The road to becoming a family nurse practitioner is not an easy one. However, the late nights studying, the long clinical hours, and the challenging certification exam all feel worthwhile when you add your new professional credentials to your name.
However, as you earn new credentials, the complexities of signing your name increase. You may have noticed conflicting information on this subject.
When you search for information on how to list your FNP credentials, you will often find conflicting answers. Some sources advise that when listing academic credentials you use only “NP” to your name. The idea behind this format is to promote public and professional awareness of the nurse practitioner profession.
While that method is certainly helpful, there are many situations in which the full “alphabet soup” of designations is preferable.
To clear things up, here is what we recommend when you sign your name and list your credentials:
1. Place your highest academic degree immediately after your surname.
Your highest academic degree should be listed BEFORE your professional designation and your certification credentials. Here are some examples of academic degrees commonly held by family nurse practitioners:
Master of Science (MS)
Master of Nursing (MN)
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc)
Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS)
If you are unsure of how to list your academic degree, check with your school to confirm that you are using the correct designation.
2. Identify your family nurse practitioner certification according to the certifying body.
Family nurse practitioners should use the credential that corresponds to the board exam that they passed:
American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC exam): FNP-BC
Example:An ANCC-board certified family nurse practitioner who holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice:
Maria Smith, DNP, FNP-BC
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP exam):
FNP-C. All AANPCP certified NPs can also use the NP-C designation without indicating specialty.
Example:An AANPCB-certified family nurse practitioner who holds a Master of Science:
James Wright, MS, FNP-C
James Wright, MS, NP-C
3. Address any special circumstances.
There are situations in which you will need to add other credentials or designations to your name:
Where the Consensus Model for APRN Regulation is in effect, you should place APRN immediately before your FNP certification title.
Where state law grants and mandates a specific advanced practice license designation, such as ARNP or APN, it is not necessary to include this designation as part of your formal credentials.
Add any honorific designations to the end of your credentials.
For family nurse practitioners who have been wondering how to list your FNP credentials, we hope this clears things up. In day-to-day use (and unless mandated by the state), keep your title simple. During situations in which you need to flex your full professional credentials, like your CV, professional directories or bylines, refer to this guide so that you can show them off in the correct format.
Fitzgerald is on your side
No matter where you are in your NP career, Fitzgerald Health Education Associates provides the resources and tools you need to accomplish your goals and sharpen your skills. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions about FNP certification or continuing education options.