The Addictions Nursing Certification Board (ANCB) offers two certifications for registered nurses (RN) interested in specializing in addictions: the Certified Addictions Registered Nurse (CARN) and the Certified Addictions Registered Nurse - Advanced Practice (CARN-AP). These certifications are helpful in drawing the parameters for skilled practitioners in the field of addictions.
Both the CARN and the CARN-AP require that applicants are registered nurses to be eligible for the certification, according to the International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA). As such, it is important to discuss becoming an RN. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics you must have some type of degree in nursing such as a Bachelor’s of Science or an associate’s degree. After completing one of those programs, you must take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed to practice as an RN.
The eligibility requirements differ for the CARN and the CARN-AP. To be eligible for the CARN, you must have at least three years of experience working as an RN and at least two years of experience specifically working with addictions. Requirements for the CARN-AP are higher than the CARN. To be eligible for the CARN-AP, you must minimally have a master’s degree in nursing as well as at least 500 hours of “supervised direct client contact in advanced clinical practice in addictions/psychiatric/mental health nursing.”
According to the IntNSA, the fees to become either a CARN or CARN-AP vary based on your membership status. For the CARN, if you are an IntNSA member the fee is $175 and if you are a non-member the fee is $275. For the CARN-ARP, if you are an IntNSA member the fee is $275 and if you are a non-member the fee is $375. Recertification fees for both the CARN and the CARN-AP are the same as the initial certification fees as of April 2010.
After meeting the eligibility for either the CARN or the CARN-AP, you must take a test to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in the area of addictions. If you are interested in attaining either the CARN or the CARN-AP, you must contact Schroeder Measurement Technologies, Inc (SMT) to receive an application form (as of April 2010.) The IntNSA has partnered with the SMT to administer the test for these certifications.
Once you’ve attained your certification through the IntNSA, you have to maintain your credentials through a recertification process. For the recertification of CARN, you must earn 60 points through continuing education and scholarly activity. You also must have an additional year of work experience in addictions according to the IntNSA. For the recertification of CARN, you must complete 80 credits through education, scholarly activity, and volunteer activity (as of April 2010.)
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