Professional Certifications

Professional certifications are titles earned by individuals after becoming qualified in a specific set of knowledge, skills, or field of practice. They proves that that individual is qualified to succeed in a certain job. A certification is earned by passing an exam administered by an accredited body. Earning a certification gives nurses a leg-up and makes them appealing to employers looking to hire in the field they earned a certification in.

Certification vs. Certificate

Certificates and certifications are often confused for one another, or used interchangeably because of the similarities in their name. Most people, however, are unaware that they are two separate things. Explore the certificates page to learn the differences between the two.

Specialty Certifications

CCRN – Acute/Critical Care Nursing (Adult, Pediatric, and Neonatal)

CCRN is a certification in critical care nursing for adult, pediatric, or neonatal care units. This certification exam tests the knowledge and skills required of nurses in bedside care for patients that are critically ill.

  • Available to licensed RNs or APRNs looking to advance their knowledge and experience of critical care nursing
  • Establishes a clear and concise understanding of the skills, abilities, and knowledge necessary for trauma and critical care units
  • Salary range: $78,498 – $117,633

CCRN-E – Tele-ICU Acute/Critical Care Nursing (Adult)

A CCRN-E is an extension of the CCRN, except it is targeted to nurses who care for and monitor critically ill patients in a virtual setting (tele-ICU e-ICU, or virtual ICU), behind a camera, from a remote location.

  • This certification  is achieved by nurses who already practice in the adult tele-ICU units and pass the CCRN-E exam or as a renewal option for CCRNs who work in the tele-ICU
  • They possess the knowledge, ability, and skills to monitor and administer treatment for acutely ill patients from a remote location.
  • Salary range: $75,000 – $93,000

CCRN-K – Acute/Critical Care Knowledge Professional (Adult, Pediatric, and Neonatal)

A CCRN-K certification is intended for nurses who want to use their knowledge to positively influence critically ill adults, pediatric, or neonatal patients. These nurses do not work at bedside. Their non-bedside practices influences the care delivered to patients.

  • Nurses who wish to work in the non-bedside sector of critical care might be interested in earning a CCRN-K. An RN whose CCRN-K has expired or has an inactive status cannot use the credential.
  • They possess the knowledge, ability, and skills to pass an exam in critical care nursing which allows them to use their non-bedside practices to positively influence the care critically ill adults, pediatric, or neonatal patients receive.
  • Salary range: $78,498 – $117,633

PCCN – Progressive Care Nursing (Adult)

PPCN certified nurses offer care to critically ill patients who have achieved moderate stability but are still in great risk of becoming unstable. They can focus on a specific system such as cardiac or digestive, or they can be more broad, such as multisystem problems.

  • Nurses who work at bedside of critically ill adults can sit in on the PCCN exam. Also, eligibility is based on patient acuity, not on unit type.
  • PPCN certified nurses usually work in progressive care units and work in areas such as intermediate care, direct observation, step-down, telemetry and transitional care units.
  • Salary range: $75,000

CNML – Nurse Manager and Leader

CNML nurses gain knowledge to carry out complex leadership roles which affect the quality of care to patients.

  • The CNML certification is designed for nurse leaders who have a nurse manager role.
    • Must have BSN or higher and two or more years of experience in a nurse manager role.
    • Non-nursing BSN and three or more years of experience in a nurse manager role
    • Diploma or Associate’s Degree and a minimum of five years of experience in a nurse manager role.
  • Geared towards nurses who want to work in leadership and management roles within the hospital as opposed to bedside care.
  • Salary range: $54,699 – $102,629

Subspecialty Certifications

CMC – Cardiac Medicine (Adult)

Nurses who choose to earn their CMC subspecialty certification have shown dedication to providing bedside care to critically ill patients with cardiac conditions.

  • Nurses must have an unencumbered licensure as an RN or APRN, and a clinical nursing specialty certification. In other words, you must already have a clinical nursing specialty certification before pursuing a subspecialty in CMC.
  • CMC nurses have already proven their knowledge and skills but have chosen to achieve a subspecialty to work specifically with adults that are in critical care due to a cardiac condition
  • Salary range: $90,370

CSC – Cardiac Surgery (Adult)

A CSC certification will allow you to care for critically ill adults during the first 48 hours after they have undergone cardiac surgery.

  • Nurses must be RNs or APRNs and have 1,750 hours of bedside care to critically ill patients.
  • Nurses who earn a CSC can work in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiovascular surgery, or postanesthesia care units
  • Salary range: $65,000

Advanced Practice Consensus Model Based Certifications

ACNPC-AG – Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Adult-Gerontology)

An ACNPG-AG degree shows expertise providing care across the continuum of healthcare services for adult-gerontology patients with complex or chronic health conditions.

  • Geared towards advanced practice certification for acute care nurse practitioners with a graduate level education.  
  • They provide care to patients with critical conditions, chronic or episodic illnesses, or acute medical conditions. They can work in physicians offices, clinics, hospitals, hospices to name a few. .
  • Salary range: $78,498 – $117,633

ACCNS-AG – Clinical Nurse Specialist; Wellness through Acute Care (Adult -Gerontology)

Nurses who meet the eligibility criteria and pass the ACCN-AG exam can practice as an adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist who specializes in wellness through acute care.

  • For clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) educated at the graduate level.
  • They provide care to patients with critical conditions, chronic or episodic illnesses, or acute medical conditions. They can work in physicians offices, clinics, hospitals, hospices to name a few. .
  • Salary range: $91,450

ACCNS-P – Clinical Nurse Specialist; Wellness through Acute Care (Pediatric)

They provide advanced care across the continuum of health care services. These range from wellness through acute care and they are focused on pediatric patients.

  • For clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) educated at the graduate level
  • It certifies nurses as pediatric critical nurse specialists.
  • Salary range: $78,498 – $117,633

ACCNS-N – Clinical Nurse Specialist; Wellness through Acute Care (Neonatal)

They provide advanced care across the continuum of health care services. These range from wellness through acute care and they are focused on neonatal patients.

  • For clinical care nurse specialists (CNSs) educated at the graduate level
  • It certifies nurses as neonatal critical nurse specialists
  • Salary range: $78,498 – $117,633

Advanced Practice Certifications

ACNPC – Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Adult)

It is a credential awarded to adult acute care nurse practitioners who can provide care accross the continuum of healthcare services to care for adults with complex, acute, or chronic health conditions.

  • For clinical care nurse specialists (CNSs) educated at the graduate level
  • It certifies nurses as neonatal critical nurse specialists
  • Salary range: $78,498 – $117,633

CCNS – Acute/Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (Adult, Pediatric, and Neonatal)

A nurse that earns a CCNS is certified to care for acutely or critically ill patients. They can be adult, pediatric, or neonatal.

  • For clinical care nurse specialists (CNSs) educated at the graduate level
  • After passing the exam, CNSs become certified to care for any patient with acute illness
  • Salary range: $78,498 – $117,633