When a nurse obtained certification in a specialty area, they receive a step increase. This step increase is usually around $1,700-$2,100 annually for the remainder of their appointment in the VA. This step increase is permanent. Nurses do NOT have to maintian the certification in order to maintain the step increase that they have received. Some certifications are valid for 2 years, others 5 years. It costs around $300 to renew a certfication, but many nurses do not recertify and still retain the step increase that was awarded.
An example is a Nurse II working in the MVAHCS-- they received a certification when they were 30 years old. They do not recertify after it expired (nurse is now 35). They maintain the step increase that was awarded to them and continue to work until age 65-- another 30 years.
30 years x $2,148 annually= $64,440 for that nurse.
If each VA has 2 nurses that do this same thing--
60 years x $2,148 x 153 sites=$6,830,640.00
Something to look at!