Post-graduation costs of becoming a nurse practitioner

nurse reading book

There are a lot of unexpected costs that creep up after you finish NP school and are awarded your diploma. Here are the top 5 costs to be aware of when transitioning from NP student to NP in practice.

1. Board Certification

The application fee to become board certified is one of the more obvious costs students are aware of when becoming a nurse practitioner. Application fees vary by board certifying agency. For the current 2021 year, costs are as follows for each of the 5 NP board certifying agencies:

American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

For which NP specialties? Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Family, Pediatric Primary Care, Psychiatric-Mental Health  

Cost: $295 for an ANA member, $395 for a non-ANA member, $340 for an AANP, GAPNA, or NGNA members

Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)

For which NP specialties? Pediatric Primary Care, Pediatric Acute Care

Cost: $385

National Certification Corporation (NCC)

For which NP specialties? Neonatal, Women’s Health-Gender Related

Cost: $325

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB)

For which NP specialties? Family, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care

Cost: $240 for AANP members, $315 for non-members

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

For which NP specialties? Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care

Cost: $260 for AACN members, $370 for non-members

2. Licensure

Another high cost after you become board certified is the application cost to obtain licensure as an APRN. APRN licensure is what grants you the ability to practice as a nurse practitioner. Without the license, you are unable to practice even if you are board-certified.

Prices for licensure applications vary by state. Some states require paying a separate fee for prescriptive authority (aka the ability to prescribe medications). Other states include prescriptive authority in the cost of the initial APRN licensure application fee. Check your state Board of Nursing for licensure costs.

3. DEA License

A DEA license grants you the ability to prescribe controlled substances as a prescriber. Know that you are not required to prescribe controlled substances as an NP. Some employers want you to have the ability to prescribe controlled substances but know this is a preference and that it is up to you to decide if it’s a license you want to obtain and a class of medications you want to prescribe.

A DEA license is a federally regulated license that is renewed every 3 years. As of October 2020, the cost of a DEA license for an APRN is $888. The cost was increased from $731. Before October 2020, the fee was last increased in 2012. So, know that the fee doesn’t change every 3-year cycle, but it does creep up over time and isn’t a small expense.

4. Collaborating provider

Sometimes employers require that you find your own collaborating provider (if you live in a state that requires you have one). It depends on the collaborating provider, but often they charge you to be their collaborator. Prices can range from provider to provider. Knowing this is a potential cost can help you budget when you are transitioning into practice.

5. Professional attire

We do not think about professional attire when entering practice, but it can be costly to upgrade your wardrobe. Gone are the days of scrubs that you can throw on every day. Likely you will be working in a professional environment that has a dress code. Budgeting for professional attire is a good idea.

Now, this is a lot of expenses to consider post-graduation. Luckily, some of these costs can be negotiated, such as negotiating for your employer to pay for your DEA license, among other things.

If you want more specific tips and structured guidance on what you need to be aware of (and how to do things like how go about negotiating payment of your licensure or DEA license), check out my course that walks you through all the steps to take from before graduation so you don’t have to guess and stumble along in uncertainty.

Get the Psychiatric Templates Bundle!

Your reference for creating clear, high quality notes (for Psych NPs!)

psychiatric evaluation template bundle contents