The Importance of ABOHN Certification for Occupational Health Nurses in America

March 29, 2023 · 15 min read

Brief Insight

The American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN) is a professional organization that provides certification and credentialing for occupational health nurses in the United States. ABOHN aims to promote and advance the field of occupational health nursing through education, advocacy, and research.

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  • Address: American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, Inc., 201 East Ogden Ave. Suite 114, Hinsdale, IL 60521-3652, USA
  • Phone: (630) 789-5799
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: https://www.abohn.org/

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An Overview of the ABOHN

The American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN) is a professional organization that serves as the credentialing authority for occupational health nurses in the United States. Founded in 1971, ABOHN is dedicated to advancing the profession of occupational health nursing through certification, education, and research.

Mission:

The mission of ABOHN is to improve the health and safety of workers by certifying occupational health nurses and promoting the specialty of occupational health nursing.

Vision:

ABOHN's vision is to be recognized as the leader in certifying occupational health nurses and advancing the profession.

Values:

ABOHN is guided by the following values:

  • Integrity: ABOHN is committed to upholding the highest ethical standards in all of its activities.
  • Excellence: ABOHN strives for excellence in its certification programs and other initiatives.
  • Collaboration: ABOHN values partnerships and collaborations with other organizations to advance the profession of occupational health nursing.
  • Accountability: ABOHN is accountable to its stakeholders for the quality and effectiveness of its programs.
  • Innovation: ABOHN encourages innovation and creativity in all of its activities.

Purposes:

ABOHN has the following purposes:

  • To develop and administer a certification program for occupational health nurses.
  • To promote the value of certification and continuing education for occupational health nurses.
  • To promote research and education in the field of occupational health nursing.
  • To collaborate with other organizations to advance the profession of occupational health nursing.
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Interesting Facts

ABOHN was founded in 1972 and is the only certification board for occupational health nurses in the United States.

ABOHN offers two levels of certification: Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN) and Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist (COHN-S).

Promoting Excellence in Occupational Health Nursing

The American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN) was created in 1971 as a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and advancing the specialty of occupational health nursing in the United States. It is administered by a Board of Directors, which is composed of occupational health nurses who are elected by the members of the organization.

The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall management and direction of ABOHN, including the development and administration of the certification program, the promotion of continuing education for occupational health nurses, and the advancement of research and education in the field.

ABOHN's certification program is administered through an independent testing agency, which ensures that the certification process is fair, valid, and reliable. The certification process includes a comprehensive examination that tests the knowledge and skills required for competent practice as an occupational health nurse.

ABOHN also collaborates with other organizations, such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), to advance the profession of occupational health nursing and promote the health and safety of workers.

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A Comprehensive Look at the Services Provided by the ABOHN

The American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN) provides a range of services to support occupational health nurses in their professional development and to promote the specialty of occupational health nursing. Some of the services provided by ABOHN include certification and credentialing, continuing education, advocacy, research, and collaboration.

Certification and Credentialing:

ABOHN offers certification and credentialing programs for occupational health nurses. Certification is available at two levels: Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN) and Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist (COHN-S). Certification indicates that an occupational health nurse has demonstrated the knowledge and skills required for competent practice in the specialty.

Continuing Education:

ABOHN promotes continuing education for occupational health nurses through a variety of programs and resources. The organization offers educational opportunities through its annual conference and webinars, and it also provides a list of approved continuing education providers and courses.

Advocacy:

ABOHN advocates for the profession of occupational health nursing and for the health and safety of workers. The organization works to raise awareness of the important role that occupational health nurses play in promoting and protecting the health of workers, and it collaborates with other organizations to promote policies and practices that support the profession.

Research:

ABOHN supports research in the field of occupational health nursing through its research grant program. The organization provides funding for research projects that address important issues in occupational health nursing and contribute to the advancement of the profession.

Collaboration:

ABOHN collaborates with other organizations, such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), to advance the profession of occupational health nursing and promote the health and safety of workers.

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Interesting Facts

The certification exams are based on the ABOHN examination blueprint, which is developed through a job analysis survey of occupational health nurses.

The first COHN certification exam was offered in 1974, and the first COHN-S certification exam was offered in 1986.

To date, over 13,000 occupational health nurses have been certified by ABOHN.

Eligibility Requirements for Certification by the ABOHN

To be eligible for certification by the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN), candidates must meet certain education and experience requirements.

For the Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN) certification, candidates must have a current RN license, a Bachelor's degree in nursing or a related field, and 3,000 hours of occupational health nursing experience within the past five years.

For the Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist (COHN-S) certification, candidates must meet the same requirements as the COHN certification and also have a minimum of a Master's degree in nursing or a related field, or be enrolled in a graduate program in nursing or a related field.

Candidates for both certifications must pass a comprehensive exam that covers topics such as occupational and environmental health, safety, and regulatory issues, and must also meet continuing education requirements to maintain their certification.

Overall, ABOHN's certification programs are designed to ensure that occupational health nurses have the knowledge and skills required to provide high-quality care and promote the health and safety of workers

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Ensuring Competence in Occupational Health Nursing through the ABOHN

The American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN) offers two types of certification for occupational health nurses: the Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN) and the Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist (COHN-S).

The COHN certification is designed for occupational health nurses who have at least 3,000 hours of experience in the field and a Bachelor's degree in nursing or a related field. The COHN-S certification is intended for nurses who have a Master's degree or higher in nursing or a related field, and who have completed at least 5,000 hours of experience in the field.

Both certifications require passing a comprehensive exam that covers topics such as environmental and occupational health, regulatory issues, safety, and case management. The exams are designed to assess the knowledge and skills required for competent practice in occupational health nursing.

To maintain their certification, occupational health nurses must complete continuing education requirements and undergo recertification every five years. Recertification requires submitting evidence of continuing education, professional development, and practice in the field. The purpose of recertification is to ensure that certified occupational health nurses are up-to-date on the latest knowledge and skills required for competent practice in the field.

Overall, ABOHN's certification programs are intended to promote and advance the specialty of occupational health nursing by ensuring that nurses who are certified have the knowledge and skills required for high-quality practice.

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Interesting Facts

ABOHN is a member of the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS), which promotes excellence in specialty nursing certification.

ABOHN collaborates with the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) to promote the professional development of occupational health nurses.

ABOHN's mission is to promote and advance the health and safety of workers through the certification of occupational health nurses.

Preparing for Success: A Step-by-Step Guide to ABOHN Certification Exam Preparation

Preparing for the certification exams provided by the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN) requires a combination of education, experience, and exam-specific preparation. Here are the key steps to prepare for the ABOHN certification exam:

  • Meet the eligibility requirements: Before applying to take the exam, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for the certification you're seeking. This may include having a certain level of education, experience, and other qualifications.
  • Review the exam content: ABOHN provides a detailed exam content outline that describes the topics covered on the exam. Review this outline carefully to identify areas where you may need additional study or practice.
  • Study the relevant materials: There are many resources available to help you prepare for the ABOHN certification exam, including textbooks, study guides, and online courses. Consider using a combination of these resources to build a comprehensive study plan.
  • Take practice exams: ABOHN offers practice exams that simulate the format and content of the certification exams. These can be valuable tools for identifying areas where you may need more practice or study.
  • Attend review courses: Some organizations offer review courses specifically designed to help nurses prepare for the ABOHN certification exams. These courses may include lectures, case studies, and other interactive learning activities.
  • Understand the exam format: The ABOHN certification exams are computer-based and consist of multiple-choice questions. You will have a limited amount of time to complete the exam, and you will receive your results immediately upon completion.
  • Take care of yourself: Preparing for a certification exam can be stressful, so it's important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Get plenty of rest, eat well, and take breaks when you need them.

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Unlocking the Benefits: Why Occupational Health Nurses Should Pursue ABOHN Certification

Becoming certified by the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN) provides numerous benefits for occupational health nurses. Here are some of the key advantages of certification:

  • Professional Recognition: ABOHN certification is a widely recognized credential that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise in the field of occupational health nursing. This certification signifies that you have achieved a high level of proficiency in your profession and can help you stand out among your peers.
  • Career Advancement: Holding an ABOHN certification can help you advance your career by opening up new job opportunities and potentially increasing your salary. Many employers prefer to hire certified nurses because they know that they possess a certain level of knowledge and skills.
  • Enhanced Credibility: Certification can enhance your credibility with employers, colleagues, and patients by demonstrating your commitment to professional development and high-quality patient care. This certification signifies that you are a dedicated professional who is committed to delivering the best possible care to your patients.
  • Personal and Professional Growth: Preparing for and obtaining certification can help you develop new knowledge and skills, and grow both personally and professionally. Certification requires ongoing continuing education, which provides opportunities for professional development and keeps you up-to-date on the latest best practices in occupational health nursing.
  • Access to Continuing Education: ABOHN certification requires ongoing continuing education, which ensures that you stay current with the latest research and best practices in occupational health nursing. This access to continuing education can help you maintain your skills and knowledge and improve your ability to provide the best possible care to your patients.
  • Community Support: As a certified occupational health nurse, you become part of a community of like-minded professionals who share your dedication to the profession. This community provides support, mentorship, and networking opportunities that can help you grow and advance in your career.

Overall, pursuing certification through the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses is a worthwhile investment for occupational health nurses who are looking to advance their careers, enhance their skills and knowledge, and provide the best possible care to their patients.

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Interesting Facts

ABOHN is administered by a board of directors, which includes both elected and appointed members.

ABOHN has a recertification process to ensure that certified nurses continue to meet high standards of practice and maintain their knowledge and skills.

Examining the Potential Drawbacks of the ABOHN

While there are many benefits to becoming certified by the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN), there are also some potential disadvantages and limitations to consider. Here are some of the most common drawbacks of certification:

  • Cost: Pursuing certification through ABOHN can be expensive, with fees for the exam, study materials, and continuing education. Additionally, recertification requires ongoing costs every few years.
  • Time commitment: Preparing for and obtaining certification can be a significant time commitment, especially if you are working full-time or have other obligations. The exam requires significant preparation time and continuing education credits must be earned regularly to maintain certification.
  • Limited recognition: While ABOHN certification is widely recognized within the occupational health nursing community, it may not be as well-known or valued by other healthcare professionals or the general public.
  • Narrow focus: The ABOHN certification exam focuses specifically on occupational health nursing, which may limit your career options if you are looking to move into other areas of healthcare.
  • Maintenance requirements: To maintain certification, nurses must complete ongoing continuing education requirements, which may require additional time and expense.
  • Potential limitations on job opportunities: While certification may enhance job opportunities in some settings, it is not always required or valued by all employers. Some employers may prioritize other factors such as experience or education over certification.

While ABOHN certification provides many benefits, it is important to consider the potential disadvantages and limitations before pursuing certification. These drawbacks may impact the cost, time commitment, recognition, focus, and maintenance requirements of certification, as well as potential job opportunities. It is important for nurses to carefully weigh these factors and decide if certification is the right choice for their personal and professional goals.

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Step-by-Step Guide: Applying for and Passing the ABOHN Certification Exam

Becoming certified by the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN) requires passing a rigorous certification exam. Here is a step-by-step guide to the application and exam process:

  • Determine eligibility: Check the ABOHN website to confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for the certification exam. These requirements include having a current nursing license, completing a minimum of 3,000 hours of occupational health nursing practice within the past five years, and completing a minimum of 30 continuing education hours in occupational health nursing.
  • Apply for the exam: Submit your application and exam fee through the ABOHN website. Once your application is reviewed and accepted, you will receive an authorization to test (ATT) email that will allow you to schedule your exam.
  • Schedule your exam: Using the information provided in your ATT email, schedule your exam through the testing company, PSI. You can choose a testing center and date that is convenient for you.
  • Prepare for the exam: Use the study materials provided by ABOHN to prepare for the exam. These materials include an exam content outline and a reference list. You may also choose to participate in a certification review course or study group.
  • Take the exam: Arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes before your scheduled exam time. Bring two forms of identification, one of which must be a government-issued photo ID. The exam is computer-based and consists of 175 multiple-choice questions.
  • Receive exam results: After completing the exam, you will receive a preliminary pass/fail result on the computer screen. Official results will be mailed to you within four weeks of your exam date.
  • Maintain certification: If you pass the exam, you will receive a certificate and will be required to maintain your certification through ongoing continuing education and recertification exams every five years.

In conclusion, becoming certified by ABOHN requires completing the eligibility requirements, submitting an application, scheduling the exam, preparing for the exam, taking the exam, and maintaining certification. By following these steps, nurses can successfully prepare for and pass the certification exam and enhance their career opportunities in occupational health nursing.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • Eligibility: Candidates must meet specific eligibility requirements, including occupational health nursing practice hours and continuing education credits.
  • Application process: Candidates must submit an application and exam fee to ABOHN, and once the application is accepted, they will receive an authorization to test (ATT) email.
  • Exam preparation: Candidates should use the exam content outline and reference list provided by ABOHN to prepare for the exam, and may also choose to participate in a certification review course or study group.
  • Exam format: The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions and is computer-based. Candidates will receive a preliminary pass/fail result on the computer screen and official results will be mailed within four weeks of the exam.
  • Certification maintenance: To maintain certification, nurses must complete ongoing continuing education and recertification exams every five years.

 


FAQ

How much does the exam cost?

The cost of the certification exam varies depending on the level of certification and whether the candidate is a member of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN). The current fees can be found on the ABOHN website.

How long is the exam?

The exam is four hours long, and candidates must complete 175 multiple-choice questions.

How often can I take the exam if I do not pass it on the first try?

Candidates are allowed to take the exam up to three times in a calendar year if necessary.

Is there a study guide or reference list available to help me prepare for the exam?

Yes, ABOHN provides a content outline and reference list for each certification exam on their website.

Can I use a calculator during the exam?

Yes, a basic calculator will be available during the exam.

How long does it take to receive my official exam results?

Official results are typically mailed within four weeks of the exam date.

How many continuing education (CE) credits are required for recertification?

To maintain certification, nurses must complete 45 CE credits within five years, with a minimum of 10 credits per year.

How do I report my CE credits to ABOHN?

CE credits can be reported through the ABOHN website or by submitting a paper form to ABOHN.

Can I recertify by taking the certification exam again?

Yes, nurses can recertify by either taking the certification exam again or by earning a specified number of CE credits.

by Olena Sobolieva

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