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Steps to Becoming an APN in Alaska

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Get your Graduate Degree in Alaska
Earn your National Certification in Alaska
Apply for your Advanced Practice Authorization in Alaska
Renewing your Authorization in Alaska

The Alaska Board of Nursing (907-269-8161 or license@commerce.state.ak.us) distributes authorizations to those who qualify to work as advanced practice nurses (APN) in the state.

Alaska recognizes three types of APNs: Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANP), who may work as nurse practitioners or nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA).

APN authorization in Alaska is dependent upon having a current Alaska Registered Nurse (RN) license.

Alaska Job Statistics

  • 2015 mean salary for NPs in AK: $117,080
  • 2013 NCLEX-RN pass rate for Alaska: 84%
  • Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Midwives, Nurse Anesthetists and Registered Nurses were all among the top-paying jobs in Alaska for 2016
  • January 2015, the Alaska Board of Nursing said APNs may practice via telehealth only if a patient/provider relationship is established prior to the telehealth assessment
  • January 2014, the Alaska Board of Nursing expanded the scope of practice for Neonatal Nurse Practitioners to include infant circumcision

If you wish to receive APN authorization in Alaska, read on.


Step 1. Get Your Graduate-Level Education

You must complete a graduate-level advanced nursing program in your chosen specialty area to receive APN authorization in Alaska.

Alaska’s Nursing Statutes lists detailed requirements for APN education for nurse practitioners and CRNAs.

Qualified Graduate Programs

The program you choose must be approved by the Alaska Board of Nursing and by a nursing program or institution accreditation agency recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) (review both “institutional” and “specialized and programmatic” accrediting agencies.

Course Requirements

Alaska’s course requirements vary depending upon the APN specialty you pursue:

Advanced Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Midwife:

  • Your graduate program must be at least one year long
  • It must include classroom coursework and 500 separate hours of clinical practice
  • It must offer graduate coursework of at least three credits each in each of the following areas:
    • Advanced pathophysiology
    • Advanced pharmacotherapeutics
    • Advanced physical assessment

 Registered Nurse Anesthetist:

  • Your graduate program must be offered by an accredited school of nurse anesthesia

Prescriptive Authority

Both Advanced Nurse Practitioners and Registered Nurse Anesthetists may apply for prescriptive authority in Alaska. Dispensing standards for both classes of APNs may be found in the state’s Nursing Statutes.

Advanced Nurse Practitioner:

In order to prescribe legend drugs, you must complete 15 contact hours of education in advanced pharmacology and clinical management of drug therapy within the two years prior to applying for APN authorization. You must also have one year of experience as an ANP administering and prescribing legend drugs under supervision.

Registered Nurse Anesthetist:

In order to prescribe legend or controlled drugs, you must complete 15 contact hours of education in advanced pharmacology relating to the administration of anesthesia within the two years prior to applying for APN authorization.

Specialization for ANPs

Advanced Nurse Practitioners in Alaska may work as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, or in both roles. Your education and training – as well as your national certification – must be specific to one of the following population target areas:

  • Acute care/emergency care
  • Adult
  • Family
  • Geriatric
  • Neonatal
  • Pediatric
  • Women’s health
  • Family psychiatric/mental health
  • Adult psychiatric/mental health

Preceptorship

You may need to apply for authorization to work in clinical practice prior to completing your nurse practitioner studies. This may occur if your school is out-of-state or if you have a lapsed nurse practitioner authorization and need to make up clinical hours prior to earning full authorization. In either case, you must apply for a preceptorship.

Use the Advanced Nurse Practitioner Preceptorship Registration Form and send it, along with $50 payable to the Alaska Board of Nursing, 550 W 7th Avenue, Suite 1500, Anchorage, AK 99501. Preceptorships expire 12 months after authorization and may be renewed once.


Step 2. Earn Your National Certification

The Alaska Board of Nursing recognizes two classifications of advanced practice nurses and various areas of specialty within those classifications. You must become nationally certified in your area of specialty by an independent certification organization.

Once obtained, maintenance of your national certification will require completion of a certain number of continuing education hours. As an Alaska APN, you may become nationally certified in one or multiple areas.

Advanced Practice Nursing Designation Options

The Alaska Board of Nursing recognizes these APN designations:

  • Advanced nurse practitioner (ANP), who may work as:
    • ANP
    • Certified nurse-midwife (CNM)
    • Registered nurse anesthetist (RNA)

Certification Programs

The Alaska Board of Nursing accepts national certification programs offered by the following agencies for APNs who wish to become authorized to work in Alaska:

If you were certified by a national certification agency not recognized by the Alaska Board of Nursing, you must provide the Board with documentation in order to evaluate that agency’s authority. This information should include program accreditation, development and administration of the certification examination, and criteria used in program approval (including curriculum, goals, length of program and qualifications of faculty).


Step 3. Apply for Your Advanced Practice Authorization

Alaska Statute 08.01.060 states that you must have a US social security number in order to apply for APN authorization in Alaska. If you are a foreign resident and cannot obtain as US social security number, contact the Alaska Board of Nursing at 907-269-8161 for further instructions.

Advanced Nurse Practitioner:

If you wish to become an ANP and work as a nurse practitioner or nurse midwife in the state of Alaska, file the Advanced Nurse Practitioner Application. The application must be completed, signed and notarized, and accompanied by:

  • A sealed, certified college transcript (must be sent directly to the Board from the institution you attended) verifying completion of an advanced nurse practitioner graduate program
  • Copy of your national certification
  • If your national certification agency does not require continuing education, copies of certificates reflecting completion of 30 contact hours of CE within the past two years
  • Consultation and Referral Plan (included within application packet), describing your clinical practice, method of routine consultations and referrals, and quality assurance process you will use to evaluate your practice
  • Reference form (included within application packet) to be completed in its entirety by one of three professional references listed on your application
  • If you seek prescriptive authority, copies of certificates reflecting 15 contact hours of education in advanced pharmacology and clinical management of drug therapy in the past two years, plus course outlines. Check the box on the Advanced Nurse Practitioner Application indicating that you want prescriptive authority and submit the Application for Authorization to Prescribe and Dispense Controlled Substances.
  • Applicable fees payable via check/money order to State of Alaska:
    • $50 Application fee
    • $60 ANP Authorization fee
    • $50 Prescriptive authority fee – legend drugs
    • $50 Prescriptive authority fee – controlled substances

Registered Nurse Anesthetist:

If you wish to receive authorization as an RNA in Alaska, complete the Registered Nurse Anesthetist Application. The application must be completed, signed and notarized, and accompanied by:

  • A sealed, certified college transcript (must be sent directly to the Board from the institution you attended)verifying completion of a graduate program of a school of nurse anesthesia
  • Copy of your national certification
  • Written practice guidelines (included within application packet), listing the site of your clinical practice; the physician, dentist or anesthesiologist with whom you most frequently collaborate and method of communication, and quality assurance process you will use to evaluate your practice
  • Reference form (included within application packet) to be completed in its entirety by one of three professional references listed on your application
  • If you seek prescriptive authority (which includes controlled substances), copies of certificates reflecting 15 contact hours of education in advanced pharmacology related to the administration of anesthesia in the past two years, plus course outlines
  • Applicable fees payable via check/money order to State of Alaska:
    • $50 Application fee
    • $60 Initial RNA authorization fee
    • $50 Prescriptive authority /controlled substances fee

Mail all of the above documentation to Alaska Board of Nursing, 550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1500, Anchorage, AK 99501.

It may take up to four weeks for the Alaska Board of Nursing to process your application. They will notify you in writing (via postal mail) of approval of your authorization or of any deficiencies in your application you need to correct to gain approval.

Criminal History Background Check

When you applied for your Alaska RN license, you were subjected to a criminal history background check, including fingerprinting. This need not be repeated when you apply for APN authorization.


Step 4. Renewing Your Authorization

Your APN authorization expires every two years, on November 30 of even-numbered years, at the same time your RN license expires. You cannot renew APN authorization without first renewing your RN license.

Continuing Education (CE)

The Alaska Board of Nursing does not require APNs to complete continuing education to maintain APN authorization. However, if you have prescriptive authority and wish to renew it, you must complete continuing education requirements during each two-year renewal period:

ANP:

  • 12 contact hours of CE in advanced pharmacotherapeutics
  • 12 contact hours of CE in clinical management of patients

RNA:

  • 8 contact hours of CE in pharmacology

Your national certification agency will likely require CE to maintain certification. Contact your national certification agency for information on their CE requirements.

You must provide proof that your national certification is active when you renew your Alaska APN authorization.

Continuing Competency for RNs During Each Renewal Cycle

Although APNs do not need to fulfill any CE or practice hour requirements for renewal (beyond those required for prescriptive authority and national certification), to maintain your Alaska RN license and show continuing competency, you must fulfill one of the following requirements:

  • 30 contact hours of continuing education
    • At least 20 of those hours must be sponsored or approved by one of the following agencies:
      • American Nurses Association
      • Alaska Nurses Association
      • American Medical Association
      • Alaska Medical Association
      • Nurse practitioner certification agency
      • Nurse anesthetist certification agency
      • Another organization on the Board’s list of approved continuing education sponsors
  • 320 hours of employment in registered nursing during the past two years

You may be subject to a random audit, so although you need not submit proof to the Board, you must maintain your own record.

License Renewal Notice

The Alaska Board of Nursing will mail you a renewal notice at least 60 days before your authorization is set to expire.

Use the Advanced Nurse Practitioner Biennial Renewal Form or the Registered Nurse Anesthetist Biennial Renewal Form. Attach a current, valid copy of your national certification. If you wish to renew Prescriptive Authority, verify that you have completed the correct number of hours of CE and attach proof. Attach the authorization renewal fee of $60, via check or money order payable to the State of Alaska, or via credit card form attached to the application.

Mail all of the above to Alaska Board of Nursing, 550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1500, Anchorage, AK 99501.

Expired License Reinstatement Application

If your RN license has lapsed, you may apply for reinstatement.

  • Submit verification of nursing licensure if you held licensure in other jurisdictions during the time your Alaska authorization was inactive
  • Submit proof of fulfilling continuing competency requirements (as above)
  • If your license has been lapsed for more than one year, you must submit to another criminal history background check
  • If you have not worked in the past five years, you must submit proof of completing a nursing refresher course approved by the Board
  • File the Application for Reinstatement of Nursing License with the appropriate fees and mail to the above address

Advanced Practice Nurse Associations in Alaska

Consider joining one of the following professional associations that support the APN profession in Alaska:


Alaska Nurse Practitioner Salary

Nurse Practitioners along the Western seaboard enjoy some of the highest average salaries in the nation, and NPs in Alaska are no exception. The 2011 American Academy of Nurse Practitioners’ National NP Compensation Survey showed NPs in the far west earning an average base salary of $97,567, with a total income of $107,518 including bonuses.  Advance for NPs & PAs, a professional organization, published a survey showing nurse practitioners in Anchorage earning an average of $102,500 in 2011, with some of the highest salaries found in the capitol city of Juneau, where NPs enjoyed an average salary of $117,000.

Registered Nurse Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Anchorage AK
3340
81460
Fairbanks AK
Estimate Not Released
77140
Southeast Alaska nonmetropolitan area
520
71810
Railbelt / Southwest Alaska nonmetropolitan area
680
76890

Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Anchorage AK
70
87370

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

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Anchorage AK
440
107320
Fairbanks AK
50
82470
Southeast Alaska nonmetropolitan area
80
98980
Railbelt / Southwest Alaska nonmetropolitan area
90
103440

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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