Top 10 Charge Nurse Certifications

This article will provide an overview of the most popular and sought-after charge nurse certifications available.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 15 min read

Certifications are important for a charge nurse in the job market because they demonstrate to employers that the individual has a high level of expertise, knowledge, and experience in the field. By having certifications, a charge nurse can show potential employers that he or she is qualified and trustworthy. Additionally, certification demonstrates commitment to the profession, as it requires additional study and continuing education. It also sets the nurse apart from competitors who may not have these credentials. Finally, certifications may be required for certain positions or promotions within an organization.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Charge Nurses and explain how they can help advance a Charge Nurse's career.

What are Charge Nurse Certifications?

Charge nurse certification is a specialized credential that recognizes the knowledge and expertise of nurses who are responsible for managing patient care. Charge nurses are typically responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a nursing unit, including staffing levels, patient assignments, medication administration and documentation. This certification can help charge nurses demonstrate their leadership skills and commitment to providing quality care. It also helps employers identify experienced and qualified staff members who have the necessary knowledge and skills to manage a unit or department. With charge nurse certification, nurses can become more competitive in the job market, as well as receive higher wages and other benefits associated with advanced nursing roles. Additionally, having this certification can help improve patient satisfaction by ensuring that patients receive excellent care from knowledgeable professionals who understand the complexities of providing care in a hospital or healthcare setting.

Pro Tip: When pursuing charge nurse certification, make sure to stay up-to-date on the most recent standards and regulations in your field. This will ensure that you have the most comprehensive understanding of your role as a charge nurse and can provide the highest quality of care to your patients.

Related: What does a Charge Nurse do?

Top 10 Charge Nurse Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Charge Nurses today.

1. Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML)

The Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) is a credentialing program that recognizes the expertise of nurse managers and leaders who have demonstrated their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the management of nursing services. This certification is offered by the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE).

To become certified as a CNML, applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Have an active license as a registered nurse (RN) in the United States or its territories
  • Have a minimum of two years of full-time experience as a nurse manager or leader within the last five years
  • Have completed at least 30 hours of continuing education related to nursing administration within the last three years
  • Have successfully passed the AONE CNML exam.

The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and has a time limit of four hours. The cost for taking the exam is $400. After passing the exam, applicants will receive their certification within six weeks. The certification is valid for three years, after which renewal is required. The cost for renewal is $100 every three years.

2. Certified Nursing Executive (CNE)

Certified Nursing Executive (CNE) is a certification issued by the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE). It is designed to recognize nurse executives who have demonstrated mastery in the knowledge and skills necessary for successful leadership and management of nursing services. The CNE credential is valid for five years and must be renewed every five years to maintain active status.

To obtain the CNE credential, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have an active RN license
  • Hold a master’s degree in nursing or related field from an accredited college or university
  • Have at least two years of full-time experience in a nursing executive role
  • Successfully complete the AONE Certified Nursing Executive Exam
  • Submit a completed application including verification of all qualifications
  • Pay the applicable fee ($350 for members, $450 for non-members)

The exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions covering topics such as organizational theory, healthcare policy, financial management, human resources management, and quality improvement. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete and must be taken at an approved testing center. The fee for taking the exam is $225.

3. Certified Charge Nurse (CCN)

Certified Charge Nurse (CCN) is a certification that recognizes the expertise of nurses who manage and lead clinical teams in acute care settings. It is a voluntary certification offered by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). To become certified, nurses must have at least two years of experience as a charge nurse, demonstrate knowledge and skills related to patient care management, and pass an exam. The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately four hours to complete.

The cost for the CCN certification varies depending on whether you are an AACN member or not. For non-members, it costs $395; for members, it costs $295. The fee includes access to study materials and the exam fee. Once certified, CCNs must renew their credentials every three years by completing 30 continuing education hours or retaking the exam.

4. Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) is an advanced, evidence-based clinical course that teaches healthcare professionals the knowledge and skills necessary to evaluate and manage a patient in cardiac arrest or other cardiopulmonary emergencies. ACLS is designed to improve outcomes for patients who experience cardiac arrest, stroke, and other life-threatening medical emergencies. The course focuses on high-quality CPR, airway management, rhythm recognition, pharmacology, and related interventions.

The ACLS certification course typically takes about 12 hours to complete. It consists of lectures and interactive sessions that provide the opportunity for students to practice their skills with manikins or simulators. The cost of the course varies depending on the instructor or provider; however, it typically ranges from $100-$300.

To obtain ACLS certification, individuals must attend an approved training program and pass an exam at the end of the course. Individuals who successfully complete the exam will receive a certificate from the American Heart Association (AHA).

5. Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)

Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) is an advanced level of pediatric resuscitation training for healthcare professionals. It is designed to teach healthcare providers the knowledge and skills necessary to recognize and treat life-threatening conditions in infants and children. PALS is based on the American Heart Association's (AHA) resuscitation guidelines, which are updated every five years.

The course typically takes two days to complete and includes both didactic instruction and hands-on practice. During the didactic portion, participants learn about the pathophysiology of pediatric cardiac arrest, airway management, chest compressions, defibrillation, pharmacology, medical emergencies, and post-resuscitation care. The hands-on portion involves practicing skills such as intubation, chest compressions, defibrillation, bag-mask ventilation, and other advanced life support techniques on manikins.

To become certified in PALS, individuals must successfully pass a written exam at the end of the course. The certification is valid for two years after which recertification is required.

The cost of a PALS course varies depending on location but typically ranges from $200-$400 USD per person.

6. Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP)

Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) is a program designed to help healthcare professionals learn how to effectively manage the resuscitation of newborns. The program was developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Heart Association (AHA). It is designed to provide healthcare professionals with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to perform successful neonatal resuscitations.

The NRP consists of a two-day course that focuses on the principles and procedures necessary for successful neonatal resuscitation. The course includes lectures, demonstrations, hands-on practice, and simulated scenarios. Upon completion of the course, participants receive an NRP Provider Card that is valid for two years.

The cost of taking the NRP course varies depending on location and instructor fees. Generally speaking, it costs between $200-$400 per person.

In order to take the NRP course, you must first register online at or call 1-800-433-9016 for more information about registration and locations near you. Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email with instructions on how to access your online training materials before attending your course in person.

7. Crisis Prevention Institute Certification (CPI)

The Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) Certification is a comprehensive training program designed to teach individuals how to effectively prevent and manage disruptive and assaultive behavior. This certification is for professionals who work with people in challenging situations, such as educators, healthcare providers, mental health workers, and other helping professionals. The CPI Certification is an internationally recognized credential that demonstrates a high level of expertise in the field of crisis prevention.

The CPI Certification consists of two parts: the online coursework and the practical skills assessment. The online coursework covers topics such as de-escalation techniques, communication strategies, legal considerations, safety protocols, and more. It typically takes 4-6 hours to complete the online coursework. After completing the online coursework, participants must pass a practical skills assessment in order to receive their certification. The skills assessment is conducted by a certified CPI instructor who evaluates each participant’s ability to apply the concepts learned during the online coursework in real-life scenarios.

To get certified by CPI, individuals must first register for the certification program through their website or contact their local office directly. Once registered, participants will receive access to the online coursework and instructions on how to schedule their practical skills assessment.

The cost of becoming certified by CPI varies depending on where you live and what type of certification you are pursuing (e.g., basic or advanced). Generally speaking, it costs around $500-$600 USD for basic certification and $1,000-$1,200 USD for advanced certification.

8. Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course (ENPC)

Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course (ENPC) is a two-day, 16-hour course designed to provide nurses with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively assess and manage pediatric patients in the emergency setting. The course focuses on the unique needs of pediatric patients, including age-specific assessment techniques, pharmacology considerations, and special equipment needs. The ENPC also emphasizes family-centered care and communication strategies for working with children and their families in an emergency setting.

The ENPC is offered through the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA). It typically takes two days to complete the course. To get started, you can visit the ENA website to find a location near you that offers ENPC training. You will need to register for the class online or by phone. The cost of the ENPC varies depending on your location; however, it usually ranges from $200-$400 per person.

Upon successful completion of the course, participants will receive a certificate of completion from ENA as well as 16 continuing education credits that can be used toward recertification or licensure requirements.

9. Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC)

The Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) is a two-day, intensive course designed to provide nurses with the knowledge and skills necessary to care for trauma patients. The course covers topics such as assessment, management, and prevention of trauma injuries; shock management; wound care; and resuscitation. It also includes an introduction to the principles of trauma nursing.

TNCC is offered by the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA). To get TNCC certification, you must complete a two-day course that consists of lectures, interactive activities, and skills practice. The cost of the course varies depending on location but typically ranges from $400 to $600. After completing the course, you will receive a certificate of completion from ENA.

In order to maintain your TNCC certification, you must complete 8 hours of continuing education every four years. You can do this by attending an approved TNCC refresher course or completing online modules or other approved activities. The cost of maintaining your certification is typically around $100 per year.

10. American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification in Acute/Critical Care Nursing (CCRN-A/C).

The American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification in Acute/Critical Care Nursing (CCRN-A/C) is a professional certification for nurses who specialize in the care of acutely and critically ill patients. This certification is designed to recognize nurses who have achieved a high level of expertise in their field.

To obtain the CCRN-A/C certification, nurses must first meet the eligibility requirements, which include having an active RN license and at least one year of experience as a registered nurse in an acute or critical care setting. After meeting the eligibility requirements, nurses must then pass an exam that tests their knowledge and skills related to acute and critical care nursing. The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as patient assessment, pharmacology, pathophysiology, clinical decision making, and ethical issues.

The CCRN-A/C certification is valid for three years from the date it was earned. To maintain certification status, nurses must complete continuing education credits every three years or retake the exam.

The cost to take the CCRN-A/C exam varies depending on where you take it; however, it typically ranges from $200-$400. Additionally, there are study materials available that can help prepare for the exam; these materials can range from $50-$100 depending on what type you purchase.

Do You Really Need a Charge Nurse Certificate?

Charge nurses are an important part of any healthcare organization. They are responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of a unit, ensuring that patient care is delivered safely and efficiently. As such, it is essential for charge nurses to have the necessary training and certification in order to be successful in their role.

A charge nurse certificate is typically offered by a college or university and provides a comprehensive overview of the skills and knowledge needed to perform the duties of a charge nurse. The coursework covers topics such as leadership, communication, management, and quality improvement. It also includes hands-on experience with patient care, including how to assess patient needs and delegate tasks appropriately.

In some cases, employers may require applicants to have a charge nurse certificate prior to hiring them as a charge nurse. This requirement is usually based on an employer's need for highly trained personnel who can provide quality patient care while managing the daily operations of their unit. In addition, having this certificate can demonstrate your commitment to professional development and your ability to lead effectively in a healthcare setting.

Overall, obtaining a charge nurse certificate can be beneficial in many ways, from helping you secure employment in the field to demonstrating your commitment to professional development and improving your job performance once hired. However, whether or not you need one depends on your individual situation as well as the requirements set forth by potential employers.

Related: Charge Nurse Resume Examples

FAQs About Charge Nurse Certifications

Q1. What is a Charge Nurse Certification?

A1. A Charge Nurse Certification is an advanced certification for experienced nurses who are ready to take on the responsibility of leading and managing a nursing unit or shift. It provides advanced training in leadership, communication, decision-making, conflict resolution, and other skills necessary to be successful in this role.

Q2. How do I become certified as a Charge Nurse?

A2. To become certified as a Charge Nurse, you must meet the requirements outlined by your state’s Board of Nursing. This may include taking an approved course or program, passing an exam, and completing continuing education credits each year.

Q3. What are the benefits of becoming a Charge Nurse?

A3. Becoming a charge nurse can offer many benefits such as increased job satisfaction, improved salary and career opportunities, greater autonomy in making decisions and setting policies within the nursing unit or shift, and enhanced professional development opportunities.

Q4. Are there different types of Charge Nurse Certifications?

A4: Yes, depending on your state’s Board of Nursing requirements there may be different levels of certification available such as basic charge nurse certification or advanced charge nurse certification.

Q5: How often do I need to renew my Charge Nurse Certification?

A5: Most states require that you renew your certification every two years with continuing education courses or programs related to nursing leadership and management topics to maintain your certification status.