In the creating to the 2012 Guide to Nurse Practitioner Programs, I was shocked to find that some schools responded to my inquiries about their pass rate on the national certification exam by stating that a national certification exam is not required for nurse practitioners to practice in their state. Lucky NP’s! Which states so not require nurse practitioners to pass a national certification exam to be eligible for practice?
Surprisingly, the State of California does not require NP’s to take the national certification exam in order to practice as a nurse practitioner. NP’s must simply complete an NP program approved by the State Board of Nursing. NP’s must also hold either a national or state certification (but not necessarily a national certification). In order to bill independently under Medicaid in California, however, a national certification is required. Most likely, as an NP you will want the option of billing Medicaid independently for your services so it is advisable to take the national certification exam even if you may be able to wiggle your way out of it based on legal technicalities.
Most NP’s in Delaware need to be nationally certified by law. Delaware does not require national certification if a certification exam is not available for your specific specialty. The following chart depicts requirements in Delaware depending on if a national certification exam is offered for your specialty:
My opinion? This law is a bit outdated. Nearly all specialties offer a national certification exam so if you live in Delaware and want to practice as an NP, you better start studying!
National certification is not required for nurse practitioners in Indiana. The one exception? If you completed your degree as part of a certificate program rather than an accredited graduate program, you must hold a national certification.
National certification is not required for NP’s practicing in Kansas. Nurse practitioners must simply have graduated from a NP program approved by the Kansas Board of Nursing.
5. New York
This one surprised me. The State of New York Requires that you meet certain educational criteria but does not however require that NP’s take the national certification exam.
If you live in one of the 5 states that do not require a certification exam, should you still consider becoming nationally certified? My advice is yes. You never know where your career as an NP will take you. It is much better to certify immediately after graduating from your nurse practitioner program while the information is fresh in your mind rather than have to re-learn all of the material when you are forced to move from your current state of residence. Furthermore, legislation is trending towards requiring a certification exam in all states. Oregon, Missouri and Nevada recently passed a national certification requirement into law. It will be best for your career to be prepared with a national certification to prevent any legal hiccups in your ability to practice.