Registered Nurses: 4 Common Certifications and How Much They Will Cost You

A nurse and a doctor shaking hands in an outdoor stage

These common certifications will help you to advance in your RN career

Many registered nurses have the opportunity to work with a specific population throughout their careers. Nurses who have this opportunity build their clinical knowledge quickly as they are more aware of how illnesses manifest over time and how patients respond to medication and treatment.

Certifications look great on a resume, can lead to a pay raise, and open the door for other opportunities like promotions and teaching.

Interested? Check out these common certifications and what it takes to earn them:

Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification

What is this certification about?
If you have been working as a registered nurse for at least two years, you may be eligible to apply for this certification. Earning this certification implies that you have the clinical knowledge that is needed to work in a medical-surgical speciality.

How much is it going to cost me?
If you are a member of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the certification will cost you $295. If you aren’t a member, you’ll have to pay the full price of $395.

What do I need to do to get certified?
First, check their website to make sure you are eligible to sit for the exam. If you’re eligible, apply online and prepare to sit for the online examination. The exam can take up to 3 hours so it is in your best interest to study beforehand. According to the ANCC, exam topics include assessment, diagnosis, implementation, evaluation, and professional role. Learn more about the exam here.

Pediatric Nursing Certification

What is this certification about?
Registered nurses who have been practicing full time for 2 years and have extensive clinical hours and continuing education in pediatric nursing may be eligible to earn this certification.

How much is it going to cost me?
If you are a member of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the certification will cost you $295. If you aren’t a member, you’ll have to pay the full price of $395.

What do I need to do to get certified?
Like the other certifications, you’ll have to first see if you are eligible to sit for the exam. Once you’re approved to take the exam, you’ll have to sit for a computer based exam which can last up to 3 hours. Review ANCC’s website for more information here.

Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Certification

What is this certification about?
Due to the complexity of mental health disorders, it is important that nurses have specialized training in this area if they want to serve this population long-term. 2,000 hours or more in a mental health setting may allow you to earn his certification. Learn more about this certification here.

How much is it going to cost me?
Pricing varies depending on what memberships you have. If you are a member of the American Nurses Association, then your cost is $295. If you are a member of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, your fee is slightly lowered at $220. International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses pay $340 and those who are not member anywhere pay $395.

What do I need to do to get certified?
Similar to the other certifications, you’ll have to prove that you have the clinical knowledge by taking an exam that can last u to 3 hours. When studying for this exam, it may be helpful to review the texts that were used to come up with the exam questions here.

Critical Care Registered Nurse

What is this certification about?
This certification is for nurses who have been providing direct care to critically ill patients. What is appealing about this certification is that you can earn this certification specifically in adults, pediatrics, or neonatal. There are other certifications as well if you have provided non-direct care to these populations. Check out the specifics here.

How much is it going to cost me?
If you are a member with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, you’ll pay $239. Non-members will pay $344.

What do I need to do to get certified?
For those who have direct clinical experience working with adults, pediatrics, or neonatal populations in critical care, you have two options. Option 1 is you can either get certified after 2 years of full-time work in this area with 1,750 hours of direct care. Option 2 is you can get certified if you have at least 5 years of experience and a minimum of 2,000 hours providing direct care. Read more about eligibility here.

Are you interested in obtaining any of these common certifications? Let us know which ones and why you are drawn to that population in the comments below!

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About the author

Kristie Cabrera

Kristie is an occupational therapist, mental health advocate, and amateur urban farmer. Her experience with taking care of others in the healthcare setting and taking care of the land are both important pieces that make up who she is. As a life-long learner and creative, she hopes to create content that is centered around wellness and healing.

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