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Certification: CGFNS
Certification Full Name: Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
Certification Provider: Test Prep

CGFNS Certification Info

CGFNS: Preparing For Your Career

The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools, or CGFNS for short, was created to recognize credentials of first level or registered nurses who were educated outside the United States as eligible for work within the U.S. Course training for CGFNS is available, and exams are administered throughout the world at different times during the year, making the goal easily accessible to those who can pass both the medical and English portions of the exam. What is included in the CGFNS qualifying examination, and what is considered a passing score? Where do individuals find the assistance they need for the training?

In order to qualify to work as a registered nurse in the United States, candidates must meet three very specific requirements. First, they must possess credentials (and proof thereof) stating that they received secondary and nursing education in a foreign country, as well as registration and licensure in that location. Second, the applicant must pass the CGFNS exam, which is offered three times a year in over fifty countries worldwide. Finally, the tester must pass an English language proficiency exam. Passing of the CGFNS exam also constitutes as one of the requirements for immigrants wishing to secure an occupational visa to work in the United States.

There are various fees associated with taking the CGFNS exam, including an application fee of $368.00 at the time of this article and a $75.00 fee for a Verification of Certificate Letter. If the 12 month period allowed for applicants to meet the requirements expires, a reprocessing of the initial order costs an additional $98.00. Re-applicant fees after a failure to pass the exam results in an additional $308.00 fee. Locations of the CGFNS exam and dates are listed on the website.

The CGFNS exam itself is a one-day test that assesses the knowledge and understanding of nursing as taught within the United States. It is divided into two separate booklets entitled Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 is given in a morning session and consists of 150 questions that must be answered in an allotted time period of two hours and thirty minutes. After a lunch break, Part 2 of the test is administered, with 121 questions and a two-hour time limit. All questions are objective multiple choice questions that are geared to assist as a guide and stepping stone to the next examination, the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses).

The CGFNS test is, as previously stated, administered three times annually, with the 2007 dates falling on July 11th, September 11th, and November 14th. Application deadlines are generally ninety days prior to testing dates, though some extensions may be allowed or scheduled based on various circumstances. Tests may be taken in the country of choice, with test centers located throughout the world. Check listings frequently, as some sites will be closed on various testing occasions.

In order to achieve a license to practice nursing in the United States, candidates for the CGFNS must also pass an English Language Proficiency test to assure that they have the ability to communicate with the majority of individuals in the United States, as well as the capacity to understand medical language, including diagnoses and procedural instructions, in English. The official name of the most common version of this exam is the Test of English as a Foreign Language, which is administered by the Educational Testing Service. The passing score on this exam is one of two scores. If taken by paper and pencil, a scaled score of 540 is required; a computerized scaled score of 207 is equivalent. The Internet-based version is also available and requires a score of 83. the Test of English for International Communications may also be used, requiring total of 725 to pass, and the International English Language Testing System, administered by agencies in England and Australia, requires a 6.5 overall score.

Other requirements for eligibility to sit for the CGFNS exam involve a sufficient number of hours in both classroom and clinical instruction in one of several fields, including (but not limited to):

  • Pediatrics (care of children);
  • Adult Medical Care;
  • Surgical Nursing;
  • Psychiatric or Mental Health Nursing (Neurology not applicable); and
  • Maternal or Infant Nursing (Obstetrics - Gynecology not admissible).

If a candidate does not meet one or more requirements, he or she may not take the exam until successful completion of an entire theoretical and clinical course in this area of deficiency at a government-approved nursing school can be documented. Candidates must possess a current license to practice nursing in some jurisdiction; if there is a problem with a license or the license has expired, the applicant will be denied the opportunity to test.

Prior to registering for the CGFNS exam, it is recommended that individuals who live in other countries (especially those who are not extremely proficient in English) obtain study materials related to coursework in the United States as completed by registered nurses to familiarize themselves with nursing practices in the United States that may, in fact, be different from their home country and might be questioned on the exam. Course training is available within the United States and in many of the countries that offer testing locations to update potential candidates on the practices and procedures upon which they will be assessed.

Practice examinations can be found as well, and for those needing assistance with English, many countries have courses available to help learn the language. Courses can also be bought online, and many lessons can even be downloaded for free. While the CGFNS exam is rigorous and maintains a standard of excellence that is required from migrant workers into the United States, those with qualified backgrounds can easily use study materials and pass the examinations, becoming licensed nurses in the United States.

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