How Do You Renew Your Nurse Practitioner Certification?

Do you ever put things on your 'To Do' list and dread them for a few days only to find that actually completing the abominable task was not as bad as the wasted time worrying.  Per usual, this was the approach I took towards my nurse practitioner recertification process.  I anticipated recertification would be a pain in the you-know-where only to find that dreading the process had been the worst part.

If you have practiced at least 1,000 hours since your initial NP certification and completed required hours of continuing education, just 75 hours for the AANP, the nurse practitioner recertification process is simple.  If you have not completed the required number of practice hours the process is a bit more complex; unfortunately, you will likely need to retake the national nurse practitioner certification exam.  We won't go there today.  Let's talk about the simpler option- recertification based on practice hours and continuing education credits.

To begin the recertification process, simply visit either the ANCC or AANP certification website, depending on the organization with which your hold your certification.  The first problem I ran into with my recertification was that the AANP and the AANP Certification websites are different entities.  A minor headache and about 5 minutes later I figured this out.  

Next, create a username and password and fill out the personal profile including your RN license number.  At this point, you are done for the day.  The AANP or ANCC must verify your license number which takes at least 24 business hours.  

Once your account and RN license has been verified, simply start the recertification process by clicking the 'Renew Your Certification' box.  This will lead you to input the number of hours you practiced in both your current and prior nurse practitioner positions.  I did not contact my prior employers requesting the number of hours I have practiced down to the very last lunch break.  I simply completed my own rough calculation making sure to grossly underestimate should my recertification be audited.  It is easy to reach the 1,000 hour requirement mark so even if you underestimate your practice hours, you will likely have no problem reaching the required number of clinical practice hours.

Next, the recertification site will prompt you to upload copies of your continuing education certificates.  Again, I took the route of the underachiever to save my time and sanity.  Rather than uploading every last CE certificate, including those worth about 15 minutes of educational credit, I uploaded the certificates containing the most hours.  My FNP recertification through the AANP required 75 hours of continuing education credit.  I uploaded 5 certificates totaling about 80 hours of CE onto the recertification site ignoring the certificates for the hundred or so other hours I have completed.  No extra credit points in the recertification process- forget showing off by taking the time to scan and upload proof of my extra continuing education. 

Finally, submit your application.  It took about a week for my application to be reviewed and approved,  I said a silent "Woo-Hoo" this morning when I rechecked the AANP certification site to find a 'Complete' next to my application status.  I am now officially certified to practice through 2018.

Based on my nurse practitioner recertification experience, here are a few tips to help streamline your own recertification process:

  1. Scan and save your continuing education certificates on your computer as you complete your CE hours.  This will save you time and frustration in front of the scanner when your time to re-certify has arrived
  2. Think ahead.  You can start the recertification process up to one year before your current certification expires.  I am so glad I acted early rather than dreading this easy process for the next 8 months. 
  3. Going through a name change?  First, re-certify, then change your name.  I have recently begun the name change process for my nursing licenses which did complicate the process.  Complete one task then the other.  Doing both simultaneously muddies the waters and makes the process much more difficult.

Do you have less than a year until your nurse practitioner recertification?  Start now and get this process off your 'To Do' list.  It won't take much time and will be well worth the relief you feel in getting your NP recertification off your shoulders.  What else do you have to do during these gloomy, winter days anyway?

Comments

Hi Thao,

During your FNP program you need hours with both pediatric and adult patients. Once you are certified, you just need to have practice hours. Recertification, at least through the AANP, does not require you to differentiate.

Erin Tolbert

Hi, I was wondering, when you are logging your practice hours as an FNP, does it require you to differentiate between hours with an adult versus pediatric patient? I heard that you hard to have hours with both. Thank you!

Thao Nguyen