There are many reasons registered nurses (RNs) choose to become nurse practitioners (NPs). Arizona RNs who enroll in online NP programs may enjoy great career opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the $110,750 mean salary for Arizona NPs is higher than the national average for NPs. Arizona also employs 1.26 NPs for every 1,000 workers, making the state a larger-than-average employer for NPs.
Current Arizona RNs who wish to take advantage of the state's high wages and career growth opportunities must pursue additional education and earn a license to practice. While each state maintains different licensing standards, most states include some similar steps on the path toward licensure. Prospective NPs can learn more about the licensing process here.
Earnings and employment potential also depend on the NP's chosen specialty area. Most nursing students choose a specialty before starting a master's or doctoral program, and prospective students should research different specializations and career outcomes before they enroll in a program.
Read on to learn more about online NP programs in Arizona, the state's job outlook for NPs, and how to earn an NP license in Arizona.
Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Based in Arizona
There are two types of online NP programs in Arizona: master of science in nursing (MSN) and doctorate of nursing practice (DNP). While both lead to licensure in Arizona, many accrediting nursing bodies recommend that healthcare facilities hire only NPs with a DNP. While an MSN is sufficient to obtain employment, students should plan on completing a DNP after earning their MSN. In some instances, doing so reduces the number of required credits for a DNP, saving the student time and money.
Typically, online NP programs in Arizona take 3-7 years to complete. The length of the online program depends on several factors, such as transfer credits, whether the student studies on a full-time or part-time basis, the candidate's chosen specialization, and program type. Online NP programs generally require anywhere from 28-85 credits and roughly 1,000 hours of in-person clinical experience.
The length of the online program depends on several factors, such as transfer credits, whether the student studies on a full-time or part-time basis, the candidate's chosen specialization, and program type.
Program applicants usually need 1-2 years of experience as an RN and must hold a current RN license in Arizona or a in Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) state. Other admissions requirements may include transcripts, multiple professional letters of recommendation, and a personal essay.
Arizona law requires all NPs to complete clinical hours, so both MSN and DNP programs are offered in a hybrid format. In hybrid programs, students complete courses online while earning in-person clinical experience under the supervision of a licensed nurse practitioner.
Keep in mind that each online NP program maintains its own admission and graduation requirements. Program length, course availability, cost, and potential outcomes vary.
Complete List of Online Nurse Practitioner Programs in Arizona
Arizona Nurse Practitioner Career Information
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Arizona NPs enjoy a higher mean salary than the average U.S. nurse practitioner. NPs in Arizona also earn higher mean salaries than those in neighboring New Mexico and Utah. The state is also experiencing an unusually high projected job growth rate for NPs. Figures from Projections Central show the number of NP jobs in Arizona growing by 57.7% over the next decade, by far the largest projection for any state in the country.
Only 6% of NPs in Arizona hold a DNP, compared to 70.8% of nurses with an MSN. However, the BLS does not differentiate wages based on education, so NPs in the state who hold a DNP could potentially earn even higher salaries.
Nurse Practitioner Salary and Projected Job Growth in Arizona and Nearby States
In Arizona, nurse practitioners must apply for an advanced practice (AP) license to become a registered nurse practitioner (RNP). Applicants must hold a current Arizona RN license with good standing or an RN license from another NLC state. They must also provide an official transcript proving completion of an accredited or approved graduate nursing program. Finally, candidates should provide the Arizona Board of Nursing (AZBN) with a letter from their academic department written on the official school letterhead.
Before applying for or renewing an APRN license, professionals must earn national certification within their specialty field.
AZBN allows candidates who did not complete a graduate program in nursing, but completed at least 960 APRN practice hours, to apply for licensure. Applicants must have completed either a graduate program or the minimum hours within the past five years.
Before applying for or renewing an APRN license, professionals must earn national certification within their specialty field. This means nurses must also meet the requirements for certification and recertification.
Nurses renew their APRN and RN licenses every four years. To be eligible, nurse practitioners must do one of the following over the five years before renewing their license:
Practice as a nurse for 960 hours
Complete a nursing program and earn a degree
Complete an AZBN-approved nurse refresher course
Earn an advanced nursing degree
Other Requirements for Arizona Nurse Practitioners
All prospective APs must hold a current RN license. As an NLC member state, Arizona accepts multi-state RN licenses from other participating NLC states. Out-of-state RNs do not need to renew their license through Arizona unless they want to change their primary state of residency to Arizona. A nurse's AP license expires at the same time as his or her RN license.
NPs must maintain their specialty certification to seek AP license renewal. While Arizona does not require candidates to complete continuing education for renewal, professionals must hold an approved specialty certification. An AZBN-approved refresher course may also count toward national certification requirements.
While Arizona does not require candidates to complete continuing education for renewal, professionals must hold an approved specialty certification.
RNPs pursuing prescriptive authority must provide written evidence proving they completed 45 contact hours in pharmacology or clinical management of drug therapy within the previous three years. NPs with prescriptive authority may only prescribe medication relevant to their specialty. Nurses who plan to prescribe controlled substances must also obtain a DEA license and number. RNPs renew their prescriptive authority along with their AP certificate.
Information for Out-Of-State Nurse Practitioners
Arizona requires out-of-state NPs to meet the same educational and professional standards as in-state professionals. All applicants, regardless of their initial state of licensure, must possess a valid RN license.
Fortunately, most states uphold similar standards for NP licensure, such as national certification requirements. Any NPs who have practiced full time over a five-year period should meet AZBN's requirements. Transferring NPs who recently graduated from an accredited NP program are also eligible for an AP license. Some out-of-state NPs can receive a temporary AP certificate while waiting for their license to process.
Prescriptive authority requirements vary according to state, license, and field of expertise. Visit this resource to learn more about prescriptive authority in each state and how to earn prescriptive authority in Arizona.
Resources for Arizona Nurse Practitioners
Arizona Nurse Practitioner Council Part of the larger Arizona Nurses Association, the AZNPC advocates for NPs through legislature, organizes educational events, and hosts a job board.
Arizona Nurses Association AzNA offers joint membership with ANA that comes with multiple benefits, including exclusive educational opportunities, local and national news relevant to NPs, and networking events.
Arizona State Board of Nursing AZBN is the state-run organization that grants nursing licenses. Nurses may apply for AP licensure and RN licensure or renew their credentials through AZBN's online portal.
Coalition of Arizona Nurses in Advanced Practice Founded in 2000, CAZNAP is relatively young for an organization boasting nearly 2,000 members. The organization's site is a great resource for NPs who want to discuss their practice with other local professionals.
Arizona Action Coalition The Arizona Action Coalition aims to improve nursing by removing barriers, implementing nurse residency programs, and improving education for nurses. AZAC offers nurses a chance to get involved with community events and gain leadership experience.