Nurse practitioners (NPs) have assumed an essential role in patient care across the country. These registered nurses (RNs) with graduate training in advanced practice nursing provide many of the same services as physicians: diagnosing illnesses, treating patients with chronic or acute conditions, ordering tests and interpreting results, and prescribing medications.
The projected shortfall of primary care physicians needed to meet Indiana's healthcare needs may increase by 20% through the end of the decade. Healthcare administrators and policymakers view the expanding role of NPs as a way to close this gap in patient care, address the needs of Indiana's aging population, and reduce healthcare costs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 38.7% increase in the employment of NPs in Indiana from 2016-26. While the state's NPs can expect to find promising career opportunities and salaries above other nursing specialties, earning an NP degree and obtaining state and national certification requires several critical steps. This page provides an overview of NP programs in Indiana, licensing requirements, and available specializations, along with career and salary prospects.
Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Based in Indiana
Unlike most states that require graduate degrees as the minimum educational requirement, Indiana grants advanced practice nursing status to BSN graduates, but they must also obtain national certification in an NP specialization. Popular specializations include adult-gerontology, pediatrics, women's health, and family care.
Unlike most states that require graduate degrees as the minimum educational requirement, Indiana grants advanced practice nursing status to BSN graduates, but they must also obtain national certification in an NP specialization.
Although not required for certification in Indiana, the MSN and doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) have become widely accepted educational paths for aspiring NPs. Most students finish an MSN in two years of full-time enrollment. The DNP may take three years or more, depending on the level of nursing experience when admitted into the program.
Online NP programs vary considerably, so prospective students should always research their intended schools to determine the on-campus residencies or hybrid courses that require in-person attendance. Admission requirements also vary by school. Most graduate programs require an unencumbered RN license, a 3.0 GPA or higher, and work experience.
Online NP programs vary considerably, so prospective students should always research their intended schools to determine the on-campus residencies or hybrid courses that require in-person attendance.
Employment projections for NPs indicate much faster growth rates than for other nursing specialties. According to the Hoosier Hot 50 list compiled by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, NPs rank among the state's fastest-growing and highest-paid occupations.
The table above indicates that the projected 38.7% growth rate for Indiana's NPs ranks higher than its five neighboring states. Although mean annual wages for NPs in Indiana fall below the national figure, the six-figure annual wage is competitive with other states.
A recent Indiana nursing licensure survey reports that NPs make up 82.8% of the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) workforce. The highest percentage work in outpatient clinics, followed by hospital settings. While 38% of the state's NPs provide primary care services, they also find employment in acute, emergency, and specialty care; mental health facilities, and medical outreach serving underrepresented populations.
Licensure for Nurse Practitioners in Indiana
The Indiana State Board of Nurses recognizes three categories of advanced practice nurses: certified nurse midwives (CNMs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), and NPs. Only CNMs must apply for specific licenses to practice, but all three categories require state-issued RN licenses.
Indiana NPs may hold either a BSN or MSN with national certification in their intended specialization. Bachelor's degree-holders seeking APRN recognition in Indiana should keep in mind that certification agencies often require an MSN or specific coursework not acquired in typical undergraduate nursing programs.
Although Indiana does not require national certification for graduate-trained NPs, many of these professionals acquire certification in a practice specialization.
Although Indiana does not require national certification for graduate-trained NPs, many of these professionals acquire certification in a practice specialization. The state board mandates that NPs pursuing certification must receive their credential from a nationally recognized organization that requires an examination, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, or the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Because health insurance providers and Medicare generally require certification, services provided by NPs practicing without this credential may be ineligible for payment.
Although Indiana does not issue licenses for NPs, APRNs who need prescriptive authority must apply for a specialized prescriptive license from the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency. APRNs must renew these licenses every other year.
Other Requirements for Indiana Nurse Practitioners
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners classifies Indiana as a reduced practice state. Each NP must enter into a collaborative agreement with a supervising medical professional that limits the practice setting or scope of patient care.
While many states require APRNs to hold at least an MSN degree and national certification, Indiana does not issue licenses directly to NPs unless they seek prescriptive authority to administer medication. The prescriptive authority license requires each applicant to hold an active RN license and an MSN degree, pass a criminal background check, and submit a written collaborative agreement with a supervising healthcare practitioner.
While many states require APRNs to hold at least an MSN degree and national certification, Indiana does not issue licenses directly to NPs unless they seek prescriptive authority to administer medication.
Applicants for the prescriptive authority license must also complete at least two semester hours in a graduate pharmacology course within five years of their application date. NPs who have not completed this course within the five-year timeframe must fulfill 30 continuing education credits, including eight contact hours in pharmacology, or document prescriptive authorization from another jurisdiction. NPs who administer, dispense or procure controlled substances must also obtain an Indiana controlled substances registration.
The prescriptive authority license expires on October 31 of every odd-numbered year. Renewal requires 30 hours of continuing education every two years, including a minimum of eight hours in pharmacology.
Because Indiana does not issue licenses for NPs, out-of-state NPs should apply for RN licensure by endorsement as long as they meet statutory requirements. Applicants for this category of licensure must hold an active RN license in at least one state. Nurses licensed in another jurisdiction may apply for a temporary permit as part of the regular application process.
Out-of-state applicants who plan to prescribe medication as an advanced practice nurse need to apply for the prescriptive authority license. Out-of-state advanced practitioners must document their recent prescriptive experience and complete 30 hours in continuing education, including eight hours in pharmacology.
Indiana State Nurses Association This affiliate of the American Nurses Association offers joint membership with its national organization. Members can take advantage of online continuing education courses, job listings, a monthly newsletter, and professional networking opportunities.
Indiana State Board of Nursing This state agency, under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Department of Health Care and Services, administers regulations governing the scope of practice and standards for nurses. The board establishes policy and issues licenses and prescriptive authority approval.
Society of Nurses in Advanced Practice Established in 1994, this nonprofit organization advances the interests of APRNs in Northwest Indiana. SNAP offers its members continuing education workshops, sponsors scholarships, and provides charitable support to several healthcare-related agencies.
Indiana Action Coalition This initiative, sponsored by the Indiana Center for Nursing, supports nurses as essential partners in providing care and promoting health equity. The Coalition works to implement guidelines developed by the Institute of Medicine's Future of Nursing plan.