After hours of planning, studying, and test-taking, when you finish your nurse practitioner certification exam, it will be time for the moment of truth. When your test is complete, your results instantly appear on the screen and you’ll know right away whether you have passed. Once you pass, take a moment to celebrate your accomplishment and hard work!
Your certification will be good for 5 years. (Details on how to maintain and renew certification is available on the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) sites.)
Of course, after taking your test, there are still a few more things left to do before you are officially ready to practice.
What You Receive After Passing Your NP Exam
After passing the ANCC exam: You will receive a copy of your results before you leave the testing center. Within 2 months, you’ll receive a certificate and pin to celebrate your achievement. ANCC does not automatically send verification of certification to your state board of nursing or employer, so you will need to request this be sent to the proper location(s).
After passing the AANP exam: If all required documentation is on a file, a printable wallet card will be available for download online within 48 hours and an official score report and certificate will be mailed to you within 2-3 weeks.
If You Do Not Pass on Your First Try
If you do not pass on your first attempt, contact your university or Career Services team to see whether they have access to or recommendations for additional review materials to prepare for retesting.
For the AANP:
You will first need to wait to receive your exam results in the mail. These results will show your strengths and weaknesses, and you must complete a minimum of 15 hours of continuing education in your weakest areas. You can typically obtain these through:
- Attending a review course
- Shadowing in a doctor’s office
- Completing modules provided by the AANP
After completing these hours, you may apply to retake the exam. Two testing attempts are allowed per calendar year.
For the ANCC:
If you do not pass the ANCC, your score report will include diagnostic information for each content area of the test and you may retest after 60 days. You can test up to 3 times in any 12-month period. Wait 5 days after your first test to apply for a retest online.
What to Do After Passing Your NP Exam
- Notify your university
If you’ve been working with your Career Services team or university to prepare for the boards, let them know that you passed. At South University, Career Services can help to guide you through the next stages of becoming a licensed and employed nurse practitioner.
- Complete steps required by your state Board of Nursing
Confirm what you need to do to receive your state license. Most Board of Nursing (BON) websites provide a checklist for this process. This process may include:
- Requesting official transcripts be sent to the BON
- Filling out your state’s BON application
- Requesting that your University or Program Director complete additional forms
- Initiating fingerprints and a background check
Additional processes and applications may be required by your state.
- Send official transcript copies to your house
Although this is not required, we suggest you keep some official transcripts at your house for any additional paperwork that may be needed in your state or for future positions. If you request copies, do not open them upon arrival—doing so ruins the validity of the transcript.
- Apply for your NPI number
A national provider identifier (NPI) is a unique ten-digit number required by HIPAA and The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for covered US healthcare providers. It helps to track and transmit standard HIPAA electronic transactions, such as electronic claims and claim status inquiries. Not having a NPI number can hinder you when applying for jobs and may hurt your chances at a position.
- Consider malpractice insurance
Look into purchasing your own malpractice insurance. Some employers will provide you with this insurance, while others require you find this on your own.
- Apply or register for prescriptive authority (if required)
Some states require you to complete an additional application for prescriptive authority. A few states also require this application to be completed by the university program director. (South University students, please send this to your Career Services Advisor.)
- Apply for a DEA number
A DEA number is an identifying number that the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) assigns to health care providers that allows you to distribute and prescribe controlled substances. This cost can be hefty (over $700), but employers often want you to have this prior to hiring you.
- Apply to become a Medicare/Medicaid provider
This ensures that you can provide care to those covered by Medicare/Medicaid. Visit The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website to get started.
Want to know more about becoming a nurse practitioner? Learn about our graduate and post graduate nursing programs or start at the beginning of our blog series on the nursing boards to see how you can get ready for your exams.
*South University does not guarantee third-party certification/licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to South University.