Obtaining nurse practitioner (NP) board certification is a necessary final step in the progression from registered nurse (RN) to NP. In fact, the title of nurse practitioner applies only to those with a valid NP credential, and one earns that credential by passing the NP board certification exam in one's specialty area. The board administering the exam will depend on the specialty. In most cases, only one board certifies an NP with a particular specialization, but there are some cases (pediatric primary care NP and adult-gerontology primary care NP, for example) where a nurse practitioner may seek certification from one board or more.
Typically, nurse practitioner students spend three to six months preparing for their certification exam. During this time, students should be finishing courses and clinical hours as well as applying for jobs or residencies. Exam preparation can include a variety of methods such as self-study, online exam prep courses, and in-person conferences.
Students should check their certifying board’s website for an examination content outline and for other test preparation materials like books, practice exams, and sponsored seminars. Find your certifying board, and its website, by locating your chosen NP specialization in the list below.
Additional resources for preparing for your nurse practitioner board certification exam include Advanced Practice Education Associates, Barkley & Associates, and Fitzgerald Health Education Associates.
Excellent books for self-study are listed in the table below and categorized by specialty.
|Acute Care NP|
|Adult NP||Adult and Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Examination: Review Questions and Strategies|
|Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP||Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Certification Intensive Review: Fast Facts and Practice Questions|
|Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP||
|Neonatal NP||Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Exam Secrets Study Guide|
|Pediatric Primary Care NP|
|Pediatric Acute Care NP|
|Psychiatric-Mental Health NP|
|Women’s Health NP|