Steps to Becoming an APN in Alabama

alabama nursing

Get your Graduate Degree in Alabama
Earn your National Certification in Alabama
Apply for your Certificate in Alabama
Renewing your Certificate in Alabama

The Alabama Board of Nursing (334-293-5200 or abn@abn.state.al.us) grants approval for qualified registered nurses to work as Advanced Practice Nurses (APN) in four categories:

Alabama Job Statistics

  • 2015 mean salary for NPs in AL: $93,820
  • 2013 NCLEX-RN pass rate in Alabama: 83.1%
  • Feb 2017 Active ANPs in Alabama: 5380
    • CRNPs in collaborative practice: 3591
    • CNMs in collaborative practice: 13
    • Active CRNAs: 1695
    • Active CNSs: 81
  • Certified nurse midwife (CNM)
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP)
  • Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)

To be approved to work as an APN, you must have an active, unencumbered Alabama RN license. If you are a licensed RN in Alabama, proceed to Step 1. If you do not have an active RN license in Alabama, your options for retaining one are as follows:

  • If you have never been licensed as an RN in Alabama or another state, apply online for Alabama RN licensure by examination here.
  • If your Alabama RN license lapsed, you may apply for reinstatement here.

The procedure for becoming certified to work in advanced practice nursing in Alabama is outlined below.


Step 1. Get Your Graduate Degree

You must have at least a master’s degree in advanced practice nursing corresponding to the APN category in which you plan to work. The program from which you graduate must be recognized by the Alabama Board of Nursing and accredited by an organization recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE), or the Council of Higher Education Accreditation.

Applicants for CRNP and CNM are exempt from the master’s degree requirement if one of the following applies:

  • You graduated before 1996 from a Board-recognized post-bachelor’s program to prepare NPs or nurse midwives
  • You graduated before 1984 from a non-bachelor’s program preparing NPs or nurse midwives

Applicants for CRNA are exempt from the master’s degree requirement if:

  • You graduated before December 2003 from an accredited school of nurse anesthesia

Standards of approval set forth by the Alabama Board of Nursing for nursing education programs may be found here. The Alabama Board of Nursing also follows the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Requirements for Accrediting Agencies and Criteria for APRN Certification Programs.

Qualified Graduate Programs

In addition to accreditation by the above organizations, a graduate nursing program must be accredited by the appropriate national specialty-certifying agency, as follows:

Course Requirements

The Alabama Board of Nursing follows the national APRN Consensus Model, which states that advanced practice nursing education must include the following core courses:

  • Advanced pathophysiology/physiology (that includes general principles applicable across the human lifespan)
  • Advanced health assessment (that includes assessment of all systems of the body, advanced assessment methods, techniques, and concepts)
  • Advanced pharmacology (that includes pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacotherapeutics of broad categories of agents)

Prescriptive Authority

If you can prove completion of a course in pharmacology, or integration of pharmacological theory and clinical application, you may be granted prescriptive authority as a CRNP in Alabama. Additionally, you must be engaged in a collaborative practice with a physician to legally prescribe medications.

You and your collaborating physician must state, in writing, the types of drugs you will prescribe, as well as dosage, quantity and refills. Additionally, you may not prescribe drugs for yourself, immediate family members, or persons who are not patients of your practice.

Specialization

If you are a student who plans to become a CRNP or CNS in Alabama, you may choose to pursue specialized education in an area targeting a specific population.

Graduate programs offered in Alabama for CRNP and CNS specialties include:

  • Acute Care
  • Family Practice
  • Gerontology
  • Neonatal/Infant
  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatrics
  • Trauma
  • Women’s Health

Holding a national certification in one or more of these areas allow you to legally practice in that area of specialty.


Step 2. Earn Your National Certification

The Alabama Board of Nursing requires that you first become nationally certified in the area of Advanced Practice Nursing (APN) in which you wish to work. The certification process for each specialty varies according to the rules of its independent national certification organization.

Certification examinations are required for all approved specialties. You must satisfy other certification requirements according to the specialty you choose and the mandates of the certification agency that grants your certification.

You may choose to become certified in one APN area or multiple APN areas.

Advanced Nursing Designation Options

The Alabama Board of Nursing recognizes the following APN categories:

  • Certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP)
  • Certified nurse-midwife (CNM)
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)

Certification Programs

If you become nationally certified in an area not currently recognized by the Alabama Board of Nursing, you may petition the Board to include it.

National certification organizations for APNs currently recognized by the Alabama Board of Nursing include:

Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS):

Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM):

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA):

Certified Nurse Practitioners (CNP):

If you have not yet received national certification from the proper agency, you must do so before moving forward in Alabama’s APN certification process. Contact the agency that offers the credentials you seek for further information.


Step 3. Apply for Your Certificate

Your application for APN certification must include your US social security number. The Alabama Board of Nursing will not process applications without a social security number. Call the Alabama Board of Nursing at 334-293-5200 for further information on this mandatory federal requirement.

Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner:

You must apply to become a CRNP using the Alabama Board of Nursing’s online application system. You may pay the initial approval fee of $150 online via credit/debit card. When filling out the online application, you will be asked to mail the following documentation to the Alabama Board of Nursing:

  • Have all colleges you attended to earn your Advanced Practice Nursing graduate degree send sealed, official college transcripts to the Alabama Board of Nursing
  • Have your national certifying agency mail the Alabama Board of Nursing a copy of your current national certification
  • Complete the Application to Add or Change Collaborative Practice signed by the Alabama physician with whom you will collaborate and send it along with the $50 fee payable via certified check, money order, business or corporate check to the Alabama Board of Nursing.

Certified Nurse Midwife:

You must apply to become a CNM via the Alabama Board of Nursing’s online application system. You may pay the initial approval fee of $150 online via credit/debit card. When filling out the online application, you will be asked to mail the following documentation to the Alabama Board of Nursing

  • Have all colleges you attended to earn your Advanced Practice Nursing graduate degree send sealed, official college transcripts to the Alabama Board of Nursing
  • Complete the Application to Add or Change Collaborative Practice signed by the Alabama physician with whom you will collaborate and mail it along with a $50 fee payable via certified check, money order, business or corporate check to the Alabama Board of Nursing.
  • Have your national certifying agency mail the Alabama Board of Nursing a copy of your current national certification

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist:

Apply online to become a CRNA via the Alabama Board of Nursing’s online application system. You may pay the initial approval fee of $150 online via credit/debit card. When filling out the online application, you will be asked to mail the following documentation to the Alabama Board of Nursing:

  • Have all colleges you attended to earn your Advanced Practice Nursing graduate degree send sealed, official college transcripts to the Alabama Board of Nursing
  • Have your national certifying agency mail the Alabama Board of Nursing a copy of your current national certification

Clinical Nurse Specialist:

Apply online via the Alabama Board of Nursing’s online application system. You may pay the initial approval fee of $150 online via credit/debit card. When filling out the online application, you will be asked to mail the following documentation to the Alabama Board of Nursing:

  • Have your national certifying agency mail the Alabama Board of Nursing a copy of your current national certification
  • Have all colleges you attended to earn your Advanced Practice Nursing graduate degree send sealed, official college transcripts to the Alabama Board of Nursing

All documentation must be mailed to Alabama Board of Nursing, P. O. Box 303900, Montgomery AL 36130-3900. It may take up to two weeks to process your application. Notice of your APN approval will be sent to the mailing address listed on your application.

Criminal History Background Check

The Alabama Board of Nursing does not conduct criminal history background checks on applicants for APN approval. However, at the time of application, you must disclose any criminal arrests and convictions in your history, even if the charges were dismissed and/or the case was closed. You may be asked to submit court documentation of any criminal proceedings you were involved in.

The Board will evaluate applicants with misdemeanor or felony convictions on a case-by-case basis and render a decision as to whether or not to issue licensure.


Step 4. Renewing Your Certificate

Your APN approval to practice in Alabama must be renewed every two years for a fee of $50, along with your RN license renewal (which carries a $75 fee).  These fees are due between September 1 and December 31 in even-numbered years. APN renewal must be completed online through the Alabama Board of Nursing’s online application system.

Although renewal is handled online, certain documentation must be sent to the Alabama Board of Nursing every two years for APN renewal:

  • Proof of active National Certification
  • Transcripts/documentation showing 24 contact hours of continuing education from approved providers

Mail all of the above documents to Alabama Board of Nursing, P. O. Box 303900, Montgomery AL 36130-3900.

Continuing Education

You must complete 24 contact hours from approved CE providers to maintain your RN license.

If you are a CRNP, CNM or CRNA, you must also complete six contact hours of pharmacology continuing education every two years for APN renewal.

Additionally, you must complete the continuing education requirements of your national certification agency.  Contact your certification organization for details:

Proof of current national certification must be provided to the Alabama Board of Nursing every two years at the time of your APN renewal.

Expired/Inactive Certificate Renewal

If your APN approval has lapsed, you may request a reinstatement here. Send a copy of your current, active Alabama RN license, payment of current renewal ($50) and reinstatement fees ($50), and official notification of your current, active national certification, to the Board at the address above.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Associations in Alabama

There are many professional organizations supporting Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) in Alabama. They include:


Alabama Nurse Practitioner Salary

The 2011 American Academy of Nurse Practitioners’ National NP Compensation Survey reported that NPs surveyed in the Southeastern United States, including Alabama, reported an average base salary of $87,653, with a total reported average income of $96,916 including benefits. Nurse Practitioners in the capitol city of Montgomery enjoyed the highest average salaries in the state, earning $86,666 on average, according to a national salary survey conducted in 2011 by Advance for NPs & PAs, a continuing education provider for nurse practitioners. The same survey showed NPs in Birmingham earning $84,037, and an average salary of $82,250 in Mobile.

Registered Nurse Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Anniston-Oxford AL
970
55280
Birmingham-Hoover AL
14710
60440

Columbus GA-AL

2630
61310
Decatur AL
980
51390
Dothan AL
1750
55800
Florence-Muscle Shoals AL
1370
53000
Gadsden AL
980
54790
Huntsville AL
4180
58060
Mobile AL
4990
56190
Montgomery AL
3170
61180
Tuscaloosa AL
2240
58930
Northwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area
1520
55200
Northeast Alabama nonmetropolitan area
2520
51930
Southwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area
2490
57470
Southeast Alabama nonmetropolitan area
1350
55270

Nursing Instructors and Teachers Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual median wage
Birmingham-Hoover AL
280
66810
Columbus GA-AL
120
53870
Huntsville AL
90
53710
Mobile AL
180
60570
Montgomery AL
40
62560

Nurse Administrator Salary
(Includes Nurse Managers, Directors, and Chief Nursing Officers)

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Anniston-Oxford AL
40
75690
Auburn-Opelika AL
50
78920
Birmingham-Hoover AL
670
92420
Columbus GA-AL
410
83070
Decatur AL
50
86480
Dothan AL
90
98080
Florence-Muscle Shoals AL
50
82250
Gadsden AL
100
87140
Huntsville AL
140
75860
Mobile AL
210
103090
Montgomery AL
200
83810
Tuscaloosa AL
100
95500
Northwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area
80
85270
Northeast Alabama nonmetropolitan area
130
77820
Southwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area
140
83000
Southeast Alabama nonmetropolitan area
80
80520

These tables provide salary and employment information compiled by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2011. The data contained herein does not include self-employed nurses in independent practice.

When responding to the salary survey, some advanced practice registered nurses identified themselves as RNs while others identified themselves as health diagnosing and treating practitioners. When available, both sets of data were included for comparative purposes.

* These figures represent earnings that are at or above $90.00 per hour or $187,199 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish earnings beyond $90.00 hourly or $187,199 yearly.

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