Psychiatric Nursing Certification Without BSN?


  • Career Columnist / Author
    Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

Is it possible to get a certification in psychiatric nursing without getting a BSN? I have worked in this field for 30+ years and am 65 now and want to get a certification that shows my experience and verifies my value.

Dear Wants Certification,

Yes! You do not need a Bachelor's degree to qualify for certification. The eligibility requirements for the Psychiatric-Mental Health certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) are:

Eligibility Criteria

  • Have practiced the equivalent of 2 years full-time as a registered nurse.
  • Have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in psychiatric–mental health nursing within the last 3 years.
  • Have completed 30 hours of continuing education in psychiatric–mental health nursing within the last 3 years.

This above is verbatim from the (ANCC), the largest nursing certification entity. The ANCC is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANA).

Successful completion of the exam allows you to use the credential BC” (for board certified) after the RN. RN-BC”.

Nursing certification shows excellence in practice. Congrats and good luck on your exam :)

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth