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The Alabama Board of Nursing oversees nursing licensure in the state. Higher credentials, such as the certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP), require advanced criteria, including national certifications and a graduate degree. These criteria verify that individuals understand healthcare concepts and can deliver expert care.
CRNP candidates should graduate from master's nurse practitioner programs in Alabama. These programs train learners to assess, diagnose, and treat patients for different issues and may also include clinical experiences. Candidates can also earn a doctorate in nursing. While not required for certification, these degrees may increase career opportunities by indicating more in-depth knowledge.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) can deliver more advanced services than registered nurses (RNs), but cannot act as independent physicians. In fact, Alabama NPs enter collaborative agreements with physicians which outline the services they can perform. Common responsibilities for NPs include examining patients, requesting lab tests, and referring patients to specialists. NPs often work within a specialization, such as geriatrics or pediatrics.
Keep reading to explore CRNP criteria, salary and employment trends, and the best nurse practitioner programs in Alabama.
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Requirements to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Alabama
Aspiring NPs in Alabama can fulfill the requirements to become an NP in the state by completing the steps below.
- Before becoming an NP, candidates must earn an RN license. This process requires an application and a $100 fee, along with a $3.50 transaction fee. Temporary permits cost $50.
- RN applicants must complete a nursing program that reflects the state's nursing standards. The Alabama Board of Nursing must receive final transcripts from the school through the mail.
- Other requirements for an RN license include evidence of citizenship or status as a legal resident. This evidence may include a driver's license, birth certificate, re-entry permit, or permanent resident card. Applicants also need a social security number.
- Candidates must register for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The board determines each applicant's exam eligibility. Eligible applicants receive an authorization to test. Ineligible applicants must re-register after one year. Test-takers must pay a $200 registration fee.
- Individuals should prepare for the NCLEX by reviewing site information and completing practice exams. Test-takers must complete the NCLEX at the testing site on the scheduled exam day. Depending on the exam's structure, candidates may complete more than 200 questions in no more than six hours. Individuals receive exam scores within six weeks of the testing date.
- Applicants who meet Alabama's RN criteria receive an RN license. Recipients must renew this credential every two years by completing 24 continuing education (CE) hours.
- To earn the CRNP, candidates must pursue at least a master's degree that deals with nursing. Nurse practitioner schools in Alabama insist on minimum admission criteria, which may include recommendation letters, standardized test scores, and personal statements.
- When choosing nurse practitioner programs in Alabama, applicants should consider specializations that may impact career options. For instance, someone who wants to work in pediatrics should select a program that addresses child health more than gerontology. High-demand specializations in the state include primary care, geriatrics, and neonatal care.
- The CRNP calls for national certification through organizations like the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Each certification involves unique criteria, which may include fieldwork, exams, degrees, and fees.
- Candidates must complete the CRNP application and pay the $175 fee. Alabama also requires submission of two documents for the CRNP: the Quality Assurance Plan and the Standard Protocol. These documents outline the NP's specialization and responsibilities. The documents also list the physician with whom the NP will work.
- Candidates enter a professional agreement with a physician and submit the Collaborative Practice Commencement Form. This form gives details about the partnered physician and the expected hours that the practitioner and physician will work together. Establishing this agreement requires a $200 fee.
- Individuals with advanced nursing credentials must earn six CE hours every two years that address pharmacology for renewal.
In-Demand Nursing Specialty Eligibility Requirements in Alabama
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (AGPCNP-BC)Years of Experience: Candidates need an RN license. Clinical Hours Required: The AGPCNP-BC requires 500 clinical hours. Faculty must supervise this experience. Continuing Education: Renewal occurs after five years and calls for 75 CE hours. For NPs, one-third of these hours must relate to pharmacotherapeutics. Other: Applicants must complete an exam, earn an advanced degree, and complete courses in pharmacology and assessment.
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (ACNPC-AG)Years of Experience: Certification calls for an RN license. Clinical Hours Required: Qualifying educational programs require at least 500 clinical, supervised hours of fieldwork. Continuing Education: Individuals can renew their certifications through a combination of fieldwork, CE points, or examination. All options, however, require at least 25 CE points. Other: Candidates must take a 175-question exam.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP-BC)Years of Experience: The NNP-BC mandates an RN license. Clinical Hours Required: During academic programs, candidates must complete didactic and clinical fieldwork. Clinical hours must total a minimum of 600. Continuing Education: Candidates must renew these certifications after three years by earning CE hours. Other: Individuals have eight years after earning their degrees to obtain this certification.
Salary and Career Information
RNs in Alabama earn more than $36,000 less, on average, than NPs in the state. This difference reflects national salaries as well, with NPs throughout the U.S. averaging over $34,000 more than RNs. Growth projections are also higher for NPs in the state and nation. In fact, jobs for Alabama NPs are projected to grow 17.5% more than jobs for RNs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Alabama averages for RN and NP salaries remain lower than national averages. In particular, NPs average $95,970. The national average surpasses this amount by around $14,000. However, candidates can increase their earning potential by pursuing jobs in high-paying metropolitan areas, such as Montgomery and Jacksonville. They can also specialize in areas that generally offer higher pay, such as mental health. Candidates should consider these specializations before enrolling in NP programs in Alabama.
|Registered Nurse||Nurse Practitioner|
|Alabama Mean Salary||$59,470||$95,970|
|U.S. Mean Salary||$75,510||$110,030|
|Alabama Job Growth||12.9%||30.4%|
|U.S. Job Growth||14.8%||36.1%|
Source: BLS, Projections Central
|Columbus, Georgia - Alabama||$111,400||100|
|Anniston - Oxford - Jacksonville, Alabama||$103,870||120|
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