Maybe you took a few years off to be a Mom and focus on you children. Perhaps you experienced a temporary career change. Whatever the reason for the lapse in your NP practice, how do you re-enter the nurse practitioner profession if you have taken a few years off? Do you need to complete more clinical hours? Re-take the nurse practitioner certification exam? Here are the steps you need to take in order to re-certify if your nurse practitioner credentials have expired.
1. Review Your Expired Nurse Practitioner Certification
Were you certified through the ANCC or the AANP? You should re-certify through the same organization with which you received your initial certification.
2. Choose Which Recertification Scenario is Right for You
There are multiple scenarios that make you eligibe to re-certify as a nurse practitioner. Although it can make the process more confusing, this is a good thing. It means that you do not have to complete further schooling or clinical hours in order to reestablish yourself as a nurse practitioner. The following are the recertification scenarios for individuals with an expired nurse practitioner certification:
Renewal Eligibility Option 1: This is the option you should choose if you have worked at least 1,000 hours as a nurse practitioner within the past 5 years. If you hold an active RN license but an expired nurse practitioner certification you must complete a minimum of 1,000 practice hours in your area of specialization within the past 5 years, complete professional development criteria (I will discuss this in step 3) and pay the reactivation fee of $125.
Renewal Eligibility Option 2: This is your renewal option if you have not worked at least 1,000 hours in the past 5 years. If you hold an active RN license but an expired nurse practitioner certification, you must complete professional development criteria (discussed in step 3), take and pass the nurse practitioner certification exam and pay the reactivation fee of $125.
3. Complete Nurse Practitioner Professional Development Criteria
What are professional development criteria? Nurse practitioner certifying bodies want to make sure you are continuing to lean and maintaing your medical knowledge. They accomplish this by instituting professional development criteria including continuing education hours, academic courses and presentations. Each specialty has different requirements from these three categories for recertification. A family nurse practitioner, for example, must complete 75 continuing education contact hours plus one other professional development category. Continuing education hours can be doubled in lieu of completing a different category. So, family nurse practitioners can simply complete 150 continuing education hours as their professional development criteria requirement.
In short, if you have not completed at least 1,000 hours of practice as a nurse practitioner in the past five years and wish to re-certify, you must retake the certification exam. If you do have at least 1,000 practice hours, your recertification should be relatively easy.
The ANCC and AANP post excellent handouts further describing the recertification process as well as the professional development criteria for each specialty. Click here to view the ANCC Certification Renewal Requirements. Click here to view the AANP Recertification Requirements.