Procrastinators and penny-pinchers take note!

I’ve talked before about the expenses associated with nurse practitioner graduation (here are the 9 hidden costs). From the $731 you’ll need to shell out for a DEA number to a few hundred dollars here and there for various licenses and certifications, the financial burden of finishing your NP program is real. As a result, it’s tempting to delay applying for these licenses until you land post-graduate employment. This way an employer may cover or at least reimburse you for some of these expenses, right?!

This week, I learned through talking with a recent(ish) nurse practitioner graduate that waiting to apply for your NP license may not be the best path. In rare circumstances and in certain states this may ultimately even preclude you from practicing as an NP – or at least make the path to doing so significantly more difficult.

A Rare NP Licensing Conundrum 

One of our team members recently helped a nurse practitioner who had graduated from his NP program two years ago. He struggled to find employment in his hometown over that two year period and ultimately decided to relocate. Interviewing and securing a job in the State of Oregon, he got on the state’s licensing website and noticed a big problem. The State of Oregon requires one of the following to be true in order to get a nurse practitioner license:

  • Completion of a NP program within the past year; OR
  • Completion of a NP program within the past two years and at least a minimum of 192 hours of NP practice; OR
  • 960 NP practice hours completed in the last five years

So, what about this nurse practitioner who graduated two years ago that has never worked as a NP (i.e. no practice hours)? There appears to be no path to licensure for nurse practitioner school graduates that significantly delay obtaining a license in the State of Oregon. While this is the first time we have encountered this scenario with applicants to our residency program, I suspect that the same types of guidelines may apply in some other states. Word to the wise – check licensing requirements in your state and act promptly in obtaining your license to practice, even if you don’t have a job.

Other NP Licensing Delay Practicalities

Getting your NP license immediately after graduation has the obvious benefit that when you do find a job, you’ll be able to start working more quickly. In some states with notoriously long licensing processes (ah-hem California and Texas), employers may only interview nurse practitioners who already have a license in hand. If the cost of applying for a nurse practitioner license is giving you pause, keep in mind that this fee will be quickly offset by the ability to start your NP job even one day earlier in most cases. 

If you’re planning to relocate for your nurse practitioner job, you may not know in which state to even get your license. If this is the case, closely examen the licensing requirements in your top states of interest to make sure you’re not precluding yourself from job opportunities by waiting to apply.

Did you encounter challenges related to a delay in applying for your nurse practitioner license?


You Might Also Like: Free eBook! Licensing Guide for New Grad NPs


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