District of Columbia Nurse Practitioner Licensure Steps - 2024

AKA: NP License in DC, APRN Licensure


by NursePractitionerLicense.com Staff

Updated: February 13th, 2024

Nurse Practitioner Licensure Requirements in Washington DC

To become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Washington DC, there are requirements that you must meet. These are:

  1. Initial registered nurse (RN) licensure
  2. Advanced education
  3. National certification
  4. Obtaining the Washington DC license

Let’s go over these qualification requirements in detail.

Initial Registered Nurse (RN) License

Already have your RN License?  Skip to the next section

If you don’t already have an RN license, you will need to first acquire your RN license in DC from the District of Columbia Board of Nursing (DCBON).

Educational Requirements for DC RN License

To get an RN license, you will need to acquire an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The full-time associate degree usually takes 18 to 32 months, while the full-time bachelor’s degree takes about four years. You can take courses part-time, which will last for more than the full-time program. The BSN is a more comprehensive program, increasing your chances of landing more preferred RN jobs.

The ADN is also gradually losing its place as the minimum requirement for landing RN jobs. More importantly, earning a BSN is a requirement for obtaining an NP license. You can upgrade your ADN to a BSN by taking a 3-semester bridge course that will take between 12 and 18 months to complete.

After obtaining a degree, you will need to kickstart licensure by examination by sitting for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX). There are two branches of the NCLEX. They are the NCLEX-RN for the registered nurse license and the NCLEX-PN, for practical or vocational nurses. The NCLEX is on a computerized adaptive test format and is run by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The NCSBN administers the NCLEX through the Pearson VUE testing organization.

First, you should submit an application to the DCBON requesting eligibility for the NCLEX. The NCSBN must receive your eligibility confirmation from the DCBON before you can proceed with the examination. Afterward, register for the NCLEX-RN on the Pearson VUE website; send your application by mail to NCLEX Operations, PO Box 64950, St Paul, MN 55164-0950, or call 1-866-49NCLEX.

If you currently hold an RN license in another U.S state or territory and want to practice in Washington D.C, you can apply through the licensing by endorsement path. Your licensure must have been based on any of the following:

  • A pass in the nurses’ State Board Test Pool Examination between January 1949 and February 1982
  • A pass in a state constructed examination conducted before 1949
  • A pass in NCLEX

You will require your former licensing state to send an official verification, and you will need to complete a criminal background check. You can submit verification of your license through the NURSYS portal after paying a fee of $30. The details for conducting the background check will come in your mail after you register. In addition, you can request your state nursing board to send your verification to the DCBON verification mail if your state doesn’t work with NURSYS.

Other requirements

  • You will request the school’s program director where you completed a nursing degree program to send your certificate of completion to the DCBON.
  • You will also request that your school sends your transcript either by mail or through an electronic transcript service to the DCBON nurse licensing email.
  • You will need to complete a background check along the way. After completing your application, the DCBON will send you instructions on how to submit your fingerprints for the check. You can also call the DC Metropolitan Police Department on 202-442-9004 to book an appointment for a criminal background check.
  • You will need a recommendation letter from the nursing administrator of your nursing program if your transcript isn’t ready.
  • If you attended a nursing school outside of the United States or Canada, you would require an original Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) certificate. You can apply for this certificate on the CGFNS website.


After registering for the test, you will need to pay the test fees to complete your registration and schedule a test. The NCLEX-RN test fee is $200. Candidates can make payments through their credit, debit, or prepaid cards. After making payment, you will receive an Authorization to Test via your mail. To change exam type or nursing regulatory body will attract an additional $50. The ATT, valid for 90 days, will come with your candidate number, testing centers, and test dates. With this information, you can proceed to schedule a test.

You can check your NCLEX-RN result through the Quick Results Service (QRS) when you call 1-900-776-2539 or the Pearson VUE website. Obtaining your results through the website will cost $7.95 and $9.95 for the QRS.

If you are successful in your test, the DCBON should issue your license within five business days.

Advanced Educational Requirements

The minimum educational requirement for becoming a nurse practitioner is a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

However, if you can earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, you will be more likely to land leadership positions. The full-time MSN degree should last for 18 to 24 months, while the DNP degree will last for 2 to 3 years.

Before you can gain admission to attain an MSN degree, you will require some nursing experience. This requirement ensures that nurse practitioners are well-grounded in professional practice before they get their license.

National Certification

You will require national certification on your way to becoming an NP. Once you have met the degree requirements, you must register for a national certification examination. Only register with organizations that have gotten approval from the DCBON. The DCBON has approved several certification organizations. These are:

  • National Certification Corporation (NCC)
  • American Association of Critical Care Certification Corporation (AACN)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB)
  • National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetics (NBCRNA)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetics (CRNA)
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)

Apply for the DC Nurse Practitioner License

The last step in your journey toward obtaining a Nurse Practitioner is to apply to the Washington licensing board for a license. You can download your licensing application from the DCBON website. You will require a payment of $230 to complete your application.

Other professional associations for the advanced practice registered nurse are:

  • District of Columbia Association of Nurse Anesthetics
  • Nurse Practitioner Association of the District of Columbia
  • District of Columbia Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives