Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

How do you get certified and licensed as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in your state?

The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview on how one can become certified or licensed as an APRN. This will be done by providing information about the process, requirements for certification/licensure, and some resources that may help with obtaining these credentials. It should also serve as a reminder to those who are considering becoming an advanced practice registered nurse.

The Process: There are two ways to obtain certification or licensure as an APRN. One way is through direct application to the board. Another option is to apply directly to the National Board for Certification in Nursing, which has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as the sole certifying body for all nursing programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. In order to receive approval from NBCSN, applicants must meet certain criteria including having completed at least 1 year of clinical experience after graduation. Applicants must then complete a comprehensive examination administered by NBCSN. Once approved, candidates have 2 years to pass their national exam before they are eligible to take the State Boards exams. For more detailed information regarding the process please visit

Requirements for Certification/Licensure: To qualify for certification/licensures as an APRN, individuals need to demonstrate competency in four areas: knowledge base; professional judgment; leadership skills; and interpersonal communication. These core competencies are defined by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and include specific content standards. Candidates must successfully complete a minimum number of hours of continuing education each year to maintain their license. Some states require additional training prior to taking the boards exam. Please check with individual licensing agencies for details.

Resources: The following websites contain useful information related to certification/licensing as an APRN. They were selected based upon their relevance to nurses seeking to advance their careers. – A website dedicated to helping APRNs achieve certification. Includes links to other sites such as the Association of Pediatric Program Directors, the Council of Graduate Medical Education, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. – Website containing information about the AACNN’s mission statement, membership, accreditation status, and contact information. Also includes a list of current members. – Contains information about CNAA’s mission, history, and member benefits. – Provides information about the CNABARBER program, its goals, objectives, and eligibility requirements. – Information about NCBNS, including its mission, structure, and governance. – An organization devoted to promoting excellence in patient care through quality improvement initiatives. Its goal is to improve health outcomes while reducing costs. – RMS provides online courses designed specifically for RNs interested in pursuing graduate degrees. Courses range from basic science topics to advanced research methods. – SNBCC offers several different types of educational opportunities for nurses.

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