Copyright
 

Certified Nurse Job Duties and Education Requirements

Certified nurses require significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and certification requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

View popular schools

A certified nurse works as part of a team with physicians and other specialists to provide patient care, and may also supervise lower level nurses. A career as a certified nurse will require a bachelor's degree at a minimum, and likely some graduate training in their specialty. The following outlines the educational requirements and job outlook for a certified nurse.

Essential Information

Certified nurses usually provide care in advanced nursing specialties, performing a range of tasks from patient assessment and medication administration to processing and analyzing diagnostic reports. Some specialties involve a particular function, such as anesthesia nursing, while others involve a particular patient population, such as mental health nursing.

These certifications usually require a bachelor's degree in nursing as well as practical experience. Most specialized areas of nursing call for graduate studies and training. Several professional organizations offer certifications to specialty nurses.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in nursing; graduate certificate or graduate degree in specialty area may be required
Other Requirements Registered nursing license, professional certification in specialty area
Projected Job Growth (for all registered nurses) 16% from 2014-24*
Average Salary (for all registered nurses) $67,490 in 2015*

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Certified Nurse Job Duties

A certified nurse typically works in a specialized area of nursing care defined by patient population, treatment type, body system or a specific health condition. There are a variety of nursing certifications offered by a range of organizations, including the American Nurse Credentialing Center and the National League for Nursing.

Some certified nurse job duties are very specific, such as anesthesia administration or surgical assistance, while others include a broader array of responsibilities. Job duties for nurses certified as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists or other advanced practice nurses involve examining patients, making diagnoses, providing treatment and managing long-term care plans. Other nurses certified in education, public health or administration teach and manage students, community members or healthcare professionals.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Clinical Nursing
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Direct-Entry Midwifery - LM, CPM
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Neonatal Nursing
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Assistant or Patient Care Assistant
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
  • Nursing Science
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Operating Room and Surgical Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Public Health Nurse or Community Nurse
  • Registered Nurse

Education Requirements

While education requirements for nursing certifications vary, nearly all require that candidates are currently registered nurses. To become a registered nurse (RN), students must complete at least a diploma or associate's degree program in nursing and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) certification exam.

Becoming a certified nurse, however, generally requires that candidates hold a bachelor's degree in nursing or a post-graduate credential in a nursing specialty. Bachelor's degree programs in nursing can be completed in four years and provide a health science foundation as well as comprehensive training in a range of nursing duties. Doctoral degrees, master's degrees and post-graduate certificates are more focused, offering in-depth study and clinical experience in areas, such as anesthesia, public health, clinical care or midwifery.

Beyond holding a degree, some nursing certifications may require candidates to complete a minimum number of continuing education credits. These courses may teach nurses to use new technology and information systems or provide updated training on current topics, such as infection control, genetics or diabetes.

A certified nurse works in a specialized area of care. They provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients about various health issues, and provide advice and support to patients and their families. A certified nurse will need to earn a minimum of a bachelor's degree in nursing, and will likely need to pursue graduate training for their chosen area of specialty.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Executive Leader Specialization
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path
    • Accelerated BSN to MSN
    • MS in Nursing
    • Master of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Family Nurse Practitioner Specialization
    • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult - Gerontology Practitioner
    • MS in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
    • MS in Nursing - Nurse Educator
    • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN
    • BS in Health Science
    • BS in Healthcare Administration
    • Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate
    • Nurse Educator Graduate Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
    • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
    • MSHS in Translational Microbiology

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    • MBA and MS in Nursing - Leadership in Health Care Systems
    • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (dual degree)
    • MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
    • M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Education
    • MS in Nursing: Nursing Education
    • MBA: Health Systems Management
    • BS in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to BSN)
    • BS in Health Care Administration
    • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
    • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
    • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Nurse Assistant

    What is your highest level of education?

    • DUAL MBA-MSN
    • Master of Science in Nursing
    • Nurse Executive Leader MSN
    • MBA Health Administration
    • MPH in Health Management and Policy Focus
    • Nurse Educator MSN

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Transitional Doctorate of Physical Therapy
    • RN to BSN

    What is your highest level of education completed?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?