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Steps to Becoming an APRN in Rhode Island

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Get your Graduate Degree in Rhode Island
Earn your National Certification in Rhode Island
Apply for your License in Rhode Island
Renewing your License in Rhode Island

The Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education (phone: 401-222-5700, Pamela.McCue@health.ri.gov) of the Rhode Island Department of Health has established, and actively enforces, the prevailing standards for the licensure of advanced practice nurses (APNs) in the state within three categories:

  • Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Psychiatric and Mental Health

To be approved to work as an APN in Rhode Island, you must hold a valid, unencumbered Rhode Island (or Compact state*) RN license.

Rhode Island Statistics

  • 2015 mean salary for NPs in RI: $108,950
  • 2013 NCLEX-RN pass rate for Rhode Island: 87.2%
  • 2014 the State of Rhode Island Board of Nursing Registration and Nurse Education changed some of the licensing rules and title changes regarding APRNs to bring the state closer to the national Consensus Model for APRN Regulation
  • 2014-24 projected increase in job openings for NPs in RI: 18%
  • 2015 active RN licenses in RI: 20,071
  • If you are a new graduate from a Board-approved RN program, you may apply for RN licensure using the Registered Nurse by Examination application.
  • If you are currently licensed by examination or endorsement as an RN in another state, territory, or in the District of Columbia, and you meet the qualifications of RNs in Rhode Island, you may apply for RN licensure using the Registered Nurse by Endorsement application.
  • If you are a graduate from a foreign nursing school, are actively licensed and in good standing in another state or jurisdiction, and have completed the requirements of the Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing, you may apply for RN licensure using the Registered Nurse by Endorsement application.
  • If you are a graduate of a foreign nursing school, and you have completed the requirements of the Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools, you may apply using the Registered Nurse by Examination application.

*Nurse Licensure Compact

Rhode Island is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact. The Compact offers practice privileges for registered nurses in all compact states (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin).

A licensed issued by a party state, including Rhode Island, is valid for practice in all other party states unless clearly designated as being valid only in the state where the license was issued.


Step 1. Get Your Graduate Degree

An approved advanced practice nursing program will be a course of study in an academic institution that is either accredited by a regional accreditation agency or accredited by another agency recognized by the Board. Consult institutional (regional), specialized, and programmatic accreditation agencies listed in the United States Department of Education (USDE) database.

The program should include both a didactic component and a supervised clinical experience.

  • To work toward CRNP licensure in Rhode Island, you must complete an accredited educational program resulting in a master’s degree with a major in nursing.
  • To work toward CNS licensure in Rhode Island, you must complete an accredited educational program resulting in a master’s degree in psychiatric and mental health nursing.
  • To work toward CRNA licensure in Rhode Island, you must graduate from an education program accredited by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) where the objective is to prepare nurses to practice anesthetics.

Prescriptive Privileges

To qualify for prescriptive privileges in Rhode Island as a CRNP, you must complete at least 30 hours of education in pharmacology within 3 years of applying for prescriptive authority.

To qualify for prescriptive privileges in Rhode Island as a CNS, you must complete at least 30 hours of education in pharmacology of psychotropic drugs within 3 years of applying for prescriptive authority.

As a psychiatric and mental health CNS in independent practice, you will not be able to hold prescriptive privileges.


Step 2. Earn Your National Certification

After you complete your graduate education, you are then eligible to take an exam to become nationally certified in your general area of specialty:

  • Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNP)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) in Psychiatric and Mental Health

Within general areas of specialty are a number of subspecialties in which you can be certified specific to a chosen patient population focus.

To practice as an APN in Rhode Island, you must successfully pass a national certification examination administered by a certifying body recognized by the Board:


Step 3. Apply for your License

To apply for a CRNA license or for a CNS or CRNP license with or without prescriptive authority, you need to complete the application for Registered Nurse Practitioner, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, and Psychiatric and Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist.

In addition to a completed application, you will need to provide:

  • A recent passport-sized color photograph
  • An official transcript of your education (which includes the degree granted and the date it was awarded) sent directly from the educational program to the Rhode Island Department of Health, Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education
  • A letter of certification sent directly from the professional certifying body to the Rhode Island Department of Health, Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education
  • A chronological resume of experience, spanning from graduation to present
  • Verification of licensure from each state where you were granted a license to practice as an advanced practice nurse (if applicable), sent directly from the appropriate state board of nursing to the Rhode Island Department of Health, Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education.
  • A completed national and state background check processed through the Department of Attorney General, and sent directly from the Department of Attorney General to the Rhode Island Department of Health, Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education

All components of your application, including related documents, must be mailed to the Rhode Island Department of Health, Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education, Room 105, 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908-5097.

You can expect to receive your license in about 7 to 10 weeks.

Temporary Work Permit

If you are applying for licensure by endorsement, you may be eligible for a 90-day work permit if you meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a current Rhode Island registered nurse license
  • Provide a photocopy of a current and active out-of-state advanced practice license
  • (For CRNAs) Provide a transcript from your nurse anesthesia program and a resume

Note: You are not eligible for prescriptive authority when holding a temporary work permit.

Prescriptive Authority

For prescriptive authority privileges as a CRNP, you must submit the form on page 12 of the application, and provide evidence of the completion of at least 30 contact hours of education in pharmacology in the three years preceding your application for APRN licensure.

For prescriptive authority privileges as a psychiatric and mental health CNS, you must submit the form on page 12 of the application, and provide evidence of the completion of at least 30 contact hours of education in pharmacology of psychotropic drugs and certain legend medications in the three years preceding your application for APRN licensure. You must also provide verification of your current certification as a psychiatric and mental health clinical nurse specialists submitted to the Board by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Controlled Substances Act Registration

If you plan to prescribe controlled substances in Rhode Island as a CRNP or CNS, you must complete the Rhode Island Uniformed Controlled Substances Act Registration (CSR) on page 13 of the application.

Once your CSR is issued, you must then apply to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for a federal registration using DEA Form 224. Note: a federal DEA registration number cannot be issued without proof of an issued CSR. You can also receive an application in the mail, or check the status of your pending DEA registration at 1-888-272-5174.

A copy of your DEA Registration must be provided to the Board within 60 days of issuance by the DEA. In order for your DEA to be valid, it must be issued to your Rhode Island practice address.

Licensing Fees

In addition to your completed APN application and related documents, you must include the appropriate fees in the form of a check or money order made payable to “General Treasurer, State of Rhode Island.” Fees for initial licensure are as follows:

  • Application fee: $130
  • Prescriptive privileges fee: $50
  • Controlled substances registration fee: $140


Step 4. Renewing Your License

All APN licenses in Rhode Island expire on March 1 of every other year (when your license expires will depend on the year you received your initial license). You should receive notification of your renewal on or around January 1.

All RN and APN licenses, as well as prescriptive authority privileges and controlled substance registration, can be renewed online through the Rhode Island Department of Health Online License Renewal Page.

Renewal fees are as follows:

  • RN License Renewal: $90
  • APN License Renewal: $40
  • Prescriptive Authority Renewal: $40
  • Controlled Substances Renewal: $140

All APNs must show evidence of current national certification upon renewal. If you have any questions regarding renewal, or if you want to complete a paper application, you may contact the HEALTH information line at 401-222-5960 (M-F, 8:30AM-4:30PM).

Prescriptive Authority and the Controlled Substances Registration are renewed at the same time as your RN and APN licenses.

Continuing Education

All nurses licensed by the Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education must meet continuing education requirements, even if not currently practicing. All APNs must complete 10 continuing education hours per renewal cycle. One continuing education unit is equivalent to 10 continuing education hours, and one continuing education hour is equivalent to 1 contact hour.

CRNPs with prescriptive privileges must submit proof of 30 hours of continuing education in pharmacology, and CNSs with prescriptive privileges must submit proof of 30 hours continuing education in pharmacology of psychotropic drugs, every 6 years.

Continuing education courses can be taken online or in person through a Board-approved nursing education organization, such as the Rhode Island State Nurse Association or the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a Board-approved nursing school, or any other professional nursing organization recognized by the Board.

Inactive License

If you do not intend to practice nursing during a two-year period, you may have your name transferred to the inactive list by completing the Inactive Status Request form. You are not required to pay any renewal fees while in inactive status. There are no fees associated with this service.

To return to practice after an inactive status, you must contact the Board for a reactivation application (401-222-5700), remit your renewal fee(s), and sign a statement attesting to the completion of your continuing education requirements or the completion of a re-entry program approved the Board.

Lapsed APN License

If you fail to renew your APN license in a timely fashion, the Board may reinstate it upon submission of an application and payment of the current renewal fee(s).You must contact the Board to receive a renewal application (401-222-5700).

Advanced Practice Nurse Associations in Rhode Island

There are a number of professional organizations that support APNs in Rhode Island:


Rhode Island Nurse Practitioner Salary

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners reported in their 2011 National NP Compensation Survey that nurse practitioners in the Mideast region, including Rhode Island, earned an average base salary of $94,337 and enjoyed an average total income of $101,112 with benefits included. Advance for NPs & PAs, a peer reviewed journal and continuing education provider, conducts an annual salary survey of their members. The results of the 2011 survey showed the average salary in Rhode Island to be $96,212. In the same survey, NPs practicing in Providence were shown to earn $91,988 on average.

Registered Nurse Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Norwich-New London CT-RI
2250
72550
Providence-Fall River-Warwick RI-MA
14550
69810

Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Providence-Fall River-Warwick RI-MA
410
69910

Nursing Instructors and Teachers Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual median wage
Providence-Fall River-Warwick RI-MA
Estimate Not Released
67400

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

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Norwich-New London CT-RI
290
106110
Providence-Fall River-Warwick RI-MA
1420
108520

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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