In the demanding world of healthcare, registered nurses (RNs) are the backbone, providing essential services across a wide range of settings. As an RN, you’ve dedicated your life to caring for patients, applying your knowledge, and honing your skills daily.

One possible route for those wanting a nursing specialization that focuses on pediatrics is to become a Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN).

The CPEN, offered by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) is specifically designed for nurses providing emergency care to pediatric patients.

Exam info

Once a candidate has submitted their information to apply for the certification and is approved, there is a 90-day window where they must sit for the exam. The time allotment for the exam is three hours and there are X questions covering these


All those wishing to sit for the BCEN CPEN exam must hold a current, unrestricted RN license in either the United States, a U.S. Territory, Canada, or Australia. It’s also recommended that you have two years of experience in your specialty, but it is not required.

Currently, more than 5,500 CPEN certifications are held.

Benefits of getting certified

Professional Growth and Recognition
Earning the CPEN certification demonstrates your commitment to professional development and staying at the forefront of pediatric emergency nursing. This certification shows you’re competent in the specialized knowledge and skills necessary for emergency care of pediatric patients. It is a recognition of your expertise and commitment, making you stand out in your field.

Patient laying in hospital bed connected to a monitor that is displaying their vitals.

Improved Patient Outcomes

Research indicates a strong correlation between nursing certifications and improved patient outcomes. CPEN-certified nurses, with their advanced knowledge and skills, are better equipped to deliver high-quality care, leading to better outcomes for their pediatric patients. This could make a significant difference when it comes to emergencies involving children.

Enhanced Career Opportunities and Salary

Being a CPEN-certified nurse can open up a new world of career opportunities. Employers recognize the value of certified professionals and may prefer hiring CPEN-certified RNs for roles in pediatric emergency settings. Additionally, the BCEN reports that nurses with certifications earn higher salaries on average than their non-certified counterparts.

ZipRecruiter puts the average CPEN annual salary at $109,762.

Fulfillment of Personal Career Goals

For many nurses, personal satisfaction is a key career driver. If you have a passion for pediatric care and emergency nursing, earning your CPEN certification can be incredibly fulfilling. This accomplishment validates your hard work and dedication and can reinvigorate your passion for nursing.

Encouragement of a Culture of Learning

Lastly, by obtaining the CPEN certification, you encourage a culture of continuous learning and professional development. Your actions might inspire your colleagues to pursue their specialty certifications, leading to an overall increase in the quality of care your team provides.

Earning a CPEN certification is a substantial professional commitment that requires effort, time, and financial investment. However, the benefits gained — from personal growth and patient satisfaction to career advancement — are indeed worth the endeavor.

If you’re an RN who is passionate about pediatric emergency care, consider taking the next step in your career journey by becoming a BCEN Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse. The world of pediatric emergency care needs more heroes like you.