Nursing offers a wide variety of career options, so the process by which nursing licenses and certifications are obtained can be tricky to navigate. Requirements not only vary by specialty, but by location as well. With this in mind, NursingJobs.com has assembled the following information to serve as a nursing licensure roadmap that will get you to where you want go.
To become a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), candidates must meet specific nursing licensing requirements as defined by the board of nursing located in the state in which he or she will work.
Nursing licensing requirements differ in each state, but minimum prerequisites include the successful completion of a state-approved nursing program and completion of the National Council of Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
Specialty nursing certification refers to the process by which clinicians in specialty fields are approved by a certifying board other than a state board of nursing. Most nursing certifications are pursued after obtaining Registered Nurse status, as a current RN license is generally required. Click on one of the major credentialing options below to learn more about their respective certificate programs for nursing professionals.
The ANCC is the credentialing arm of the American Nurses Association (ANA), offering credentialing programs that are accepted by all state boards of nursing and by the U.S. military. Over 40 specialties are covered by the ANCC, including:
The AACN offers credentialing programs specifically for critical care nurses. Candidates must hold an RN license and meet eligibility requirements which include a specified period of clinical practice. Separate exams are offered for nurses who care for adult, pediatric and neonatal patients.
The ENA offers trauma-related certifications that are designed to prepare clinicians in optimal care for patients in OR and ICU environments. Courses are offered throughout the year in all fifty states, focusing on two major specialties:
The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows clinicians to practice both physically and electronically in multiple states with a singular license from their state of residency. This option is especially useful for those considering becoming a travel nurse. You must be based in a participating state in order to qualify. For more information on multi-state nursing licensure, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website.
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Nursing Licensure Roadmap © 2013. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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