Nursing
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What Types of Nursing Certifications Are There?

What Types of Nursing Certifications Are There?

Nursing certifications provide nurses with the qualifications that they need to operate within a certain role and at a specific level. If you have these certifications behind you, it could give you access to higher-paying roles, allowing you to advance your career in the nursing profession.

What Are Nursing Certifications?

A certification is a recognition of skill. It’s proof that an individual is ready for a specific role and has the skillset needed to adequately perform that role. The requirements for the certification, as well as the costs involved, the length of time that it takes to complete, and the difficulty level, can vary from certification to certification.

Why Are They Important?

You can have all of the skills and knowledge in the world, but without the right certification, you can’t prove it. That’s why certifications are important.

The right certification can get your foot in the door, allowing you to work within your chosen specialty and helping you to build a career in caring. They can be difficult to obtain and there are many different ones to choose from, but you will learn a lot on the way and those skills will prepare you for a long and promising career.

How To Get Certified

To get certified, you first need to know which certification suits you. From there, you can research the certification, learning about exam eligibility, costs, and study materials. Once you have ticked all of those boxes, you can move on to your study and complete the examination.

Take a look at the list at the bottom of this guide to learn about the types of certifications available to nurses in the United States.

What Are The Most Important Nursing Certifications For New Grads?

Certifications make you a more enticing prospect for employers, which is a key requirement for new graduates. 

If you’ve just graduated, you’ll have minimal work experience, and you may feel like you’re trapped in a Catch-22—you need experience to get work, but you can’t get work if you don’t have experience. A certification can make all of the difference, and, in many cases, it will be required.

Some of the most popular choices for new grads include:

Oncology

The field of oncology is becoming increasingly important as the US population grows and gets older. Cancer is primarily a disease that affects older people (although it can strike at any age) and as life expectancy rates climb, there will be more and more cases. 

Treatments are also getting more effective and that could create a lot of possibilities for nurses in Oncology. What’s more, healthcare workers in this profession get to be part of potentially exciting innovations in cancer care, ones that could save millions of lives.

Nurse-Midwife

Becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is a great option for anyone who cares about the health of women and their babies and wants to support pregnant women on their journeys. It is a demanding profession but it’s also one that’s experiencing a lot of growth.

Diabetes Care

There are several certifications that deal with diabetes care and a number of possible careers relating to the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. Diabetes is one of the biggest killers in the United States, and it also contributes to a host of other illnesses. 

Millions of Americans are fighting this disease and if you specialize in diabetes care, you can help them to manage their symptoms and improve their prognosis.

What Types of Nursing Certifications Are There?

We have listed the most popular nursing certifications below, along with links to the websites of the organizations that offer them.

A-GNP

AACRN

ACCNS-AG

ACCNS-N

• Certification Name: Clinical Nurse Specialist; Wellness through Acute Care (Neonatal)

• Organization: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

ACCNS-P

• Certification Name: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Wellness through Acute Care (Pediatric)

• Organization: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

ACHPN

• Certification Name: Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse

• Organization: Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse

ACNP-BC

• Certification Name: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

ACNPC-AG

• Certification Name: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Adult-Gerontology)

• Organization: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

ACNS-BC

• Certification Name: Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

ACRN

• Certification Name: HIV/AIDS Certified Registered Nurse

• Organization: Association of Nurses in AIDS Care

ADM-BC

• Certification Name: Advanced Diabetes Management (specialty certification, retired exam)

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

ADM-BC

• Certification Name: Advanced Diabetes Management

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

AE-C

• Certification Name: Certified Asthma Educator

• Organization: The National Asthma Educator Certification Board

AFN-BC

• Certification Name: Advanced Forensic Nursing

• Organization: International Association of Forensic Nurses

AGACNP-BC

• Certification Name: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: ANA Enterprise 

AGCNS-BC

• Certification Name: Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

AGN-BC

• Certification Name: Genetics Nursing, Advanced

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

AGPCNP-BC

• Certification Name: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

AHN-BC

• Certification Name: Advanced Holistic Nurse, Board Certified

• Organization: American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation

ANP-BC

• Certification Name: Adult Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

ACNPC

• Certification Name: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Adult)

• Organization: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

AOCN

• Certification Name: Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse

• Organization: Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation

AOCNP

• Certification Name: Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation

AOCNS

• Certification Name: Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist

• Organization: Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation

APHN-BC

• Certification Name: Advanced Practice Holistic Nurse

• Organization: American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation

BC-ADM

• Certification Name: Board Certified-Advanced Diabetes Management

• Organization: Education and CE Opportunities

BMTCN

• Certification Name: Blood & Marrow Transplant Certified Nurse

• Organization: Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation

C-EFM

• Certification Name: Electronic Fetal Monitoring

• Organization: National Certification Corporation

C-NPT

• Certification Name: Neonatal Pediatric Transport

• Organization: National Certification Corporation

CANS

• Certification Name: Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist

• Organization: Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board

CAPA

• Certification Name: Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse

• Organization: American Board of Perianesthesia Nursing Certification, Inc

CARN

• Certification Name: Certified Addictions Registered Nurse

• Organization: Center For Nursing Education and Testing 

CARN-AP

• Certification Name: Certified Addictions Registered Nurse - Advanced Practice

• Organization: Center For Nursing Education and Testing

CBC

• Certification Name: Certified Breast Feeding Counselor

• Organization: Prepared Childbirth Educators, Inc

CBCN

• Certification Name: Certified Breast Care Nurse

• Organization: Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation

CBHC

• Certification Name: Correctional Behavioral Health Certification

• Organization: Raising Careers

CCCN

• Certification Name: Certified Continence Care Nurse

• Organization: Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board

CCCN-AP

• Certification Name: Certified Continence Care Nurse-Advanced Practice

• Organization: Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board

CCE

• Certification Name: Certified Childbirth Educator

• Organization: Prepared Childbirth Educators, Inc

CCHP-A

• Certification Name: Certified Correctional Health Professional-Advanced

• Organization: National Commission On Correctional Health Care

CCHP-RN

• Certification Name: Certified Correctional Health Professional-RN

• Organization: National Commission On Correctional Health Care

CCHT

• Certification Name: Certified Clinical Haemodialysis Technician

• Organization: Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission

CCHTA

• Certification Name: Certified Clinical Haemodialysis Technician-Advanced

• Organization: Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission

CCNS

• Certification Name: Acute/Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (Adult, Pediatric & Neonatal)

• Organization: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

CCRA

• Certification Name: Certified Clinical Research Associate

• Organization: The Association of Clinical Research Professional

CCRC

• Certification Name: Certified Clinical Research Associate

• Organization: The Association of Clinical Research Professional

CCRN

• Certification Name: Acute/Critical Care Nursing (Adult, Pediatric & Neonatal)

• Organization: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

CCRN-E

• Certification Name: Tele-ICU Acute/Critical Care Nursing (Adult)

• Organization: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

CCRN-K

• Certification Name: Acute/Critical Care Knowledge Professional (Adult, Pediatric & Neonatal)

• Organization: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

CCRP

• Certification Name: Certified Clinical Research Professional

• Organization: Society of Clinical Research Associates

CCTM

• Certification Name: Certified in Care Coordination and Transition Management

• Organization: Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board

CD-LPN

• Certification Name: Certified Dialysis Licensed Practical Nurse

• Organization: Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission

CD-LVN

• Certification Name: Certified Dialysis Licensed Vocational Nurse

• Organization: Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission

CDE

• Certification Name: Certified Diabetes Educator

• Organization: Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

CDN

• Certification Name: Certified Dialysis Nurse

• Organization: Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission

CEN

• Certification Name: Certified Emergency Nurse

• Organization: Board of Certification For Emergency Nursing

CENP

• Certification Name: Certified in Executive Nursing Practice

• Organization: American Organization for Nursing Leadership

CFCN

• Certification Name: Certified Foot Care Nurse

• Organization: Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board

CFRN

• Certification Name: Certified Flight Registered Nurse

• Organization: Board of Certification For Emergency Nursing

CGRN

• Certification Name: Certified Gastroenterology Registered Nurse

• Organization: American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses

CHFN

• Certification Name: Certified Heart Failure Nurse

• Organization: American Association of Heart Failure Nurses

CHFN-K

• Certification Name: Non-Clinical Heart Failure Nurse

• Organization: American Association of Heart Failure Nurses

CHPCA

• Certification Name: Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Administrator

• Organization: Advancing Expert Care 

CHPLN

• Certification Name: Certified Hospice and Palliative Licensed Nurse

• Organization: Advancing Expert Care

CHPN

• Certification Name: Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse

• Organization: Advancing Expert Care

CHPNA

• Certification Name: Certified Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistant

• Organization: Advancing Expert Care

CHPPN

• Certification Name: Certified Hospice and Palliative Pediatric Nurse

• Organization: Advancing Expert Care

CHSA

• Certification Name: Certified Health Service Administrator

• Organization: Cleaning and Hygiene Suppliers Association

CLC

• Certification Name: Certified Lactation Counsellor

• Organization: Centre for Breastfeeding

CIC

• Certification Name: Certified in Infection Control

• Organization: Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc

CM

• Certification Name: Occupational Health Nursing Case Management

• Organization: American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, Inc

CMC

• Certification Name: Cardiac Medicine (Adult)

• Organization: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

CMCN

• Certification Name: Certification in Managed Care Nursing

• Organization  American Board of Managed Care Nursing

CMSRN

• Certification Name: Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse

• Organization: Medical Surgical Nursing Certification Board

CNAMB

• Certification Name: Certified Ambulatory Surgery Nurse

• Organization: Competency and Credentialing Institute

CNE

• Certification Name: Certified Nurse Educator

• Organization: National League for Nursing

CNE-cl

• Certification Name: Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator

• Organization: National League for Nursing

CNL

• Certification Name: Clinical Nurse Leader

• Organization: American Association of Colleges of Nursing 

CNML

• Certification Name: Nurse Manager and Leader

• Organization: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

CNML

• Certification Name: Certified Nurse Manager and Leader

• Organization: American Organization for Nursing Leadership

CNN

• Certification Name: Certified Corrections Nurse

• Organization: Raising Careers

CNN

• Certification Name:

• Organization: Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission

CNN-NP

• Certification Name:

• Organization: Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission

CNN/M

• Certification Name: Certified Corrections Nurse/Manager

• Organization: Raising Careers

CNOR

• Certification Name: Certified Perioperative Nurse

• Organization: Competency and Credentialing Institute

CNS-BC

• Certification Name: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Core

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

CNS-CP

• Certification Name: Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist Perioperative

• Organization: Competency and Credentialing Institute

COCN

• Certification Name: Certified Ostomy Care Nurse

• Organization: Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board

COCN-AP

• Certification Name: Certified Ostomy Care Nurse-Advanced Practice

• Organization: Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board

COHN

• Certification Name: Certified Occupational Health Nurse

• Organization: American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, Inc

COHN-S

• Certification Name: Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist

• Organization: American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, Inc

CORLN

• Certification Name: Certified Otorhinolaryngology Nurse

• Organization: Society of Otorhinolaryngology

CPAN

• Certification Name: Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse

• Organization: American Board of Paranaesthesia Nursing Certification, Inc

CPEN

• Certification Name: Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse

• Organization: Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing

CPHON

• Certification Name: Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse

• Organization: Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation

CPHQ

• Certification Name: Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality

• Organization: National Association for Healthcare Quality

CPHRM

• Certification Name: Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management

• Organization: American Hospital Association

CPLC

• Certification Name: Certified in Perinatal Loss Care

• Organization: Advancing Expert Care

CPN

• Certification Name: Certified Pediatric Nurse

• Organization: Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

CPNP-PC

• Certification Name: Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care

• Organization: Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

CPON

• Certification Name: Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse

• Organization: Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation

CPP-AC

• Certification Name: Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care

• Organization: Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

CPSN

• Certification Name: Certified Plastic Surgical Nurse

• Organization: Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board

CRN

• Certification Name: Certified Radiologic Nurse

• Organization: Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nursing 

CRNFA

• Certification Name: Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant

• Organization: National Assistant at Surgery Certification

CRNI

• Certification Name: Certified Registered Nurse Infusion

• Organization: INS

CRNO

• Certification Name: Certification for Registered Nurses of Ophthalmology

• Organization: American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses

CRRN

• Certification Name: Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse

• Organization: Association of Rehabilitation Nurses

CSC

• Certification Name: Cardiac Surgery (Adult)

• Organization: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

CSSM

• Certification Name: Certified Surgical Services Manager

• Organization: Competency and Credential Institute 

CTRN

• Certification Name: Certified Transport Registered Nurse

• Organization: Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing 

CUA

• Certification Name: Urologic Associate

• Organization: Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associates

CUNP

• Certification Name: Certified Urologic Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associates

CURN

• Certification Name: Certified Urologic Registered Nurse

• Organization: Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associates

CWCN

• Certification Name: Certified Wound Care Nurse

• Organization: Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board

CWCN-AP

• Certification Name: Certified Wound Care Nurse-Advanced Practice

• Organization: Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board

CWOCN

• Certification Name: Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse

• Organization: Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board

CWOCN-AP

• Certification Name: Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse-Advanced Practice

• Organization: Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board

CWON

• Certification Name: Certified Wound Ostomy Nurse

• Organization: Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board

CWON-AP

• Certification Name: Certified Wound Ostomy Nurse-Advanced Practice

• Organization: Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board

DCNP

• Certification Name: Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: Dermatology Nurses Association

DNC

• Certification Name: Dermatology Nurse Certified

• Organization: Dermatology Nurses Association

ENP-BC

• Certification Name: Emergency Nurse Practitioner (specialty certification)

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

FNP-BC

• Certification Name: Family Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

FNP-C

• Certification Name: Family Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

GNP-BC

• Certification Name: Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

HN-BC

• Certification Name: Holistic Nurse, Board Certified

• Organization: American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation

HNB-BC

• Certification Name: Holistic Baccalaureate Nurse, Board Certified

• Organization: American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation

HWNC-BC

• Certification Name: Health and Wellness Nurse Coach, Board Certified

• Organization: American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation

IBCLC

• Certification Name: International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

• Organization: International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners

LNCC

• Certification Name: Legal Nurse Consultant Certified

• Organization: American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board 

NC-BC

• Certification Name: Nurse Coach, Board Certified

• Organization: American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation

NE-BC

• Certification Name: Nurse Executive

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

NEA-BC

• Certification Name: Nurse Executive, Advanced

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

NNP-BC

• Certification Name: NNP-BC - Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: National Certification Corporation

NP-C

• Certification Name: Adult Nurse Practitioner

• Organization:  American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

OCN

• Certification Name: Oncology Certified Nurse

• Organization: Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation

OCNS-C

• Certification Name: Orthopedic Clinical Nurse Specialist - Certified

• Organization: Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board

ONC

• Certification Name: Orthopedic Nurse Certified

• Organization: Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board

ONP-C

• Certification Name: Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner-Certified

• Organization: Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board

PCCN

• Certification Name: Progressive Care Nursing (Adult)

• Organization: American Association or Critical-Care Nurses

PCCN-K

• Certification Name: Progressive Care Knowledge Professional (Adult)

• Organization: American Association or Critical-Care Nurses

PCNS-BC

• Certification Name: Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

PHCNS-BC

• Certification Name: Public/Community Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (retired exam)

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

PHMS

• Certification Name: Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

PHNA-BC

• Certification Name: Public Health Nursing, Advanced

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

PMHCNS-BC

• Certification Name: Adult Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

PMHCNS-BC

• Certification Name: Child/Adolescent Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

PMHNP-BC

• Certification Name: Adult Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

PMHNP-BC

• Certification Name: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the life span)

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

PPCNP-BC

• Certification Name: Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Ambulatory Care Nursing

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Cardiac-Vascular Nursing

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Certified Vascular Nurse (retired exam)

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: College Health Nursing (retired exam)

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Community Health Nursing (retired exam)

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Faith Community Nursing

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Genetics Nursing, Advanced

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: General Nursing, Practice (retired exam)

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Gerontological Nursing

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Hemostasis Nursing

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: High-Risk Perinatal Nursing (retired exam)

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Home Health Nursing (retired exam)

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Informatics Nursing

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Medical-Surgical Nursing

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Nursing Case Management

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Nursing Professional Development

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Pain Management Nursing

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Pediatric Nursing

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Perinatal Nursing (retired exam)

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Public Health Nursing, Advanced

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: Rheumatology Nursing

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RN-BC

• Certification Name: School Nursing (retired exam)

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

RNC-LRN

• Certification Name: RNC-LRN - Low Risk Neonatal Nursing

• Organization: National Certification Corporation

RNC-MNN

• Certification Name: RNC-MNN - Maternal Newborn Nursing

• Organization: National Certification Corporation

RNC-NIC

• Certification Name: RNC-NIC - Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing

• Organization: National Certification Corporation

RNC-OB

• Certification Name: RNC-OB - Inpatient Obstetric Nursing

• Organization National Certification Corporation

SANE-A

• Certification Name: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner - Adult/Adolescent

• Organization: International Association of Forensic Nurses 

SANE-P

• Certification Name: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner - Pediatric

• Organization: International Association of Forensic Nurses

SNP-BC

• Certification Name: School Nurse Practitioner (retired exam)

• Organization: ANA Enterprise

TCRN

• Certification Name: Trauma Certified Registered Nurse

• Organization: Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing

WHNP-BC

• Certification Name: WHNP-BC - Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner

• Organization: ANA Enterprise