Nursing Certifications are a way to have better opportunities and provide high-quality nursing care. Nurses can choose one or multiple certifications based on their desired career path. Certification is considered an essential part of professional development and offers many benefits, such as increasing employers’ confidence in you as a healthcare provider.
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Different Types of Certifications for Nursing Students
Nursing students in the United States can pursue a variety of certifications depending on their career goals. Each certification requires its qualifications and examinations, but each one is designed to help nurses specialize in a given nursing field.
Here are some of the most common types of certifications for nursing students:
1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
CRNAs are certified to administer anesthesia and related care in various health care settings. To become certified, students must have an active license as a registered nurse and complete the necessary coursework and/or clinical hours.
2. Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
CNMs are certified to provide primary care for women throughout the lifespan, such as prenatal and postnatal care. To become certified, students must have an active license as a registered nurse and complete the necessary coursework and/or clinical hours.
3. Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP)
CNPs are certified to practice independently or in collaboration with physicians, providing primary and specialty care services. To become certified, students must have an active license as a registered nurse and complete the necessary coursework and/or clinical hours.
4. Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
CNSs are certified to serve as expert consultants in a given specialty area of nursing practice. To become certified, students must have an active license as a registered nurse and complete the necessary coursework and/or clinical hours.
5. Certified Nurse Executive (CNE)
CNEs are certified to lead nursing organizations by creating policies, developing strategies, and managing resources. To become certified, students must have an active license as a registered nurse and complete the necessary coursework and/or clinical hours.
6. Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)
ACLS certification is designed for healthcare providers who respond to cardiovascular emergencies. To become certified, students must have an active license as a registered nurse and complete the necessary coursework and/or clinical hours.
7. Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
PALS certification is designed for healthcare providers who respond to pediatric emergencies. To become certified, students must have an active license as a registered nurse and complete the necessary coursework and/or clinical hours.
8. Long Term Care Certification
This certification is designed for nurses specializing in providing care to long-term, chronically ill patients. To become certified, students must have an active license as a registered nurse and complete the necessary coursework and/or clinical hours.
9. Critical Care Nursing Certification
This certification is designed for nurses caring for critically ill patients. To become certified, students must have an active license as a registered nurse and complete the necessary coursework and/or clinical hours.
What is the Importance of Nursing Certifications
Nursing certifications are essential for the individual nurse and patients as they demonstrate the nurse’s commitment to their profession, knowledge in a specific area of nursing practice, and dedication to high-quality care. Certifications can also increase job opportunities and earning potential, as many employers prefer hiring nurses with certifications. Ultimately, it is the nurse’s responsibility to decide which certificates are best for their career goals.
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is a leading organization providing certification and credentialing programs for nurses, including those mentioned above. The ANCC offers online preparation materials and exams and resources to help nurses prepare for their exams. Additionally, the ANCC provides a variety of scholarships and grants to help nurses achieve their certification goals.
How to Select the Right Certification for You
If you are considering obtaining a nursing certification, the first step is to decide which type best suits your career goals and interests. To help you make an informed decision, it’s essential to research and compare different certifications available in the field. The following tips will assist you in selecting the proper certification for you:
1. Define Your Career Goals
Before you can determine which certification is best for you, it’s essential to take the time to define your current career goals and objectives. Consider where you want to be in five years, what roles or positions you may desire, and if any certifications are essential for professional advancement. Additionally, consider any educational requirements you may need to meet, such as an advanced degree or additional certifications.
2. Understand Your Certification Choices
After identifying your career aspirations, it’s time to examine the certification options available for nursing professionals. Research each type of certification and its requirements to understand what is expected of you. Compare the certifications and determine which suits your career path and interests best.
3. Consider the Costs
Nursing certifications generally require a fee for application and examination costs. Consider all of these potential expenses as you decide, so you can be sure that obtaining certification is financially feasible.
4. Obtain Advice and Guidance
Do not hesitate to ask questions of current nursing professionals and educators about certification options available in the field. They can offer helpful advice and insights to guide you toward the best choice for your career aspirations. Additionally, talking with mentors or colleagues who have obtained certifications can provide valuable insights into the process.
5. Review Your Options Carefully
Once you have identified a certification option that seems to fit your career goals, review all the details. Make sure you understand each certification’s application requirements and examination criteria before making your final decision.
By following these steps in the selection process, you can make the right choice and select the certification that best fits your career aspirations. With careful research and comparison of available options, you can ensure that you are making an informed decision when selecting a nursing certification.
Pros & Cons of a Nursing Certification
1. Increased Credibility- Obtaining a nursing certification can help enhance your reputation and provide credibility to employers, colleagues, and patients. This can be beneficial when seeking professional advancement or recognition of your achievements.
2. Improved Job Opportunities- Many employers prefer to hire candidates with certifications in their respective disciplines. Certification can increase your chances of landing new job opportunities and promotions.
3. Career Growth- Earning a nursing certification can assist you in reaching new levels of professional success, as it allows for continued education and growth in the field.
1. Cost- Nursing certifications generally require an application and examination fee. It’s important to consider all potential costs when deciding if certification is financially feasible.
2. Time Commitment- Depending on the certification type, specific criteria may be met to complete the process. This can require a significant amount of time and effort invested.
3. Difficulty- Obtaining a nursing certification can sometimes be difficult and requires years of experience to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills. This may only be feasible for some individuals considering certification.
For those looking to take their nursing career to the next level, obtaining a certification can be an excellent way to demonstrate competency in a specific area and gain recognition for your hard work. You must select the suitable certificate for you and your personal goals. Certification exams are rigorous and require dedication and commitment, but they can be a rewarding experience, boosting both your confidence and resume. With the right certification, you can increase job opportunities and open the door to higher levels of responsibility.
Mrs. Marie Brown has been a registered nurse for over 25 years. She began her nursing career at a Level I Trauma Center in downtown Chicago, Illinois. There she worked in the Emergency Department and on the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. After several years, she moved to the Midwest and continued her nursing career in a critical care setting. For the last 10 years of her nursing career, Mrs. Brown worked as a flight nurse with an air ambulance service. During this time, she cared for patients throughout the United States.