5 Most Common Types of Nursing Certifications You Should Have


Source: ChildrensCenter.org

If you are a registered nurse, you can choose from many specialties and become certified in those areas. Such certifications show that you have attained expert knowledge in those fields. Having specific certifications has been shown to result in higher patient satisfaction rates, and also lower rates of errors in the care of patients. As this chart points out, in 2006 only 16% of Registered Nurses obtained certifications whereas in 2010 42% of RN’s obtained a certification. What does the future hold? Certainly has the nursing field becomes even more specialized this number is sure to increase.

Some of the most important nursing certifications that are important for you to have to advance your career are the following:

#1 AIDS Certified Registered Nurse (ACRN)

This certification indicates that you have a high level of training and expertise in the nursing care of patients who have HIV/AIDS. This certification signifies that you have the training to address the entire consequences of the disease, including both the physical and psychosocial issues. Nurses with the ACRN certification often work in speciality clinics and in infectious disease units in hospitals.


For you to qualify to take this certification examination, you need to have two years of HIV/AIDS work experience. The test will gauge your knowledge of the clinical management of both HIV and AIDS, and will include questions related to the most common treatments and nursing interventions for AIDS patients.

#2 Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN)

This is a highly specialized registered nurse certification that provides specific care to pediatric patients. This will include performing assessments, treatment interventions and evaluations of medication. You also will need to provide education to both the patient and family.


If you sit to take this certification exam, you will need to have a complete knowledge of child development, including the key developmental milestones. Also, you will need to know major pathologic diseases that can affect children.

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#3 Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse (AOCN)

With the Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse certification, you will have met all of the criteria to be a specialized nurse in the oncology field. To be eligible to sit for this certification exam, you have to have worked at least 1000 hours from the last 2.5 years of your nursing work in oncology. You also need to have completed continuing education credits of 10 hours in oncology to sit for the exam.


You will need to be extremely knowledgeable in eight major categories of oncology knowledge, including quality of life issues with cancer and also the specific physiological effects of this disease on the body.

#4 Family Nurse Practitioner

The certification of Family Nurse Practitioner shows that you have a higher level of training and education to provide care to all age ranges. You can treat pediatric and adult patients who are suffering from many acute or chronic illnesses. You also may treat any psychosocial issues that could be affecting family members.


You need to be a registered nurse who has finished a Nurse Practitioner education program and must have at least a master’s degree in the field. You need to have completed at least 500 clinical hours in the program.

The examination for this certification will test your knowledge of all parts of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of both acute and chronic diseases that affect all age ranges. You will need to answer questions on clinical management, and then about patient assessment, healthy living and patient factors.

#5 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

With this certification, you will be responsible for the pre and postoperative assessment of all patients who are receiving anesthesia. You will work closely with an anesthesiologist to provide safe monitoring of anesthesia during surgeries.


You need to be a registered nurse who has completed a Nurse Anesthetist program to sit for this certification exam. You will need to know about all body systems, including physiology, anatomy and disease states. You also will need to be knowledgeable in anesthesia and how to administer anesthesia, as well as potential complications.