Which Certifications are Required to Become an RN?

Which Certifications are Required to Become an RN?

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie Thompson

Life Saver, AMC

posted on Nov 2, 2014, at 9:49 pm


REGISTERED NURSES (RN) are an extraordinarily compassionate and vital component to a hospital’s faculty. RN’s are constantly on their feet working from dusk to dawn, making life-or-death decisions for their patients within a matter of minutes. RN’s choose to become RN’s out of tenderness and kindheartedness for their community, family and friends, but the road to employment is typically difficult and requires more time than becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or medic. A career as a RN, however, is more than a career. Nurses spend adequate time with each of their patients, paying close attention to quality of care and nurse-patient interaction. They are leaders, caregivers, educators and role models. If you are considering a rewarding career as a RN, what type of certifications and education do you need?


Before Nursing-Specific Education

Prior to beginning a career path specific to nursing, individuals are required to complete high school typically only considered with a GPA of at least 2.0. The high school courses of a prospective RN should be focused on sciences and communication such as health, biology, anatomy and English. Almost all nursing programs succeeding high school also require completion of standardized tests like the SAT or ACT.

Education During Nursing School

The duration and type of schooling required by a RN is varied depending on the individual’s and hospital’s needs. There are essentially three types of degrees associated with nursing: Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s. All degrees are science in nursing degrees, but involve very distinctive courses that are tailored to the goals of the student.

• Associate of Science in Nursing (ADN): Typically take 2-3 years with fundamental courses that prepare students for the licensure exam, NCLEX-RN.

• Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BDN): This is a 4-year degree that also prepares students for the NCLEX-RN. This program provides comprehensive lectures and hands-on experience, whereas an ADN typically does not. Some students complete the ADN as a bridge prior to completion of a BDN.

• Master of Science in Nursing: Nurses that wish to become more advanced and specific nurses, such as nurse practitioners and clinical nurses, can choose to further education for 2 years after receiving a BDN to obtain a Master’s Degree.

Job-specific Requirements

Almost every RN is only employed if he or she has passed and obtained certification in Basic Life Support (BLS) despite its unnecessary requirement according to the state. Nearly 99 percent of RN employers only hire nurses with BLS certification, therefore it is highly recommended. There are other certifications like Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), but these tend to be more specific to the particular job of the RN. Most critical care nurse and ER employers will require ACLS while most neonatal nurse employers require PALS. BLS, PALS and ACLS are all available to take online or in a classroom and require recertification approximately every 2 years.

Advanced Licensing and Certification Requirements

All prospective RNs must complete the NCLEX-RN, regularly renewing his or her license. In addition to nursing school, RNs can complete nursing certifications for more advanced practice such as critical and acute care. These certifications are nationally recognized and optional. Becoming certified in American Association of Critical Care Nurse’s (AACN) certifications require rigorous hours and practice considering the advanced level of care that critical nurses fulfill. There are different options when meeting for the time requirements, but both require thousands of hours and practice in order to take the exam.

While there are several types of certifications and education options to consider when preparing for a career as a RN, the care a RN gives to his or her patients is priceless.

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a lover of world travel, photography, design, style and Chinese cooking. She is passionate about working towards a purpose, recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Media and Marketing, and is currently residing in Manhattan.

Contact Mackenzie at mackenzie.thompson@advmedcert.com

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