Editor’s Note: This article was originally written by Dr. Melissa de Capua DNP PMHNP in 2017. It was updated in January 2024 by Mia Lombardo to reflect current information.
Looking to increase your nurse practitioner (NP) job opportunities, or even boost your salary? There are many certifications for NPs to do just that, all while demonstrating their expertise in both clinical and nonclinical areas. There are a variety of certifications for NPs, such as orthopedics, sexual assault, informatics, dermatology, clinical research, education, and leadership.
Follow along to learn more about each certification and the steps NPs need to take to obtain their certifications!
Orthopedic NP Certifications
Orthopedic NPs (ONPs) are advanced-practice nurses who assess, diagnose, and treat patients who suffer from musculoskeletal conditions. ONPs often earn higher-than-average salaries, being within the top 3 highest paid nurse practitioner specialties. ONPs are certified through the Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board.
NPs must complete at least three years with a minimum of 2,000 clinical hours training patients with musculoskeletal conditions to qualify for this certification. Most applicants are either family, pediatric, or geriatric NPs. Overall, obtaining this certification is a great way to increase your NP job opportunities.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Certifications
Sexual assault nurse examiners, or SANEs, are certified in the medical forensic care of patients who have experienced sexual assault or abuse. There are two types of SANE certifications for NPs, specializing in either adults and adolescents or children.
SANEs typically work with rape crisis centers or on a sexual assault response team. They provide examinations, including the collection of forensic evidence and crisis intervention counseling. SANEs are certified through the International Association of Forensic Nurses.
NP Informatics Certifications
The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) defines nursing informatics as the science of how data, information, and knowledge is used to deliver healthcare services and improve human health. Nurse informatics typically work at hospitals as project analysts, subject matter experts, and electronic medical record trainers.
The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers an informatics nursing certification. NPs must have completed at least 2,000 hours of informational nursing within the past year or completed a graduate program in informatics to obtain the certification.
Dermatology NP Certifications
Dermatology NPs (DCNPs) specialize in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of skin diseases and disorders. DCNPs typically work at hospitals and clinics treating a variety of conditions, ranging from acne to skin cancer.
The Dermatology Nurses Association certifies DCNPs. NPs must have completed a minimum of 3,000 clinical hours of dermatology practice, some of which can come from a dermatology graduate program. This certification is within lucrative specialty, making this an excellent job opportunity for NPs.
Clinical NP Research Certifications
Clinical NP researchers organize, oversee, and assist in clinical trials. Their work revolves around new medications, or other forms of new treatments. Clinical researchers may work for a lab, hospital, nonprofit, or universities. Also, clinical NPs care for clinical test subjects by conducting medical histories and health assessments, as well as author journal articles and medical publications.
NPs can become certified in clinical research through the Society of Clinical Research Associates, or the Association of Clinical Research Professionals. Both organizations have different requirements for NPs to obtain their certification.
NP Educator Certifications
Nurse educators typically work as professors in undergraduate and graduate programs. The National League for Nursing offers a nurse educator certification for any licensed NP with either a master’s or doctoral degree and nine credit hours of graduate-level education courses. Nurse educators fill a variety of roles, whether as traditional academic professors or clinical educators who teach NP students during their practicums and residency programs. This certification is a great way to increase your NP job opportunities.
NP Leadership & Business Certifications
The nursing profession offers a variety of certifications in leadership and business, which can help NPs earn positions as executives and managers. The American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) offers the Certified Nurse Manager and Leader certification (CNML). This certification recognizes NPs as knowledgeable in the critical elements of management and leadership. Also, the AONE offers the Certified in Executive Nursing Practice credential, which certifies a NP as knowledgeable in healthcare systems, professionalism, and business skills.
Looking for more educational nurse practitioner content? Check out our nurse practitioner resources, or check out our popular guides on nurse practitioner licensing, NP scope of practice, independent practice, and nurse practitioner specialties. And be sure to explore our nurse practitioner salary guide.