What Types of Nursing Certifications Can I Earn?

Are you interested in helping ill and injured people for a living? Would you like to gain a certification recognized across the country? If so, you can pursue certification through various professional nursing organizations. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Nursing Certification Options

All U.S. states require nurses to gain licensure before they can work in a hospital or healthcare facility. To gain licensure as a nurse, you must complete an approved educational program, such as an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing, and then pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). After passing the exam and becoming a registered nurse (RN), you are then free to earn voluntary certification in a nursing specialty.

The Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC) and National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredit nursing certification programs. You can find over 200 nursing certifications at a variety of levels in different specialty areas. To earn certification, you may have to meet additional educational and professional requirements. The following are just a few of your NCCA or ABSNC accredited certification options.

Important Facts About Nursing Education

Prerequisites Registered nurse licensure and nursing bachelor's degree; some schools may accept completion of other related undergraduate programs
Online Availability Fully online coursework except for practicum
Continuing Education Required to maintain certification; available in person and online
Possible Careers Legal Nurse Consultant, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner

American Nurses Credentialing Center Certifications

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), which has certified over a quarter million nurses, offers a wide range of certification for nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and in specialty areas (www.nursecredentialing.org). Some of the certifications offered by the ANCC include adult nurse practitioner, adult health clinical nurse specialist, gerontological nursing and pediatric nursing. Each certification exam may have its own requirements, but the general ANCC requirements for certification include having a nursing degree from an accredited school, being a licensed nurse and meeting work experience requirements.

National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists

The National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) offers the National Certification Examination (NCE) for nurse anesthetists (www.nbcrna.com). To be eligible for the NCE, you must have an active nursing license, complete an approved nurse anesthesia program and meet background requirements.

The NCE is a computerized test that measures your knowledge of nurse anesthesia topics, including drug dosing, body systems and basic science principles. This is a pass/fail test that is determined as you take the test based on your competency level and your ability to complete at least 100 questions in the allotted time.

Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation

The Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation (INCC) offers the Certified Registered Nurse Infusion (CRNI) designation (www.incc1.org). You can earn this designation by passing the 170-question CRNI exam, which covers nine main areas, including technology and clinical application, pharmacology and infection prevention. To be eligible for the certification, you must have an active nursing license and at least 1,600 hours of work experience in the area of infusion therapy in the past two years.

Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board

Certification from the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB) allows you to prove your professional knowledge (www.wocncb.org). Your WONCNCB certification options include the Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (CWOCN), Certified Wound Care Nurse (CWCN), Certified Ostomy Care Nurse (COCN), Certified Wound Ostomy Nurse (CWON), Certified Continence Care Nurse (CCCN) and Certified Foot Care Nurse (CFCN).

General requirements to take a WOCNCB certification exam include holding a current nursing license and bachelor's degree, as well as meeting clinical practice requirements. Each certification exam includes 90 questions that test your ability to recall learned information, apply your knowledge and analyze information.

Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board

The Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB) offers the Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) credential (www.msncb.org). You can take the exam if you are a registered nurse and have two years of work experience in nursing with at least 2,000 hours in the past three years of medical-surgical work. The test includes questions where you are presented with a medical problem and must give the correct way to deal with the problem. Some of the areas covered include pulmonary, diabetes, diagnostics and patient monitoring.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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  • Strayer University

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  • Johns Hopkins University

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  • Colorado Technical University

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