Career Advice: Do You Still Need an APRN State License if You are Nationally Certified?
This question is from a subscriber who wondered if she needed to apply for an APRN license in her state, if she was already board certified as an APRN?
Bottom line: Even if you have national certification as an APRN, you ALWAYS have to get approval to practice as an APRN from the State Board of Nursing (SBON) (i.e., a state license).
“SBON approval is required to practice as an APRN in the USA!”
There are multiple national certifications to validate Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) practice.
Nurse Practitioners (NPs) can be certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program, American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN), Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, and the National Certification Corporation for the Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing Specialties.
Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) can be certified through ANCC, AACN, the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation, and National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses.
Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) are certified through the American Midwifery Certification Board and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are certified through the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists’ organization.
You can get sued by the State Board of Nursing (SBON) if you practice, or even hand out a business card that says NP, CNS, CRNA, or CNM without their approval– and yes, approval means an APRN license!
You must apply for authorization because the four APRN titles are protected. Title-protection ensures that those who use the title of APRN are vetted. Having national certification gets you one step closer to state board approval – but that’s not all you need.
Authorization to practice consists of a valid RN license, completion of an accredited APRN education program recognized by the SBON of the state you want to practice in, national certification, a fee, and any other requirements the SBON imposes. Once approved you usually get a unique APRN license number separate from your RN license number. In many states, the APRN and RN licenses are typically renewed at the same time.
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