Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner:

Gaining FNP Certification

An overview of the steps you need to take to become an NP

Samuel Merritt University is working to make its Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP) degree program available online across the United States, (plus two required on-campus intensives at the Sacramento campus). This process involves liaising with state boards of nursing, education regulators, and other interested parties. Each state has different requirements for nursing licensure and FNP certification, but in general, the process involves:

  • Successfully earning your Master of Science in Nursing from a regionally accredited institution, like Samuel Merritt University, in a program approved by either the CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) or the NLNAC (National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission).
  • Taking and passing the examination provided by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to attain the Family Nurse Practitioner – Board Certified credential.
  • Renewing your FNP certification every five years.

Other fees and requirements may apply. Always check with your state’s board of nursing to be sure you are capable of meeting licensure and FNP certification requirements.

Full Practice, Reduced Practice, or Restricted Practice?

State boards of nursing set the guidelines and regulations that define how family nurse practitioners can operate within their states. Roughly speaking, there are three types of states:

Full Practice – As an NP in a full practice state, you have complete autonomy. You may diagnose, treat, prescribe for, and counsel patients independent of a physician. You may also establish your own private practice.

Reduced Practice – In a reduced practice state, your scope of care is greatly expanded beyond that of an RN, but you will need to have a collaborative relationship with a physician in order to provide certain types of care—for example, to prescribe certain controlled substances.

Restricted Practice – Restricted practice states require NPs to operate under supervision of a physician. All treatments and prescriptions you make will need a sign-off from your supervising M.D. in these states, and you cannot enter private practice.

We currently offer our online MSN-FNP program in the following states:

  • Arizona – Full Practice
  • California – Restricted Practice
  • Colorado – Full Practice
  • Illinois – Reduced Practice
  • Nevada – Full Practice
  • Ohio – Reduced Practice
  • Texas – Restricted Practice
  • Virginia – Restricted Practice

Become a Family Nurse Practitioner

Contact Samuel Merritt University to learn how you can earn your Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner degree today!