Certification in a nursing specialty is an option for RNs who wish to expand their knowledge, improve their practice, and proudly exhibit their expertise in a particular branch of nursing. RNs with an Associate Degree are able to use this credential as a way of exhibiting their commitment to maintaining and expanding their professional knowledge. Many employers subsidize the certification exam and/or pay a bonus or premium for certification. A specialty certification is always a valuable addition to any nurse's resume.
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANA), offers certification in many areas including medical - surgical, pediatric, home care and gerontological nursing.
Some nursing specialties offer a separate credential from their own professional organization. For example: the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) offers the CCRN and the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) offers the CEN certification. Nurses who complete these certifications by studying and then passing the national exam may then proudly sign themselves RN, CCRN or RN, CEN.
Specialty nursing organizations usually offer annual local and national conferences as well as journals focusing on their topic. Membership in a nursing specialty organization offers valuable insight into the global body of knowledge and professional practice in an area of expertise. Some specialties offer scholarships for further study and all have employment links on their web pages and in their journals.