What Is a Critical Care Certification?

A critical care certification is a professional credential that is available to nurses, paramedics, surgeons and anesthesiologists who care for patients who have life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Critical care medical professionals often work in intensive care units (ICU) or emergency rooms. Learn more about critical care certifications here. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Nursing Critical Care Certification

If you are a nurse who works with patients in need of immediate or critical care, you can become certified as a critical care nurse through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). The AACN offers critical care certification for adult tele-ICU acute/critical nurses (CCRN-E) and for adult, pediatric and neonatal critical-care nurses (CCRN).

The AACN's CCRN-E is designed for nurses who monitor adult patients from a remote location, also called tele-ICU (www.aacn.org). You must be a registered nurse (RN) and pass an examination to earn this certification. You must also meet field experience requirements.

If you are a nurse who provides bedside care to the acutely or critically ill, you can earn the CCRN designation. In addition to being a registered nurse, experience requirements also apply. A passing score on the CCRN examination is necessary.

Important Facts About Critical Care Certification

Prerequisites Practice hours may be required as part of eligibility
Field of Study Medical/nursing, depending on type of certification
Online Availability Exams are available partially or completely online
Continuing Education Recertification may be necessary to maintain some certificates
Median Salary (2019)* $66,503 (for all critical care nurses
Job Outlook (2016-2026)**15% growth (for all registered nurses)  

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Paramedic Certification

As a licensed paramedic, you might become a Certified Critical Care Paramedic (CCP-C) through the Board for Critical Care Transport Paramedic Certification (www.bcctpc.org). It will be necessary to pass a 125-question examination which tests your knowledge of patient care, para-medicine, care environments and industry standards.

Surgical Certification

Surgeons may be eligible to earn the American Board of Surgery's (ABS) Surgical Critical Care (SCC) certification if they hold ABS-general surgery certifications, have medical licenses, complete programs in surgical critical care or anesthesiology critical care. In this capacity, you must currently work in the field of surgical critical care and submit proof of care for 50 patients. Moreover, you must receive a passing grade on a 200-question certification examination that tests your knowledge in the field of critical care surgery (www.absurgery.org).

Anesthesiologist Certification

In the event that you are a licensed anesthesiologist who works primarily in the ICU, you might want to earn a sub-specialty certification in critical care from the American Board of Anesthesiologists (ABA). The Critical Care Medicine (CCM) designation from the ABA demonstrates your knowledge of critical care, including pathophysiology, critical care pharmacology, trauma care and life support (www.theaba.org). To qualify for this certification, you must be a member of the ABA. You must also meet specialty training requirements, complete the CCM examination and be enrolled in the ABA's Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology program.

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