Orthopedic Nurse Certification (ONC) Test Review

The Orthopedic Nurse Certification indicates specialization in treating patients who have undergone orthopedic surgery or are under orthopedic care. Orthopedic Nurses may provide direct care, work in an education or administrative capacity, or may even assist in some of the orthopedic procedures.

In order to take the Orthopedic Nurse Certification exam, the applicant must be a licensed Registered Nurse, but a Bachelor's Degree is not required. The RN must have been employed for at least 2 years in order to apply to take the exam. In addition, at least 1,000 hours of providing patient care to orthopedic patients should have been completed within the last 3 years.

The exam is offered at testing centers throughout the United States on two specific testing dates per year, usually Spring and Fall. The fee to take the Orthopedic Nurse Certification exam is $220 for members of the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON) and $320 for non-members.

The exam tests the RN's knowledge of all aspects of Orthopedic Nursing. Over one-quarter of the exam addresses issues degenerative diseases. Trauma and sports injuries make up the next two largest sections of the exam, and the remainder of the exam focuses on other orthopedic disease processes.

The Orthopedic Nurse Certification is valid for 5 years. At the end of that time period, the RN must have completed at least 100 hours of continuing education credits with at least 70 of those hours in Orthopedic Nursing. In addition, at least 1,000 hours of employment in which the RN provides patient care to orthopedic patients is necessary. The fee for recertification is $200 for NAON members and $300 for non-members.

Nursing Certification Central

ONC test blueprint and breakdown


Last Updated: 08/23/2018

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