Three Tips For Choosing The Right Nursing Certification

Three Tips For Choosing The Right Nursing Certification

Achieving the goal of becoming a certified nurse involves enduring the numerous challenges posed by the nursing curricula, acquiring practical skills, mastering information, and fostering professionalism. Although a degree and state licensure provide nurses with the required legal authority to enter the workforce, certification validates expertise along with mastery of clinical knowledge in a specialized area of practice.

Nursing ranks amongst the most significant healthcare professions in the United States. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook of this profession may increase by 9% between 2020-2030. This is as fast as the average growth for all occupations. The statistics also predict about 276,800 new jobs to appear in the next decade.

However, getting started in the highly sought-after field is not child’s play and involves earning a certification to secure a promising position. Let us look at three tips for choosing the right nursing certification and learn all you need to in this domain.

What is a Nursing Certification?

A nursing certification is a professional assurance of mastery in a specialized domain in nursing. It demonstrates to prospective employers or patients a nurse’s capability of practice within a particular specialty and is one of the most favorable ways of showcasing your intention of developing a serious career and earning some brownie points.

Some prerequisites to attaining a nursing certification include a nursing degree from an accredited nursing school, an active nursing license, and passing an exam. There is a wide array of nursing specializations, such as becoming an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, that you can opt for when choosing a nursing certification.

What You Need To Know About Nursing Certifications

Several certifying organizations are a part of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and are authorized to grant nursing certifications. You can pursue nursing certifications through the following organizations, depending upon your chosen career path and interests:

  • American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN)
  • National Assistant at Surgery Certification (NASC)
  • Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
  • Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI)
  • American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL)
  • Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)
  • National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA)
  • Certification Board for Diabetes Care and Education (CBDCE)
  • National League for Nursing (NLN)
  • Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation (INCC)
  • Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB)
  • The National Certification Corporation (NCC)

The requirements for certification vary by organization and type of credentials. A consistent renewal of certificates is required to ensure that nurses still meet the eligibility requirements and pursue the required continuing education. Most states in the U.S authorize the renewal of nursing licensure depending upon the status of certification renewal.

Requirements for Nursing Certification

Some nursing certifications, such as critical care nurses and ER nurses, do not require extra formal education but do require verified practice hours. In contrast, advanced practice certifications such as nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners necessitate additional education (usually a Master’s degree or Doctorate in nursing). For example, aspirants who intend to become family nurse practitioners must hold a registered nursing (RN) licensure and complete at least 500 clinical and supervised patient care hours. Additionally, they must also complete an accredited post-graduate program to sit for the ANCC FNP-BC certification examination. That is why most aspirants work for about one or two years before applying for nurse practitioner and certification programs.

Types Of Nursing Certifications

There are several kinds of nursing certifications;

  1. Some are based on career level (such as particular certifications for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN)and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) holders),
  2. Some are for Certified Nurse Assistants (CAN), and
  3. Others for Registered Nurses (RN), etc.

Some other certifications are based on specializations such as pediatrics, oncology, etc. Nurses can choose their disciplines depending upon their interests and career goals.

Tips For Choosing The Right Nursing Certification

Choosing the right nursing certification depends significantly on an aspirant’s career goals, interests, life objectives, and skill set. Once these factors help in narrowing down the domain of interest, there are some tips that you can follow to choose the right nursing certification. Let’s get to it!

1. Align Your Life Goals With The Available Specializations

When choosing a nursing certification, the foremost tip is to take some time off and connect with yourself to recognize your future goals, career objectives, interests, and skill set. Although it may seem obvious, most nurses skip this step and make an uninformed decision that poses undesirable consequences in the future. Thus, it is crucial to choose one that compliments your life objectives and helps you accomplish them.

Nurses can attain several certifications, but it is advisable to develop a clear plan that entails all of them to supplement your career choice.

2. Look Into The Fee Structure

Almost all nursing certifications have specific fees associated with them, along with any educational expenditure that might come up. These fees depend upon the kind of certification; some programs require an initial payment, whereas others do not. It is crucial to look into your choice of certification fee, as some certifying organizations also offer discounts for members. Almost all certifications require a renewal fee to maintain credentials. The cost may range between $100 to nearly $1,000, with the renewal periods ranging from one to five years.

3. Evaluate Certification Renewal

Similar to the healthcare sector, nurses must renew their nursing certification periodically, and there are different options for renewals for various certificates. It is advisable to look into the certification procedures when opting for one to prevent unprecedented situations in the future. Some certifications also allow renewal by completing professional activities such as volunteering, teaching, or completing continuing education. Others allow recertification through an exam.

In either case, candidates must have a specific number of clinical practice hours. They must complete a fraction of these hours within a particular date of renewal time frame. This time frame ensures that nurses hold the recent and relevant experience necessary for recertification.

Final Thoughts

Nurses hold the benefit of having a wide array of employment opportunities. They can work in several kinds of environments and departments. Attaining a nursing certification can open even wider doors of specializations, and with each certification, you can choose a career role that suits your goals best.