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There are many different types of nurse certification a person may pursue, and the requirements of each credential may vary. In general, a person who is interested in nurse certification has to meet the requirements for becoming a nurse in his jurisdiction. Once he's done so, he may then go on to meet the requirements necessary to become a certified nurse. Often, this involves gaining experience in the field of nursing in which he seeks the credential and passing an exam. Additionally, a person may become certified as a nurse assistant or nurse's aide as well, which usually involves completing a training program and passing an exam.
Typically, a person who wants to become a certified nurse must first get licensed as a nurse. To do this, an individual usually completes a nurse education program. For example, an individual may work toward an associate's degree or earn a bachelor's degree in nursing to prepare for this career. In some places, an individual may even enroll in a diploma in nursing program to prepare for this field. After completing a jurisdiction-approved training program, a person in this field usually has to earn licensing as well; this typically involves passing a nurse licensure exam.
After becoming a licensed nurse, an individual who wants to become a certified nurse may contact the nurse credentialing organizations in his area to learn which types of certifications are available and what is involved in earning them. In some cases, an organization may offer certification based on a nurse's knowledge of a nursing field or specialty. Often, however, a person has to work in the specialty before he can be certified. For example, some organizations may require those seeking certification in infection control to work in the field for a set period of time or suggest that candidates acquire a minimum level of experience. Then, a person who wants to become a certified nurse typically has to pay for and pass a certification exam.
Some people may seek certification that does not require them to become registered nurses. Instead, they may seek certification as nurse assistants or aides. For this, they usually do not have to earn degrees. Instead, they can typically enroll in a training program after completing high school diplomas or earning equivalent credentials. Then, they usually have to pass an exam to gain certification; some of these training programs only take a matter of weeks to complete.