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Steps to Becoming an APRN in Arizona

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

The Arizona State Board of Nursing (602-771-7800 or arizona@azbn.gov) grants certification to qualified advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) who wish to practice in the state.

The Arizona State Board of Nursing acknowledges four types of APRNs:

  • Registered Nurse Practitioner (RNP)
  • Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

To receive APRN certification in Arizona, you must have a current Arizona RN license or an RN license in a compact party state.

Arizona Job Statistics

  • 2015 mean salary for NPs in AZ: $104,440
  • 2013 NCLEX-RN pass rate for Arizona: 88.2%
  • Occupational growth rate through 2024 for Registered Nurses in Arizona: 22.2 percent
  • Number of RN jobs expected to be added to Arizona between 2014 and 2024: 16,940
  • NPs employed in Arizona: 6439
  • CNS employed in AZ: 185
  • CNMs employed in AZ: 259
  • CRNAs employed in AZ: 834
  • If you hold an RN license in a compact party state, do not apply for Arizona RN licensure unless you plan to declare Arizona as your primary state of residence. (Compact party states include Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin).
  • If you are an RN applicant who trained outside of the United States (including Canada and Puerto Rico), you must first have your educational requirements validated by one of the following agencies prior to applying for licensure by endorsement:

If you are a Canadian graduate, the Canadian nurse licensure board may forward results of your Canadian Licensure Exam and verification status directly to the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

  • If your Arizona RN license is currently inactive, you must submit a renewal application online to reinstate it.

If you already hold an RN license in Arizona, you may proceed with the following steps to become an APRN certified to practice in the state.


Step 1. Get Your Graduate Degree

Completion of a Board-approved graduate-level advanced practice nursing program and receipt of at least a master’s degree is necessary before you can apply for Arizona APRN certification.

Rules on the approval of advanced practice nursing programs in Arizona may be found here.

Qualified Graduate Programs

The program you choose must be approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing and accredited by an agency within the United States Department of Education (USDE)  database (specialized and programmatic accrediting agencies). Nursing Program Approval/Accreditation Basics provides further information on the accreditation and approval process in Arizona.

National accreditation agencies for advanced nursing programs:

  • The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
  • The American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board
  • The National Certification Corporation for Obstetric, Gynecological and Neonatal Nursing Specialties
  • The American College of Nurse Midwives Certification Council
  • The American Association of Critical Care Nurses
  • The American Association of Nurse Anesthetist’s Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs

Course Requirements

Under rules set by the Arizona State Board of Nursing, graduate programs for advanced practice registered nurses must include at least 500 hours of clinical practice.

Your program must also include courses in the application of theory to advanced practice, the application of evidence to advanced practice, advanced pathophysiology, advanced health assessment, and the advanced practice nursing role.

Prescriptive Authority

You will be eligible to apply for prescriptive authority if your program included 45 contact hours of coursework in pharmacology or clinical management of drug therapy within the three years prior to application.

Specialization for APRNs

APRNs may choose to specialize in a variety of areas. The area you choose will determine the educational path you take in your graduate program. Specializations for ARNPs recognized by the Arizona State Board of Nursing:

  • Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • Family NP
  • Acute Care NP
  • Gerontological NP
  • Pediatric NP
  • Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health NP
  • Family Psychiatric and Mental Health NP
  • Women’s Health NP
  • Neonatal NP
  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
  • Adult Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Pediatric Critical Care CNS
  • Neonatal Critical Care CNS
  • Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health CNS
  • Child/Adolescent Psychiatric and Mental Health CNS
  • Gerontological CNS
  • Adult Health CNS
  • Pediatric CNS

Advanced Practice Requirement

You must have completed your advanced practice registered nursing education within the past five years before filing for APRN certification in Arizona, or practiced as an APRN in your category and specialty area within the past five years.


Step 2. Earn Your National Certification

Four categories of APRN are acknowledged by the Arizona State Board of Nursing. You must become nationally certified in the APRN category in which you wish to practice in order to be certified as an APRN. Each specialty is regulated by an independent national certification organization.

You may become certified in one APRN specialty or in multiple specialties.

Advanced Registered Nursing Practice Designation Options

The Arizona State Board of Nursing acknowledges the following APRN designations:

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

Certification Programs

The Arizona State Board of Nursing will accept APRN candidates who are nationally certified by one of the following agencies in one (or more) listed specialty:


Step 3. Apply for Your Certificate

Federal law 8 U.S.C. § 1641, and Arizona State Law § 1-501 require all APRN applicants to provide documentation of citizenship status for licensure. You must provide appropriate documentation from list A & B in the Application Form. Social security cards may not be used as documentation.

Registered Nurse Practitioner (including Nurse Midwife):

Apply for certification using the Application for Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Midwife Certification. Along with your completed application:

  • Have the college/university where you completed your graduate studies send official, sealed transcripts directly to the Arizona State Board of Nursing as well as an official letter verifying your completion of the program
  • Have your national certification agency send verification of your credentials/certification directly to the Board
  • If you seek prescribing and dispensing authority, complete the correct section of the application and submit written documentation of 45 contact hours of education in pharmacology or clinical management of drug

therapy within three years before submitting your APRN application

  • Submit the correct fees ($150 for Nurse Practitioner Application, an additional $150 if applying for prescribing and dispensing authority, $50 for fingerprinting). Payment may be made by credit/debit card, money order, cashier’s check or personal check payable to the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
  • Submit fingerprint card and application (see below)
  • If you plan to prescribe controlled substances, you must apply to the Drug Enforcement Agency for a DEA Number.

Clinical Nurse Specialist:

Apply for certification via the Application for Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Midwife Certification. Along with your completed application:

  • Have the college/university where you completed your graduate studies send official, sealed transcripts directly to the Arizona State Board of Nursing as well as an official letter verifying your completion of the program
  • Have your national certification agency send verification of your credentials/certification directly to the Board
  • Submit $150 application fee, and $50 for fingerprinting by credit/debit card, money order, cashier’s check or personal check payable to the Arizona State Board of Nursing
  • Submit fingerprint card and application (see below)

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist:

Apply for certification by filing the Application for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.  Along with your completed application:

  • Have the college/university where you completed your graduate studies send official, sealed transcripts directly to the Arizona State Board of Nursing as well as an official letter verifying your completion of the program
  • Send a copy of your national certificate from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetist’s Council on Certification
  • Submit written documentation of 45 contact hours of education in pharmacology or clinical management of drug

therapy within three years before submitting your APRN application

  • Submit the correct fees ($150 for CRNA Application, an additional $150 if applying for prescribing and dispensing authority, $50 for fingerprinting). Payment may be made by credit/debit card, money order, cashier’s check or personal check payable to the Arizona State Board of Nursing
  • Submit fingerprint card and application (see below)
  • If you plan to prescribe controlled substances, you must apply to the Drug Enforcement Agency for a DEA Number

Send all of the above items to Arizona State Board of Nursing, 4747 N. 7th Street, Suite 200, Phoenix, AZ 85014-3655.

If the Board requires further information, you will be mailed a deficiency notice. If you fail to respond to the request within the time period stated, your application will be withdrawn and you must file an initial application again. All original fees would apply.

Criminal History Background Check

As an applicant for initial APRN certification in Arizona, you must submit to the Board a full set of fingerprints if you have not done so within the past two years. You are responsible for paying the $50 fee. Either contact the board to obtain a fingerprint card, or wait to receive one in the mail after the Board receives your application.

Review the instructions for submitting a fingerprint card. It may take up to four weeks for the Board to receive your fingerprinting results. You will not receive APRN certification until the results are returned to the Board.


Step 4. Renewing Your Certificate

Your Arizona APRN certificate expires every four years, on or before April 1, at the same time your RN license expires.

You must provide proof of your current national certification at the time of your APRN certificate renewal.

Required Practice Hours During Each Renewal Cycle

You must have completed at least 960 hours of practice within your category and certification specialty during each renewal cycle to maintain APRN certification. This work may have been performed on a paid basis, volunteer basis, or a combination of the two.

Continuing Education

If you do not have the necessary practice hours for renewal of your APRN certificate, you must provide evidence of completing 45 contact hours of continuing education at the advanced pharmacology level and an additional 45 contact hours of CE in your specialty area. You must also engage in a precepted clinical practice, to be supervised by an APRN within your category and specialty.

Your national certification agency also requires continuing education to be completed in order to maintain your credentials. Check with your agency for details.

License Renewal

Renew your RN license and APRN certification online. You will be asked to submit to the Board a copy of your national certification, verification of practice hours and/or of continuing education. Renewal fees may be paid online as well. You can check your renewal status online through the link above.

Expired Certificate Renewal Application

If your APRN certificate has expired, you may obtain a Temporary Advanced Practice Certificate while completing the practice hours and/or continuing education hours necessary to restore your certification fully. A temporary certificate is valid for six months and may be renewed for an additional six months at the discretion of the Board.

Use the AP Temporary License application and submit a $35 fee.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Associations in Arizona

Consider joining one of the professional organization representing APRNs in Arizona:


Arizona Nurse Practitioner Salary

Arizona is experiencing a population boom, and compensates its health professional well as they attend to the growing population. The average base salary for nurse practitioners in the Southwest was $94,868 according to a 2011 survey conducted by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, with at total average income of $104,040 including benefits.  Advance for NPs & PAs, a peer-reviewed journal, conducted a salary survey in 2011 showing NPs in Tucson earning an average salary of $88,326.  Some of the highest average salaries in the state were in Phoenix, where NPs reported making an average of $97,968.

Registered Nurse Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Flagstaff AZ
1430
75510
Lake Havasu City - Kingman AZ
1360
65140
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale AZ
26610
72130
Prescott AZ
1460
73160
Tucson AZ
8220
65080
Yuma AZ
770
Estimate Not Released
North Arizona nonmetropolitan area
1130
62860
Southeast Arizona nonmetropolitan area
730
64210

Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale AZ
720
Estimate Not Released
Tucson AZ
120
55930
North Arizona nonmetropolitan area
40
57310

Nursing Instructors and Teachers Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual median wage
Flagstaff AZ
40
75370
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale AZ
330
66310
Tucson AZ
150
Estimate Not Released

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

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Flagstaff AZ
180
109490
Lake Havasu City - Kingman AZ
210
94130
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale AZ
4710
102290
Prescott AZ
170
92210
Tucson AZ
1070
88580
Yuma AZ
90
97370
North Arizona nonmetropolitan area
220
88090
Southeast Arizona nonmetropolitan area
120
104890

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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