As a nursing student, you will complete a large amount of training, but before you can go to work, you need to pass a certification exam to be a nurse. The National Council Licensure Examination is the most common exam, and it’s the one that all nurses take after finishing college. If you want to work in a specific field, however, you’ll find certification examinations offered by a number of professional organizations. Earning certificates in multiple fields can increase your chances of finding work in different medical facilities.
National Council Licensure Examination
The National Council Licensure Examination is the most popular examination taken by nursing students. Better known as the NCLEX, this is a computerized test offered in testing centers in major cities all across the country. You need to submit your fingerprints to a local police department and pay for a background test before taking the test. The organization responsible for administering this test posts the results online, but you’ll also receive a copy of your results in the mail. Within a few days of passing the test, your state nursing board will register you as a licensed nurse.
American Nurses Credentialing Center
The American Nurses Credentialing Center, also known as the ANCC, offers nine different certificate examinations for nursing students. It offers nurse practitioner exams for those interested in working with children, adults or families, but it also offers accreditation for acute care nurses. The tests administered by the ANCC can also give you a certificate that allows you to work in psychiatric facilities and with patients diagnosed with mental conditions. Other certificate programs offered by the ANCC include one designed for working with families and children of psychiatric patients and for working with elderly patients.
American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, you can take a certification exam to be a nurse in one of the 11 programs it offers. It offers five specialty certificates, including Acute/Critical Care Nursing, Progressive Care Nursing and Nurse Management and Leadership, and it also offers two sub-specialty certificates. You can also take one of four exams to earn a certificate in advanced practice care. Depending on the examination that you take, you may need to complete a certain number of hours of fieldwork and/or finish a graduate degree before taking the test.
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners offers several types of exams for nursing graduates. Also known as the AANP, it offers accreditation that remains valid for two to three years after you pass the test. Its Adult Nurse Practitioner exam lets you gain certification for working with adults, but it also offers a similar exam designed for those hoping to work with pediatric patients. You can also opt for an adult program that shows you have skills and experience working with those of an advanced age. Passing the exams from the AANP can help you show your experience working with certain patient types.
Every nurse working in the United States must pass the NCLEX test that gives them a nursing license, but you may find that you need to obtain other types of certificates before finding employment in some specialty areas of nursing. After passing the NCLEX certification exam to be a nurse, you can get certificates to work in some of the specialty areas of nursing.