6 Rewards of Nursing Certification for Your Career

By Sue Heacock on Fri, Jun 20, 2014

nursing programsThere are many advantages you’ll gain with a nursing certification. And I am saying this from experience as as a Certified Occupational Health Nurse Specialist (COHN-S). Here are some reasons:

  1. It benefits your patients. According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), a nursing certification has been linked to better patient outcomes. It is also credited with a reduction in medical errors, among other benefits. If I listed no other reasons to become certified, this one should be enough!

  2. A sense of accomplishment. Becoming certified in your field is both a professional and a personal accomplishment. Most certifications require extensive study and experience to initially attain the certification. Once earned, you carry with you a keen sense of accomplishment as a certified registered nurse. You are seen by uncertified peers and management as one level higher.

  3. Career advancement. Earning your certification advances your career and creates opportunities that otherwise may not be available to you. For example, with my COHN-S certification, I am eligible to apply for case management positions. Although I have never done case management, one requirement (just to be considered) is either a Case Management or Occupational Health certification. Nurses certified in specialty areas earn an average of $9,000 more per year than their non-certified peers, not to mention that their certification increases confidence and job satisfaction.

  4. A mark of excellence. With the current challenges in the nursing job market, certification places you ahead of the competition when applying in a new organization. You also gain access to more promotional opportunities in your current workplace. Hiring authorities view certifications as a mark of excellence and a sign of commitment to your field. Additionally, those who are hiring you understand that you have gone the extra mile to earn your certification. Don't believe me? Here’s a quote from medspace.com:

    "Nurse Managers surveyed by the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS) overwhelmingly prefer to hire certified nurses because certification attests to an individual's proven knowledge base and documented experience in a given specialty. In fact, 90% said they clearly prefer to hire certified nurses."

  5. More skills and knowledge. Even though you may have practiced in your field for years, there are aspects of your professional area you may not be familiar with. For example, when studying for the COHN-S, I learned all about OSHA chemical reporting programs that I have never worked with. Studying for certification can familiarize you with other paths in your own nursing specialty that you never knew existed.

  6. Keep abreast of the latest changes. Certifications require a lot of continuing education in nursing. This consistent education validates knowledge on your nursing career, keeps a nurse abreast of the latest changes in his/her field, and enhances patient care.

With all these reasons presented, would you consider signing up for a nursing certification today? 


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The minimum experience requirements depend on your area of specialty, the facility, unit and sometimes even the location. The facilities we work with have different requirements and preferences, but the majority request a minimum of 18 months of experience.
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