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General Information

What is Nursing Certification?
Nursing certification is a process to validate a registered nurse's qualification and knowledge of a specific area of nursing. To become certified, a nurse must meet minimal competency standards, as set by the agency that grants the certification. One purpose of nursing certification is to promote public safety. Certification assures the public that a certified nurse has completed all criteria required for a specific credential. Another purpose of certification is to promote the development of specialty areas of nursing by establishing minimal competency standards and recognizing those who have met those standards.

ONCC® offers six certification examinations:

  • OCN ® (Oncology Certified Nurse),
  • CPHON ® Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse)
  • CBCN ® (Certified Breast Care Nurse)
  • AOCNP ® (Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner)
  • AOCNS ® (Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist)
  • BMTCN™ (Blood and Marrow Transplant Certified Nurse)

In addition, ONCC offers renewal of AOCN® (Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse) certification and CPON® (Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse) certification to nurses who currently hold the credential.

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) recognizes the benefits of certification to patients and the public. ONS encourages oncology nurses to become certified.  Read the ONS position on oncology certification of nurses.

In addition to certification programs, there are assessment-based certificate programs and continuing education programs. It is important for nurses to understand what each of these programs represents. The Institute for Credentialing Excellence has defined the differences between these types of programs.