5 Foolproof Tactics for Expediting Nurse Practitioner Licensure

Applying for and maintaining state licensure is one of the not-so-fun parts of being a nurse practitioner. But, it’s necessary in order to practice. If you’re a new grad nurse practitioner or an NP relocating to another state, chances are you’re facing the challenge of obtaining a new license to practice. Jumping through these paperwork hoops is not only an inconvenience, it can delay your ability to start working and receiving a paycheck.

While NPs don’t have much control over state boards of nursing and their licensure processing speeds, there are a few things savvy nurse practitioners can do to expedite receiving a certificate of licensure in their mailbox. 

1. Manage expectations 

State boards of nursing vary significantly in the speed by which they process applications for NP licensure. Some states are known to be efficient and NP friendly while others like California are notoriously slow taking months to process applications. Talk with nurse practitioners practicing in the state where you plan to apply. How long did it take these NPs to receive a license? Managing your expectations as far as licensure will help you get a timeline in place for your job search or new employer. 

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2. Be thorough

Given the bureaucracy of the licensing process, completeness on your licensure application is a must. Follow the steps for submission exactly. Ensure that any outside parties such as your university submit necessary documents in a timely manner. Neglecting to complete part of the licensure process or doing so in a half-hearted manner may land your application at the bottom of the processing pile.

3. Submit RN and NP licensure applications simultaneously

If you’re relocating for a nurse practitioner job, or graduating from an accelerated NP program, you may find yourself in a situation where you’re in need of both nursing and nurse practitioner licenses. If this is the case, in most states, you can apply for these credentials simultaneously. This speeds up the licensure process preventing you from waiting on your RN license before applying for licensure as an advanced practice nurse. If you are applying for both your RN and NP licenses, pay close attention to submission guidelines. You may need to submit certain materials or pay fees separately to avoid confusing the process. 

4. Follow up 

As in working with any government entity, there’s a lot that can go wrong or hold up your licensure application with the board of nursing. You may have missed a form, your payment may have been misplaced, a computer system could have gone glitchy, or your NP program may have overlooked your request to send transcripts. Avoid delays in the licensing process with regular follow up. Check any online systems supplied by your state regularly to make sure your application to progressing. Alternately, give the board of nursing a call to be sure your application is complete. It may take some digging to find the BON’s contact information, but the more persistent you are the more assured you can be that your app is approved as quickly as possible. 

5. Pay the board of nursing a visit

Several nurse practitioners I have talked with recently have become so frustrated with cumbersome licensing processes that they’ve thrown their hands up and made the several hours long drive to their state board of nursing offices for an in-person visit. And, guess what? They left with answers. While to BON isn’t accustomed to house calls, this may be the best way to check on a lagging licensure application. Don’t leave your visit without the direct contact information, phone and email, for a real, live staffer who can answer any additional questions that come up when you leave the office.

How long did it take to receive your nurse practitioner license?


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2 thoughts on “5 Foolproof Tactics for Expediting Nurse Practitioner Licensure”

  1. I graduated December 23rd 2018, took my AANP boards January 3rd 2019 and was issued my license from the California Board on May2nd 2019. It was a torturous process. The transcripts were a major issue. They were sent 4 times. First time the transcripts were not sent to the correct email, second time they were not finalized, third time they were not retrieved intone so they expired and finally the fourth time they were received and accepted. My major recommendation is to call at least weekly to get updates. Many people you will talk to literally are useless. But every once in a great while you connect with someone helpful.

  2. I applied to to the California BRN for my initial NP license at the end of July 2021. Check for NP certificate and furnishing license cashed in early August 2021. My transcript has been sent twice. Program director’s documents sent four times. Numerous calls made and one agent was particularly helpful, otherwise not. Last call, made 12/21 and I was told all documents are complete, with the program director’s document only being received 11/12/21. Told CA BRN short staffed and expect an 8 week time frame from 11/12 before my application is reviewed. Starting 1/1/22, counter visit help will be sharply curtailed. An exercise in patience and frustration for sure.

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