If you’re a Nurse Practitioner who works in a hospital environment, don’t wait to earn your AC certification. Learn why you need this critical credential now to secure your future.
Recently, several Nurse Practitioners have asked me whether they should go back to school to get a post-masters’ or post-doctorate Acute Care (AC) certification. More than one was surprised to be passed over for a job she thought she was qualified for. Healthcare is changing at a rapid rate and, unfortunately, she was one step behind. So, in this post, I’ll explain why getting your Nurse Practitioner Acute Care Certificate is an essential career move.
AC Certification Is Required by Most Hospitals
Today, most hospitals require acute care certification to work in the intensive care unit (ICU). Across the country, we’re seeing a growing trend of AC certification also being required to work in progressive care, emergency care, and other high acuity units. In the future, AC certification will likely be required for home care and telemedicine for certain patient types as well.
Many of the country’s top hospitals have broadened their AC certification requirements in anticipation of pending state legislation. Currently, a handful of states require AC certification for NPs working in the intensive care unit, and other states are expected to follow suit.
An NP Acute Care Certificate Will Enhance Your Career
Even if your state or hospital doesn’t require an AC certification for your role, there are several excellent reasons to make it a career goal. This is especially true for NPs who are working in a specialty care environment within a hospital. Here are two benefits of having your AC certification I encourage you to consider:
Expand your employment opportunities
It’s possible, and even likely, that your organization’s by-laws will require an AC certification for your role in the future. If this happens, expect to be mandated by your employer to go back and earn your certification to keep your current job.
If you decide to change jobs without an AC certification, you may not be qualified for the same role at a different hospital. If you do receive a job offer, it could come with the condition that you enroll in an AC certification program within 18 months. Starting a new job is challenging enough, and most NPs don’t want to go back to school at the same time.
Increase your earning potential
In nearly every case, earning your AC certification increases your income. When comparing NP candidates who are otherwise similarly qualified, those with AC certification receive job offers that can be $ 3,000 – $10,000 higher annually.
Holding your AC certification also makes it more likely that you’ll have the opportunity earn rate increases by working premium shifts on evenings, weekends, and nights.
How to Find the Right Acute Care Program for You
Ready to pursue your AC certification? Your next step is finding a program that is right for you.
For most NPs, this decision is financially-driven. Enrolling in a state university close to where you live is often the most cost-effective choice. But, if that’s not an option, you may want to look at some of the good online programs available across the country.
And, before you discount a private university, consider that many of these programs are highly respected. A certification from a top institution can help you gain recognition by top U.S. health systems and teaching hospitals.
Although the financial aspects are important, try to get a feel for the learning environment offered by different programs. Pull up the program ratings, talk to current students, and look at the schedule. Many online programs have set times for students to meet on campus several times a year. The average post-graduate AC certificate ranges from 20-30 credits and takes 1-2 years to complete as a part-time student.
The other thing to consider is whether the school will organize your student clinicals. Finding your own clinical placements can be very challenging. Because of the volume of students, many online programs will be unable to secure your student clinicals for you.
We Can Help You Find Your Dream Job
I hope this information helps you navigate the important decisions you will be required to make throughout your in NP career. If you have questions or would like to discuss your options, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time to talk.
At Melnic, we work individually with skilled Advanced Practice Providers, supporting you through your job search and identifying environments that align with your specific career goals. If you’re looking for the right job, complete your free Melnic Profile today!
This Week’s Top Nurse Practitioner Jobs
Our Melnic jobs board has Acute Care Nurse Practitioner positions at some of the country’s leading hospitals. If you are an NP who is considering a change, take a look at some of these great job openings!
- Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California has an AC PNP opportunity. Work in a 36-bed PICU with one of the West Coast’s premier healthcare centers.
- In The Woodlands, Texas, a PNP AC position is available in the PICU at Texas Children’s Hospital. The strong teamwork approach at this leading hospital makes this a great opportunity to consider.
- Nemours Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware has an opening for an AC PNP to work in the CVICU. Care for pediatric patients with congenital or acquired heart conditions, some of whom are recovering from heart surgery or transplant.
- In Chicago, Lurie Children’s Hospital is looking for an AC PNP for the PICU. Provide medical and surgical care for critically ill and injured children for a top academic children’s hospital.
- Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital has an opportunity for an AC PNP in the 18-bed PICU. Provide expert care to seriously ill children, many of whom are recovering from major surgery.
Review our list of Acute Care Nurse Practitioner jobs, then contact us today!
Jill Gilliland is President of Melnic an APRN and PA national recruiting company. Jill is a speaker and publicist on areas such as job strategies, branding and marketing, pediatric critical care needs, and additional topics relevant to pediatric nursing and the recruitment business. She has over 12 years of experience in the recruiting industry coupled with a strong sales, healthcare, and technology background. Jill holds a BS degree in Business from the University of Southern California and an MBA from The University of Virginia, Darden Business School. Connect with Jill Gilliland on LinkedIn.