FAQs

Q: Can I fax you my application?
Q: Do you accept credit cards?
Q: Is the examination on a computer?
Q: When are the examinations scheduled?
Q: How many questions are on the examination?
Q: How long will I have to take the examination?
Q: Do I need to have a current AST membership card on the day I take the examination?
Q: What is the cost of the test?
Q: How long does it take for the examination application review process?
Q: If I fail my examination how soon can I retest?
Q: What do I need to take to the test center?
Q: How do I submit a name change request?
Q: How do I get a replacement certificate and/or card?
Q: How do I know if the program I graduated from was CAAHEP or ABHES accredited?
Q: Can I schedule my examination before I receive the Authorization To Test (ATT) letter by mail?
Q: Are there extra fees if I am submitting an application for renewal after my certification cycle’s expiration date?
Q: Do I have to send a new photo with my renewal application?

 


Q. Can I fax you my application?

A. Yes. You can fax it to (303) 325-2536.  You can also fill out applications online.

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Q. Do you accept credit cards?

A. Yes. We accept credit or debit MasterCard, Visa, and Discover for both mailed in and online applications.  We do allow candidates to pay with cards that are not in their name.  If you are paying with a third party credit card, please fill in the card holder’s information as requested in the payment section of the application.

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Q. Is the examination on a computer?

A. Yes. The exam is computer based and allows you to change your answers, skip questions, and mark questions for review. Knowledge of computers and typing are not required to successfully take the examination. You will have your pass/fail results within 5 minutes of completing the exam if you are taking the CST Examination at an H&R Block testing center.  If you are a student of an SFA program who is taking the CSFA Examination at an H&R Block testing center as part of your graduation requirements, you will only receive test results within 5 minutes of completing the exam if your program has provided your proof of graduation to the NBSTSA at least one week prior to your exam date.  Otherwise, results will not be released until after proof of graduation has been received.

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Q. When are the examinations scheduled?

A.The examinations are by appointment only. You must apply, be determined eligible, and make an appointment to take the examination with the testing agency at a location near you. Examinations are no longer scheduled on specific dates. Each testing center has its own schedule for testing; however, most of the centers are available 6 days a week, twice a day.

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Q. How many questions are on the examination?

A. Both the CST and CSFA Examinations consist of 200 multiple-choice questions.
Each question has four answer choices listed, only one of which is correct. The answer to each question can be derived independently of the answer to any other question.  25 of these questions, which are randomly distributed throughout the examination, are not graded and are included for the purpose of analysis and statistical evaluation.  The CST Exam passing score is 118 and the CSFA Exam passing score is 112.  The exam will not shut down once you have correctly answered enough questions to pass.

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Q. How long will I have to take the examination?

A. You will have four hours to complete each exam, but you may leave once you receive your score report if you finish before four hours have passed.

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Q. Do I need to have a current AST membership card on the day I take the examination?

A. No. You must be a member when you apply to receive the discount.

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Q. What is the cost of the test?

A. The CST Examination price for those who have never been certified before is $190 for AST Members or $290 for non-members.

The CSFA Examination price is $190 for AST Members or $290 for non-members.

The renewal by exam fee for the CST and CSFA Examinations is $399 for AST/ASA members and $499 for non-members. 

The full testing fee must be paid in advance to the NBSTSA. If an applicant is found to be ineligible, the examination application fee will be refunded minus the processing fee and rush processing fee if applicable.

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Q. How long does it take for the examination application review process?

A. Please allow up to 6 weeks for the NBSTSA to process your application and mail your Authorization To Test (ATT) letter.  You may choose to add rush processing for your application for an additional $50 charge.  In that case, the total fee must be paid by a credit or debit card or a money order.  Rush processing is a guaranteed 3-5 business days in the office before we mail your ATT letter.  Please note, rush processing for CSFA applications that include Experience Verification Forms cannot be guaranteed to be completed in 3-5 business days due to approval being contingent on correspondence with the Director of Surgery.  You may still elect to pay for rush processing to have your application pushed to the head of the line, but we cannot guarantee that your ATT will mail in 3-5 business days.

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Q. If I fail my examination how soon can I retest?

A. There is no waiting period, so you may reapply immediately.  CST candidates may only test three times during one calendar year. CSFA Candidates may only test twice in a six month period, with the six month count beginning on the day you take the examination for the first time. Proof of graduation and photos are kept on file, but an application and payment must be submitted each time you wish to test.  Experience Verification Forms and case logs are good for two years from the date the forms were notarized.  If an application is received before you are eligible to retest, we will hold your Authorization To Test (ATT) letter until the calendar year or six month count has ended and mail your ATT letter on the first possible date. 

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Q. What do I need to take to the test center?

A. Two forms of identification are required. Both must be current (not beyond the expiration date) and one must have a current photograph.  Both forms must bear your name and your signature. You must present one of the following as the primary form of identification: Passport, driver's license, state identification card, or military ID card. Acceptable forms of secondary ID include student ID card, employer ID card, and social security card.  No forms of temporary identification are accepted.  Candidates may not misrepresent their identities or falsify information to obtain admission to the Assessment Center.

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Q.  How do I submit a name change request?

A.   To change your name in our database, all individuals who have taken an examination with the NBSTSA must submit a Name Change and/or Replacement Form by mail or an Online Name Change and/or Replacement Form and a copy of one of the following legal documents: marriage certificate, divorce decree (only the page regarding your name change and page with the official seal are necessary), driver’s license, passport, social security card, court order or naturalization paperwork.  There is no charge to change your name, but if you wish to have new documents issued, the prices are $40 for either a certificate or a card and $50 for both.  Forms that do not require payment may be faxed to (303) 325-2536.  Be sure to let us know if you have an open Authorization To Test (ATT) period so that we can notify the testing company of your name change.  If your documents do not match the name on file, you will not be able to gain entrance to the examination.  If you are submitting an Examination or Renewal Application at the same time as requesting a name change, you may skip the form and simply include one the legal documents with the application, which should be filled out and signed with the new name and have the former name written in the space provided.      

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Q.  How do I get a replacement certificate and/or card?

A.  To have a duplicate certificate and/or card printed, submit a Name Change and/or Replacement Form by mail or an Online Name Change and/or Replacement Form along with payment.  The prices are $40 for either a certificate or a card and $50 for both.  If you do not wish to pay for replacements but need to prove that you are certified, you may verify your credential using this website until the next time you renew, at which time you will be issued a new set of documents.  If your documents were lost due to wallet theft or fire, we will replace them for free as long as you provide a copy of an applicable police report with your request form. 

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Q.  How do I know if the program I graduated from was CAAHEP or ABHES accredited?

A.  The CAAHEP and ABHES websites only list currently accredited programs.  To find out if a program was accredited while you were enrolled, call the NBSTSA office at 800-707-0057.  There are different types of accreditations, so do not assume that a program is CAAHEP or ABHES accredited just because you hear the word “accredited”.  In addition, be aware that the program itself must hold CAAHEP or ABHES accreditation, not just the school as a whole. 

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Q.  Can I schedule my examination before I receive the Authorization To Test (ATT) letter by mail?

A.  The transfer of your information to the testing company may take a business day or two to be completed.  You can request that we e-mail the ATT letter to you, but you likely will not be able to schedule your exam until a business day or two after the transfer is performed.

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Q.  Are there extra fees if I am submitting an application for renewal after my certification cycle’s expiration date?

A.  Renewals by continuing education credits are assessed a late fee if an application is received 31 or more days past expiration, up to 365 days (one year).  After one year, the only option for renewal is to pass the examination again.  Click here for the NBSTSA Policy for Late Renewal and to see the fee structure.  All credits must be earned PRIOR to expiration.  Renewals by examination do not need to pay late fees.

NBSTSA, as well as AST, will notify you multiple times that your renewal date is coming soon and that renewal by credits is a two-step process, and it is your responsibility to make sure your renewal is completed.  Claiming ignorance of the process will not get you an exception on paying late fees or having to retake the exam.  To make sure you receive renewal notices from NBSTSA, be sure to call us if your mailing and/or preferred e-mail address changes.

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Q.  Do I have to send a new photo with my renewal application? 

A.  NBSTSA asks for a new passport-style photo with renewals to ensure that our certification cards are as accurate as possible because some people change quite a bit in four years.  If a photo was submitted four years ago and you do not supply a new one with your renewal, we can use it for one more certification cycle.  If your photo is more than four years old and you do not supply a new one, NBSTSA will send you a certificate with a photo request form instead of a card.

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