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Route to FNP | The National Provider Identifier (NPI) Application

Part of the credentialing process for nurse practitioners (NP) is getting a National Provider Identifier (NPI) number. Getting this number is important if you plan to bill for Medicare services. For more reading about the NPI number, you can read this article by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) (2006) here.

To get your application started, you'll need to go to the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System website (like above), which you can find here. From there, you'll need to make an account and have general information to fill in. You won't need information about your school, but you will need information about your contact address and your practice location. This is a helpful step-by-step guide that will help you through the process of creating an account and filling in the taxonomy portion.

Nicole's Pro Tip: Did you know that the mailing address and phone number you provide on the NPI application can and is posted publicly? My advice is to get a P.O. Box for your mailing address and to use your work phone number for the application. If you're still a student at the time when completing the application, you may choose to use the school address (but be sure to change it to your new place of employment once you get a job).

You will also need to have your state license number handy, which is why I put this as a step to do after you receive your state licensing number. If you want to, you may choose to apply and receive an NPI number prior to graduating NP school; however, you will only be able to fill out your taxonomy (classification) as a registered nurse (not as an NP). You will also need to make sure you log back into the system and update it with your NP taxonomy once you're state licensed as an NP.

Things to Note About the NPI

  • It is a one-time registration.
  • The number you are given will be the same throughout your career.
  • It is free.
  • There is no need to renew it. You just need to keep it updated (ideally, with your current place of practice and if your taxonomy/classification changes).

My Experience with the NPI Application

Personally, I didn't want to spend time applying for the NPI number, then having to update it, so I waited until I was able to apply with the "nurse practitioner" taxonomy (pretty much after I received my state license). The application itself didn't take long. After that, it took exactly 30 minutes for my application to get approved -- not bad relative to all of the other processes of credentialing! Once you submit your application, there is a small disclaimer notice that the processing may take up to 30 days if there is an error on your application. Although the application is relatively short, be sure to fill everything in correctly and you'll be well on your way!

[ Total of 6 Steps ]

1. Pass the board exam. For FNP's specifically, it will be either the AANP or ANCC. Check out my pasts posts if you're deciding on which one to take or in need of board exam study tips!

2. State license and furnishing application. Submit at same time. Can submit 3-6 months before graduation. Total cost of $900 for California. May be up to 12-14 weeks processing time for California.

3. National Provider Identifier (NPI) application. Can submit prior to graduation or after graduation. Cost is free. Usually doesn't take long to process, but may take up to 30 days to process if any errors on the application.

Coming Soon: Step 4 -- Applying for Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) License

Disclaimer: There may be additional steps past step 6, depending on your individual employer.

Please see my individual posts for each for more detailed information as well as my personal experience with the particular step.

Have questions or comments? Feel free to leave them below!

Nicole G.
@nextwithnicole // @nursenicoleg

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