Nurse Practitioner Certification 101

Nurse Practitioner Certification

It’s time to heave a big sigh of relief that you are almost done with your Nurse Practitioner program! You should be very proud that you have completed (or almost completed) this challenging degree. Even though you have that demanding goal completed, you need to think about the certification exam. Once that’s behind you, you really will feel like you can take a deep breath. But – first things first.  

Nurse Practitioner Certification
In order for you to practice in your chosen field as a Nurse Practitioner, you must take the certification examination that is in conjunction with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. The Nurse Practitioner exams are based on objectives that allow the Academy to measure the skills and knowledge that is required of Nurse Practitioners. They are based on competencies developed during the NP program.

Specialties within the realm of a practicing Nurse Practitioner include: 

  • Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

*Note: As of December 2016, the Adult Nurse Practitioner exam will no longer be offered. 

Once you have successfully completed the didactic and clinical program, you will be qualified to sit for the nurse practitioner certification exam. You are able to begin the application process six months before you graduate from your nurse practitioner program. 

Application process
You must apply to take the nurse practitioner certification exam. First, register online – and complete the application. Once the application is complete and you have gathered all of the documents required, the application can be faxed, mailed or emailed. You will receive a letter of acceptance when your application is approved. When your application has been processed and accepted, you will be able to schedule when and where you will take the test. 

Following submission and acceptance of your application, you will have a 120 day window to take the exam – these dates will be explained to you in your acceptance letter. 

Practice tests
Along with your traditional methods of studying for the exam, practice exams are available for you to purchase. They are useful tools for you to prepare for the nurse practitioner certification exam. By using practice exams, you will be able to become familiar with the format of the test questions on the certification exam. Each practice test can be used only once, but additional practice exams are available for purchase multiple times.  

What the exam will look like
The Nurse Practitioner certification exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions. This includes 15 questions that are actually ‘pretest’ questions that do not count in your certification exam score. 

At the time you finish your test, you will notice a ‘preliminary pass or not pass’ on your computer screen. If you have successfully passed the test, you will receive a letter containing your exam score – as well as your certificate within three weeks of taking the test. If you do not pass the exam you are able to sit for the exam twice during a calendar year. 

Once the nurse practitioner certification exam is behind you, you will be able to begin your new advanced career. Successful completion of the Nurse Practitioner certification exam shows that all of your hard work has paid off and you are on your way to a rewarding and enjoyable new beginning. 

Are you looking for the right opportunity to pursue after passing your exam? Consider Elliot Health System!

Learn More About Elliot Physician Opportunities

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