Are You Ordering Your Credentials Correctly?
Credentials are a great thing to have. Not only do they signal to others what kind of specializations you have, they also display how hard you’ve worked in your career. It's commonplace for people to include their credentials on a variety of things — email signatures, business cards, name placards — but are you displaying them correctly?
Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t.
So, why does it matter? The order in which you list your credentials should be in order of significance and value. The order signals which certifications are permanent (like a degree) and which are non-permanent (like a state requirement that has renewal requirements). According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the preferred order is:
- Highest earned degrees: These are any permanent degrees you receive that would only be taken away in very rare (and extenuating) circumstances. Within this ordering, you should list all degrees from highest (doctoral) to lowest (associate).
- Licensure: These would be any licenses required to practice in a profession. For example: RN (registered nurse) and LPN (licensed practical nurse).
- State designations or requirements: These would be for any required designation from the state that shows the authority to practice at a more advanced level. For example: APRN (advanced practice registered nurse) or CNS (clinical nurse specialist).
- National certifications: These are awarded through accredited certifying bodies. For example: RN-BC (registered nurse-board certified).
- Awards and honors: These recognize outstanding achievements outside of training that one is bestowed. For example: FAAN (Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing).
- Other certifications: These are certifications you may have received from non-medical training that emphasize additional skills. For example: EMT (emergency medical technician).
For those in sleep medicine, many of the credentials in the field fall under the same type of credential: a national certification. So, what do you list first in a situation where you have several of the same type of credential? In those instances, it’s up to the individual to decide which they would like listed first while still appropriately placing other non-similar credentials of higher or lower standing.
So, if we happened to know a man named John Smith who received several certifications and degrees, we would list his credentials out as such: John Smith, Ph.D., RPSGT, RST, CCSH, AAST Board Member.
You’ve worked hard to earn your credentials, so make sure you’re using them correctly!