Nursing informatics is an up-and-coming career for nurses. Informatics nurses are registered nurses that work at the intersection of technology and nursing, combining nursing, communications, computer science, and information science knowledge.
One way informatics nurses can advance their careers is by earning a nursing informatics certification. Read on to learn about the different nursing informatics certifications and how to earn them, including eligibility requirements, cost, recertification, and more.
A nursing informatics certification is a specialty credential for informatics nurses that confirm the nurses’ ability to understand technology, like electronic medical records, in a healthcare setting.
These specific certifications do not give you advanced skills. Instead, they confirm your pre-existing knowledge. They also show others you hold an advanced skill set in informatics.
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You will need at least an RN license to get a nursing informatics certification.
You can become an RN with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) after passing the NCLEX-RN exam.
Nurse informaticists have three options when pursuing a nursing informatics certification – the RN-BC, CAHIMS, or the CPHIMs. These credentials may help advance your career as an informatics nurse by showcasing your skills in healthcare technology and systems.
1. Nursing Informatics Certification (RN-BC)
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers eligible nurses the Nursing Informatics Certification (RN-BC). This exam is the specialty certification for informatics nurses.
The exam allows 3 hours to answer 150 questions, including 125 scored and 25 unscored pretest questions.
To be eligible for the RN-BC exam, you must meet the following requirements:
Hold a current, unencumbered active RN license
A BSN or higher degree in nursing
2 years full-time as a practicing RN
Completed 30 hours of CEs in informatics directly related to nursing in the previous 3 years
Meet one of the following requirements:
2,000 practice hours of informatics nursing in the last 3 years
1,000 practice hours of informatics nursing in the last 3 years with a minimum of 12 credits in a graduate program
Completed an informatics nursing graduate program with at least 200 hours of clinical practice directly related to nursing informatics
Although the certification exam is computer-based, you must take it in person at a Prometric testing center.
The RN-BC exam costs $295 for American Nurses Association members and $395 for non-members.
2. Certified Associate in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CAHIMS)
The Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) offers nurses and other health information experts the Certified Associate in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CAHIMS) credential.
While not limited to nurses, this informatics certification can help you demonstrate your knowledge of healthcare information. It may also allow you to acquire more experience by opening you up to new opportunities.
To be eligible to sit for the CAHIMS exam, nurses must meet the following criteria:
An associate, bachelor, or advanced degree
Meet one of the following education or experience requirements:
25 hours of education in healthcare information technology, digital health, or informatics
75 hours experience in any type of IT and Healthcare setting
The CAHIMs is a two-hour exam with 100 scored and 15 unscored multiple-choice questions. You can take the exam in person at Pearson VUE Testing Centers. It costs $299 for HIMSS members and $379 for non-members.
3. Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS)
The HIMSS also offers the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS) credential to health information professionals, including nurses.
This nursing informatics certification is more suited for nurses in a management position or on the career path toward administration.
Eligible nurses must meet the following criteria:
A graduate degree or higher
Three years of information and management systems experience, including two years in healthcare
The CPHIMS has 115 multiple-choice questions, 100 of which count toward your final score. You can also take this exam at Pearson VUE Testing Centers. It costs $449 for HIMSS members and $599 for non-members.
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Reviewing the criteria needed to be eligible for one of the above nursing informatics certifications is essential. You cannot sit for the exam if you do not meet all the criteria.
Also, discuss nurse informatics certifications with your employer before taking any exams. They may reimburse the exam cost depending on where you work and which nurse informatics certification you want.
After applying for an exam, you will receive the Authorization to Test (ATT), which allows you to set an exam date at an authorized testing center. It’s important to review the test outline and all available and suggested studying materials.
Earning a nursing informatics certification is not a requirement for most nursing positions or even jobs, but it will give you a leg up on the competition. Taking an advanced specialty certification exam will solidify your knowledge of nursing informatics. While it may not give you additional skills, it will show that you are an expert in your field.
Some healthcare systems will reimburse you for the cost of the exam upon successful completion and will even offer a small bonus or an hourly increase. Speak to your manager and HR representative to determine if you qualify.