Continuing Education for Nurses

Lindsay Smith
Last updated at April 13, 2023

If you are interested in pursuing a career in nursing, you will be entering an ever-changing field. More than 2.5 million people work as nurses in the United States, making it the country’s largest health care occupation. And because of the challenge to keep on top of the latest new information and practices constantly being developed in the medical field, nursing continuing education is a vital part of any nursing career—and often a requirement.

Nursing continuing education is required in some nursing jobs, but is also beneficial to your career. For example, a graduate degree or certificate in a specific area of continuing education may help you get a raise or a promotion to a higher position. Your new knowledge will not only impress your managers, but it will also improve your resume and potentially increase your salary.

Beyond career advancement, nursing continuing education will provide you with updated knowledge and technology advances in your chosen field of study. For instance, if you are a NICU or PICU nurse, working with neonatal and pediatric intensive care patients, you know that this exciting field is always developing new techniques and treatments that you need to be aware of.

Other growing fields, such as rehabilitation, substance abuse, wound care, women’s health, and many others are making advances that specializing NPsLPNs, and RNs use to give their patients the best care possible.

Many nurses also use their continuing education to take refresher courses in a particular specialty, such as adult trauma intensive care, cardiac care, or cardiac surgery.

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Advance Your Career

Many of these nursing continuing education courses are offered online. An online course may take a few hours to complete or may take weeks or months, depending on the program. With a demanding nursing career, taking courses online is a great option, offering the convenience of completing the course on your own time, and in the privacy of your own home.

Beyond the personal and professional benefits of nursing continuing education, these courses are required in many nursing professions. Each state has different requirements as to how many contact hours of continuing education a nurse must complete.

A contact hour is defined as 50 consecutive clock minutes of participation in a board-approved continuing education class or activity. And a Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is defined as ten contact hours. Many of these required courses are offered online, but you should make sure that these courses are approved by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), which is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANA).

The nursing field is booming, and more qualified nurses will be needed in the next decade than ever before. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, substantial employment growth for nurses at all levels is expected, such as a 26 percent increase for registered nurses through 2020, making this an excellent time to start a nursing career.



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University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing Continuing Education on Campus programs.

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The College of Nursing Outreach programs and Penn State Outreach bring to you a variety of CE courses.

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University of Washington School of Nursing Continuing Education on Campus programs.

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The Continuing Nursing Education department (CNE) at Saint Anselm College.

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The Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing provides continuing education to nurses, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare providers.

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University of Michigan School of Nursing Continuing Education on Campus programs.


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The Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) is a state governmental agency established by law to protect the public by regulating the practice of registered nurses.

Other Resources

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The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing is a monthly peer-reviewed publication providing original articles on continuing nursing education.

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Resource list of CE providers in Minnesota.

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FAQ page brought to you by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

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Free CE credits for Neonatal Nurses

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Guide to CNE by the University of Washington. Includes a list of sites providing online CNE.

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Course directory organized  by field of study.


15 – features award-winning accredited continuing nursing education from Gannett Education, a leading CE provider for more than 30 years.

16 – has been working since February 2000 in providing the nursing community with inormational resources and education to further their careers.

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Offers home study among other options, or RN but also other disciplibes such as Psychology and Social Work.

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Medscape Education ( is the leading destination for continuous professional development, comprising 30+ specialty-focused websites offering thousands of free CME/CE courses (ranging from 0.25 credits to 2 credits AMA PRA credits) and not-for-credit activities for physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.

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NetCE, a division of CME Resource, offers personalized learning solutions for nurses, physicians, dentists and other healthcare professionals. Provides quality continuing education courses, written by expert faculty, are free from commercial support and provide the learner with relevant and timely topics in medical education.

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CEUFast, Inc. is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

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Find more than 1300 nursing continuing education courses on CEConnection – the largest collection of nursing continuing education materials online.

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STTI or Sigma Theta tau International supports the learning, knowledge and professional development of nurses making a difference in global health.

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Nursing continuing education from ANCC-accredited provider of online courses for RNs, LPNs, LVNs, APRNs, Nurse Practitioners.

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Nurse Continuing Education is dedicated to providing quality continuing education for nurses with online nurse testing capabilities at competitive and affordable prices.

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The National Association of School Nurses is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

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CE Express offers quality, cost efficient home study continuing education for nurses.

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Continuing education programs provided by the NLN – National League for Nursing.

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Joint Accreditation offers organizations the opportunity to be simultaneously accredited to provide medicine, pharmacy, and nursing continuing education activities.

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Online learning platform from the Royal College of Nursing

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Nurses have access here to a multitude of online resources for online learning.

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Homestead Schools is a leading provider of continuing education (CE, CEUs) in Nursing, Dental, Social Work, Counseling, Psychology, MFT, Nursing Home and more.

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Pearls Review  has available preparation tests for most Nursing Certification Exams, with more than 900 ANCC-approved contact hours of review material.

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Prepared by the New York State Nurses Association including many national and state mandatory CE courses

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Several courses accredited by the California Board of Registered Nursing.

35 – is National Center of Continuing Education’s (NCCE) website providing accredited continuing education for Nurses & other HealthCare Professionals.

Continuing Education – Further Resources

36 – is the online home for the American Nurses Association. Includes several professional development resources.

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ANA’s Online Continuing Education gives you easy access to the highest quality issue-based and clinical CE topics.

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Continuing Education for Nurses information by the Virginia Nurses Association

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The Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation has gathered a list of providers and approved bodies for CE.

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The Oncology Nursing Society offers a number of courses on different topics.

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The American Association of Nurses Practitioners has a selection of educational resources available.

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Free CE material for members of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

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The student portal from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

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Find here an accredited CE provider by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

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APHON offers opportunities to earn continuing nursing education credits online through articles from the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing (JOPON).

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Online education resources from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses.

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Online learning portal from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.

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Continuing Education center and online learning platform.

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NAPNAPs Online Community for Pediatric Health Care and Nursing Continuing Education.

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