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Top 10 Free Nursing Certifications in the World | 2023

Nurses play a vital role in health care at all levels. Certifications in nursing ensure that nurses have the necessary education, experience, and abilities to care for patients and enhance health outcomes.

Certain nursing credentials can assist you in finding work, preparing for leadership roles, and progressing in your nursing career.

Nursing is a profession in which you will play a significant role in improving the lives and quality of care for patients throughout their lifetimes.

Make sure you complete your homework and are fully prepared for any certifications you desire.

While you do this, here are the best nursing certifications in the world that are almost free.

Before we go down to listing this, let’s see what certification in nursing mean, the benefits of getting a certification, and how nurses earn certification.

What Is Certification In Nursing?

Nursing certification verifies that a nurse possesses the essential knowledge, abilities, and skills to practice in a particular area of medicine.

Check Out: 15 Best Nursing Schools in the World – World Scholarship Forum

What Are The Benefits Of Nursing Certification?

Nurses that are qualified in their specialty help nurses, patients, and healthcare companies.
Researchers discovered a correlation between BSN-prepared nurses with specialist certification and better patient outcomes in the study Nurse Specialty Certification, Inpatient Mortality, and Failure to Rescue.

Employers who promote certification are more likely to recruit and keep the best and most experienced nurses.

Nurses acquire the confidence they need to make vital decisions and limit the chance of errors with certification.

They can also deal with patients who have more complicated conditions.

Read Also: 11 Nursing Scholarships For Graduate Students

How Do Nurses Earn Certification?

A variety of certificates are available to nurses.

Different certification organizations may have different criteria.

In general, nurses must meet the following requirements in order to be certified:

  • A degree from a recognized nursing school is required.
  • To practice as an RN, you must pass the NCLEX exam.
  • Complete a certain number of hours in a nursing specialty or have years of experience.
  • Maintain your education.
  • Pass a test that assesses a nurse’s knowledge and abilities.

See Also: Easiest Nursing Schools to Get into | Expert Guide

What Nursing Certifications require a BSN?

Nurses having at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing are preferred by many workplaces (BSN).
Nurses may need a baccalaureate degree to obtain certain certifications, and a BSN is becoming the acknowledged minimum level of education for most nursing employment.

While some certifications require an ADN or a nursing diploma, several nursing specializations demand that nurses have a BSN in order to be certified.

There are nursing specializations that require nurses to acquire a BSN as well as certification.

Board certification, denoted by the initials RN-BC, is required for a few specializations.
The following are some examples of specialties that need a BSN as well as certification.

  • Perioperative Nurse – CNOR Certification (CNOR)
  • Emergency Nurse – Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)
  • Flight Nurse – Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN)
  • Hospice Nurse – Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN)
  • Labor and Delivery Nurse – Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB)
  • Long-Term Care Nurse – Gerontological Nursing Certification (RN-BC)
  • Nurse Informaticists – Informatics Nursing Certification (RN-BC)
  • Psychiatric Nurse – Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Certification (RN-BC)
  • Labor and Delivery Nurse – Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB)
  • Wound Care Nurse – Certified Wound Care Nurse (CWCN)

What Certifications I put on my Nursing Resume?

A professional, detailed resume is essential for getting both permanent and temporary nursing positions, so take the time to improve yours.
The following are five items to add to your resume:

  • Nursing degree
  • Work experience

Certifications you’ve received should also be listed in the education section, especially if they’re relevant to the position you’re applying for.

In nursing, specialization is becoming more significant; in 2010, 42 percent of registered nurses received certification, compared to only 16 percent in 2006.

If you’ve gained certification in a nursing specialty, mention it on your resume and the year you received it.

How to List Certifications on Resume Sample Nursing

Nursing certification is a designation that shows patients and coworkers that a nurse is knowledgeable.

Nurses should display their credentials below their name in the following order, according to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC):

  • Earned the highest degree
  • Specialty
  • Certification
  • Awards and Honors
  • Licensure to practice nursing

Once a nurse has earned certification, they must renew it every two years to keep up with changes in their field.

Nursing certifications can boost a nurse’s earning potential, the number of work choices, and the obvious benefits to patients.

Nurses can achieve a bachelor’s degree and improve in their careers by enrolling in an online RN to BSN program.

Remember to include your nursing license number, license type (LPN or RN), license name (if different from the name on your CV), state of licensing, and expiration date.

Include any licenses part of the Nurse Licensure Compact on your CV.

Do Nurses Get Paid More for Certifications?

In this country, advancements in healthcare typically happen at breakneck speed. This can raise pay for nurses who desire to further their education and certification.

You can greatly boost your compensation by pursuing several nursing qualifications and specialties.

As a nurse, you understand the necessity of keeping up with medical advancements in order to provide the best care to your patients.

You might want to return to school to advance your career. Maybe you want to be a nurse practitioner or get your master’s degree in nursing.

This can take a lot of work and dedication for an RN, whether or not they have a BSN.

However, when you get these advanced nursing credentials, your investment in yourself will undoubtedly pay off.

Here are nursing certifications that increase your income and land you a job:

  • Hospice Nurse
  • Informatics
  • Burn Care Nurse
  • Orthopedics
  • Psychiatric

Top 10 Free Nursing Certifications in the World | 2023

One of the perks of nursing is that there are so many different specialties to choose from.

While some prefer the organized, systematic pace of case management, others may prefer a more unpredictable environment such as in the emergency room or intensive care unit.

Hence, the type of certification you get totally depends on the area of nursing you decide to base in.

1. Critical Care Nurse Certification

Certificate Names: Acute/Critical Care Nursing

Credentials Awarded: CCRN

Cost: $130 for members, $215 for non-members

Nurses in critical care must be prepared for the unexpected and be ready to treat patients promptly regardless of the situation.

Because critical care is such a specialist subject, it’s a good idea for nurses to get certified in it.

One of the reasons why certification is crucial is that employers often need it for nurses who offer direct patient care.

It does, however, show that not only nurses, APRNs, nurse managers, and clinical nurse specialists, have a high level of skill and proficiency.

It’s also a desirable quality for people seeking a new job and those who wish to advance in their clinical careers or go back to school.

Nurses can choose from a variety of programs offered by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

Adult, neonatal, and pediatric critical care certifications are available and certification for those who do not provide direct patient care.

The cost of critical care certification varies depending on the type of certification. Members’ tickets start at $130, while non-members’ tickets start at $215.

By picking the proper certification, nurses can discover the exact cost.

Certification Requirements & Eligibility

The particular qualifications vary depending on the type of critical care certification, just as the cost.

The following are examples of adult Acute/Critical Care requirements:

  • The applicant must hold a valid RN or APRN license.
  • Must have worked as an RN/APRN caring directly for critically ill patients for a minimum of 1,750 hours within two years of application, with 850 hours occurring within one year of application, or:
  • Have worked as a critical care RN/APRN for at least five years and have a minimum of 2,000 hours of indirect patient care, with 144 of those hours occurring within one year of application.

The guidebook for the specific certification contains more thorough eligibility conditions.

Enroll Now

2. Family Nurse Practitioner Certification

Certificate Names: Family Nurse Practitioner

Credentials Awarded: FNP-C & FNP-BC

Cost: AANP members: $240, non-members $395

FNPs (family nurse practitioners) is one of the most popular certifications among NPs because it is one of the most in-demand NP specialty.

The FNP certification differs from a post-graduate certificate in a few ways.

You can achieve FNP certification after a student completes a family medicine-focused APRN program.

While, you can also obtain a graduate certificate after completing a master’s or doctorate program, and is useful for APRNs who want to change or expand their specializations.

There are a variety of organizations that offer certificates for NPs, but it’s important for the NP to verify with their state’s board of nursing to see which ones are important in their jurisdiction.

The FNP-BC and FNP-C are the two main titles for a certified family nurse practitioner, as listed below:

  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Certification Requirements & Eligibility For American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)

  • Must have completed a recognized master’s, doctorate, or post-graduate nurse practitioner school.
  • Advanced pharmacology, physiology, and advanced health assessment are all necessary APRN core courses.
  • A minimum of 500 clinical hours of supervised direct patient care was completed.
  • They require a valid RN license in the United States or Canada.

Certification Requirements & Eligibility For American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)

You must have:

  • a valid RN license.
  • completed a master’s or doctoral program in Family Medicine?
  • logged at least 500 hours of supervised clinical time
  • a thorough understanding of advanced pharmacology, physiology, and health evaluation

Regardless of which certifying agency the NP chooses, he or she can be certain that the titles FNP-C and FNP-BC are interchangeable and so fit both state and professional standards.

Enroll Now

3. Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification (RN-BC)

Certificate Names: Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification

Credentials Awarded: RN-BC

Cost: $270 – $395

Cardiac vascular nursing is a highly specialized field of nursing. There are specialized examinations, drugs, and interventions that are necessary that are not found in other nursing specializations.

As a result, accreditation as a cardiac nurse or cath-lab nurse is frequently required.
Certification also displays a high degree of competency in the field of cardiovascular care, which aids in the delivery of high-quality care to patients while also establishing trust.

Certification in the heart vascular specialty is available from a number of organizations. They are as follows:

  • The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • The American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine (ABCM)
  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN)
  • American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR)

Members of the American Nurses Association pay $270, members of the Society for Vascular Nursing pay $340, and members of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association pay $340.

Certification Requirements & Eligibility

The following are the requirements for ANCC certification:

  • Have a valid RN license or NP (or equivalent from another country).
  • Have worked as a registered nurse for the equivalent of two years full-time during the last three years and have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical experience in cardiovascular nursing.
  • Initial certification does not require continuing education hours, but recertification does.
  • Have completed 30 hours of cardiovascular nurse continuing education in the last three years
  • .Have at least 1-2 years of cardiac-related acute-care experience, including CCU/CVICU, cardiac cath laboratories, interventional cardiology, and so on.

Enroll Now

4. Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP-C)

Certificate Names: Emergency Nurse Practitioner Certification

Credentials Awarded: ENP-C

Cost: AANP members: $240, non-members: $315

The main reason that emergency nurse practitioners require certification is that it is frequently required for licensure in the states where they work.

Some employers may require certification.
Some NPs, on the other hand, choose to become certified to extend their practice.

A pediatric NP, for example, might opt to become certified in emergency medicine to work with children in the ER or urgent care.

There are several organizations that provide emergency nurse practitioner certification. Below is a list of the organizations:

  • The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANP)
  • The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) – Recertification Only

Eligibility and Certification Requirements for The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANP)

The following are the requirements for taking the ENP certification exam:

Option 1: Have completed at least 2,000 hours of direct emergency care practice hours in the last 5 years (as a nurse practitioner) AND have proof of 100 hours of emergency care continuing education, with 30 of those hours in emergency care procedures. CE hours must have been earned within the last five years.

Option 2: Have completed a recognized academic emergency care graduate or post-graduate nurse practitioner program.

Option 3: Have completed an emergency NP fellowship program that has been approved.

Eligibility and Certification Requirements for The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Initial ENP certification is no longer available through the ANCC. The following are the requirements for renewing current certification:

  • Have completed 75 hours of continuing education and one or more of the ENP specialty’s eight ANCC renewal areas.
  • As part of the above 75 total hours, you must complete 25 hours of pharmacotherapeutics continuing education.
  • Have an ANCC certification that is about to expire in the next 12 months.
  • Have a valid RN or APRN license.
  • Pay any fees that are due.

Enroll Now

5. Nursing Informatics Certification (RN-BC)

Certificate Names: Informatics Nursing Certification

Credentials Awarded: RN-BC

Cost: $395 non-member, $270 for association members

Nursing informatics is a field that enables nurses to recognize technology needs and safety concerns, as well as devise strategies for practicing safely and efficiently.

While nursing informatics certification may or may not be necessary for employment, it is a valuable certificate to have for a variety of reasons.

It can help you stand out when looking for a new job and shows that you are knowledgeable in the subject of informatics.

It also shows that you are a leader.

Nursing informatics certification can be obtained in a variety of methods.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is the first organization to grant certification.

The University of Phoenix, for example, offers a 10-credit certification program that is entirely online.

Please click here for further information and a list of schools that offer post-certificates master’s in informatics.

Certification Requirements & Eligibility

The following are the qualifications for ANCC nursing informatics certification:

  • Have a valid, unrestricted RN license.
  • A bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing or a related profession is required.
  • Have worked as an RN for the equivalent of two years (full-time).
  • Within three years of application, have completed a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education in informatics
  • Within three years of application, you must have completed a minimum of 2,000 hours of informatics nursing practice, or you must:
  • Have completed 12 semester hours in informatics courses in a graduate-level nursing program AND have performed informatics nursing for at least 1,000 hours in the last three years, or:
  • Have completed a 200-hour supervised practicum in informatics nursing as part of a graduate program (transcripts must be provided, and can be official or unofficial)

Enroll Now

6. Neonatal Nursing Certification (RNC-NIC)

Certificate Names: Critical Care RN (Neonatal)

Credentials Awarded: CCRN (Neonatal), CCRN-K (Neonatal), ACCNS-N

Cost: AACN Members $239. Non-Members $344

Neonates aren’t only babies; they’re also little adults. They have a distinct physiology, various health issues, and are unable to fight illness and infection as effectively as most adults.

Neonatal nurses must be well-versed in infant care and the pathophysiology and disease processes unique to neonates.

It is also critical to have training in how to assess neonates properly. As a result, certification directly reflects the nurse’s neonatology training.

In addition, some businesses demand certification to work in newborn intensive care units, emergency rooms, and other neonatal specialized areas.

To be licensed, neonatal nurse practitioners may also be required to be certified (depending on the state).

There are a few places where nurses can get this type of certification:

  • The American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN)
  • National Certification Corporation (NCC)

Certification Requirements & Eligibility for The American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Certification

Certification requirements vary depending on which certification is sought. The following are some of the requirements for taking the general CCRN certification exam:

  • A valid, unrestricted RN or APRN license.
  • Have worked as an RN or APRN in direct care of severely or acutely sick newborns for at least 1,750 hours in the past two years. 875 of those hours must have been completed within the previous year prior to applying.
  • Worked a minimum of 2,000 hours in the direct care of severely sick newborns as an RN or APRN for a minimum of five years.

Eligibility and Certification Requirements for National Certification Corporation (NCC)

The following criteria are included in the NCC certification standards (NP certification requirements can be read here):

  • RN license in good standing
  • An RN with at least 24 months of speciality experience is required (2,000 hours). This could be in the form of direct patient treatment, administrative work, or research.
  • Time and hours for practice must be adhered to.

Enroll Now

7. Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification (CMSRN)

Certificate Names: Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification

Credentials Awarded: RN-BC

Cost: Non-Member: $395, American Nurses Association member: $270

  • The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB)

Certification Requirements & Eligibility for The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

The following are the requirements for ANCC initial certification:

  • Have a valid, active RN license.
  • Have worked as an RN for the equivalent of two years full-time.
  • Within the last three years, you must have a minimum of 2,000 hours of medical-surgical experience as an RN.
  • Within the last three years, you’ve completed 30 hours of continuing education in medical-surgical nursing.

Eligibility and Certification Requirements for Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB)

The following conditions must be met in order to be eligible for initial certification by MSNCB:

  • Have a valid RN license.
  • Have worked as an RN in a medical-surgical setting for at least two years and
  • completed 2,000 hours of practice in the prior three years

Enroll Now

8. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Certification (CPNP)

Certificate Names: Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care

Credentials Awarded:  CPNP-PC, CPNP-AC

Cost: $385, $600 for both primary and acute care exams

Advanced practice nurses often need to be certified to practice in a state.

A NP student in an MSN or DNP program must first finish a series of core courses before moving on to their specialty field (i.e., pediatrics).

The NP graduate must pass a certification exam after finishing the curriculum to be licensed.

Advanced-practice RNs may also change their specialized field and pursue a post-degree master’s program in pediatrics to become certified.

An adult-gerontology NP, for example, could choose to switch gears in his or her career and focus on the pediatric population.

To work as a pediatric nurse practitioner, he or she must be certified, which can be done through a post-degree master’s program.

A few nationally-recognized organizations offer pediatric nurse practitioner certification.

APRNs should check with their state’s nursing board to see if the agency meets the state’s licensure criteria.

Certification Requirements & Eligibility for Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)

To take this exam, you must meet the following requirements:

RN license that is current and unencumbered
Completing an ACEN or CCNE-accredited MSN, DNP, or post-degree master’s program with a concentration in pediatric primary or acute care.

Official transcripts from the APRN program/school have been sent.
Completing at least 500 hours of supervised clinical practice in primary or acute care pediatrics (the PNCB strongly recommends 600 hours).

Graduate courses in advanced physiology/pathophysiology, health assessment, and pharmacology must be completed.

Certification Requirements & Eligibility for The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Pediatric NP certification is only available for renewal now that the first certification has been retired.

The following are some of the prerequisites for renewal:

Within 5 years of submitting the renewal application, you must complete 75 clinical hours and choose one of the eight renewal categories for the pediatric specialty.
Pharmacotherapeutics must account for 25 of the 75 clinical hours.

Have an ANCC pediatric NP certification that is about to expire in the next 12 months.
Hold a current, active RN license
Pay applicable fees

Enroll Now

9. School Nursing Certification (NCSN)

Certificate Names: Nationally Certified School Nurse Credential (NCSN)

Credentials Awarded: Nationally Certified School Nurse Credential (NCSN)

Cost: $360

School nurse certification may be necessary depending on the state (and even the school).

The National Association of School Nurses has tools for people trying to figure out what each state’s standards are.

Regardless of the standards, it’s a good idea to get certified because it shows the nurse:

  • Is knowledgeable with educational policies and laws.
  • Recognizes how illness or injury can have an impact on learning
  • Can meet the physical and emotional needs of children on an individual basis, according to on their stage of development
  • Can identify and respond to public health issues
  • Is recognized as a school nurse with professional training and credentials.

The following organization can help you get your school nurse certification:

  • National Board for Certification of School Nurses (NBCSN)

Certification Requirements & Eligibility

The following are the prerequisites for NBCSN certification:

  • A copy of the applicant’s RN license must be provided.
  • Transcripts or proof of a BSN or equivalent and a bachelor’s degree or higher in a related discipline are required.
  • Have worked at least 1,000 hours in the three years leading up to the exam (either direct or indirect clinical practice)
  • Fill out the application and submit it along with the needed cost.

Aside from the NBCSN, certain universities and colleges provide school nurse accreditation through continuing education programs.

California State University, Sacramento, for example, provides both a continuing education school nurse program and an MSN option.

Those interested in becoming school nurses should look for programs at local institutions.

Enroll Now

10. Hospice Nursing Certification (CHPN)

Certificate Names:  Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse and others


Cost: Varies

Hospice nursing is a unique profession. In order to give specialized care to terminally ill patients and their families, special training is required in addition to general nursing.

They are able to immediately identify needs and implement the necessary measures to guarantee that those needs are addressed.

In addition, the certification confirms that hospice nurses have reached the greatest degree of competence.

Some firms may even demand certification before hiring you.

For hospice and palliative care nurses, there is currently just one nationally recognized certification body:

  • The Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center (HPCC)

Certification Requirements & Eligibility

Requirements for certification depend on which specific certification is sought. For general hospice RN certification, requirements are as follows:

  • Hold a current, unrestricted RN license
  • Have a minimum of 500 hours working as a hospice and palliative care nurse in the previous 12 months, or 1,000 hours in the most recent 24 months.
  • Enroll Now


Nurses with specialized nursing qualifications are in high demand in hospitals and medical centers.

As you can see, obtaining certification for those specializations that require higher degrees might take a long time.

These ten nursing certifications will boost your earnings while putting you on the fastest track to specialized patient care.


Writer’s Recommendation


Ajah Excel is a team growth and performance expert with over nine years of experience in blogging and personal development.
He leads a team of 36 crazy, restless innovators with an enviable work culture at Silicon Africa Technologies Limited – a fast-rising tech firm from the SouthEast.
Excel is the founder of and WriterGig.
He is also the co-organizer of TEDx Ikenegbu and convener of Social Media Fest.
He is a vibrant learner who yearns to share his knowledge to educate and inspire young Africans.
He has a B.Tech in Information Management Technology with certifications in growth hacking, effective communication, leadership, team, and personal development, to mention a few.
Ajah Anayochukwu Excel is a passionate public speaker, creative writer, and brand storyteller.

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