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What is the difference between the different certification exams to become a nurse practitioner?

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Is one test easier? More widely accepted or preferred? Does it depend on what state you plan to practice in? #fnp #aprn #boardcertified

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Tanya’s Answer

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Which certification exam you take may depend on what type of nurse practitioner you are studying to become. For family nurse practitioners, there is the AANP (aanp.org), and AANC (nursingworld.org). Both are challenging tests. The AANP is known to have more clinical based questions while the AANC is known for more administrative questions.  Passing either exam will allow you to be licensed. The certification for AANP entitles you to use the NP-C, while the AANP allows for FNP-BC.  Very rarely will you see an employer that has a preference for one or the other. Often they will mention one, but really the person writing the ad didn't know others existed.


You must make sure your school is properly accredited so that you qualify to take the certification exam. There are very few states that allow a nurse practitioner to work without being certified.


I took and passed the AANP ten days after I graduated. You get instant pass/fail when you finish, from the testing center.

Tanya recommends the following next steps:

  • Verify that your school is accredited.
  • Verify which certification you need to take, whether family, adult, psychiatric etc.
  • Start reviewing now.
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