Extra certifications help to set you apart in your health care job, allowing you to take on more leadership roles as you continue to grow in your confidence and knowledge levels in the process. Certifications also provide you with extra credibility if you are looking for a new job or hoping to step into a managerial role within your current organization. Of course, gaining any additional levels of professional achievement will help to motivate you in your job while letting you demonstrate your continued commitment to the health care profession as a whole.

Two certifications to consider if you are on the front lines of health care in a hospital setting are the TNCC and CEN certification classes. Each of these certifications provides you with numerous hours of continuing education at the completion of the course and provides you with a verification card demonstrating that you passed the test. However, these two courses do have several specific differences.

What Is a TNCC Certification?

TNCC stands for Trauma Nursing Core Course and is for registered nurses who work with trauma patients in or out of the hospital. While licensed practical nurses as well as paramedics can attend the class to earn contact hours while improving their knowledge bases, they are unable to receive TNCC verification at this time. During the class, individuals will learn about initial assessments and interventions while practicing their newfound skills at hands-on skill stations. Skill stations cover the trauma nursing process as a whole as well as airway, ventilation and trauma interventions.

What Is a CEN Certification?

On the other hand, CEN stands for Certified Emergency Nursing, and it is specifically for registered nurses who work in any type of emergency department. Rather than covering trauma only, this class will cover all types of emergency scenarios, including shock, stroke, spinal cord injuries, burns, infectious diseases, toxicology, respiratory and cardiac emergencies, broken bones and psychiatric emergencies among many others. In addition, students will receive tips for taking and passing the CEN examination successfully.

How Can You Achieve These Certifications?

While both the TNCC and CEN are designed for registered nurses, the specifics of these courses and examinations are certainly different. If you work solely in the emergency room taking care of a variety of types of patients, the CEN is probably the best option for you. However, if you work in the emergency room of a high-level trauma center or are a critical care nurse caring for trauma patients, the TNCC will be a better fit for you.


Both of these course options are provided by Project Heartbeat at our Oakland/Bay Area campus as well as at our newer Sacramento location several times throughout the year. Our TNCC course is a two-day intensive course followed by a multiple-choice examination along with a skills station evaluation. The CEN Test Prep Course also lasts for two days and is the perfect option for nurses who learn better with videos and lectures than they do on their own. This class will thoroughly prepare nurses to take the test and is great for first-time test takers as well as those wanting to recertify.


Contact Project Heartbeat today to learn more about these course options or to sign up for a specific class time.