APRN - Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

  • Cost varies
  • Renewal varies

COURSE FORMAT

About

Rather than a single certification, the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) credential refers to multiple different certifications that registered nurses (RNs) can hold. Those with a master’s degree (or higher) in nursing and extensive training in a specialized area can choose an APRN exam to be certified as a nurse practitioner (NP) or clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in their practice area. An APRN designation allows NPs to diagnose conditions, order tests, and prescribe medications. Many colleges offer APRN programs that are designed to prepare nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to sit for the national APRN certification exams.

APRN certifications are available in the following areas:

  • Pediatrics (acute or primary)

  • Neonatal

  • Family and individual across the lifespan

  • Adult-gerontology (acute or primary

  • Psychiatric and mental health

  • Women's health

Course Format

Test Format:

Each credentialing board partners with Testing Centers to administer and proctor the exams. The APRN exams are available online and in person. Some also offer a pencil-and-paper test option.

Test Fees vary by the organization:

  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC): $295-$395

  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB): $240-$365

  • American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN): $250-$375

  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB): $300-$395

  • National Certification Corporation (NCC): $325

Certification

To qualify for the APRN exam, a nurse must have:

  • a current, unrestricted RN license

  • a master's or doctoral level-degree in nursing

  • professional experience under a nurse practitioner preceptor, typically 500-1000 hours (practice hour requirements set by each credentialing body)

Renewal

ANCC, AANPCB, and AACN APRN certifications are valid for five years. NCC certifications are good for three years. APRNs must renew PNCB certifications annually. Renewal fees vary by certification.

Related Certifications

Through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC):

  • Family Nurse Practitioner Certification (FNP-BC

  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (AGPCNP-BC)

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (AGACNP-BC)

  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC)

  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification (AGCNS-BC)

Through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB):

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-C)

  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (A-GNP)

  • Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP-C)

Through the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN):

  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nursing Specialist (ACCNS-AG)

  • Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist (ACCNS-P)

  • Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist (CCNS-N)

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNPC-AG)

  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNPC-Adult)

  • Adult Acute/Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (CCNS-Adult)

  • Pediatric Acute/Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (CCNS-Pediatric)

  • Neonatal Acute/Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (CCNS-Neonatal)

Through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB):

  • Primary Care Certified Nurse Practitioner (CPNP-PC)

  • Acute Care Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP-AC)

  • Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist (PMHS)

Through the National Certification Corporation (NCC):

  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP-BC)

  • Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP-BC)

Was this page helpful?

Related Jobs

View job details for Nurse Practitioner - Cardiology
Staff Position

Nurse Practitioner - Cardiology

  • Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital
  • New Haven, CT
  • days
  • Sign-On Bonus
From the web
View job details for Registered Nurse (RN) - Cardiac PCU - Progressive Care Unit
Staff Position

Registered Nurse (RN) - Cardiac PCU - Progressive Care Unit

  • Nemours Children's Hospital Orlando
  • Orlando, FL
From the web
View job details for Registered Nurse (RN) - Med Surg
Staff Position

Registered Nurse (RN) - Med Surg

  • Chemical Abuse Services Agency Inc
  • Bridgeport, CT
Posted 2 days ago
From the web
View job details for Registered Nurse (RN) - Med Surg
Staff Position

Registered Nurse (RN) - Med Surg

  • Chemical Abuse Services Agency Inc
  • Bridgeport, CT
Posted 6 days ago
From the web
View job details for Nurse Practitioner - Neurosurgery
Staff Position

Nurse Practitioner - Neurosurgery

  • Orlando Health
  • Orlando, FL
  • days
  • Sign-On Bonus
Posted 11 days ago
From the web

Frequently asked questions

What's the difference between an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and a Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP)?

An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is a registered nurse who completes a graduate-level educational program. Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) are a type of ARNP who specializes in Family Practice Nursing Care. They're certified to care for patients over their lifetime, from pediatrics to geriatrics.

What is the difference between an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and a doctor?

An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is a registered nurse who completes a graduate-level educational program, and a Medical Doctor (MD) has completed medical school and can practice independently. APRNs and MDs are trained through different programs which cover different curricula. Medical school is different from nursing school. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are subject to state restrictions and may require physician oversight to practice.

What are the job duties of an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)?

A licensed Advanced Practice Registered Nurse's (APRNs) job duties include:

  • Examine patients and establish diagnoses by patient history, physical examination and other assessments

  • Admit, manage and discharge patients to and from healthcare facilities

  • Order, collect, perform and interpret diagnostic tests

  • Manage health care by identifying, developing, implementing and evaluating a plan of care and treatment for patients

  • Prescribe therapies and medical equipment

  • Prescribe medications when necessary

  • Refer patients to other healthcare providers, services or facilities

What are the four tyes of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)?

There are four different types of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs):

  • Nurse Practitioners (Generalized)

  • Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM)

  • Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)

  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA)

What certifications are available for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who work in adult-gerontology?

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who work in adult-gerontology can earn one of the following certifications:

  • ANCC Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (AGPCNP-BC)

  • ANCC Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification (AGCNS-BC)

  • AANPCB Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (A-GNP)

  • AACN Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nursing Specialist (ACCNS-AG)

  • ANCC Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (AGACNP-BC)

  • AACN Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNPC-AG)

  • AACN Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNPC-Adult)

The AACN offers the Adult Acute/Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (CCNS-Adult) for renewal only.

What certifications are available for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) who treat patients from infancy through geriatrics?

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who treat patients from infancy through to geriatrics can earn one of the following certifications:

  • ANCC Family Nurse Practitioner Certification (FNP-BC)

  • AANPCB Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-C)

  • PNCB Primary Care Certified Nurse Practitioner (CPNP-PC)

What certifications are available for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who work in psychiatric-mental health?

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who work in psychiatric-mental health can earn the ANCC Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC).

What certifications are available for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who work in the emergency department?

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who work in the emergency department can earn the AANPCB Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP-C).

What certifications are available for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who work in pediatrics?

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who work in pediatrics can earn one of the following certifications:

  • AACN Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist (ACCNS-P)

  • PNCB Acute Care Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP-AC)

  • PNCB Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist (PMHS)

The AACN offers the Pediatric Acute/Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (CCNS-Pediatric) for renewal only.

What certifications are available for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who work with neonates?

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who work with neonates can earn one of the following certifications:

  • AACN Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist (CCNS-N)

  • NCC Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP-BC)

The AACN offers the Neonatal Acute/Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (CCNS-Neonatal) for renewal only.

What certifications are available for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who work with in women's health?

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who work in women's health can earn NCC Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP-BC).