About Us

BCEN empowers nurses across the emergency spectrum in adult and pediatric emergency care, air and ground transport, and trauma care.

About BCEN

The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN®) is an independent, nonprofit organization that develops robust certification programs for emergency, transport and trauma nurses.

Emergency nurses—whether they work in general or pediatric emergency care, flight and critical care ground transport, or trauma settings—must be at the peak of caregiving excellence. Board certification is a professionally recognized achievement and sought-after mark of excellence that validates specialty knowledge and expertise and empowers nurses to impact patient care, safety and outcomes.

Certification affirms you are the best you can be and delivers a constant, proven and critical confidence boost as you face healthcare’s most uncertain, demanding and dynamic environment. Certification lets patients and their families know that you possess a high level of clinical expertise and are on top of best practices. And when it comes to employers, certification distinguishes you among your peers, validates and helps ensure your ongoing competency, equips you to help your unit run safely, efficiently and productively, and positions you for maximum career success.

BCEN offers a robust portfolio of respected certifications:

In addition to developing and awarding specialty certifications, BCEN:

  • Provides emergency nurses with certification and recertification resources and tools
  • Helps healthcare institutions and health systems thrive with employer programs and resources
  • Sets nursing students up for success through scholarships and career mentoring
  • Recognizes nurses and institutions who exemplify excellence and advance emergency nursing specialty certification

Our Why

At BCEN we believe the why behind what we do is every bit as important as the what we do.

Our vision is to stand as the benchmark for certification across the emergency nursing spectrum. We offer a robust portfolio of certifications that are respected and sought after in throughout the healthcare industry. Nurses who hold a BCEN certification feel a sense of pride, honor and fulfillment in their calling, which results in better-functioning, highly efficient emergency departments, critical care ground transport and trauma programs and, most importantly, better outcomes for patients.

We empower nurses to achieve more. Nursing is a challenging profession, and those who rise to the occasion are considered the cream of the crop. Whether it’s a desire for professional career advancement or the personal satisfaction of being the best of the best, our nurses are driven to excel.

We believe in the power of continuing education. Lifelong learning never stops, and neither do our nurses. Long hours and draining work can’t stop them from pursuing more knowledge. That’s why we’re here, to help provide it to them in a way that is meaningful and measurable.

We help caregivers and care facilities to thrive. The best healthcare providers and transport facilities require the best nurses. The best nurses require support, encouragement and motivation to excel and achieve. By laying the foundation for the highest quality and most compassionate caregiving, we are also helping to build better hospitals and emergency flight and ground transport facilities.

We do it because it is the right thing to do. It all boils down to this: better nurses equal better outcomes for patients. Emergency nurses, whether they’re in an ED, a trauma center or air or ground transport, deal frequently with the critical moments between life and death. Certification doesn’t just improve careers; it helps save lives.

Our Mission

The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing develops robust certification exams fostering empowered nurses across the emergency spectrum who contribute noticeably to patient care, safety and outcomes.

Our Vision

The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing is THE benchmark for nursing certifications across the emergency spectrum.

Our History

July 2019

BCEN Executive Director Janie Schumaker begins serving a two-year term as president of the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS).

January 2019

The TCRN® certification program earns ABSNC accreditation.

Fall 2018

BCEN launches new website (www.bcen.org) and new brand identity.

July 2018

BCEN publishes second white paper, “Take Your Emergency Department to the Next Level with Board Certified Emergency Nurses: A Special Report for ED Leaders and Hospital Administrators.”

June 2018

BCEN publishes first white paper for emergency nurses, “5 Compelling Reasons to Get (and Keep) Your Emergency Nursing Specialty Certification.”

December 2017

BCEN appoints Janie Schumaker as its new Executive Director.

October 2017

Recertification by continuing education (CE) attestation and digital badges are introduced.

September 2017

Results of BCEN’s rigorous, large-scale value of emergency nursing certification study—The Value of CEN® Certification Research Study—are announced. Reflecting the responses of over 8,800 certified and non-certified emergency nurses and 1,002 of their supervisors, the first-of-its-kind study in emergency nursing demonstrates significant positive correlations between emergency nursing certification and multiple nursing expertise, performance and career outcomes

April 2017

TCRN® becomes a Magnet®-accepted certification program.

December 2016

The Yes You Can! Get Certified Employer Exam Voucher Program is introduced, offering volume-based discounts on certification exam voucher purchases to employers who are committed to building and growing a board certified nurse workforce.

June 2016

BCEN becomes the sole owner of the CPEN® certification program.

February 2016

TCRN® (Trauma Certified Registered Nurse) certification program launches.

May 2015

CPEN® is accredited by ABSNC.1


BCEN and the Society of Trauma Nurses study the feasibility of a trauma nursing certification exam.

January 2012

BCEN opens new headquarters in Naperville, IL.

February 2009

CEN®, CFRN®, CPEN®, and CTRN® become Magnet®-accepted certification programs.

January 2009

CPEN® (Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse) certification program launches in partnership with the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

September 2007

CFRN® is accredited by ABSNC.1

March 2006

CTRN® (Certified Transport Registered Nurse) certification program is introduced.


BCEN and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board assess the need for pediatric emergency nursing certification.


BCEN and the Air & Surface Transport Nursing Association (ASTNA) fund a role delineation study of ground transport nursing.

February 2002

CEN® is accredited by ABSNC.1

July 1993

CFRN® (Certified Flight Registered Nurse) certification program launches.


BCEN and the National Flight Nurses Association (now ASTNA) discuss the development of a certification exam for flight nurses.

July 1980

BCEN launches the CEN® (Certified Emergency Nurse) certification program, with 902 emergency nurses passing the first emergency nursing certification examination offered in the US.

July 1980

The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN®) is established as an independent, nonprofit corporation.

August 1979

Six nurses convened by the Emergency Nurses Association meet to formulate what will eventually become the first emergency nursing certification program.

The CEN®, CFRN®, CPEN® and TCRN® certification programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC).

The Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certifications (ABSNC) is the only accreditation body specifically for nursing certification. Accreditation by ABSNC is a peer-review mechanism that signifies a certification program has demonstrated compliance with the highest quality standards available in the industry. The 18 standards established by ABSNC validate a certifying organization’s autonomy and ethical operations, sound governance, quality improvement efforts and excellence and rigor of certifying programs.