Nursing Administrator Certification
Nurse administrators are responsible for juggling many moving pieces within the healthcare system. They oversee nurses and other healthcare workers and act as a liaison between all levels of staff. They develop procedures and policies and make sure that budgets are met.
These expectations require them to possess a strong business background, be highly effective communicators and have excellent time management skills. Administrators do not work directly with patients but must have an extensive medical background.
Most administrators begin their careers as practicing nurses, so they typically have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. They must have a post-graduate degree, usually a Master of Science in Nursing or a doctoral degree. Becoming a nurse administrator commonly requires a minimum of six years of post-secondary training.
Beyond their degrees, an administrator may choose to obtain one or several certifications that can bolster a resume and prepare the candidate for upper management positions.
Certified in Executive Nursing Practise
Nurse executives hold the most senior administrative role in nursing organizations. This certification is recognized across the industry for nurse administrators who are leaders in their field and are engaged in executive nursing practices. Nurse administrators who possess this certification are known for their executive management knowledge and ability to support their organization’s goals.
Nurse administrators with this credential are skilled in leadership, communication and relationship building, professionalism and business skills and have strong knowledge of the health care environment.
The credential awarded is the CENP, obtained through the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL). Candidates must meet the following criteria to be eligible.
- Possess a valid, unrestricted RN license
- Have completed a bachelor’s degree in Nursing plus four years of experience working as an Executive Nurse, OR
- Have completed at least a master’s degree plus two years of experience working as an Executive Nurse
Certification costs $450 for non-members and $325 for AONL members.
The AONL offers testing in all 50 states of the U.S through PSI testing centers, and candidates must register through their online account to reserve a date. The exam consists of 175 multiple choice questions and must be completed in three and a half hours.
The CENP designation must be renewed every three years by the last day of the month that it expires. Renewal is achieved through completing eligible continuing professional development activities or retaking the CNEP examination.
Forty-five hours of CPD activities must be completed to be eligible. Credits must meet the following requirements,
- Academic coursework – no more than 15 hours
- Development program – no limit
- Self-assessment examination – no more than three hours
- Self-study program – no limit
- Presentations and lectures – no more than 15 hours
- Academic teaching – no more than 30 hours
- Academic course development – no more than 30 hours
- Authoring/publishing – no more than 15 hours
- AONL-CC Committees – no more than 15 hours
Activities should fall under the following categories: Communication and relationship building, Knowledge of the healthcare environment, Leadership and Professionalism and Business Skills.
Recertification for non-members costs $275 and $200 for members. A $50 late fee will apply for applications received up to 30 days after expiration. Upon submission of the completed application, the certification will automatically renew, and the updated certificate will be mailed within three weeks.
Nurse Executive Certification
Nurse Executives are prominent leaders in a healthcare institution. Obtaining this certification signifies a high level of competence in the field and, in some cases, may be required for executive positions. Experience in nursing leadership and administration must be demonstrated for certification. This means all successful candidates are considered experts in their field.
Although similar to the CENP designation, an administrator who chooses this certification possesses skills specific to professional practice, structures and processes, leadership and knowledge management.
The credential awarded is the NE-BC and is obtained through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Candidates must complete the following requirements to be eligible.
- Possess a current RN license
- Hold at least a bachelor’s degree in Nursing
- Have completed 30 hours of continuing education credits in Nursing Administration in the last three years, unless having completed a master’s in Nursing Administration
- Have at least two years of full-time experience as a nurse manager, supervisor, director or assistant director, or equivalent experience in the past five years, OR
- Have held a faculty position teaching Nursing Administration in a graduate program, OR
- Worked at least two years full-time in Nursing Management or as an Executive consultant or equivalent in the last five years
Certification costs $395 for non-members and $270 for American Nurses Association members.
Once candidates have submitted their official transcripts and proof of completion of the above requirements, they may sit for the exam offered through Prometric testing centers in person and online. The computer-based exam consists of 150 questions that must be answered within three hours.
Certification must be renewed every five years and can be submitted up to one year before expiration. Applicants must complete 75 contact hours of continuing education from category one, plus one additional category in its entirety.
- Continuing education hours – Candidates must complete 75 contact hours
- Academic Credits – At least five semester credits or six quarter credits
- Presentations – No less than one presentation totaling five block hours
- Evidence-based practice or Quality Improvement project, publication or research
- Preceptor Hours – Minimum 120 hours as a preceptor
- Professional Service – Two or more consecutive years of volunteer service
- Practice hours – 1000 practice hours – not required but are an option
- Assessment (Examination/ Portfolio resubmission) – check for availability
Recertification costs $350 for non-members and $250 for American Nurse Association members.
Nurse Executive Advanced Certification
This certification signals an even higher level of knowledge and leadership skills. Applicants must already possess their Nurse Executive Certification. Typically, these nurses oversee multiple groups of nurses and may be responsible for non-nursing personnel and operations. These nurses serve as representatives of the organization and focus partly on strategy, high-level finance, system integration and resource management.
Administrators who choose to obtain their advanced executive credentials display skills based on exemplary professional practice, structures and processes, new knowledge and practice applications and transformational leadership.
The credential NEA-BC is obtained through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), and candidates must meet the following:
- Possess a current RN license
- Hold a graduate-level degree where either the bachelor’s or graduate degree is in Nursing
- A minimum of 2000 hours in management, leadership or administration, including nursing and responsibility for organization-wide or system-wide operations and outcomes in the last three years
- Thirty hours of continuing education in administration, management or leadership within the last three years
Candidates must submit a copy of their official transcripts and proof of the above requirements to sit the exam. Examinations are provided through Prometric testing centers either in person or online.
All certifications issued through the ANCC follow the same renewal requirements. Seventy-five contact hours of continuing education from category one, plus one additional category completed fully. Category choices include academic credits, presentations, evidence-based practice or quality improvement project or publication or research, preceptor hours, professional service, practice hours or assessment (examination/portfolio submission).
Non-members pay $350, and American Nurse Association members pay $250.
Informatics Nursing Certification
Technology has come to play an essential role in the healthcare industry. Healthcare informatics integrates healthcare and information technology to serve patients better while reducing costs. Nurses who have gained a high level of competency using these systems are regarded as nursing informatics specialists. Becoming certified is a notable addition to any nurse administrator’s resume.
Nurse administrators who pursue this credential possess skills in information technology processes and procedures, leadership, project management, patient rights and privacy and clinical analytics.
The credential RN-BC is offered through the ANCC. Currently, candidates must meet the following criteria to be eligible to sit the exam.
- Possess a current, active RN license
- Hold at least a bachelor’s degree in Nursing, or a relevant field
- Have worked as a registered nurse full-time for two years
- Within the past three years, have completed 30 hours of continuing education in Nursing Informatics
- Have completed a minimum of 2000 hours of Nursing Informatics in the last three years, OR
- Have completed a minimum of 1000 hours of Nursing Informatics in the previous three years plus at least 12 semester hours of academic credit in nursing informatics as part of a graduate-level informatics nursing program, OR
- Have completed a graduate-level program in Nursing Informatics with a minimum of 200 hours of faculty-supervised practicum in informatics nursing
Effective December 12, 2022, candidates must meet the following updated criteria.
- Hold an active RN license
- Possess at least a bachelor’s degree in Nursing
- A minimum of two years working full-time as a Registered Nurse
- Have completed at least 30 hours of continuing education in Nursing Informatics within the past three years
- Have practiced at least 2000 hours of Nursing Informatics in the last three years
Once the candidate has submitted their official transcripts and proof of having met the above requirements, they are eligible to sit for the exam. Exams are offered through Prometic testing centers and can be completed in person or online.
The current exam consists of 175 questions and must be completed in three and a half hours, but as of December 12, 2022, the test will change to 150 questions, and the time allowed changed to three hours. The exam costs $395 for non-members, $340 for American Nursing Informatics Association members and $295 for American Nurses Association Members.
As with the NE-BC and NEA-BC credentials, the Nursing Informatics certificate is renewed every five years and requires candidates to complete 75 hours of continuing education. 60 of those hours must meet the following,
- Continuing nursing education (CNE) approved by an accredited provider or approver of CNE
- Continuing medical education (CME) approved for Category 1 AMA PRA credits
- Continuing education hours approved by the Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education
All 75 hours must relate directly to the candidate’s certification and specialty. Hours from other healthcare disciplines such as Emergency Management, Respiratory Therapy, Social Work and more are acceptable as long as they apply.
Candidates must also choose one additional category to be completed in total from a list of nine available categories.
Certified Nurse Manager and Leader
Nurse Managers are highly skilled individuals who work with their teams to provide top-quality care. The CNML designation is available to Nurse Administrators at the managerial level. These professionals must have in-depth knowledge of the business of healthcare management. Administrators with this credential are considered management experts.
Individuals with this credential have developed human resources management, financial management, strategic management and technology and performance improvement skills.
The CNML credential is obtained through the American Organization for Nursing Leadership. Candidates must meet the following requirements to take this nursing administration certification exam.
Candidates must meet the AONL’s definition of their target practitioner. To be eligible, the Nurse Manager/Leader must possess clinical expertise and have the skills to deliver high-quality, evidence-based collaborative care to a wide range of patients. They must be clinically and administratively accountable for their units during all hours of operation. Through their role, they must be responsible for managing finances, human resources, technology, performance improvement, staffing and strategy.
- A valid and unrestricted RN license
- At least a bachelor’s level degree in Nursing plus one year as a nurse manager/leader, OR
- A non-nursing bachelor’s level degree plus three years working as a nurse manager/leader
Exams can be taken in multiple locations across all 50 states through PSI testing centers. Candidates must setup up an account with the AONL to book their exam. The exam consists of 115 multiple choice questions and must be completed within two hours. The exam costs $300 for AONL members and $425 for non-members.
Recertification occurs every three years and can be obtained by completing specific continuing professional development activities or by re-testing and passing the CNML exam.
To qualify through CPD activities, the candidate must complete 45 block hours in the following categories.
- Financial Management
- Human Resource Management
- Performance Management
- Strategic Management and Technology
Recertification costs $200 for AONL members and $275 for non-members. A $50 late fee will be charged for submissions made up to 30 days after the expiration date. Certification will automatically review upon submission of the completed application, and a new certificate will be mailed within three weeks.
Working as a Nurse Administrator
Nurse administrators at all levels can expect to work in many different environments, hospitals, healthcare clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, nursing schools and even consulting firms. These healthcare settings are found in rural and metropolitan areas across the nation, meaning these individuals can take their pick when deciding where to live and work.
Nurse administrators can expect to earn an average of $97,286 per year. Adding credentials and specialized knowledge will only serve to boost your earning potential.
Adding specialized credentials to your professional portfolio signals that you are passionate about nursing and improving healthcare overall. Working in healthcare is choosing a path of sacrifice and lifelong learning. Still, for the right individual, it is a gratifying career.