Arizona Nurse Practitioner Licensure Steps - 2024

AKA: NP License in AZ, APRN Licensure

by Staff

Updated: February 13th, 2024

As one of the top twenty most populous states, almost 36% of Arizona’s residents are 50 or older. That’s about 2.5 million people who will need access to adequate healthcare services in the coming years. So, if you’re interested in becoming a nurse practitioner, Arizona is a great place to launch your career.

Arizona is a “full practice” state where NPs can work independently, giving residents access to the medical care they wouldn’t otherwise receive. The Arizona Medically Underserved Areas (AzMUA) report shows that tribal areas have the highest need for primary care services. The state works closely with organizations and communities to improve access to primary health care.

Nurse Practitioner Licensure Requirements in Arizona

Follow below to learn how to become a nurse practitioner (NP) in Arizona.

Initial Registered Nurse (RN) License

Already have your RN License?  Skip to the next section

But, before you can apply for a nurse practitioner (NP) license with the Arizona State Board of Nursing (AZBN), you must be a registered nurse (RN). There are two paths to RN licensure: RN by Examination and RN by Endorsement. Continue reading for information on how to navigate each path successfully.

RN by Examination

RN, by examination, is the right path to take toward licensure for nursing program graduates. Choosing a program with a great reputation and one that fits your schedule is best. The program must be approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing. You can search by school or program type.

Since you’ll be going on to obtain your NP license, the minimum academic qualification is a bachelor’s degree. The time frame for attaining the degree is typically four years of full-time attendance. Some colleges offer accelerated nursing programs that allow you to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in 3 years.

Students are taught to use health systems, equipment, and new technologies. They are also shown how to administer medications, maintain patient records, and thoroughly understand the human system, physiology, and anatomy.

RNs are educated on the best practices to use when engaging patients, ethical practices, and leadership within the field. Students can expect to split their learning time between the classroom and laboratory as they have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience while working on their degree. That field experience will help students narrow their particular area of focus before continuing on their journey to NP licensure.

While you can sit for the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) with an associate’s degree, you won’t be able to apply for NP licensure until you have your bachelor’s degree. The registration fee is $200 and can be paid when scheduling the exam with Pearson Vue. Once pass the exam and have the appropriate degree, the next step is to submit an application to the AZBN.

The Board has instructional videos to help you through the online process. Once you set up your account through the nursing portal, you can log on and check the status of your application. It takes about 30 days for the application to appear in the system, so give it some time before contacting the Board regarding its status.

The following list is a set of requirements for licensure:

  • Proof of citizenship/nationality/alien status
  • Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from a Board-approved program
  • Passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam
  • Official transcripts from all schools attended must be sent directly to the AZBN for out-of-state graduates
  • A fingerprint card for a criminal background check can be obtained from a local fingerprinting facility
  • Applicants educated abroad have a list of additional requirements that can be found on the Board’s website

It can take 6-8 weeks to complete the application process, depending on how long the background check takes.

If you fail the RN exam, Arizona allows you to take the PN exam. The NCLEX-PN measures your knowledge and expertise of the skills necessary to enter the nursing field safely. You can also retake the RN exam after waiting the necessary 45-day period.

You will have to pay all the registration fees before receiving permission to take the test again. Here’s a list of the nonrefundable fees:

  • RN Endorsement – $150
  • RN Exam & Licensure Fee – $300
  • RN Re-Exam Fee – $100
  • RN Fingerprint Fee – $50

The Board will review the application, and as long as all requirements are met, you’ll be issued an RN license. License renewals are completed every four years.

RN by Endorsement

Applicants for RN by Endorsement have graduated from a nursing program, passed the NCLEX-RN, and have a license in another state.

Requirements for US-educated applicants are as follows:

  • Practice requirements – 960 hours or more in the past five years (or)
  • Graduated and obtained a degree from a nursing program in the past five years (or)
  • Completed an Arizona Board-approved refresher class in the past five years (or)
  • Obtained an advanced nursing degree (LPN to RN, RN to BSN, master or doctorate) in the past five years
  • Foreign-educated students have a list of requirements that can be found on the Board’s website

Submit your application online with the appropriate $150 fee and verification of licensure from the issuing state, which can be obtained by submitting an application using the Nursys platform.

All applicants are subject to a criminal background check and need to submit a fingerprint card. The AZBN will not provide fingerprint cards, but they can be obtained from any licensed fingerprint-capturing center in Arizona. If you have submitted one in the past two years, you are exempt and won’t need to pay the $50 fee.

All applicants for an Arizona license are required to submit proof of lawful citizenship status. You can find a list of acceptable documents here. You are allowed to obtain a temporary license to practice for $50. The temporary license is nonrenewable and allows you to work under a physician’s supervision while you await your examination date, results, or license processing.

Advanced Education Requirements

Advanced education is necessary for all nurse practitioners. They are expected to take on a high level of responsibility without supervision. The degree of responsibility NPs have is much greater than what a basic nursing education supports. You must complete an accredited nurse practitioner preparatory program from an approved institution and earn a master’s degree.

The program must include at least 500 hours of clinical practice.

The courses covered will prepare you for practice as an NP and should include the following:

  • Application of theory to advanced practice
  • Application of evidence to advanced practice
  • Advanced pathophysiology
  • Advanced health assessment
  • Advanced practice nursing role
  • Advanced pharmacology (45 hours for prescriptive authority eligibility)

Here is a list of the approved nurse practitioner preparatory programs approved by the AZBN.

National Certification

After obtaining your postgraduate degree, national certification is the last step before applying for a license to practice as an advanced practice registered nurse in Arizona. That is done through one of the approved certification agencies.

Arizona recognizes four APRN designations, and Registered Nurse Practitioner (RNP) is one of them.

Depending on your specialty focus during your postgraduate degree, you must contact the national certifying agency that certifies professionals in that field. Certifying bodies usually conduct certification examinations or hold certification programs for postgraduate degree holders. The following agencies are recognized for nurse practitioners in Arizona:

Getting Licensed to Practice as a Nurse Practitioner Within Arizona

Certified nurse practitioners can apply to the AZBN for a license to practice as an NP. All applicants are required to request that a copy of their transcript be sent from the institution where their postgraduate degree was obtained. The transcript must be in a sealed envelope and contain your date of graduation and the type of degree awarded.

All information should be sent to or mailed to Arizona State Board of Nursing:

Arizona State Board of Nursing
1740 W Adams Street, Suite 2000
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Applicants are expected to complete and submit fingerprint cards for background checks. Only those who have submitted a copy in the past two years before applying are exempt. Applications are completed online and include an application fee of $150 and $50 for fingerprint card processing.

Temporary licenses can be issued to those seeking NP licensure by endorsement or those who have applied for their certification examination and are waiting to take the exam or receive the results. Temporary licenses are issued for $50 and are nonrenewable. You must show proof of registration and eligibility for the appropriate national certification examination for your specialty to be issued.

Since the NP license does not come with the authorization to prescribe medication, nurse practitioners who intend to prescribe and dispense drugs must apply for prescription authority separately.

This application will include documentation showing that you have had at least 45 contact hours of pharmacology coursework. This application is also found online and has a fee of $150. Applicants are not permitted to prescribe or dispense medication until they receive a notification that their application has been approved.

For authorization to handle controlled substances, you must apply to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which can be reached at (800) 882-9539.

Nonrefundable Fees:

  • NP Certification – $150
  • NP Temporary Certificate – $35
  • Fingerprint Card Processing – $50