Route to FNP | Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Application & License

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Another part of the credentialing process for nurse practitioners who prescribe scheduled medication as part of their role is the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) license. Yes, it's yet another license; and yes, it does come with a cost. What's the cost in California? It costs $731 and needs to be renewed every 3 years. For nurse practitioners who do not prescribe scheduled medication for their job, the DEA license may not be needed (check with your individual organization/supervisor on this).




Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash


When I think of the DEA, I picture some detective of sorts like the picture above. I mean, it's called an enforcement agency, right?

Anyways, I recently completed the application after confirming that it would be covered by my employer. Not all employers will cover this. Some employers may cover this or qualify for a fee waiver (which means the DEA license fee would be free for you). To find out if your employer will cover this or if your site of employment is eligible for a fee waiver, you would need to speak with your employer about this and/or negotiate this into your contract.



Completing the application isn't too difficult. You do need to have your state NP license number as well as your NPI (National Provider Index) number. To get started, you can find the application on the Department of Justice's website (I provided the link for you). From there, you make an account to get registered, then follow the prompts. It took me less than 30 minutes to complete the application, granted I had all the information I needed handy. You'll need to have your general information (name, mailing address, practice address, work email address, and license numbers). If your workplace does provide a fee waiver, you'll need to have the information of the person who will certify (aka validate) that you are eligible for the waiver.



Things to Note About the DEA

  • It is a one time registration.
  • Any edits or updates you make after submitting the application need to be made via email to the DEA or on the DEA's website.
  • The license needs to be renewed every 3 years (Fee as of 2019 is $731).
  • The fee may be waived depending on your employment setting.
  • Not all providers require a DEA. If you're not prescribing any scheduled medication, then it's highly likely you won't need this. As always, it's good to double check with your supervisor regarding the necessity of this.

Pro Tip: Wondering if you need to put your DEA license number on your resume? The DEA license number is something you want to keep top secret as you would for your social security number (SSN). For resume purposes, you can just list your DEA license as "active."



My Experience with the DEA Application

The application was simple and easy to do. There is a three question survey you complete after submitting your DEA application. From there, the website states that the processing time may be up to a week. For me, the processing took exactly 5 days. This was, of course, because there were no hiccups in the process. In general, the processing can take up to 4-6 weeks.



Pro Tip: Step 4.5 of the credentialing process in California is this: registering for a CURES account. CURES stands for "Controlled substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System." This allows you, as a provider, to track any controlled substances prescribed to your patient, whether by yourself or another provider. Registering for a CURES account requires that you are a prescriber (provider) or a dispenser (pharmacist). In my experience, I had to enter my DEA number, which makes sense as the point of CURES is to track controlled substance prescriptions for patients. I am not sure if those who don't have a DEA license are eligible for an account. Registering for an account is free and takes 24-48 hours to get approved or denied.



STEPS TO NURSE PRACTITIONER CREDENTIALING
[ 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. 

4. Applying for Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) License. 

Coming Soon: Step 5 -- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) Application 


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 any questions or comments? Leave them in the comment box below!



Nicole G.


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