5 Nursing Certifications to Consider

Nursing certifications are a popular choice for nurses interested in fine-tuning their knowledge and skills. With dozens of specialties available, there are options to accommodate virtually every nurse. Many of those certifications require nurses to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and an online RN to BSN program is a great place to start.

Discussed below are the benefits as well as five certifications worth considering.

What Are Nursing Certifications?

Nursing certifications represent a formal process of validating a nurse’s skills, abilities and depth of knowledge as it pertains to specific specialties and roles. Gaining certification is a voluntary step above and beyond state licensure, and is overseen by independent certifying organizations that develop standards of practice in addition to eligibility and testing requirements. Candidates must generally have an unencumbered nursing license and at least two years of relevant experience. A minimum number of continuing nursing education hours may also be required.

What Are the Benefits of Certification?

Certification offers many possible benefits. It not only reassures patients and employers that you possess the fundamental scope of knowledge to practice in a specialized role, it also frequently leads to:

  • Higher salaries, pay differentials and sign-on bonuses
  • More opportunities for career advancement and professional development
  • Improved job satisfaction and renewed sense of personal and professional accomplishment
  • Potential to provide better patient care resulting in improved outcomes

1. Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN)

Oncology nursing is a rewarding yet demanding specialization that calls for resilience, precision and compassion. As a certified oncology nurse, you may be involved in many aspects of care such as:

  • Community outreach and education initiatives
  • Cancer screenings and preventive care
  • Research

Certification is offered through the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation.

2. Holistic Nurse Baccalaureate Board Certified (HNB-BC)

Given the growing demand for integrative medicine, holistic nursing is a promising career pathway for those whose interests reach beyond conventional healthcare. Defined by the American Holistic Nurses Association as a “nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal,” this specialty focuses on the mind-body-spirit connection and often combines complementary and traditional approaches.

Certification is offered through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation.

3. Certified Registered Nurse Infusion (CRNI)

Infusion nurses administer intravenous (IV) therapies to patients of all ages with various health conditions. IV therapies are delivered through an IV line, central line or venous access port and supply patients with antibiotics, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, steroids, blood, nutrition replacement and electrolytes. Infusion nurses may find employment opportunities in several settings, including primary care, rheumatology and oncology practices, home health and skilled nursing facilities.

Certification is offered through the Infusion Nurses Society.

4. Dermatology Nurse Certified (DNC)

Dermatology nursing is an intriguing path as it focuses on the body’s largest organ — the skin — and its associated diseases and injuries. DNCs work in a range of settings, from day spas and private dermatology practices to hospitals and burn centers. They have varied job responsibilities like:

  • Educating patients about skin health and wound care
  • Providing preventive care related to skin cancer and infections
  • Performing cosmetic dermatology procedures
  • Treating wounds such as burns and ulcers

Certification is offered through the Dermatology Nurses’ Association.

5. Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN)

Rehabilitation nurses are key healthcare collaborators in post-acute care settings as they work to restore patient movement, strength and quality of life. Rehab nurses provide direct care and education for patients who have experienced stroke, spinal cord injury, cancer and neurological diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Certification is offered through the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.

Nursing certifications are a personally and professionally gratifying step in many nurses’ careers. With the potential to hone your interests, increase your salary and facilitate better patient outcomes, specialization is a worthwhile consideration for many nurses.

To become eligible for certifications that require a BSN, consider an online RN to BSN program, like the one from Southern Utah University (SUU). Working nurses can complete this degree on their own schedule from anywhere with an internet connection. SUU’s online CCNE-accredited RN to BSN program can be completed in as few as 10 months.

Learn more about Southern Utah University’s online RN to BSN program.


American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing: Nursing Certification Position Statement

American Holistic Nurses Association: What Is Holistic Nursing?

American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation: Holistic Nurse

Association of Rehabilitation Nurses: Steps to CRRN Certification

Daily Nurse: Why Specialize in Oncology? Advice for Nursing Students

Dermatology Nurses’ Association: DNC Certification

Infusion Nurses Society: CRNI Exam Outline

Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation: Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN)

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