What Does an APRN Do?

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is one of the fastest growing careers in health care. An APRN is a registered nurse with advanced Education. APRNs diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications, and may order and interpret diagnostic procedures such as lab tests and EKGs. APRNs work in a wide variety of settings, some of the most common include:

  • Clinics
  • Office practices/Ambulatory
  • Acute care hospitals and organizations
  • Community health centers
  • College campuses
  • Worksite employee health centers

4 APRN Roles

ANA represents the interests of all APRNs, which include:

Certified Nurse Practitioners (NPs)

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs)

Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)

Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs)


Learn more about the many efforts that ANA supports and collaborates on with other organizations to promote and maintain the ability of APRNs to work at the full potential of their education and experience.


7 Basic Qualities and Skills of an APRN


ANCC Certification: The Value of Getting Certified

Hot Jobs in Advanced Practice Nursing

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Nursing Anesthetist

Family Nurse Practitioner

Emergency Department Nurse Practitioner

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Oncology Nurse Practitioner

Cardiology Nurse Practitioner

What Certification Is Needed for An APRN?

Most State Boards of Nursing require that APRNs be certified as a prerequisite for practice.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center awards certification for clinical nurse specialists and some of the most in-demand nurse practitioner specialties. See below for a list of ANCC’s APRN certifications.

AGACNP-BCAdult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse PractitionerANCC
AGCNS-BCAdult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse SpecialistANCC
AGPCNP-BCAdult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse PractitionerANCC
FNP-BCFamily Nurse PractitionerANCC
PMHNP-BCPsychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the life span)ANCC

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board offers competency-based exams for some NP practice areas, while the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists awards the designation Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.

Certified nurse-midwives earn that designation from the American Midwifery Certification Board.

The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board and American Association of Critical Care Nurses to round out the other APRN certifiers.


NPs by the Numbers


Beginning Employment: A Guide for the New Nurse Practitioner

You’ve successfully passed your national certification boards and are ready to seek employment as an APRN. The process is similar to going from your entry level nursing degree graduation to employment, however, there are unique aspects that you will want to consider as you apply for and after you accept a new position as an APRN.



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