Practicing NPs

Whether you're a brand new NP or a seasoned NP, we have resources that can help you with your clinical practice. You've made it through school, but being a NP requires on-going education to grow as a provider. As as practicing NP you have to maintain certification, get state licensure, manage your debt (if you have it), prepare a professional resume to land your first job and obtain required CE.

As a new graduate, the transition from nurse to NP can be one of the most stressful and confusing times of your life. There are many steps you need to complete before you can practice as a NP. This can vary greatly depending on what state you live it, but we can help you with the basics. Let this page be a guide as a go-to resource to help you along the way. This page will be updated regularly  with current national and board guidelines.

New NP Steps for Practice

1.    Become nationally certified by the AANP or ANCC.    

2.    Obtain your state license & prescriptive authority from your states' BON

3.    Obtain your NPI number

4.    Obtain a federal DEA number


Established NP Steps for Practice

1,    Maintain national certification through AANP or ANCC

2.   Complete CE requirements based on your national and state certification requirements

3.     Maintain your RN licensure per your state guidelines

4.     Renew your DEA license 


After you accept a job, facilities have a credentialing process that has to be completed in order for you to fully practice in that area. The credentialing process verifies your credentials and assesses your background. It's also needed to get you on the insurance networks (private, Medicare, Medicaid) so you can treat those patients. 



Become Nationally Certified  and Maintain Certification 

Students may begin the application process as early as 6 months and DNP students may begin the application process as early as 1 year prior to completion of their program. For more information on the AANP application process, read the FAQs here

It's unclear exactly when you can begin the application process to sit for the ANCC board exam, but as I remember, the process to get my authorization to sit for my exam did not take long at all. You can find information regarding the application process and sitting for the exam here

You can sign-up to begin the application process of taking your exam before you have completed your NP program. The time period varies depending on which certifying board you plan to test with. 


 DEA Number

NPI Number

Steps for Obtaining NPI & DEA Numbers

The application is free

It's simple and quick (usually within 24 hours) to obtain

Use your employer's address so your personal address is not publicly displayed

You need an NPI number before applying for a DEA number

Fill out DEA Form 224: New Application for Retail Pharmacy, Hospital/Clinic, Practitioner, Teaching Institution, or Mid-Level Practitioner

Pay fee: $731 every 3 years

This must be done AFTER you receive prescriptive authority in your state.

The Administrative Simplification provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) mandated the adoption of a standard unique identifier for health care providers. The National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) collects identifying information on health care providers and assigns each a unique National Provider Identifier (NPI). The DEA number allows you to prescribe scheduled drugs. 

get your npi #

get your DEA #

Full Practice Authority

In 28 states (and counting!) NPs are able to practice within their full scope without restrictions. If you're lucky enough to live in one of those states, you can open your own practice without physician oversight. Here's the updated map of State Practice Environment in the U.S. and surrounding territories. 

NP Exam Blueprints 

It's important to know what your particular exam breakdown is before you test. Always check out the updated exam blueprint for your specific board exam. 

The AANP FNP Blueprint can be found here.

The AANP AGNP Blueprint can be found here.

The ANCC FNP Blueprint can be found here.

The ANCC AGPCNP Blueprint can be found here.

Posts to read:

How much do nurse practitioners make? 

Are you thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner? It’s a good time to consider the nurse practitioner profession. The nurse practitioner career was ranked # 2 in The top 100 Best Jobs in U.S. News and World Reports, only behind dentists at #1[...]

Resources I Use as a Nurse Practitioner

Becoming a nurse practitioner is not easy and neither are the first few years of practice. When I graduated school, I felt like a fish out of water in my new role although I came in with over a decade of nursing experience by that point [...] 

Creating a Nurse Practitioner Binder

After graduating from FNP school I realized that becoming a nurse practitioner involves a lot of paperwork! Not just the paperwork from your notes in class, but to maintain your licensure and credentials once you are in practice [...]

NP Residency Programs

After graduation from NP school, you have options for residency programs that will help you become more comfortable practicing or help you to gain training in a specific sub-speciality. NP residency programs are not required to practice as an NP, but they would be nothing but helpful for your future career if you are accepted into one. Here are a few resources for NP residency programs. 

Nurse Practitioner Residency Training Program

Nurse Practitioner Fellowship and Residency Programs

NP Residency Articles to Read

Finding a Job as an NP

Finding a job as a new graduate and even as an experienced NP can be daunting sometimes. Here are some job boards I have used to find NP jobs: I'm a big fan of Indeed and like the interface of the website. You can search for jobs that meet your specifications and set job alerts. 

Glassdoor: Glassdoor is another job board that is really user-friendly. I have gotten a couple of jobs from positions I've seen on Glassdoor. 

LinkedIn: LinkedIn allows employers to reach out to you for opportunities. Make sure your profile is updated. There is also an option to pay for premium membership for job seekers that allows you extra features to help with your job search. 

AANP/ANCC: Both certifying bodies have sections dedicated to job searches for NPs.

Don't forget your local (state and city) professional NP chapters and your Alma Mater for job opportunities as well.  

Resume & Cover Letter Templates

Is your resume ready for a job search? It can be hard to stand out in a saturated market, but don't let your resume be the reason you can't get the job you want. ReNursing Edu has resume and cover letter templates that will help get you noticed! We have templates for new grads, experienced NPs and NPs who are stepping out to look for a creative job (such as a consultant, writer, or speaker, etc.)

All templates are fully-editable available in MS Word and Pages format for those who use a Mac OS. You can use all templates as a 1 or 2-page resume, with the exception of the Creative resume. And to make everything easy for you, We've included an instruction sheet and given tips on how to fill out your resume so employers will take notice. 

Here's what you'll get with each template: 

1-page and 2-page resume options (not including "Creative" template) including NEW Grad options! 

Cover letter template for each resume

Everything is fully editable to customize to your specific needs

Hints and tips for filling out your resume

Each template available in Word and Pages format

All this for $11.99 each!




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Continuing Education

When you become an NP it's important that you keep up with your CEs. You'll need them for both your RN licensure and your NP licensure. Each state is different regarding CE requirements for RN licensure and the NP boards (ANCC and AANP) have separate requirements. Nine times out of ten your NP CE requirements for recertification will also apply to your RN requirements. As of now, the AANP need 75 hours of CE hours AND 25 hours of pharmacology CE hours for a total of 100 CE's over the course of 5 years, while the ANCC requires 75 CE hours with 25 of those hours being in pharmacology. The CE hours may not be the only requirement for recertification for your specific board exam, so be sure to check out the website before you need to renew. 

For ANCC recertification requirements click here.
For AANP recertification requirements click here.

There are many ways to get your CE requirements met and it's fairly easy to meet (or exceed) the 5 year requirements. Here are a few ways to get your CE requirements met:  

Audio Digest (get a $100 gift card using our affiliate link!)