What education and licensing do nurse practitioners have?

NPs are titled three ways – by education, by specialty, and by certification.

Education/Licensure: All NPs are now educated with at least a post graduate Master’s Degree. Clinical Doctorate degrees are now being offered and NP’s who have completed these programs are titled DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice). NP titles vary state to state (confusing, but that’s how they’ve done it) and include: ARNP (Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner), APN (Advanced Practice Nurse), APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse), CRNP (Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner), RNP (Registered Nurse Practitioner), and CNP (Certified Nurse Practitioner).

Specialties: NPS are educated by specialty as are physicians. NP areas of specialty are: FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner), ANP (Adult Nurse Practitioner), PNP (Pediatric Nurse Practitioner), GNP (Geriatric Nurse Practitioner), WHNP/NPWH (Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner), Psych NP (Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, ACNP (Acute Care Nurse Practitioner), and NNNP (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner). Other areas of specialty include School, Community, Occupational, and Holistic Health Nurse Practitioners. In addition to NPs, other Advanced Practice Nurse specialties include Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Anesthetists, and Nurse Midwives.

Certification: The American Nurses Credentialing Center, which is an arm of the American Nurses Association, and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, both certify NPs. This is done through examination after graduation from an accredited educational institution and by continuing education for practicing NPs who are already certified.

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