About Us

BCEN empowers emergency, pediatric emergency, flight, critical care ground transport, and trauma nurses to practice at the top of their specialties.

About Us | Diversity & Inclusion | Our Why | Mission, Vision & Values | History

About BCEN

The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN®) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that develops and delivers robust certification programs for emergency, transport and trauma nurses. As a part of BCEN’s commitment to lifelong learning, we also offer programs such as BCEN EDvantage and BCEN Learn to empower nurses from graduation to retirement. 

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.

Board certification from BCEN…

  • 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 environments.
  • Lets patients and their families know that you possess a high level of clinical expertise and are on top of best practices.
  • 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:

Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

At BCEN, we firmly believe that every nurse can benefit from the value of board certification. Our exams and services are accessible, inclusive and non-discriminatory — so that every nurse who wishes to pursue certification has the opportunity to do so. Certified success is not based on race, sex, orientation, cultural or societal influences — it is based on the drive, passion and determination of the individual. If you have questions about our diversity, equity and inclusion policies, or if you have concerns about bias in any of our exams or procedures, please contact us at 1-877-302-2236 or bcen@bcen.org.

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 believe in the power of continuing education. Lifelong learning never stops, and we support nurses in their pursuit of clinical excellence through earning and maintaining board certification. 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.

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, trauma, flight and ground transport facilities.

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 supports nurses to achieve excellence by being the industry leader in professional credentialing while promoting the value of certification and lifelong learning.

Our Vision

Every patient across the emergency spectrum receives care from a BCEN-certified nurse.

Our Values

  • Professional & Clinical Excellence
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Quality & Integrity
  • Leadership
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration & Community
  • Exceptional Customer Service

Our History

With our roots firmly entrenched in empowering nurses to deliver high-quality care that improves patient care, safety, and outcomes, BCEN’s 40-year history demonstrates a commitment to excellence, industry partnership and supporting nurses practicing across the emergency spectrum who are dedicated to achieving and maintaining board certification.

October 2021

BCEN debuts a new video highlighting the interactive technologies featured in BCEN Learn’s CE courses. Just one year after its official launch, BCEN Learn features a variety of emergency specialty-specific CE courses plus monthly free-CEU webinars, full-length practice exams, biweekly podcast episodes and more.

September 2021

BCEN and WeLearn were honored with 3 Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Learning Awards for their innovative learning strategies and advances in CE content as featured on BCEN Learn, BCEN’s professional development platform.

Validating BCEN’s commitment to certification excellence, the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) certification program was again reaccredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification.

August 2021

BCEN’s recent transport nursing role delineation study pointed up the unique aspects of flight nursing versus ground transport nursing. As a result, an updated CFRN exam form and passing score went into effect on August 31. And for the first time, there are stand-alone exam content outlines for the CFRN and CTRN.

July 2021

BCEN hosts its second virtual event, Certibration: A Celebration of Certified Success, to honor certified emergency, trauma and transport nurses everywhere and recognize the 2021 winners of BCEN’s annual Distinguished Awards for nurses and National Certification Champion Award for organizations. (Certibration is free and available on demand; viewers may earn 1 CE credit.)

March 2021

BCEN unveils its new mission, vision and values.

15th anniversary celebrations of BCEN’s critical care ground transport certification, the CTRN, include a March/April 2021 Air Medical Journal cover feature and the release of Grounded in Excellence: The Certified Transport Registered Nurse (CTRN).

February 2021

BCEN launches live remote proctoring for all five certification programs and announces that PSI Services will be the exclusive test provider for BCEN in-person and remote exams.

BCEN publishes its first ever annual report, “2020: Year in Review – Celebrating 40 Years,” and announces the promotion of Janie Schumaker to CEO.

January 2021

BCEN proudly offers U.S. military RNs and APRNs a discount on initial certification, retesting and recertification. Active-duty service members, reservists and veterans are eligible.

November 2020

The number of nurses who hold the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN®) credential tops 40,000 for the first time. Earlier this year (in July), BCEN celebrated the 40th birthday of the CEN.

October 2020

BCEN officially launches BCEN Learn, an all-in-one continuing education platform featuring CE courses, webinars, the BCEN & Friends podcast and more, on October 20.

In honor of BCEN nurses everywhere, BCEN hosts its first Tribute Event, Celebrating Certified Success. The virtual event features inspirational videos from all seven 2020 BCEN national award winners plus two top-notch motivational talks and heartfelt tributes from BCEN leaders. The tribute event is available for free viewing and CE credit via the BCEN Learn platform here.


August 2020

What Emergency Nurses Told Us About Their Impact on Outcomes and the Biggest Challenges They Face,” by BCEN Executive Director Janie Schumaker publishes in the August 2020 issue of Nurse Leader. The article describes the qualitative data from the landmark 2019 Emergency, Trauma and Transport Nursing Workforce Survey, which was the centerpiece of a major industry research partnership initiated by BCEN. Free access to the article is available through January 30, 2021.

July 19, 2020

BCEN celebrates the 40th birthday of its Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN®) certification. The CEN is the most widely held emergency nursing specialty board credential. Its introduction in July 1980 marked the birth of emergency nursing specialty certification. (Update: As of November 2020, the number of CENs topped 40,000 for the first time.) 


June 2020

BCEN publishes its 4th white paper, Raising the Bar: Why Board Certification for RNs Matters. The free publication features commentary from a variety of nursing, physician and healthcare industry leaders on the value and benefits of board certification for nurses practicing in every specialty.

BCEN begins offering CEs for completing practice exams through the BCEN Learn platform.


May 2020

BCEN introduces BCEN EDvantage, a certificate program designed to help prepare final-year nursing students, recent grads and RNs for a career in emergency nursing.

March 2020

BCEN launches new international credential evaluation services to facilitate nurses around the world seeking to earn any of BCEN’s five, world-class emergency nursing credentials: the CEN, CPEN, CFRN, CTRN, and TCRN.

January 2020

BCEN kicks off its year-long 40th anniversary celebration and also joins the global celebration of “The Year of the Nurse and the Midwife” as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) in honor of the bicentenary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

BCEN publishes third white paper, Support Your Nurses to Board Certified Success: A Step-by-Step Guide.” The free, comprehensive guide offers dozens of practical tips and ideas for nurse leaders, nurse educators and anyone committed to creating a culture of certification support, plus expert insights and case studies from across the US.

December 2019

The BCEN/HumRRO-authored open access original research article, “The Emergency, Trauma and Transport Nursing Workforce: Highlights of Benchmark 2019 Survey,” is featured on the cover of Nursing Management.

CPEN® is reaccredited by ABSNC.1

August 2019

BCEN introduces the Make Your Case Kit for nurses and the Support Your Nurse Kit for nurse managers. These certification journey toolkits, together with the Nurse Recognition Kit and other BCEN certification resources, offer emergency, transport and trauma RNs seeking and holding board certification one of the most comprehensive portfolios of board certification resources in the nursing profession.

BCEN also expands the Yes You Can! Get Certified volume discount exam voucher program. Vouchers may now be used for either initial certification or recertification, and in addition to employers, groups of nurses may now purchase the vouchers.

July 2019

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

June 2019

BCEN and research partners ASTNA, ENA, STN and the MedEvac Foundation International (MFI) announce preliminary findings from the first major emergency nursing workforce study. The 2019 Emergency/Trauma/Transport Nursing Workforce Study offers a comprehensive and in-depth look at the characteristics of the emergency nursing workforce.

March 2019

BCEN introduces full-length practice exams for the CEN, CFRN, CPEN and TCRN.

January 2019

The TCRN® certification program earns initial accreditation from ABSNC.1

December 2018

Over 50,000 BCEN certifications are held by RNs practicing across the emergency spectrum.

Fall 2018

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

June 2018
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

August 2017

CFRN® is reaccredited by ABSNC.

April 2017

TCRN® becomes a Magnet®-accepted certification program.

December 2016

The BCEN 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.

CEN® is reaccredited by ABSNC.1

May 2015

CPEN® is accredited by ABSNC.Subsequently, the CPEN certification program was reaccredited by ABSNC in December 2019.


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

August 2012

CFRN® is reaccredited by ABSNC.

February 2012

CEN® is reaccredited by ABSNC.1

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 Subsequently, the CFRN was reaccredited by ABSNC in 2012 and 2017.

February 2007

CEN® is reaccredited 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 Subsequently, the CEN was reaccredited by ABSNC in 2007, 2012 and 2017.

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.

January 1986

The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN®) becomes a separate independent, not-for-profit corporation.

July 1980

The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) offers the first CEN® (Certified Emergency Nurse) exam at over 30 sites around the country, including Alaska. Over 1,400 RNs take the 4-hour, 250-item, pencil-and-paper exam. After waiting several weeks for notification by mail, 1,274 nurses receive the news they have passed! The world’s first CENs are honored with special festivities at the October EDNA Scientific Assembly and their names are published in the Nov/Dec 1980 issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing

January 1980

Judy Spinella begins her term as the founding chairman of the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN).

August 1979

The newly-formed Certification Committee of the Emergency Department Nurses Association (today’s ENA) begins meeting to develop and implement what will eventually become the first emergency nursing certification exam. To ensure diverse professional and geographical representation, the committee, chaired by Judy Spinella, MS, RN, consists of practicing emergency nurses, educators and administrators from a wide range of regions across the US. The original Certification Committee members are: Mary Bailey, Marlene Jezerski, Nancy Parrish, Carol Rosauer, Diane Ruhle and Barbara Weldon.


As emergency care gains recognition as a medical specialty, visionary emergency nurses set a goal to create an emergency nursing certification. In the coming years, these early certification pioneers, under the leadership of Marion Dover, Pam Bourg, Peggy McCall, Vicki Patrick, Marta Prado, and many others, persist through funding challenges (eventually earmarking 7% of EDNA member dues to fund the development of a certification program) and keep the dream alive.

The CEN®, CFRN®, CPEN® and TCRN® certification programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC).1

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.