Before applying for any ABOHN examination remember to download the COHN or COHN-S handbook for the specific examination you are planning to take.  The handbooks are available under the heading of Certification.  Each of the handbooks contain the "Blue Print and Core Content" of the specified examination.  The handbooks contain information regarding the applications, references and other material  pertaining to the examination.


Certification is a voluntary mechanism for validating professional knowledge and expertise in a specialty.  In contrast to licensure, which assures the public of safe practice at a beginning level, certification reflects specialty practice and knowledge at a proficient level. By meeting the challenge of certification, the certified individual has made a commitment to a specialty and to continued professional growth and development. Certification is recognized by employers and peers as an achievement and leads to employment opportunities, advancement, and professional prestige. 

ABOHN uses the definition of occupational and environmental health nursing and the standards of practice, in addition to other criteria, to determine eligibility for certification. The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. (AAOHN) establishes the definition and standards of specialty practice.  The entire document is available from AAOHN National Office, 7794 Grow Drive, Pensacola, FL 32514.  Telephone (850) 474-6963 or (800) 241-8014.


Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN)

This credential is offered to registered nurses with an Associate, Diploma or higher degrees.  The focus of the COHN certification examination is more directed toward direct clinical care, but contains questions that also apply to the role of advisor, coordinator and case manager.

Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist (COHN-S)

This credential is offered to registered nurses with a Bachelor's degree or higher.  The focus of the COHN-S certification examination is on the roles of management, education, consultation and case management in addition to direct care.


After the eligibility requirements have been met the candidate is required to achieve a passing score on the national examination.  Upon successful completion of the examination, a certificate is issued that states that the candidate has met the standards for board certification as a Certified Occupational Health Nurse or Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist and either the COHN or COHN-S credentials are awarded.  Only those nurses who have met all of the criteria and have been successful on the examination and are in ACTIVE status are entitled to use these credentials.


To achieve COHN and COHN-S certification, eligible candidates must be successful on a 160-question, (135 scored and 25 pre-test) multiple choice, computer based examination.  The examinations are offered at 190 sites throughout the United States.   For a list of examination sites use this hyperlink http://www.goamp.com.   When you reach the site click on "Candidates," then click on "Healthcare" and then click on "American Board for Occupational Health Nurses."

Candidates have three hours to complete the examination.

The examination is developed and revised by the Board of Directors in consultation with a professional examination service.  Examination questions are written by a panel of certified occupational health nurses, are edited by experts in testing and evaluation and are approved by the Board.  The examination content is based on the results of research designed to identify the tasks and knowledge required to practice in the specialty of occupational health nursing.  This method has resulted in a valid and highly reliable examination.




RN Licensure




None specified

Must have Bachelor's Degree or higher

Work Experience in OH

3,000 hours in occupational health in the past five years; or

a completion of a certificate program in occupational health nursing for academic credit.

3,000 hours in occupational health in the past five years; or

a completion of a certificate program in occupational health nursing for academic credit; or

a completion of a graduate level of education with a concentration in occupational health.

Continuing Education in OH

  None required

  None required


Any candidate may request hand scoring of their examination.  The request must be made in writing to ABOHN within three months of the date of the examination and must be accompanied by the appropriate fee to cover the cost of the procedure.   Hand scoring is accomplished by the testing consultant and results are issued by them and copied to the ABOHN office.



Copyright © 2012 American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, Inc.