As was mentioned in our recent article on salary, one of the quickest ways to increase your earning potential as a practical nurse is by earning specialized LPN certifications. However, choosing to become a certified specialist will benefit you in a number of other ways as well.
In addition to increasing your LPN salary, holding a certificate also:
- Makes you more marketable to prospective employers
- Allows you to work in the healthcare niche you enjoy most
- Gives you greater mobility within the medical community
Popular LPN Certifications
There are over 20 different types of certificates available to Licensed Practical Nurses, with the most-popular programs being sponsored by the National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service (NAPNES) and the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses (NFLPN). A brief overview of all types of LPN certification programs follows.
Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
Governed by the American Heart Association (AHA), ACLS certification programs train practical nurses how to respond in cases of cardiac arrest and other heart-related emergencies. Individuals who hold this certification will usually have a Basic Life Support (BLS) certificate as well since both deal with the process of resuscitating a patient.
Basic Life Support (BLS)
Also offered by the AHA, BLS certification programs teach LPNs to recognize when a patient is in a life-threatening situation, and how to begin the process of resuscitating and stabilizing said patient. Included in this popular course is training in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator).
Case Management (CCM)
Practical nursing professionals who are interested in becoming professional case managers must earn a CCM certificate through a program recognized by the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC). These programs teach the fundamentals of social work required to work at any number of different healthcare facilities.
Certified Clinical Research Associates (CRA)
For those who are interested in working in clinical research (e.g. testing new pharmaceuticals on patients at a hospital), holding a CRA certification is usually required. ACRP-approved training teaches the LPN in the use of various devices, as well as the theory and procedures required to perform successful research.
Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC)
Another certificate offered by the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) is the CRC. Holding this credential allows the LPN to hold the title of Certified Clinical Research Coordinator, which means he or she will be responsible for formulating and executing clinical tests and tracking their results.
Certified Correctional Health Professional (CCHP)
Working as an LPN in a correctional facility usually requires earning a CCHP certificate through a program approved by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC). Training involves learning proper procedures and techniques for providing healthcare in a correctional setting.
Certified Hemodialysis Nurse (CHN)
The Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT) awards a certificate for those interested in becoming Certified Hemodialysis Nurses. CHN-certified practical nurses are able to work in nephrology care (i.e. kidney treatment) for a number of different types of employers.
Certified Hospice and Palliative Licensed Nurse (CHPLN)
Licensed Practical Nurses who wish to work in end-of-life care are required to have a Certified Hospice and Palliative Licensed Nurse (CHPLN) certificate. Certification programs for CHPLN trainees are sponsored by the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses (NBCHPN).
Certified Peritoneal Dialysis Nurse (CPDN)
A second certification available to professionals interested in working in nephrology is the CPDN. Also governed by BONENT, this certificate awards the title of Certified Peritoneal Dialysis Nurse and allows the LPN to specialize in peritoneal dialysis.
Developmental Disabilities (DDC)
To become a specialist who works with individuals who have either an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD), it is usually necessary for a practical nurse to earn a DDC certificate. Sponsored by the Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association (DDNA), programs prepare the LPN to work in home care and long-term care facilities servicing disabled patients.
The NAPNES programs for gerontology certification are among the most popular offered to practical nurses. An LPN who holds a GC certificate is able to hold a range of responsibilities in any setting that specializes in caring for elderly patients.
Healthcare Quality (CPHQ)
Moving into the field of healthcare quality management will usually require a nursing professional to earn a CPHQ certificate. The National Association for Healthcare Quality provides programs that prepare individuals to work at in management roles for all types of healthcare providers.
Probably one of the most-popular types of certificate programs for LPNs, IV certification allows the nurse to work in the area of intravenous therapy. This credential is offered by a large number of organizations and is governed by different bodies in each state, but the NFLPN is the largest national body that offers a program.
Long-Term Care (LTC)
With the explosion in the number of elderly patients being served by healthcare facilities across the country, the LTC certification has become particularly useful for many practical nursing professionals. This certification from NAPNES allows the individual to work in long-term care settings.
Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
Offered through a variety of organizations affiliated with the American Heart Association, PALS certification enables a practical nurse to work in pediatric care. With a Pediatric Advanced Life Support credential, the individual is able to work in children’s hospitals, clinics, and other facilities that specialize in treating infants, children and adolescents.
One of several common certifications that many practical nurses pursue, the NCP certificate allows its recipient to hold specific responsibilities related to the field of pharmacology. Certification programs are regulated and governed by NAPNES.
Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS)
Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) is the governing body over all programs that award RCIS certificates. By becoming a Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist, an LPN can work alongside cardiologists and cardiac surgeons at most facilities.
Transplant Coordinator (CCTC & CPTC)
The American Board for Transplant Certification awards two different certificates (the CCTC and CPTC) to individuals who want to work with transplant patients. A CCTC or CPTC helps coordinate organ transplants between different facilities and assists the recipient in understanding, and recovering from the surgery.
Those Licensed Practical Nurses who wish to work in urology must first acquire a CUA certification through a program sponsored by the Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates (SUNA). Certified nurses are able to participate in the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from urinary tract issues.
Wound Care Certification (WCC)
An extremely popular certification among LPNs who work in hospitals and long-term care facilities, the Wound Care Certification allows the individual to participate in the cleaning and treatment of all types of wounds. Training programs are governed by the National Alliance of Wound Care (NAWC).