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9 Tips for Choosing the Right Nursing Certification

Nursing has become one of the finest vocations in the United States today, with almost 4 million people employed in this profession. People view healthcare practitioners – particularly RNs – as beacons of compassion, caregiving, and clinical expertise. According to Gallup surveys, Americans have declared nursing the most trusted occupation for twenty years. But nurses should maintain this prestige if they wish to advance in their careers and become more successful caregivers. Remember that patients trust you to continue learning and bolstering your medical knowledge. And obtaining a certification may help you achieve this goal. So, let’s discuss how RNs can choose the right certification for their careers.

Choosing a Nursing Certification Properly

Continued learning ensures long-term success in every profession nowadays, and nurses must keep honing their skills if they wish to survive in the health industry. Obtaining a nursing certification can improve your expertise, enhance your know-how, and turn you into a more employable professional. But what sorts of nursing certificates seem right for you? You can find the right one for your career-making endeavors just by doing what we’ve told you below. Additionally, considering DNP programs online can provide the flexibility and advanced education needed to further elevate your nursing career.

1. Assess Your Duties

The first thing you must consider while assessing different certifications is the nature of your duties in this field. Learning about your potential responsibilities can help you decide if you wish to pursue a particular certificate. For instance, many nurses today seem interested in forensic science as a career. So, what does a forensic nurse do, and what are their duties? You shall learn that these RNs work with the victims of abuse/neglect, collect relevant evidence, and testify against criminals. This knowledge of forensic nurses’ duties will help nursing students determine if they’re mentally ready for this career. So, assess your future duties before pursuing a nursing certificate randomly now.

2. Review Your Goals

Next, make sure your academic choices align with your career objectives. Don’t make an uninformed decision out of sheer excitement. A particular certificate should complement your objectives and help you gain them easily. For instance, a nurse interested in working with mental health patients should pursue a certificate such as PHMS or PMHNP. So, allow your goals to choose the perfect nursing certificate.

3. Evaluate Renewal Periods

When we discuss continued education, the learning process won’t finish with you earning a nursing certificate. Instead, you must renew that particular certificate after some years. Now, some certificates are to be renewed every three to five years. RNs must update their skills, know what’s new in the industry, and learn state-of-the-art specialties. But recertification depends on how that program has been structured. So, here’s how nurses can renew academic certificates:

  • Attending volunteer activities such as teaching
  • Appearing in examinations and winning more CEUs

In both cases, nurses must come up with certain clinical practice hours to show their mettle for this job. Moreover, there’s a fee associated with recertification. Now, this brings us to the issue of costs. How much does certification or recertification cost? Let’s discuss this problem in the next point.

4. Consider the Expenses

Even though continued education deserves every penny, it’s still smart to consider the cost of a nursing certificate. Different programs structure these expenses differently. For instance, some programs require students to deposit some payment in advance. Also, renewing a certificate is costly; expenses may lie between $100 and $1,000. Nurses often choose online programs to save money on commuting. So, we also recommend you pursue distance learning programs now.

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5. Ask Potential Employers

How much does an organization care when it comes to nursing certificates? Statistics indicate that 86% of healthcare organizations care about these certificates when interviewing/hiring a nurse. As mentioned above, some RNs wait to find out what certificates employers want them to have. Discuss which certifications seem important to the organization where you work to establish clear-cut academic goals. Get a certificate your employer prefers you to have.

6. Check the Payout

Besides your employer’s preference, a particular certificate’s payout seems equally important. Some certificates help you earn over $200,000, such as becoming a registered nurse anesthetist. Similarly, nurses can also go for neonatal, cardiac, and orthopedic practice to make their salaries better.

7. Learn the Prerequisites

All nursing certificates have certain prerequisites, and learning them can help you attain them easily. However, here we have mentioned some generalized prerequisites to help you understand how to apply for these certificates. So, this is what you’re required to show:

  • A degree in nursing (e.g., a BSN degree)
  • A license to practice in the United States (obtained after BSN/MSN)
  • Certain hours of practice in some amount of years (e.g., 2,000 hours in 3 years)
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8. Consider the Timing

When should you consider attaining your chosen nursing certificate? Ideally, RNs must immediately get certification right after finishing their degrees. The logic’s simple, i.e., having a nursing certificate will make you ideal for health-related employment opportunities. Practically, however, the timing can be different for everyone. For instance, some nurses can land a job that doesn’t require certification or needs candidates to commit to continued learning.  Moreover, your employer may offer you tuition expenses in exchange for staying at that organization as an employee after your education. Thus, we recommend you choose a certification when the timing suits your ambitions.

9. Research the University

In the end, the university where you will get enrolled deserves your attention and research. When obtaining a nursing certification, nurses should consider some of the most prestigious and well-known academic institutes. Many universities are offering online courses for nursing students.


We’ve established that nursing certificates boost a nurse’s chance to land better jobs and advance in her career. Nurses should follow our above mentioned suggestions to choose the right certification to hone their skills. First, assess your duties after earning that particular certificate. Then you may consider some other major points such as the university where you’ll study, the organization giving the certificate, and the payout of obtaining this credential. Review your career goals before pursuing a certificate, and don’t forget about relevant expenditures. Evaluate the need to renew that certificate, assess its importance to employers, and consider its timing. That’s how you can choose the perfect certificate for your career.