Certification : I Did it For the Money.

Getting certified in your nursing specialty has many professional and personal advantages such as networking, learning new evidence based information, and learning what procedures or equipment will soon be available. Nurses Career Support Article


Certification : I Did it For the Money.

Money is an excellent motivator, and when the hospital that I worked at offered two dollars more an hour for certification, I was excited. I had been thinking about getting my certification for many years, so this was the perfect opportunity. After months of studying and stressing, I finally received my certification in GI nursing - CGRN!

The hospital that I work at now does not recognize certifications and I am due to renew in 2015. When I think about how much of myself I put into achieving my certification, there is no way I am not renewing. It is now more than money to me; it is my way to demonstrate the passion I have for GI nursing.

Going to conferences and reading the professional magazines help me to keep up with the latest advances and evidence-based research in GI. I enjoy learning and networking with other GI nurses, we are there because we want to be the best for our patients.

Are You Trying to Get Your Certification?

The first thing to do is go to the website for your specific field and read the conditions for certification. How long you have worked in your field, how many and what kind of CEUs are required, and cost are some things that you need to pay attention to.

Each certification body has study books as well as other resources to help you in the preparation. For the test anxiety people, (that would be me) this is the worst part. There is no shortcut, it takes a lot of studying to prepare. Taking your time and going through the books in an organized manner, studying sections at a time will help keep you on a timeline and be able to cover everything. Certification prep classes are available also for additional help, but at a cost of course.

Certification Organization

There is no need to worry about the legitimacy of your certification organization. There are two main governing bodies that make sure each certification agency is credentialed and following the guidelines:

National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) - Provide professional membership for associates and education as well as networking. They offer resources for those who work in the credentialing industry, and develop standards and do test development.

American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABSNC) - Non-profit organization that promotes specialty nursing certification, and allows nursing certification organizations to obtain accreditation.

There is a long list of certifications from Ambulatory Care to Public Health, providing nurses with the opportunity to become an asset to their employer and patients. With confidence, you can know that you are providing a higher standard of care and therefore outcome expectations are higher.

Certification allows for professional and personal growth. It opens up opportunities to continually learn, network, keep up with the latest practices and also to know what's coming in the near future. As a result, it looks great on your resume and provides validation of your specialized knowledge and level of professional credibility. It is not a requirement to be certified in your nursing specialty, it is a choice - a commitment. If you have any questions about getting certified please feel free to ask and if you have thoughts or suggestions on the subject, please share!

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Specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

Thanks for reminding of us the importance of certifications.

Specializes in Med Surg.

My employer pays $400 a year bonuses for nursing certifications. (Up to two). They also pay, via tuition reimbursement or advance, all the costs for getting the certification - books, testing fees, organizational fees, even reviewclass fees.

I simply do not understand why so many of my coworkers refuse to get certified, although some of them told me "Oh, the government just takes most of the bonus anyway."

As has been discussed before, the government does not take "most" or even a large chunk of bonuses - it is taxed as regular income.

Get certified.

Art, RN-BC

Specializes in Gastrointestinal Nursing.

You're welcome!

Specializes in Gastrointestinal Nursing.

Yes, when I got certified, the hospital reimbursed for the test. It is so worth it, I wish more nurses would get involved not just with certification but professional organizations and go to conferences, etc. It is invaluable learning experiences. Thank you for your post!

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

When I became a Certified Medical/Surgical Registered Nurse back in '04, my hospital paid for the educational materials, examination, and half of our certification fees. It was also worth another 3% on our paychecks. We also had the pride of being one of the 15/15 nurses who took the exam and passed it. I'd do it again if I were still in M/S nursing. :yes:

Just remember that not all organizations pay extra for certification. The last two places I've worked did reimburse the cost of getting the initial certification, but it made absolutely no difference in pay afterward.

Specializes in Internal Medicine.

Getting your certification is absolutely worth it if the financial incentive is there. When I got my CCRN 5 years ago, the hospital reimbursed my exam, gave me a $750 bonus, and I still annually get a $400 bonus. Had I been at my previous employer, it was good for a flat $1.00 an hour raise.

Aside from the financials, it tells your coworkers, patients, and administrators that you know your stuff. Unlike NCLEX, which is an entry level exam, a certification exam is a expert exam. Coworkers that refuse to take the exam and come up with excuses as to why, simply don't do it because they are afraid of failure. If you could guarantee your coworker would pass, no questions asked, they would take the exam in a heartbeat. Failure directly demonstrates ones clinical knowledge in their chosen specialty is inferior to their coworkers that pass, and it's just easier to say "it's not worth it".

Specializes in Nurse Leader specializing in Labor & Delivery.

Our facility pays $.75/hour for certification. I already have had one for several years (lactation consultant) but I decided that I am going to sit for the main one in my specialty (Obstetrics) in March. Even though I won't get more money, it's worth it to me for the personal achievement and professional development.

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

I've been certified in several specialties over my career. Sometimes I got more money for them, sometimes not. I always did a certification because of a personal interest in the specialty. Like others, I feel being certified shows to your colleagues and co-workers that you have more than the minimum of knowledge in the specialty.

I am Canadian RN, could you please guide how to successful in GI certification exam. I was unsuccessful, short for 4 answer to pass exam. We use american books to prepare for test. Any guidance, help, or practice for question much appreciated, thank, sorry to bother you. After working 6 yrs in GI feels like I don't know nothing.

Hi Brenda, thank you for article, its very encouraging.