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How to Get Certified as a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Updated on January 20, 2012

The National Certification Corporation (NCC) has a certification dedicated to nurse practitioners that specialize in health care for women. Eligible candidates to become a certified women's health nurse practitioner must have experience and pass an exam.

All applicants must first graduate from an RN program and then get licensed as a registered nurse in the jurisdiction where they work. RN's educated in either the United States or Canada qualify for certification if all other requirements are met.

Most NCC and other nursing certification programs require actual work experience in the field for which nurse-practitioner certification is sought. However, the National Certification Corporation does not require specific experience to become a certified women's health care nurse practitioner. Instead, it focuses on formal education. All applicants must have at least a master's degree in a nurse practitioner program that has a concentration in health care for women.

One odd rule is that you must have graduated in 2005 or later. It seems more appropriate to require recent work experience as opposed to recent education. This seems to be a misplaced crossover of that common certification rule, as people are clearly not going to go back to school if they already graduated. Conversely, someone could always get another job in the field and get recent experience. The reason for this rule is not clear on the NCC website, but it means some older nurses - even those highly educated - will not qualify for the NCC women's health care nurse practitioner exam.

NCC has a bibliography to help you prepare for the exam. Some of these textbooks on the list may have been what you studied in your nurse-practitioner graduate degree program. Just make sure you are using the most recent editions of these resources.

Use the textbooks to learn the actual material and the content outline to guide your topical review of the women's health material.

Try to answer the practice questions before taking the actual test. If you are having problems getting the correct answers, then you know that you need to go back and study some more before you are ready to get certified as a women's health nurse practitioner.

Note on Fees: The NCC certification exam for this field is $250 if taken with paper and pencil on one annual administration or $300 if taken throughout the year by computer.

Resources:

National Certification Corporation: Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Exam References (Bibliography)

NCC: Certification Exam Content Outline

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