8 Best Certifications for Nursing in 2024

Last Updated on May 30, 2024

smiling female wound care-certified nursing professional in blue scrubs helping patient

More job opportunities, more pay, and more skills: That’s the power of nursing certifications. You can grow your career and knowledge through professional development, and nursing certifications are one of the best ways to get there.

To help your journey to success, here’s an in-depth guide to understanding nursing certifications and the eight most in-demand ones to explore in 2024.

What are Certifications for Nursing?

You can earn certifications for nursing to gain specialized knowledge and skills in particular areas of healthcare. You can complete these educational certifications on top of your degree for nursing professional development, from critical care to gerontology and beyond.

What are Certifications for Nursing vs. Licenses?

Remember: This is different from your nursing license. Your nursing license gives you authority to practice: For example, ‘RN’ or LVN.’

Certifications for nursing are earned in addition to your license as nursing professional development: For example, ‘CEN’ (Certified Emergency Nurse) or ‘CCRN’ (Critical Care Registered Nurse). To complete a certification, you’ll likely need to take a certain course(s) and pass an exam. Once you earn your certification, you can include it in your professional title!

Do You Need to Get Certifications for Nursing?

It depends. In general, most nursing roles require a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification at the minimum. Overall, it depends on the job you’re applying for, your facility’s needs and policies, and, in some cases, your state’s requirements.

More advanced, high-paying roles will likely require specific certifications and nursing professional development.

Why Get Nursing Certifications?

Stand Out with Nursing Professional Development

Need more experience in a specialty, skill, or setting? Get a certification! Nursing professional development can instantly make your resume stand out. In addition, it shows your dedication to your profession and gives you the extra skills needed to succeed in a role.

Feel Confident in Your Care

Certifications for nursing aren’t just for show. They’re for you! You’ll gain up-to-date knowledge and hands-on strategies to improve your care in a specific area. When planning your nursing professional development, choose ‘certs’ in areas where you want to increase the quality and confidence of your care.

Certifications Increase Your Nursing Salary

Certifications for nursing can make you a specialist in a certain field or setting. Completing certifications can open more job opportunities in high-paying areas requiring particular skills.

How to Get Certifications for Nursing

Step 1: Earn Your Nursing License

Before enrolling in a certification course, you’ll need to earn your license and make sure it’s active.

Step 2: Meet the Certification’s Prerequisites

Some certifications for nursing require you to meet certain standards — for example, you’ll need to have completed other professional development courses or worked as a nurse for a certain timeframe.

Step 3: Apply for and Complete the Certification

Finally, it’s time to apply! Work through well-known, official organizations, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to meet the requirements.

Top Certifications for Nursing Professional Development

Critical Care Registered Nurse

For starters, a Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification is extremely valuable for nurses who want to work in critical care settings. This nursing professional development certification proves your expertise in caring for patients, even in the most urgent situations.

It’s great if you want to work in:

  • Intensive care units (ICUs)
  • Cardiac care units
  • Surgical units

Wound Care Certifications

Wound care certifications can give you the specialized skills to effectively treat various types of wounds. With this extra knowledge, you can support faster healing and even reduce patient complications.

Consider getting a wound care certification if you want to work in:

Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support

Eager to make a difference in emergency settings? You’ll want to earn your Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certification. This can give you the tools to respond confidently to cardiac emergencies and improve patient survival rates in critical situations.

Additionally, an ACLS certification can help you to apply for high-paying jobs within settings such as:

  • Hospitals
  • ICUs and urgent care centers
  • ERs
  • Cardiac care units
  • Private practices

Pro Tip: Discover 10 In-Demand Healthcare Jobs for ACLS Certifications

Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification

If you’re looking to work in and around the operation room, consider getting a medical-surgical nursing certification. This can validate your proficiency in managing complex medical and surgical conditions, helping patients prepare for and recover from operations.

It can be beneficial for:

  • Hospitals, specifically med-surg and rehab units
  • Outpatient centers
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Home health care

Pain Management Nursing Certification

As a nurse, you can make a difference by getting certified for pain management. This certification can give you the skills to assess and manage pain effectively, helping patients find real relief from pain and discomfort.

Plus, a pain management nursing certification can give you an edge when applying for roles within settings such as:

  • Long-term care centers
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Home and hospice care

Pediatric Nursing

Ready to care for little patients with big hearts? A pediatric nursing certification can give you the expertise necessary to care for children’s unique needs in a compassionate way.

It can help you land nursing roles in:

  • Pediatric care offices
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Surgical centers

Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing

Mental health and behavioral nurses are needed more than ever. Grow your career with a psychiatric nursing certification that shows your skills and knowledge in providing holistic care for individuals with mental health disorders.

This can help you when applying for nursing jobs within:

Nationally Certified School Nurse

Lastly, school nursing is one of the most rewarding specialties, while offering some of the greatest work-life balance in the field. Therefore, if you’re passionate about becoming a school nurse, you may want to get your NCSN® certification under the National Board for Certified School Nurses.

Grow Your Nursing Career

Looking for nursing jobs in popular certifications? With CareerStaff, you can continually build your nursing career to reach your goals, increase your pay, and find flexibility.

Discover hundreds of nursing jobs nationwide today. Or, Quick Apply below to connect with your recruiter and find the position you’re searching for now.