Holding an accredited certification in nursing informatics can give a competitive edge when looking for a new job or striving to excel at a current position. Certification is not currently a requirement for nursing informatics professionals, but it can lend prestige and validation to those who have earned it.
American Nurses’ Association Credentialing Center (ANCC)
Certification serves to ensure that each person who passes has the requisite knowledge. The ANCC is the best known credentialing center for nurses and offers the most rigorous exam for nursing informatics. Eligibility for the exam requires a valid RN license, a Bachelor’s degree in nursing or a related field, two years of full time nursing experience and 30 hours of informatics training. Transcripts will also need to be submitted. Additional requirements involve various combinations of training hours and working hours.
ANCC Credentialing Exam
Once the eligibility to take the exam has been established, the candidate is able to register online. Members of the American Nurses Association—otherwise known as the ANA—can expect to pay $270.00 for the initial certification exam whereas non-members will be charged $395.00. Once the test is scheduled, the candidate receives notification of the site that is closest to their location, and a 90 day window is available to schedule the actual date to take the exam. Once a nursing informatics professional becomes certified, the certification must be renewed every five years.
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)
Another option for certification is offered by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which is a non-profit agency that focuses on information technology in the medical industry. If a candidate wants to focus more on the IT aspect, it may be beneficial to become a Certified Professional in Healthcare Information Management Systems (CPHIMS) or a Certified Professional in Health Information Technology (CPHIT). Eligibility requirements for the exam are similar to those of ANCC, but being an RN is not a requirement. Varying combinations of experience and education are required.
Informatics Training Online
Nurses with substantial experience in both patient care and computerized health systems will need formalized training in informatics to be certified by a credentialing organization. Many opportunities for this training can be found on the internet. Kaplan, DeVry, Capella, and Walden universities, along with the Universities of Illinois, Indiana, Arizona and Minnesota all have online opportunities for informatics coursework that can be done at the individual’s preferred pace.
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Informatics Training On Site
Programs in nursing informatics are offered at many bricks-and-mortar locations as well as online. Vanderbilt School of Nursing, Duke University, Columbia, Texas State, Johns Hopkins University, University of Minnesota, Oregon Health and Science University, and Indiana University are just a few of the colleges that provide certificates in informatics. With the government’s emphasis on increasing educational opportunities for health care professionals, grant money many be available also.
Nursing informatics professionals who are certified can expect a higher salary than those who are not. Employers may not require nursing informatics professionals to obtain certification yet, but this could certainly change over time. As more people become qualified and enter this challenging occupational arena, employers may raise the bar, and those who are certified will have an advantage.