Becoming Certified

Certification in the specialty of occupational and environmental health nursing (OHN) may be considered as one part of your ongoing professional development and increasing competency in the field. You may be certified in the specialty (COHN or COHN-S) or choose to be certified in an area of expertise related to your practice, e.g., case management or safety or any combination. Certification can advance your career mobility, increase your earning power, and enhance your recognition of expertise. There are more than 5,000 certified occupational health nurses actively practicing in the US.

The American Board of Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN) is an independent nursing specialty certifying board and the sole provider of certification in the specialty of occupational and environmental health nursing in the US. It is accredited by The National Commission for Certifying Agencies. It ensures that its certification examinations validly reflect the scope of current occupational and environmental health nursing practice by conducting periodic practice analyses, last done in 2011. To learn more about types of certifications, eligibility requirements, recertification and testing locations, visit

ABOHN provides a Candidate Handbook that gives you information needed to apply and prepare for the various certification exams. Certification exam review courses are often conducted as a preconference to the AAOHN National Conference. Check with the university-based Education and Research Centers (ERC) for a scheduled review course: UCLA ERC, NC Occupational Safety & Health ERC, NY/NJ ERC, or Johns Hopkins ERC.

For those occupational and environmental health nurses who need more information about becoming certified you may want to view a webcast about Studying & Test Taking Strategies for the COHN Exams. It will present information about the value of becoming certified, applying, requirements, prepping, study resources, a certification self-assessment, and how-to suggestions for the exam.