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24 Nursing Certifications to Boost Your Career

Nursingcertification

As of 2022, 290,866 nurses received nursing certifications, according to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Simply put, nursing certifications are more than just credentials on a resume. They have a far-reaching, long-lasting impact on nurses and patients alike.

Marianne Horahan, MBA, MPH, RN, CPHQ, NEA-BC, CAE, Certification and Customer Service Director at the ANCC, said the benefits of certification start as soon as nurses begin studying for the exam and continue to grow throughout their careers.

While studying for an exam, nurses fill in knowledge gaps. Upon achieving nursing certifications, the accomplishment impacts care and much more. 

“For nurses, there is a badge of pride in knowing they are competent within their specialty,” Horahan said. She added that employers benefit because their nurses are current on the latest advancements in their specialty practice and patients benefit from having more competent and confident nurses. 

Nursing certifications also can spark a desire to continue on a lifelong career development path to additional certifications. 

“A nurse holding multiple certifications can demonstrate a broader breadth of knowledge and expertise,” Horahan said. 

For example, she explained, a nurse leader on an elder care unit could become certified as a nurse executive and in gerontological nursing to demonstrate competence in the clinical and leadership specialties. A nurse who is certified in med-surg and psychiatric-mental health nursing can better navigate the care of a med-surg patient with psychiatric comorbidities.

Certifications to consider

So what are your certification options? 

Based on your specialty, the avenues for career development can be vast. 

In some cases, nurses who are members of a specialty nursing association can earn a discount on the cost for certification or recertification applications. And Nurse.com offers certification review courses that can help nurses prepare for the exam.

We’ve compiled a list of 24 nursing certifications that can expand your career options and your skill set. 

1. Critical care registered nurse (CCRN)

  • Administered by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
  • Prepare with Nurse.com’s Adult Critical Care Certification Review Course 
  • Acute and critical care nurses have seven different certifications to choose from in their specialty. Adult, pediatric, and neonatal certifications are available for RNs and APRNs who provide or influence direct. An adult teleICU option is offered for nurses working remotely with acute or critically ill patients.

2. Certified emergency nurse (CEN)

3. Nurse educator (CNE)

  • Administered by the National League for Nursing
  • Prepare with Nurse.com’s catalog of courses on nurse education
  • Accredited in 2009, the National League for Nursing’s Certified Nurse Educator program creates a means for nursing faculty to demonstrate expertise in their role. CNEs educate future nurses in a variety of settings, including universities, technical schools, hospitals, and two- and four-year colleges.

4. Family nurse practitioner (FNP)

  • Administered by the ANCC 
  • Prepare with Nurse.com’s Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Review Course
  • FNPs often work in primary care settings and care for patients across their lifespan. The requirements include an MSN degree or higher, along with 500 hours (minimum) of clinical hours of supervised direct patient care. 

5. Progressive care nursing (PCCN)

6. Nurse executive (NE-BC)

  • Administered by the ANCC 
  • Prepare with Nurse.com’s catalog of courses on nursing leadership
  • For nurses seeking a high-level leadership position, this certification could be required to advance into certain roles. A baccalaureate degree or higher is among the requirements. 

7. Oncology certified nurse (OCN)

  • Administered by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation
  • Prepare with Nurse.com’s Oncology Nursing Certification Review Course
  • With an OCN certification, nurses can use the most updated research and trends to help advance clinical treatments for patients with cancer. Two thousand hours (minimum) of adult oncology nursing practice, two years of RN experience, and 10 hours of continuing oncology education or an elective course in oncology nursing are required.

8. Certified perioperative nurse (CNOR)

9. Certified medical-surgical registered nurse (CMSRN) 

10. Certified wound care nurse (CWCN)

11. Stroke certified registered nurse (SCRN)

  • Administered by the American Board of Neuroscience Nursing
  • Prepare with Nurse.com’s Stroke Certified RN Certification Review Course
  • Certification can expand a nurse’s expertise in stroke care while offering patients hyperacute, acute, and post-acute care, as well as secondary and preventative care. RNs must have one year of full-time direct or indirect stroke nurse experience (2,080 hours) in the past three years to apply.

12. Certified pediatric nurse (CPN)

13. Inpatient obstetric nursing certification (RNC-OB)

14. Cardiac-vascular nursing certification (CV-BC)

  • Administered by the ANCC 
  • Prepare with Nurse.com’s catalog of courses on cardiology 
  • Specializing in the care, treatment, and rehabilitation of patients with heart disease, cardiac-vascular nurses can achieve certification via a competency-based exam. CV-BC nurses also work with patients to manage symptoms, prevent complications, and offer education on maintaining their vascular system.

15. Orthopaedic nurse certification (ONC)

16. Certified dialysis nurse (CDN)

17. Legal nurse consultant certified (LNCC)

  • Administered by the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants 
  • Prepare with Nurse.com’s catalog of courses on nursing law
  • Sitting for the certification exam requires 2,000 hours of work in a legal nurse consulting role. That work can be done in a variety of ways, including as analysts, collaborators, strategists, researchers, and educators in legal matters. 

18. Certified infection control nurse (CIC)

19. Hospice and palliative care nurse (CHPN)

  • Administered by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association; the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation; and the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center
  • Prepare with Nurse.com’s Hospice and Palliative Nursing Certification Review Course
  • Designed for experienced RNs in hospice and palliative care, the certification requires 500 hours of practice in the field in the 12 months before taking the exam. CHPNs exhibit increased confidence and competence in their practice and have a greater understanding of the specialty’s current body of knowledge.

20. Sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE)

  • Administered by the International Association of Forensic Nurses
  • Prepare with Nurse.com’s catalog of courses on forensic nursing
  • The International Association of Forensic Nurses offers two certifications for nurses who provide care for survivors of sexual assault – adult/adolescent (SANE-A) and pediatric (SANE-P). Two years of clinical practice as an RN are required to apply for this certification.

21. Informatics nursing certification (NI-BC)

  • Administered by the ANCC 
  • Prepare with Nurse.com’s Nursing Informatics Certification Review Course
  • The NI-BC merges the worlds of both nursing and technology. Informatics nurses enhance quality of care in multiple ways, including reducing errors, improving information flow, enhancing patient record storage, saving time, and empowering patients with access to their entire medical history.

22. Ambulatory care nursing certification (AMB-BC)

  • Administered by the ANCC 
  • Prepare with Nurse.com’s Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification Review Course
  • The certification will strengthen an ambulatory care nurse’s knowledge on the five Domains of Practice — Clinical Practice, Communications, Professional Role, Systems/Legal and Regulatory, and Education, according to the ANCC. The exam also contains an enhanced component on telehealth.

23. Advanced diabetes management (ADM-BC)

24. Board certified holistic nurse (HN-BC)

  • Administered by the American Holistic Credentialing Corporation 
  • Prepare with Nurse.com’s catalog of courses on holistic nursing
  • Designed for non-Baccalaureate RNs, the HN-BC certification focuses on nursing practice that facilitates the health, wellness, and well-being of individuals, families, groups, communities, and the global level. Requirements include 48 hours of continuing education in holistic nursing philosophy, theory, practice, research, related concepts, health, and care. 

Nursing certifications demonstrate a nurse's expertise and commitment to evidence-based practice, and that’s recognized by the ANCC annually on March 19 — Certified Nurses Day. By obtaining and maintaining these certifications, nurses not only stay current with the latest advancements in health care, but they ensure they’re equipped to provide the highest quality care. 

Learn more about these certifications or other nursing skills through Nurse.com's catalog of CE courses.