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Top 11 Flight Nurse Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available for nurses to increase their professional qualifications and career opportunities.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are essential for flight nurses in the job market, as they demonstrate that the nurse is qualified and competent to handle the unique challenges of the profession. Certifications provide employers with evidence that flight nurses have achieved a certain level of competence and understanding. Additionally, certifications often provide nurses with access to higher pay, more opportunities for career advancement, and recognition from colleagues. Finally, certifications help to ensure that flight nurses are up-to-date on current trends and standards in their field.

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

What are Flight Nurse Certifications?

Flight nurse certification is a specialized type of certification that allows nurses to provide medical care in airborne or air-ambulance settings. Flight nurses are responsible for providing critical care for patients who are being transported by helicopter, fixed-wing aircraft, or other air ambulance services. They must be knowledgeable about advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support, and trauma nursing core course protocols in order to provide the highest level of patient care possible.

Flight nurse certification can help nurses become more marketable in the healthcare field by giving them the skills and knowledge necessary to work in this specialized area. Flight nurses must have a comprehensive understanding of medical protocols as well as aviation safety regulations related to flight operations and emergency response procedures. Having flight nurse certification will demonstrate a commitment to patient safety and quality healthcare, and will open up more job opportunities for those looking to specialize in this area. Additionally, it can provide nurses with an opportunity to work with a variety of people from different backgrounds and cultures, which can help them further develop their interpersonal communication skills.

Pro tip: Make sure to research the regulations for flight nurse certification in your state or region before beginning the process. It is important to know what requirements you must meet to become a flight nurse and any additional training that may be necessary. Additionally, make sure to find out about any continuing education requirements that may be needed in order to maintain your certification.

Related: What does a Flight Nurse do?

Top 11 Flight Nurse Certifications

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

1. Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN)

Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) is a certification offered by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN). The CFRN certification is designed to recognize and validate the knowledge, skills, and abilities of registered nurses who are actively engaged in providing critical care in an aeromedical environment.

In order to obtain the CFRN certification, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. These include having a current RN license, at least two years of full-time experience as an RN in an acute care setting within the past three years, and completion of a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education related to flight nursing within the last three years. Additionally, you must pass a comprehensive exam that covers topics such as medical terminology, aviation physiology, airway management and ventilation, pharmacology, trauma management, cardiology and critical care.

The cost for taking the CFRN exam varies depending on where you take it; however it typically ranges from $300-$400 USD. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete.

2. Certified Transport Registered Nurse (CTRN)

Certified Transport Registered Nurse (CTRN) is a certification program offered by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN). It is designed to recognize experienced transport nurses who have demonstrated knowledge and skills in providing safe, quality care to critically ill or injured patients during ground and air medical transport.

The CTRN certification is valid for four years and can be renewed through continuing education activities. To become certified, applicants must meet the following requirements:

1. Be a currently licensed RN in the United States or Canada.

2. Have a minimum of two years of direct patient care experience as an RN within the last five years.

3. Have completed at least 1,000 hours of transport nursing experience within the last three years.

4. Pass the CTRN examination with a score of 75% or higher.

5. Complete all required continuing education credits every four years to maintain certification status.

The cost to take the CTRN exam is $295 for BCEN members and $345 for non-members, plus applicable taxes and fees. The cost to renew your certification every four years is $90 for BCEN members and $140 for non-members, plus applicable taxes and fees.

3. Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)

Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) is a certification offered by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN). It is designed to recognize the professional expertise of experienced emergency nurses. The CEN credential is a voluntary, internationally recognized certification that validates an individual’s knowledge and experience in emergency nursing.

The CEN exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as patient assessment, trauma, medical emergencies, and other related topics. The exam takes approximately two and a half hours to complete.

To be eligible to take the CEN exam, applicants must have one of the following: an active registered nurse license; an associate degree in nursing or higher; at least two years of full-time experience as an emergency nurse within the past three years; or 1,000 hours of direct care as an emergency nurse within the past three years.

The cost for taking the CEN exam is $325 for BCEN members and $400 for non-members.

4. Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) is a protocol developed by the American Heart Association (AHA) to provide guidelines for pre-hospital and hospital personnel in the management of cardiac arrest and other cardiovascular emergencies. ACLS is designed to provide life support for people who are experiencing a cardiac emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke. It involves recognizing signs of cardiac arrest, providing basic life support (BLS), administering medications, using advanced airway techniques, and providing electrical therapy when necessary.

ACLS certification typically takes 8-12 hours to complete and can be done through an online course or in person at an AHA training center. The cost of ACLS certification varies depending on the provider but generally ranges from $150-$300. In order to become certified in ACLS, individuals must pass both a written exam and skills assessment.

5. Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)

Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) is an advanced level of medical training designed to help healthcare providers recognize and treat life-threatening emergencies in infants and children. It is a two-day course that teaches healthcare professionals how to assess, manage, and stabilize critically ill or injured pediatric patients. The course focuses on the recognition of cardiopulmonary arrest, airway management, rhythm disturbances, shock, and other related topics.

The PALS course takes approximately 16 hours to complete. It is offered at many hospitals and medical centers throughout the United States as well as online through accredited organizations. A participant must have current Basic Life Support (BLS) certification prior to taking the PALS course.

The cost for the PALS course varies depending on the provider but typically ranges from $150-$400 USD.

6. Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP)

The Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) is a program developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association to teach healthcare professionals how to resuscitate newborns. The program focuses on teaching healthcare providers the skills necessary to recognize, assess, and manage newborns who require resuscitation. It also provides guidance on when and how to initiate resuscitation efforts.

The NRP consists of an online course and an in-person skills session. The online course takes approximately 8 hours to complete and covers topics such as initial assessment, airway management, chest compressions, ventilation, pharmacology, and neonatal transport. After completing the online course, participants must attend a skills session at an approved NRP training center. During this session, participants will practice their skills with manikins under the supervision of trained instructors.

The cost for the NRP varies depending on where you take it and which components you choose to participate in. Generally speaking, the cost ranges from $100-$200 for both the online course and skills session. Some centers may also offer additional courses or workshops that are not included in the basic fee.

In order to get started with NRP training, you should contact your local hospital or medical center for more information about available courses near you. You can also look up accredited training centers online or contact your state’s department of health for more information about programs offered in your area.

7. Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC)

The Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) is a two-day program designed to provide nurses with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to care for trauma patients. The course is based on the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) Trauma Nursing Process and includes both didactic and hands-on skills sessions. It is designed to meet the needs of all levels of nursing staff who care for trauma patients.

TNCC is offered by many organizations throughout the United States, including hospitals, universities, community colleges, and other healthcare providers. The course typically takes 16 hours to complete and costs between $350-$500 depending on the provider.

To get TNCC certified, you must first register for an approved TNCC course through an accredited provider. During the course you will learn about trauma assessment, interventions, management of shock and hemorrhage control, airway management, patient positioning and immobilization techniques. You will also receive hands-on practice in skills such as chest tube insertion and wound closure. Upon completion of the course you will be required to pass a written exam in order to become certified in TNCC.

TNCC certification is valid for four years from the date of successful completion of the program. After four years it must be renewed by taking a refresher course or retaking the full two-day program.

8. Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN)

A Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) is a specialized type of nurse who provides care to critically ill or injured patients in intensive care units, emergency departments and other specialized areas of the hospital. CCRNs are trained and certified to assess, plan, implement and evaluate patient care for those with life-threatening conditions.

In order to become a CCRN, nurses must meet certain educational requirements. They must have completed an accredited nursing program and hold an active RN license in the state they practice. Additionally, they must have at least one year of experience in critical care nursing before taking the exam.

The CCRN certification exam is administered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). The exam consists of 175 multiple choice questions that test knowledge on topics such as assessment, management and evaluation of critically ill patients; pharmacology; technology; ethical/legal issues; communication; leadership; and professional practice standards. The exam takes about three hours to complete.

The cost for the CCRN examination is $395 for AACN members and $495 for non-members. After passing the exam, there is an annual fee of $95 to maintain certification status.

9. International Board of Specialty Nursing Certification in Flight Nursing

International Board of Specialty Nursing Certification in Flight Nursing (IBFNC) is a professional credential offered by the International Association of Flight & Critical Care Paramedics (IAFCCP). The IBFNC is designed to recognize nurses who have achieved a high level of proficiency and expertise in the field of flight nursing.

The IBFNC requires nurses to complete a comprehensive examination that tests their knowledge and skills related to flight nursing. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions, case studies, and simulation scenarios. It takes approximately 4 hours to complete the exam and must be taken at an approved testing center.

In order to qualify for the IBFNC, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as having an active RN license, at least two years of experience as a registered nurse in critical care or emergency settings, completion of an accredited educational program in flight nursing, and successful completion of the IAFCCP's Flight Nurse Core Competency Exam.

The cost for taking the IBFNC exam is $400 USD. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking the exam at an approved testing center.

10. Basic Life Support (BLS)

Basic Life Support (BLS) is an emergency medical procedure used to help maintain the circulation of oxygen and blood throughout the body. It is a combination of rescue breathing, chest compressions, and other life-saving measures that can be used in emergency situations. BLS is typically administered by healthcare professionals such as paramedics or emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

BLS certification typically takes between 4-6 hours to complete, depending on the provider. The course covers topics such as CPR, AED use, choking management, and other basic life support skills. Most providers offer both classroom-based courses and online courses for those who prefer to learn at their own pace.

The cost of BLS certification varies depending on the provider and course type chosen. Generally speaking, online courses are more affordable than classroom-based courses due to their convenience and flexibility.

In order to become certified in BLS, you must pass a written exam as well as demonstrate proficiency in performing the necessary skills during a practical assessment. Once certified, you must renew your certification every two years in order to remain current with best practices and standards.

11. Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS)

Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) is an internationally recognized program that provides pre-hospital emergency medical care and trauma life support to patients suffering from traumatic injuries. The program was developed by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) in collaboration with the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. PHTLS focuses on providing timely, high quality, evidence-based care for all trauma patients in the pre-hospital setting.

The PHTLS course is a 16 hour continuing education program designed for EMS providers including paramedics, EMTs, nurses, physicians, and other pre-hospital providers. It covers topics such as patient assessment, shock management, airway management and respiratory support, trauma patient management and special considerations for pediatric and geriatric patients.

The course can be taken either online or in person at an approved training center. Online courses typically take 8 hours to complete while in person courses usually take 2 days to complete.

The cost of the course varies depending on where it is taken and who is offering it but generally ranges from $150-$300 USD per student.

Do You Really Need a Flight Nurse Certificate?

When it comes to the medical field, there are a variety of different certificates that can be obtained to help further your career. One such certificate is the Flight Nurse Certificate. While it may sound like an attractive option, it is important to consider if you really need this certificate in order to pursue the career you desire.

A Flight Nurse Certificate is a specialized certification that allows nurses to care for patients during air transport. This type of nursing requires specialized training and knowledge of aviation safety regulations, medical equipment, and aircraft operations. It also requires nurses to have strong critical thinking skills and the ability to work under stress in a fast-paced environment. In addition, flight nurses must be able to provide basic medical care while in flight, as well as administer medications and complete paperwork related to patient care.

Flight nurses often serve on medical helicopters or other aircrafts used for transporting patients from one location to another. They usually work with doctors and paramedics on board the aircraft and are responsible for providing safe and effective patient care during transport. The job can be quite demanding and requires significant amounts of education and experience in order to become certified as a Flight Nurse.

Before deciding if you need a Flight Nurse Certificate, you should evaluate your current career goals and determine whether or not this type of certification would benefit you professionally. If you are interested in working with critically ill patients who need immediate transport from one location to another, then this type of certificate may be beneficial for you. However, if you do not plan on working directly with these types of patients or are not interested in working as part of an air transport team, then obtaining a Flight Nurse Certificate may not be necessary for your career path.

In conclusion, obtaining a Flight Nurse Certificate is certainly something that should be considered when pursuing a career in nursing; however it is important to understand what the requirements are for becoming certified as well as what type of work will be required once certified before making any decisions about pursuing this certification.

Related: Flight Nurse Resume Examples

FAQs About Flight Nurse Certifications

1. What qualifications are required to become a Flight Nurse?

Answer: To become a Flight Nurse, you must possess a valid Registered Nurse (RN) license, have at least two years of critical care experience, and hold current certifications in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP).

2. How long does it take to complete a Flight Nurse Certification program?

Answer: The length of the program will vary depending on the institution offering the certification. Generally, most programs require around 500 hours of classroom instruction and clinical experience.

3. What is the cost of becoming a Flight Nurse?

Answer: Costs for flight nurse certification can range from $5,000-$20,000 depending on the institution offering the certification and any additional fees associated with it.

4. Is there an age limit for Flight Nurses?

Answer: No, there is no age limit for becoming a Flight Nurse; however, all applicants should be in good physical condition and able to pass an FAA medical exam prior to beginning their training program.

5. How often do I need to renew my Flight Nurse Certification?

Answer: Most certifications must be renewed every two years in order to remain valid. Renewal requirements may include continuing education credits or other professional development activities as well as successful completion of written examinations or practical skills assessments.