Towards the end of my family nurse practitioner eduction, my professors began to discuss the process of nurse practitioner licensing and certification. The process was never clearly laid out by my nurse practitioner program and I found myself confused by the process. So, here are the steps to obtaining the credentials you need to practice as a nurse practitioner.
1. Check Your RN License
You should already have a license to practice as a registered nurse as this is required by all nurse practitioner programs prior to clinical placement. Make sure your license is up to date. If it is near to expiration, renew it.
2. Take the Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam
You will need to take a nurse practitioner certification exam, usually through the ANCC. If you are a family nurse practitioner student, you may take the exam through the ANCC or the AANP. I recommend studying for the exam by doing practice questions. You can find these online or through books available for purchase.
3. Apply For a State Advanced Practice Nursing License
Once you pass your nurse practitioner certification exam, you may apply for an Advanced Practice Nursing License from the state in which you wish to practice. These forms can be found online on your state government website.
4. Get a DEA Number
Your employer will want you to be able to prescribe medications. In order to do this, you must apply for a DEA number. You can do this online on the DEA website. It is costly, so if you have a job lined up, check to see if your employer will cover this expense.
5. Credential Yourself With Insurance Carriers
The good news- you don’t have to do this on your own! After you are hired, you employer will get you credentialed with insurance carriers so that you can be paid by insurance companies. The Medicare application must be completed first as all other insurance companies base their information off of this document. Your office manager or a member of human resources will usually take care of this paperwork.
Congratulations! After you have completed this process you will be licensed and qualified to practice as a nurse practitioner.