What is the CCRN Certification

What is the CCRN Certification and Why You Should Do It

Learn why becoming a CCRN can accelerate your career and help you save more lives

If you currently work in critical care or desire to, you must consider obtaining your CCRN. This certification signifies that you are a specialist in providing care to critically ill patients. It also designates your commitment to accelerating your career and the nursing profession at large.

What is the CCRN certification?

CCRN® is a registered trademark that designates nurses who have obtained board certification in caring for critically ill patients in the acute care arena. Nurses who obtain their CCRN work in critical care units, emergency departments, and transport teams providing care to neonatal, pediatric, and adult patients. 

The CCRN certification is granted through the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). This designation signifies that a nurse has achieved a significant level of knowledge and experience working with critical patients. It also validates your commitment to accelerating the nursing field and maintaining a level of excellence in your nursing practice.

Why should I become certified?

Your CCRN certification benefits:

  • Your patients and their families
  • Your colleagues
  • Your employer

Certification is an opportunity to demonstrate and validate your critical care nursing expertise. It shows your patients and employer that you are committed to your specialty nursing practice. Your colleagues will also know you are a person who can help them hone new skills and that you are a go-to person when they are in need. Most importantly, it demonstrates that you carry a tremendous amount of knowledge in caring for critically ill patients and that you can make sound nursing decisions in critical, life-saving situations. 

Additionally, many hospitals and organizations offer more incentives to nurses who are CCRN-certified. Employers offer additional benefits because CCRN nurses are safer, provide better nursing care, and have superior patient outcomes. These incentives can include salary increases, the ability to play a more prominent role in improving your work environment, and more leadership opportunities. Some hospitals may even reimburse you for your cost of taking the exam and your study materials. Furthermore, certified nurses generally report better job satisfaction. Thus, hospitals can benefit from lower nursing turnover rates.

Finally, nurses who wish to pursue higher-level nursing degrees will boost their confidence in their skills and knowledge and improve their chance of being accepted into a graduate-level program with a CCRN certification. 

Nurses are a perfect solution for meeting the growing demands on our health care system. We can do this by pursuing more training and expertise in our field.

What is the Process for Becoming A CCRN Registered Nurse

To obtain your CCRN certification, you will need to complete steps in the following areas:

  • Have a valid, unencumbered RN or APRN license in the United States.
  • Meet the minimum number of hours or years, providing direct patient care to acutely ill or critical patients in your specified patient population (Neonatal, pediatric, or adult) in a valid health care facility.
  • Pay your exam fees and sign up for a testing date
  • Pass your CCRN exam

Within the CCRN certification requirements, there are two options for meeting the minimum number of hours required to sit for the exam. 

Option 1: Practice as an RN or APRN for 1,750 hours in direct care of acutely or critically ill patients during the past two years (of which 875 of those hours must be from the most recent year before your application submission).

Option 2: Practice as an RN or APRN for at least 5 years with a minimum of 2,000 hours in direct care of acutely or critically ill patients (of which 144 of those hours must be from the most recent year before your application submission).
Importantly, for your hours to be counted for your CCRN application, you must work in a U.S. or Canada-based facility. If you work in an international facility, it must meet the U.S. standard of acute and critical care nursing practice determined through Magnet® or Joint Commission International accreditation.

What does the CCRN exam cost?

You will need to pay an exam fee when you complete your CCRN certification application. The AACN delivers the CCRN exam. If you are a member of the AACN, you pay a reduced fee. For members, the exam costs $230, whereas non-members pay $335. 

Joining the AACN not only gives you a reduced rate on your CCRN exam, but it also gives you access to free continuing education opportunities and subscriptions to critical care journals. Furthermore, membership makes you a part of a national community of nurses who are passionate about critical care nursing and advancing the profession

An AACN membership costs $78 annually. It is not required to sit for the CCRN exam, but it is worth joining because it saves you $95 on your exam and is an incredible professional resource. 

How do I prepare for the exam?

Besides meeting the requirements to sit for the exam, one of the most daunting tasks is ahead of you: studying. One of the biggest turnoffs for nurses considering the CCRN exam is whether or not they want to put the time (and money) into preparing for certification.

This hesitation is especially true for nurses who already feel confident in their critical care nursing skills. Yet, we know the pros of obtaining your CCRN far outweigh the cons.

For many of us, the dread over preparing for the NCLEX still looms in the back of our minds. Yet, CCRN exam studying is much better today.

To pass the exam, you don’t necessarily need to make hundreds of handwritten flashcards or highlight every phrase in a CCRN review book. You also don’t have to take time away from work (and life) to attend a CCRN review course in-person.

With Critical Care Academy, you can access all of the information you need to pass the exam in a simple, straight-forward, time-saving format. All of our CCRN review modules are video-based, meaning that you feel like you are in an in-person review course with the added benefit of picking up where you left off whenever you have time. Our video modules are self-paced and mobile-friendly, meaning that you can study at your convenience.

At Critical Care Academy, we are so confident in our approach that we offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you do not pass the exam on your first try. Don’t let the fear of studying or not passing the exam keep you from achieving your goals.

Boost your nursing career with the CCRN® Certification