Nurse Practitioner License and Certification

A nurse practitioner is an advanced nurse who can perform duties like that of a physician. They usually specialize in some field which makes them a huge asset in the medical world since they can provide a more accurate diagnosis in some cases. The need for nurse practitioners is also rising with the lack of primary healthcare personnel. That is why the job of an NP is considered to be quite a prestigious one. Let us look at how to get licensed as a nurse practitioner and other certifications that you can achieve as one.

How to get licensed

To get licensed as a nurse practitioner, first, you need to complete high school and earn a bachelor’s degree. This degree should preferably be a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). However, you can choose a different medical or science degree. After this, you need to get licensed as a registered nurse (RN). As an RN, you are supposed to get about 2 years of experience before getting into a master’s program for nursing or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

There are many courses available for this including RN-MSN, LPN-MSN and accelerated BSN. While getting your graduate’s degree you are supposed to pick a specialization and get a few hundred hours of clinical practice too! (This can also be done after you achieve the degree). Another option is to get a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. After which, you must sit for the respective licensing exam and voila! You are now a fully certified nurse practitioner. You can learn more about this process here.


As a nurse, there is a range of certificates that you can get or apply for depending on your specialization. Let us look at some of these.


The certifications you can earn to treat people with addiction to controlled substances or other things are CARN (Certified Addictions Registered Nurse) and CARN-AP (Certified Addictions Registered Nurse-Advanced Practice). These certificates are issued by the Addictions Nursing Certification Board.

Special Nurse Practitioners

Some of the certifications in this field are Adult, Family, and Adult-Gerontology Nurse practitioners. These certificates are offered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation.

Critical Care

Some patients need to be treated immediately as they are in a critical condition. There are special certificates offered for this by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation. Some of the certificates that are offered are PCCN (Progressive Care Nursing – Adult), ACNPC (Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – Adult) and ACCNS-N (Clinical Nurse Specialist; Wellness through Acute Care – Neonatal). There are many other certificates offered by the same institution.

There are many other certification options. But if we were to list all of them, this post would never end. Similarly, the range of specialties that a nurse practitioner can take up is large in number too. These certifications not only help you take care of more patients and advance in your career but also gives you an extra financial benefit. If you are up for it, you can try and get multiple certifications. This might take some extra education and clinical training. But you must hurry! Competition is quite fierce in this field.