Nurse practitioners must adhere to strict educational requirements. In addition to completing their initial education at the master's or doctorate level, they must also take classes throughout their careers according to state requirements. Some states require nurses to maintain a national certification while others have their own licensing and continuing education requirements.
Purpose of Continuing Education
Continuing education is required of all nurses to maintain their licenses to practice. The medical field is quickly evolving with new technology, treatment options and available medications. Continuing education keeps nurses current on new medical treatments and other issues in their field.
Continuing Education Requirements
Specific continuing education requirements vary by state. For example, Alaska and Arizona do not have their own continuing education requirements, but require nurses to maintain national certifications. Other states have their own requirements. For example, the District of Columbia requires nurses to complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years. Fifteen of those hours must be in the area of pharmacology and nine hours must be relevant to the nurse's specialty.
Many nurse practitioners maintain a national certification through an organization such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. The AANP requires nurses to recertify every five years. Nurses must complete 1,000 hours of clinical work and 75 hours of continuing education relevant to the nurse's specialty to qualify for recertification.
Check with your state nursing board or national certification agency before completing a continuing education course to make sure that it will apply to your continuing education requirements. Most nursing boards require courses to be accredited by the state or a national agency. In addition, some courses may not meet continuing education requirements even if they are accredited. For example, if you are recertifying with AANP, courses such as advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support do not count toward continuing education requirements.
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