlation between individual preparation and scoring on the practice exams. None of the practice exam questions will appear on an actual certification exam.

Are there any other practice exams available, aside from what NAMSS offers?

NAMSS offers practice exams administered by Meazure Learning at a fee of $50 for the CPCS and CPMSM Certifications Exams. The CCN is not aware of any other practice exams that are written to the exam content outline and consistent with the way official test items are written.

What other certification preparation resources does NAMSS offer?

The Education Council side of NAMSS does provide a variety of Certification Preparation Resources, including an in-person course an online course, and a printed study guide. While these programs are not developed or endorsed by the Certification Commission of NAMSS (CCN), some candidates have found that the use of these resources is helpful in their preparation. Additionally, there is a list of reference material available on the Candidate Handbook.


Exam Results

How long does it take for me to receive my official score?

Official results will be emailed to candidates approximately six to eight weeks from the close of the testing period/window. Please note that the close of the testing window may be up to three weeks after an individual’s testing date. 

Note: To ensure the confidentiality of exam results, actual scores will only be released via email to the candidate's email address on file with NAMSS. Scores will NOT be sent to employers, schools, other individuals, or organizations under any circumstances. Names of candidates who do not pass the examination are confidential and are not revealed under any circumstances, except by legal compulsory process.

Why do I not receive my score right away?

To maintain compliance with NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs, the CCN has moved to determining the passing standard for the CPCS® and the CPMSM® by a process of statistical equating. Because equating requires data on actual candidate performance to determine the passing standard, the scores cannot be released until after all candidates take the test. For additional information on the move to statistical equating, please see the May/June 2017 Synergy Article on the change from a cut score panel to equating

How are the exams scored?

Each candidate taking the exam is judged against a predetermined standard rather than against other candidates. The predetermined standard is set by a committee of subject matter experts working with testing experts to ensure the validity, reliability, and legal defensibility of the exam. Scaled scoring will be used on all exam forms. Scaled scoring involves a mathematical conversion of the number of items that a candidate correctly answers transformed so that there is a consistent scale used across all forms of the exam. The passing scaled score will be 400 for the CPCS® exam and 450 for the CPMSM® exam. For more information on scaled scoring, please see the Scaled Scoring FAQ Sheet.

If I fail the exam, why can’t I take it in the same testing window?

The testing window deadline (and late deadline) will have passed; therefore, you would not be eligible to take the exam in the same window.

Why can’t we get a copy of the questions we get wrong or know what the right answers were to the questions we got wrong?

The exams are protected by copyright and the certification is accredited by NCCA. To protect the integrity of the exam and assure fairness to future candidates, the questions on exams, including answers to questions, may not be shared by CCN, Test Development Volunteers and/or candidates who may have already taken the exam.

Will I receive a printed certificate in the mail after I pass my exam?

NAMSS has fully embraced digital badge certificates in response to evolving technological advancements in the profession and the larger professional world. Those who pass their certification exams will receive a digital badge from Credly, our digital badge platform, they can add to their online profiles and email signatures. In Credly, certificants will be able to download a PDF certificate they can print at their own convenience. Click here for a step-by-step guide.


Already Certified?

When do I need to recertify?

Certificants need to recertify within three years after achieving certification. If you are dually certified, then recertification needs to occur three (3) years from obtaining your first certification.

What are the fees for recertification?

Single Certification

NAMSS Members: $175

Non-Members: $325

Dual Certification

NAMSS Members: $200

Non-Members: $350

Find out more information on the certification news page.

How do I check my renewal status after I pass my exam?

When renewals are processed, you will receive a confirmation email to the email on file with NAMSS. Your data will appear in the Good Standing Report. Your Credly digital badge was also updated when your renewal was completed.  

What education does NAMSS offer so I may earn CEUs?

Please navigate the catalog search in the NAMSS Education Zone to explore our education options to earn CEU including our CPCS live-virtual classes that take place throughout the year.  

Can certain topics/training be considered for non-NAMSS credit for recertification?

NAMSS has a policy that states that sessions are not “pre-approved” (if they will count towards CE) unless they are submitted via the NAMSS Accreditation Center by the organization providing the program. If, however, the education is an industry-related activity such as a conference, seminar, workshop, training session, teleconference, webinar, or online coursework that contributes to the MSP’s continued competence in the medical services profession, it should count towards the non-NAMSS approved CE requirement. Continued competence is defined by NAMSS as demonstrating knowledge, skills, or ability to proficiently perform as a certified provider credentialing specialist or as a certified professional in medical services management throughout the certificant's professional career.

Will NAMSS pre-approve a specific course towards my renewal?

NAMSS is unable to “pre-approve” any specific CEs, but can refer you to our Recertification page for more information on what qualifies. Additionally, you can also review the CPCS®/CPMSM® content outlines in the Candidate Handbook for guidance.

NAMSS only officially makes determinations on Continuing Education at the time that you formally submit your recertification application. NAMSS is unable to consider and make an official determination on a program prior it to be submitted with your renewal application. If you truly are not confident about whether certain hours will “count”, we encourage you to consider submitting more than the minimum number of CE required at the time of renewal to make up for some CE credits that may not qualify. When you do apply for renewal, you will be prompted to upload your documentation with your application.

Do I or does NAMSS track my CEs?

NAMSS does not track certificants’ CEs. NAMSS offers a self-reporting grid online to aid certificants with their own recordkeeping. The certificant is required to track all their CE activities to submit to NAMSS for recertification. On the Recertification Application, one can upload each certificate of completion. A meter fills up as each certificate is added which ultimately adds up to the required number of CEs.


CPCS® and CPMSM® are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as service marks of National Association Medical Staff Services.