What is the difference between certification and a certificate? I get this question from nurses who want to become LNCs.
Certification is a credential earned by people who have experience in a field. They have put in the hours to learn the basic concepts, and then have gained skill and expertise.
A certificate is awarded after a person completes an educational program. The person need not perform any work in that field before or during the program in order to complete a certificate program. It is typically completed by a newcomer to the field by a for profit entity.
How can I tell the difference between a certificate program and a certification?
Look at the prerequisites to take the certificate course of study. Can you enroll in the program without prior experience? If the certificate program part of a national specialty organization or is it the product of a person? Is the certificate program recognized by Accreditation Board of Specialty Nursing Certification as having met specific criteria? By setting and enforcing standards for certification, the Accreditation Board of Specialty Nursing Certification seeks to protect the public and consumers through their mission to provide assurance to the public that the nurse holding the credential from an accredited certification program possesses the knowledge, skills and competency for quality practice in the specialty.
What is the LNCC?
The LNCC (Legal Nurse Consultant Certified) certification is similar to the certification awarded to experienced nurses working in a specialty area of nursing. It recognizes the experienced practitioner. The LNCC certification program has met rigorous industry standards. LNCC is the only legal nurse consulting credential recognized by American Association of Legal Nurse Consulting, a national organization, and accredited by Accreditation Board of Specialty Nursing Certification.
In compliance with Accreditation Board of Specialty Nursing Certification standards and requirements, the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board certifies legal nurse consultant professionals through the LNCC program. Unlike many certificate programs being offered by colleges and private educational providers, the LNCC program is practice-based. It is not intended to teach individuals how to become legal nurse consultants. Rather, it is designed to measure an individual’s “knowledge-in-use” – the application of knowledge and skills by those with real-life experience in this role. It is not for the newcomer to the field of legal nurse consulting.
What are the criteria for sitting for the LNCC exam?
To be eligible to take the examination, candidates must have the following at the time of application:
• current licensure as a registered nurse in the United States or its territories, with a full and unrestricted license
• a minimum of five years of experience practicing as a registered nurse
• evidence of 2000 hours of legal nurse consulting experience within the past five years.
Those who meet the eligibility criteria and successfully complete the examination will earn the Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC) credential.
What is the deadline for applying to take the exam?
The LNCC exam is offered twice a year. Check www.aalnc.org for deadlines.
How can I prepare to take the exam?
Rose Clifford (an experienced LNCC), Pat Bemis (President of the National Nurses in Business Association) and Pat Iyer (past president of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consulting) prepared a self-learning course that highlights the key areas covered by the exam. You’ll learn by watching DVDs that cover the primary concepts, referring to the script for each part of the course, and testing your comprehension of the material by taking the 100 question test. You’ll gain confidence, feel prepared, and be able to hone in on the key points on the exam.
If you are ready to take the exam, don’t delay. Invest in the Certification Preparation for Legal Nurse Consulants course today.
Some content adapted from Certified Fund Raising Executives International –www.cfre.org