As a travel nurse, you get to expand your knowledge across diverse healthcare settings.
But formal certifications also help you master specialized skills that set you apart in competitive job markets.
Here are some of the most valuable credentials to consider pursuing during your career journey.
Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN)
For nurses interested in high-acuity specialties like the ICU, ED, PACU, and trauma, the CCRN validates your advanced expertise in treating critically ill patients. To qualify for the certification exam, candidates must have 1,750 hours of direct bedside care experience in a critical care setting within the past 2 years.
The CCRN exam thoroughly tests knowledge of interventions for complex conditions like respiratory failure, sepsis, trauma, neurological disorders, and more. Passing equips you with a prestigious credential confirming your skills in fast-paced, high-stress critical care environments.
Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN)
This certification offered by the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC) signals specialized expertise in caring for dialysis patients and providing renal replacement treatments.
The CDN exam covers topics like acid-base balance, vascular access, quality improvement, infection control, and kidney disease management.
Obtaining this niche credential can open doors to lucrative dialysis- and nephrology-focused travel nursing contracts. It also demonstrates a commitment to excellence in supporting kidney patients through hemodialysis delivery and education.
Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification (RN-BC)
Ideal for travel nurses seeking to validate competency across medical-surgical nursing, this credentialing offered by the ANCC highlights versatility in working with diverse adult patient populations.
The RN-BC exam tests assessment, clinical judgment, and interdisciplinary care knowledge.
Pursuing this broad certification shows mastery in providing postoperative care, chronic disease management, medication administration, and more in fast-paced medsurg settings. It qualifies you for higher-level roles and pay grades.
Certified Nurse Operating Room (CNOR)
For nurses who assist surgeons during procedures in the perioperative environment, obtaining the CNOR credential highlights advanced skills. Candidates must have spent at least 2 years and 2,400 hours in the OR within the last 5 years before applying.
The certification process evaluates expertise in areas like sterile technique, surgical equipment, procedures, safety standards, and patient care across pre-operative, intraoperative, and postoperative phases.
Earning the CNOR signal expertise supporting surgical teams as a circulating or scrub nurse.
Pediatric Nursing Certification (CPN)
Offered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, this credential helps nurses demonstrate specialized expertise in caring for pediatric patients ranging from infants to adolescents to young adults.
The CPN exam thoroughly tests knowledge of developmental needs, family dynamics, common childhood illnesses, communication approaches, and patient education for young patients.
Having this niche certification qualifies nurses to provide comprehensive care for kids and families in both general and specialty settings.
Additional Specialty Certification Options:
- Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) for ER nurses
- Certified Pain Management Nurse (CPMN) for pain management expertise
- Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Certification (RN-BC) for psychiatric care skills
- Critical Care Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB CNS) for labor and delivery roles
Pursuing nursing certifications aligned with your clinical passions allows you to become an expert in the specialties you enjoy most.
Investing in healthcare education also pays dividends for your career through higher salary potential and abundant opportunities to provide top-notch care.
FAQs: Nursing Certifications
What are the biggest benefits of getting certified?
- Validates specialized expertise to employers
- Allows you to earn higher pay rates
- Builds professional credibility and promotion potential
- Sharpens clinical skills through intensive exam preparation
- Bolsters confidence in your nursing capabilities
How much do certifications cost?
Expect exam fees between $300-$500. Renewals are required every 3-5 years for around $350. Many employers offer reimbursement given the value certs offer.
How long does it take to prepare?
Plan on 75-150 study hours depending on your existing experience. Some nurses prepare over 3-6 months using review materials, courses, practice tests, and study groups.
Which certification is best aligned with my goals?
Only you know what your future goals are in the nursing world. But even if you aren’t sure, it pays to evaluate exam prerequisites, content, and credentials required for what you think might be your desired specialty.
Talk to leaders currently in your target field to select the optimal certification.
What’s the ideal way to prepare?
Many nurses use prep books, online courses, study groups, and practice tests. Ensure you know the exam format, and the topic weighting. Also, study smart to play to your strengths.