Certification of Forensic Nurses
Become a Forensic Nurse…
- Career Plan: How to Become a Forensic Nurse
Forensic nurses are licensed and often certified as well. The foundation for practice is your RN license. You earn that by completing an approved nursing program, passing the NCLEX-RN exam, and fulfilling other licensing requirements set by your state board. You will, for example, need to pass a background check. Once you have your license in hand (or in some cases once the process is underway) you are legally permitted to practice at the RN level — but you don’t have the credentials yet to be hired as a forensic nurse.
You’ll likely earn a certificate first and then certification. Certificates or degrees are awarded after completion of coursework. Certification, granted later, indicates advanced competency in a specialty.
There are different types of forensic nursing certification. The SANE-A is for nurses who work with adult or adolescent victims of sexual assault; the SANE-P is for those who work with pediatrician populations. Both are offered through the IAFN. (You may pursue both if you have had the requisite hours of training (Combined courses require 64 contact hours or academic credits while those that emphasize just one population require 40.)
Credentialing in forensic nursing is also available through the American College of Forensic Examiners International. They stipulate that you must have held an RN license for five years. You must also have completed a formal forensic training program, which included 40 contact hours of instruction and sufficient clinical experience to demonstrate competency.