Pennsylvania Nurse Practitioner Licensure Steps - 2022

AKA: NP License in PA, APRN Licensure

Last Reviewed: October 1st, 2022

Nurse Practitioner Licensure Requirements in Pennsylvania

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

Initial Registered Nurse (RN) License

Already have your RN License?Skip to the next section

The licensure procedure for nurse practitioners (NPs) requires that applicants be licensed to practice as nurses in Pennsylvania. Prospective NPs can apply for an RN license by examination or by endorsement.

RN by Examination

If you recently graduated from a board-approved basic nursing program or an equivalent, this is the application route for you.

Those who completed programs located in Pennsylvania can complete their application online for $35. An additional $35 will be required if one desires a temporary permit that allows graduate nurses to practice under supervision while their license is processed. Since their programs will send verification of completion to the board, they do not need to send a copy of their transcript.

For out-of-state programs, an original copy of your transcript must be sent to the board directly from your program. Out-of-state applicants are required to add $100 to their application fee.

Foreign educated applicants need to have their credentials evaluated by the CGFNS or any other credential evaluating body. They will evaluate your education for equivalence with what is obtainable in Pennsylvania.

All applicants via the RN by examination route must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). You are required to register for the test with PearsonVue for $200 before you begin your licensure application. This enables the board to communicate to the test vendors regarding your eligibility to test. If eligible, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) valid for 90 days. If you fail the NCLEX, you will need to re-register for it and take it no earlier than 45 days from the last attempt. You will receive a diagnostic report to help you prepare for the next attempt.

RN by Endorsement

If you have a single state RN license to practice in another state in the U.S., this is the route of application for you. You will need to send in a filled application form, with the prescribed fees, and supporting documents as required.

If you completed an out-of-state basic nursing program, you will need to request that a copy of your transcripts containing your date of graduation and the degree obtained be sent to the board from your program.

The board requires the verification of your current valid RN license from your state of residence. This can be obtained via the Nursys platform for $30. If your board is not a member of Nursys, you must contact them directly for their licensure verification procedure and fees.

It is expected that applicants who apply via this route have passed the NCLEX-RN or an equivalent test and fulfilled all other requirements for obtaining an RN license by examination in their home state.

Applicants are advised to provide honest information during the licensing process as the detection of any falsehood will result in the revocation of the license. All applicants are required to go through a fingerprint-based criminal background check. This is used to ensure that only individuals of good standing are issued licenses. You are also required to declare any past convictions, felonies, and any current disciplinary punishments you are facing.

Advanced Education Requirement

Nurse practitioners are required to operate at a higher professional level than RNs, and therefore are required to have a higher level of education and training. A post-graduate nursing education, such as a master’s degree or higher, is the requirement for licensure.

The program must be a board-approved one, accredited by agencies recognized by the USDE including (CCNE, ANCC, or CNEA).

Search for programs, find all Pennsylvania Nurse Practitioner degree programs here.

The program must award successful participants with at least a master’s degree and must prepare them for practice in an APRN role. NP education must include coursework in the graduate nursing core, advanced nursing practice core, and specialty/population-specific content. If your role will require you to prescribe and dispense medication, you must complete 45 contact hours of advanced pharmacology before you can apply for prescriptive authority. All NP preparatory programs must also include advanced clinical experience of up to 500 hours for each population focus.

National Certification

After obtaining an advanced degree from a nurse practitioner preparatory program, a prospective NP must be certified by a national certifying agency recognized by the board for a specific role and population focus. To be certified, you must meet the educational requirements for such by passing a certification examination. Here are the certifying agencies recognized by the board for certifying NPs:

  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)
  • National Certification Corporation
  • Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)

Getting Licensed to Practice as a Nurse Practitioner in Pennsylvania

Applicants are to mail a completed copy of the application form to the board with supporting documents and a personal check, cashier’s check, or money order for $100 made payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Applicants are expected to hold a valid RN license to practice within the state (single state or NLC). The board requires all applicants to have completed a board-approved NP preparatory program. Therefore, you must request that a copy of your transcript be sent to the board from your program. Only original copies of transcripts containing your date of graduation and the degree awarded are acceptable.

All applicants are also required to hold a national certification in a given specialty area and population focus.

If you hold an NP license in another state, you can apply for the same license in Pennsylvania by endorsement. The board will need verification of that license. This can be done on Nursys or by contacting the board concerned directly. The application for prescriptive authority has a fee of $50 and applicants must submit proof of having completed 45 contact hours of advanced pharmacology. All paper applications are to be mailed to this address:

Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing

P.O. Box 2649

CRNP Applications

Hamburg, PA 17105-2649