Which Nursing CEUs Will Help Me Make More Money?

Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN - 06/20/19

Continuing education for nurses is a requirement for re-licensure every 2-3 years in an ever-growing majority of states as well as Washington DC and US Territories. State boards of nursing recommend, and state legislators set the rules as required by local laws to protect the citizens of their state or territory. The State Board of nursing documents and posts the Nurse Practice Act for nurses in their state and update it with changes as they become law. It is the ultimate responsibility of the nurse to stay apprised of changes and updates.

There will be separate Nurse Practice Acts for LPN/LVNs, Registered Nurses and Advance Practice RNs. Nurses need to be on the cutting edge of knowledge and technology and are trusted to be experts in their field of practice. Nurses never stop learning and continuing education is one way to ensure that nurses learn the most important information.

Continuing education is not cheap, and it requires a significant investment of time. Sometimes employers will help pay the costs if a course offers significant new information that a nurse can bring back to the facility or organization. Employers may also offer free CEUs that may or may not be mandatory, to ensure their staff have been presented with specific information relevant to the care they provide. This help keep staff all on the same page for providing information and patient education as well as providing aspects of patient care. Nurses should always take advantage of free CEU courses as this is a form of making money.

How Can CEUs Help Me make More Money?

As employers grow their specialty areas, making sure their nurses are well versed in subject matter and techniques, they may offer incentives in the form of salary increases or bonuses for those who pass certain courses. In addition, nurses who strive to become experts in specific fields can earn Certifications which will award CEUs for the courses and more CEUs in the future as nurses are required to take courses to keep their certifications current along with their licensure. Employers usually offer salary incentives for Certifications that help them provide expertly-trained nurses in specific units.

Some of the more common certifications include OCN (Oncology Certified Nurse and Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse – AOCN), CCRN (Acute/Critical Care Nurse), CPN (Certified Pediatric Nurse), AACN (Certified ICU Nurse) CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) and FNP-BC (Family Nurse Practitioner). Others that may not be as widely-known include TNCC (Trauma Nursing Core Course) NRP (Neonatal Resuscitation Nursing Certificate) and MAB (Management of Assaultive Behavior Nursing Certificate). The latter becoming much more valuable as violence in the hospital and other health care settings is increasing rapidly.

Advanced Degrees Can Earn CEUs and Increase Salaries

Nurses who wish to further their education from LPN/LVN or RN can earn CEUs for college course work that is specific to nursing. General education courses and courses that aren’t specific to nursing don’t count. Significant CEUS can be earned over the course of obtaining a BSN, MSN, NP or PhD. For each 1 quarter hour of course work the nurse will earn 1 CEU and for 1 semester hour of course work the nurse will earn 1.5 CEUS. Be aware though that CEUs can only be earned during the relicensure period and cannot be carried over. Many of these advanced degrees will mean higher pay, and sometimes employers will reimburse tuition.

Always check with your employer about tuition reimbursement and be sure to ask about the amount of salary increase they offer before charging ahead. On occasion employers have been known to pay the same rate for RN and BSN; yet the BSN is a hiring advantage.

Advancing your education is a personal choice and should not just be about money. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment if your employer is not as generous as you thought they’d be in celebrating the new expertise you bring to the position. Changing jobs may be necessary in order to see the full potential. Be prepared. Of course, tuition reimbursement will have strings attached. Know in advance what kind of commitment on your part is required. This may include maintaining a specific GPA to maintain the reimbursement and then committing to work a certain amount of time after earning the degree. 

Knowledge will always enhance your practice and career and make you a better nurse. It will also help you make more of a difference in your patient’s lives.