Is there a chemotherapy certification?

Created by Faye Team, Modified on Wed, 03 Jan 2024 at 10:55 AM by Jaime Weimer

The idea of chemotherapy certification is a common misnomer. There is no didactic education or examination that results in a nationally recognized chemotherapy certification. Anecdotally, some institutions may use the phrase “chemo certified” to refer to the group of nurses who have received the institutional policy-specific education and training to be able to administer chemotherapy and other antineoplastic agents within that institution. To learn more about the differences between a certification and a certificate, click here: What is the difference between a certification and a certificate?

ONS provides two certificates that will equip nurses to safely administer and care for patients receiving antineoplastic therapy. 

  • The ONS Fundamentals of Chemotherapy Immunotherapy AdministrationTM course provides the nurse with the foundational tools to safely administer antineoplastic therapy, understand how antineoplastic medications are used in cancer and non-cancer treatment, and the effects and management of medication-related toxicities. This course is recommended for nurses who are new to antineoplastic therapy, administer a small variety of antineoplastic medications less than once per month, or work in a setting where they administer antineoplastic medications to patients with diseases other than cancer.
  • The ONS/ONCC Chemotherapy Immunotherapy Administration CertificateTM  course is designed to provide the nurse with an advanced review of the tools, knowledge, and skills needed to safely administer antineoplastic medications and identify and manage medication-related toxicities. This is not an introductory course. This course is recommended for nurses who administer a wide variety of antineoplastic medications as part of their daily work, have practiced as a nurse for more than six months, or have administered antineoplastic medications for more than a year.  

Nurses who register for either course will receive access to the Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy Guidelines and Recommendations for Practice (Second Edition) book.  Upon successful completion of either course, the learner will receive a Certificate of Completion with associated NCPD contact hours, and a provider card. This is to indicate that the learner completed all course requirements, but this should not be considered a certification. 

Oncology nursing certifications (OCN®, BTMCN®, AOCNP®, etc.) are offered through ONCC (

ONS cannot validate antineoplastic administration competency, and it is therefore NOT considered part of the requirement to receive the provider card. However, ONS does recommend that institutions require a competency validation after completion of didactic content to administer antineoplastic therapy independently within the institution. Each individual practice site needs to have its own written policies and procedures that articulate what will be required of its nurses to administer agents. ONS’s position statement (2020) notes that there is the completion of didactic content followed by completion of a competency under auspices of the nurses’ institution or supporting agency. It is up to the institution to determine how competency will be achieved.


Oncology Nursing Society (2020). Education of the registered nurse who administers and cares for the individual receiving antineoplastic therapies.

Oncology Nursing Society. (2022). Oncology certification for nurses.



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