Certification FAQs

NOTICE: As a reminder, NAMSS is no longer mailing printed paper certificates. 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.

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 Sept/Oct 2012 Synergy article on Scaled Scoring

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.

In order 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. 

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.

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

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

Three hours for CPCS and four hours for CPMSM.  (See Candidate Handbook Page 5)

NAMSS members $400.00; Non-NAMSS members $525.00. (See Candidate Handbook Page 7)

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.

Review of the candidate handbook will provide details regarding the standards used to develop the exam content. (See Candidate Handbook page 11)

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Please refer to the Candidate Handbook for those standards that are currently covered in the exams. Questions about Det Norske Veritas (DNV) will be on the exams starting Fall 2019.

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.

The CCN offers practice exams at a fee of $50 (See Candidate Handbook page 10 and NAMSS Website). The CCN is not aware of any other practice exams that are written to the exam content outline and consistent with the manner in which official test items are written.

In the event Internet connectivity is lost, your submitted answers will not be lost and the computer will stop the clock on your exam at the time connectivity is lost.  The clock will resume when connectivity is re-established and you will be able to complete the exam in the fully allotted time period.

Certification is valid for three years and recertification is required every three years. Please refer to the Candidate Handbook, page 10 for additional details and requirements of recertification.

>CMS conditions of participation and interpretive guidelines are available online at no cost.  The Joint Commission and NCQA standards require purchase; however, someone in your state association within your organization/facility may be able to help you gain access to the standards during your certification preparation.  NAMSS Education Committee has also developed a crosswalk to the standards that is available for purchase at the NAMSS Store. (Please refer to the Candidate Handbook, page 11, for more information on where to locate reference materials)

The Candidate Handbook is updated annually and is available on the NAMSS website under Certification. There is no cost associated with the Candidate Handbook.

The exams are accredited by the NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies). A comparison of other NCCA accredited certification exams reveals that the fees for the CPCS and CPMSM exams are comparable. The cost of the exams coincides with the development/maintenance/ administrative costs of the certification examinations.

Exams are written to the accreditation standards in effect at the time the exam is assembled (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 2020 were administered in the Fall 2020, Spring and Summer, 2021 testing windows.)

NAMSS Certification Team
(202) 367-1196

Visit the Application Procedures/Instructions page to learn more.

Visit the Scheduling Your Exam Appointment page to learn more.

Find information about the CPCS practice exam and the CPMSM practice exam here.

Three years after achieving certification. If you are dually certified, then three years from obtaining your first certification.

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.

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

For additional information, please refer to the Candidate Handbook.

Please note that the CCN does not develop, administer, sponsor, endorse, or financially benefit from any type of exam review, preparatory course or published materials related to the content of the certification examinations. The purchase and/or use of any exam preparation material does not guarantee a passing score on the exam.

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.

CPCS® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a service mark of National Association Medical Staff Services. 

CPMSM® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a service mark of National Association Medical Staff Services.