Everything You Need to Know About CCRN Certification

Nurses who currently work in critical care should consider obtaining their CCRN certification. By becoming a CCRN nurse, you not only further your professional status but also show your commitment to your patients and to bettering the nursing profession.

Who Should Get Their CCRN Certification?

ccrn certification

Nurses who provide care for acute and critically ill patients are eligible to apply for their CCRN certification. This includes nurses working in critical care units (including specialty units like cardiac ICUs), emergency departments, and transport teams. 

Nurses who care for neonatal, pediatric, and adult critically ill patients can obtain CCRN certification. As you may expect, there are different tests for each patient population due to the vast differences in pathophysiological processes and care that is required. Depending on how diverse your care experience is and your career goals, you may take the exam for multiple patient age groups.

Why Is This Designation Important?

Nursing is an ever-changing field, and there is no room for complacency, especially in critical care. If we have learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that we play a vital and trusted role in communities around the world and it is our professional responsibility to be as proficient as possible in our chosen specialty. 

CCRN designation acknowledges that you have put in the extra work to further your training and education so that you may provide the best care to the sickest patients. This designation shows your patients and your colleagues that you are a specialist in this arena and are committed to being on top of current evidence-based nursing practice.

ccrn certification

It also indicates that you have extensive knowledge in the pathophysiology of critical illnesses, and you have the tools to help manage the care of acutely ill patients.

What Are The Personal and Professional Benefits of CCRN Certification?

ccrn certification

There are numerous benefits to obtaining your CCRN. Indeed, the benefits extend not only to yourself but also to your employer and your patients. 

From a personal perspective, CCRN certification is another step in growing your professional career and portfolio. It gives credit to all those hours and years you have dedicated to caring for very ill patients, and it also shows that your knowledge is extensive. 

Of course, there are other personal benefits aside from having your expertise recognized by your patients and colleagues. For example, CCRN nurses often earn a higher salary than nurses without designation. They also have more opportunities for promotions to leadership positions and acceptance into graduate programs.

From a professional perspective, nurses who have their CCRN are usually the go-to person for their colleagues when they are struggling with a patient. CCRN nurses are also the ones everyone looks to for guiding their care and decision-making in life-saving situations. 

Employers usually recognize the benefits of having CCRN nurses and offer a more competitive salary and other incentives like improving your work environment. CCRN nurses also have better patient outcomes, which benefits your organization at large.

How Much Money and Time Does It Require?


There is an exam fee that you must pay upfront when you register to take the CCRN exam. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) produces the exam. You can become a member of the AACN and pay a discounted exam fee of $245 to take the exam. These fees are newly updated as of the May 2021 AACN CCRN Exam Handbook. If you are not a member, your exam fee is $360. (Currently, an AACN membership is $78.)

The benefits of joining the AACN extend well beyond a nice discount on your exam. The AACN also gives you access to free continuing education courses and a subscription to critical care nursing journals. But, perhaps one of the biggest bonuses is that membership connects you with thousands of critical care nurses who are united in their mission to improve the nursing profession and their patient outcomes.

ccrn certification


Preparation for the exam takes as much time as you are willing to put into it. However, unlike studying for the NCLEX, there are no course prerequisites to taking the exam save for proving your clinical hours and experience in critical care. 

However, people that go into the exam cold turkey without any studying usually do not pass. To succeed on the exam, you need to thoroughly brush up on your pathophysiology, evidence-based nursing actions, and nursing leadership skills. People who pass their exam the first time usually take a CCRN course to freshen up on all of the material they need to know.

ccrn certification

When it comes to what holds nurses back from getting their CCRN, it is usually time. Indeed, most of us are already pressed for time when it comes to balancing our work-life obligations.

Thus, the thought of adding a review course can feel overwhelming. However, finding the right course that delivers material effectively in a short amount of time is vital for saving you time and money while guaranteeing you will pass the first time.

How Much Money and Time Does It Require?

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to pass the CCRN Exam

1. Fill out your application on the AACN website. To do so, you will need a valid, unencumbered RN or APRN license in the United States. You must also meet the minimum number of hours in direct patient care in your designated patient age group. 

2. Pay your exam fees and sign up for a testing date. Ideally, you will want to give yourself ample time to prepare.

3. Sign up for a review course or create a self-guided study plan to ensure you are up-to-date on all the information you need to know.

4. Feel confident taking your exam because you are well-prepared and excited to join the ranks of certified critical care nurses.

Critical Care Academy saves you time and money and ensures you will pass the first time you take the exam. With our unique, self-paced video-module learning environment, you can prepare for the CCRN at your speed and convenience.

To guarantee your time and money is well spent,

sign up for Critical Care Academy today, and take this next powerful step in your career.