Steps to Becoming an APN in Alabama

alabama nursing

1Get your Graduate Degree in Alabama
2Earn your National Certification in Alabama
3Apply for your Certificate in Alabama
4Renewing 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.

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.

Nurse Practitioner Salary

Area Name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville
NA
136540
Auburn-Opelika
NA
93510
Birmingham-Hoover
1210
98930
Daphne-Fairhope-Foley
130
107390
Decatur
90
98890
Dothan
170
93500
Florence-Muscle Shoals
150
95780
Gadsden
40
81390
Huntsville
630
99850
Mobile
300
90380
Montgomery
230
107380
Northeast Alabama nonmetropolitan area
290
102020
Northwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area
120
116010
Southeast Alabama nonmetropolitan area
120
91030
Southwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area
130
105830
Tuscaloosa
160
99180

Registered Nurse Salary

Area Name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville
NA
61190
Auburn-Opelika
1040
60330
Birmingham-Hoover
16430
62470
Daphne-Fairhope-Foley
1450
60840
Decatur
1030
50460
Dothan
2030
56950
Florence-Muscle Shoals
1400
53130
Gadsden
1170
57920
Huntsville
5230
58600
Mobile
5320
59130
Montgomery
3660
65380
Northeast Alabama nonmetropolitan area
2300
57850
Northwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area
1330
54470
Southeast Alabama nonmetropolitan area
1280
63170
Southwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area
1120
56360
Tuscaloosa
2680
59830

Nursing Instructors and Teachers Salary

Area Name
Employment
Annual median wage
Birmingham-Hoover
340
63440
Mobile
150
91600
Montgomery
60
61600
Southeast Alabama nonmetropolitan area
NA
68480
Southwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area
50
63400

Nurse Administrator Salary

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

Area Name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville
100
85320
Auburn-Opelika
150
94280
Daphne-Fairhope-Foley
100
91360
Decatur
130
85200
Dothan
NA
94570
Florence-Muscle Shoals
200
77020
Gadsden
160
78910
Huntsville
520
90600
Mobile
NA
93900
Montgomery
NA
88860
Northeast Alabama nonmetropolitan area
360
83150
Northwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area
160
78810
Southeast Alabama nonmetropolitan area
260
93270
Southwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area
180
80550
Tuscaloosa
280
95390

Nurse Anesthetists Salary

Area Name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Birmingham-Hoover
NA
204740
Dothan
NA
134980
Huntsville
300
158970
Mobile
140
154230
Southwest Alabama nonmetropolitan area
NA
187380
Tuscaloosa
60
181250

These tables provide salary and employment information compiled by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2020. 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.

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