Florida Nurse Practitioner Licensure Steps - 2024

AKA: CNP License in FL, APRN Licensure


by NursePractitionerLicense.com Staff

Updated: February 13th, 2024

The Florida Board of Nursing is the issuing agency for advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) licenses. Certification for nurse practitioners (NP) falls under the umbrella of APRNs. These nurses are trained to diagnose patients, treat illnesses, perform surgical procedures, prescribe medication, and perform other tasks that can only be completed with an NP certification.

Because of their extensive training, NPs often work in primary care settings. As a “Full Practice” state, Florida allows NPs to operate in such settings independently and fully utilize their skills.

Florida is currently facing a nursing shortage, and a report from the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) predicts the state will need 59,100 nurses by 2035. If you’re looking to work independently and serve a population who really needs your help, Florida is the state to build your practice.

Nurse Practitioner Licensure Requirements in Florida

The Florida Board of Nursing accepts applications all year round, primarily via the online route, and provide advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) licenses to qualified candidates. Certified nurse practitioners (CNPs) are considered a subclass of APRNs.

Follow below to learn how to become a certified nurse practitioner (CNP) in Florida.

Initial Registered Nurse (RN) License

Already have your RN License?  Skip to the next section

Becoming a registered nurse is the first step in becoming a licensed NP in Florida. RN licensure is necessary because an NP is fundamentally a nurse. There are two major application routes for RN licenses: RN by Examination and RN by Endorsement.

RN by Examination

This is the preferred route for recent graduates of an accredited nursing program in an approved institution in Florida. The requirements for licensure by exam are as follows:

  • Graduate from an approved or accredited nursing program with either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Since you are working toward NP licensure, you’ll need to enroll in a baccalaureate program.
  • Upon completing the nursing program, you are required to apply for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). You have six months from your program completion date to take the test. Applicants who fail to comply with the six-month margin will be required to take a Board-approved licensure examination preparatory course. You will need to register for the examination online at Pearson Vue for $200. Each applicant is allowed to take the examination twice if they fail on their first attempt. However, should they fail on the third, they must undergo a remedial program approved by the Board before they are allowed to apply for a fourth attempt.
  • Canadian registered nurses are required to take the NCLEX unless they took the Canadian Nurses Association Testing Service (CNATS) examination before August 8, 1995, allowing them to apply for RN by endorsement instead.
  • After registering for the examination, you can begin the application process online by opening an account here. Once your application has been reviewed, you may be sent a letter of eligibility, and your status will also be communicated to Pearson Vue if you meet all the requirements.

You also have to submit to a criminal background check (CBC). All fingerprinting is done electronically, as the Board of Nursing no longer accepts hard fingerprint cards. All fingerprints are taken at a Livescan service provider location, and you must take the Nursing Electronic Fingerprint Form with you. For more information and a list of approved Livescan locations, click here.

Once you pass the exam, it takes 7-10 days for the initial license to be issued.

RN by Endorsement

Applicants for RN by Endorsement hold a valid license to practice in another state and have passed the NCLEX-RN or the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE).

  • It is also the route of choice for RNs that have practiced nursing actively in another state or jurisdiction within the last three years without a report of criminal activity or suspension of their license. People who have not practiced actively in the past five years must complete a remedial course.
  • The application process is also completed online. You will be required to provide proof of licensure from the state you were licensed in. That can be done by using the Nursys platform. You should also request verification from your employer to show that you have been employed to practice nursing within the past two years.

All applicants for an RN license must have their fingerprints captured at a Livescan service provider for a criminal background check. You are required to take a copy of the Electronic Fingerprint form with you to the Livescan service provider. Your fingerprints will be sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Check here for a list of approved centers for capturing. Note that each service provider fixes its fee for the capturing process.

The application fee for both licensure routes is $110, to be paid online with a credit card. Ensure that all documents to prove your education, citizenship, possession of a valid out-of-state license, and other documents you may need are available before you start the application. Successful applicants for the RN license via the examination route usually get their licenses 7-10 days after the Board receives their NCLEX-RN grade.

Advanced Education Requirement

CNPs are expected to be skilled and knowledgeable when catering to the healthcare needs of one or more populations. That’s why they’re required to further their education and complete a nurse practitioner program.

This postgraduate requirement includes course subjects like:

  • Clinical Theory
  • Nursing Theory and Technique
  • Therapeutics
  • Diagnostic Procedures
  • Billing Procedures

The program must be accredited either by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). This requirement only applies to applicants who graduated from their bachelor’s program on or after October 1, 1998.

You will also be required to take courses on advanced pathophysiology and pharmacology, and emergency medicine, to name a few. As long as you fulfill these academic requirements, you may be issued an NP license that permits you to prescribe and dispense medications within your protocol.

However, the license will not cover controlled substances, and you must submit a Dispensing Application. To administer controlled substances, a DEA Registration is required.

National Certification

A national certifying agency must verify your postgraduate nursing education. Nursing practitioners can practice in more than one specialty. Some of the concentrations for study are:

  • Adult
  • Adult-Gerontology
  • Emergency
  • Family
  • Neonatal
  • Women’s Healthcare
  • Psychiatric and Mental Health

After selecting your area of focus, you must contact the national agency that certifies NPs in that specific specialty. Some of the recognized certifying agencies for Florida NPs include:

Certifying agencies may hold certification examinations or provide short programs for prospective nurse practitioners. Certification ensures that everyone licensed to practice as an NP has the basic skill set and knowledge required for the role.

Getting Licensed to Practice as a Nurse Practitioner Within Florida

The application process is to be completed online by first creating an account here. You must hold a valid RN license in Florida before applying. Note that if your license expires within 120 days from the date of application, you are required to renew your RN license before applying for an NP license.

All applicants are required to request a copy of their official transcripts be sent directly to the Board from the nursing programs they attended. Notification of national certification must also be sent to the Board from the proper certifying agency to show you are qualified for a license.

Every applicant is required to have a criminal background check run on them. Therefore, you must get your fingerprints captured by a Livescan service provider. Each service provider fixes its fee, which is why the costs may vary. You will also need to verify your current nursing license and any others you’ve ever held. That information can be found on the Nursys platform.

You are required to provide proof of professional malpractice insurance or an exemption notice and include the $110 application fee. Once all the requirements are met, the Board will review your application and contact you if any additional documents are required.

If you intend to prescribe medications, you can apply for a Dispensing License for $100. As long as you took advanced pharmacology/pharmacotherapy classes as part of your postgraduate coursework and dispensing medication is within the scope of your specialty, you will be granted the license.