Becoming a licensed Family Nurse Practitioner or FNP in Michigan is a rigorous process, but can result in an incredibly rewarding career with many advantages beyond the Registered Nurse (RN) designation.
This article examines the licensure process to become an FNP in Michigan to help those planning their journey. It also closely looks at the licensure exams for an FNP in Michigan, and discusses how Spring Arbor University prepares students enrolled in its online MSN-Nurse Practitioner (NP) program.
The FNP Designation Explained
With many types of nursing licensure available, it’s essential to understand what makes an FNP in Michigan distinct from other specialists in the field.
FNPs are nurse practitioners who specialize in meeting the healthcare needs of children and families in various medical settings.
As advanced practice nurses, FNPs are prepared to treat patients across the lifespan (age 0 and up) and-- in some states-- share many of the same responsibilities as physicians.
One of the biggest advantages of being a licensed FNP in Michigan is the flexibility that comes with the role. From small outpatient clinics to massive hospital networks – FNPs can work in multiple settings and with a wide scope of patients.
As specialists, FNPs are well-versed in the assessment and treatment of various health conditions during all stages of life.
FNPs also approach patient care in a holistic fashion. They systematically evaluate not just the patient’s symptoms, but other contributing factors.
To determine the root cause, they might ask questions about recent medical incidents or procedures, and inquire about stressors at home or other environmental factors that may impact one’s health. Holistic care helps FNPs deliver comprehensive treatment to the whole person.
The Designation of FNP in Michigan
Those who wish to achieve licensure as an FNP in Michigan will need to accomplish the state requirements for the designation of a Licensed Nurse Practitioner (LNP) with a Family certification.
The profession of LNP is one of only three nursing specialty areas offered within the state of Michigan and is limited in its scope of professional practice.
States vary in how much authority they grant their LNPs. There are three main subdivisions of state practice environments, including:
Full Practice states allow LNPs to independently diagnose and treat patients, including the prescribing of medicine.
Reduced Practice states reduce an LNP’s authority in at least one aspect of LNP care (for example, diagnoses or prescriptions) and require a collaborative relationship between all LNPs and a healthcare practice.
Restricted Practice states also reduce an LNP’s authority and mandate direct and continual supervision from a licensed physician or healthcare practitioner.
Michigan is one of twelve states in the country that relegates LNPs to “restricted practice” only.
This means LNPs in Michigan must perform some tasks under the supervision of a licensed physician, and can otherwise accept tasks that fall within the LNPs scope of practice such as:
Recording vital signs
Preparing samples for lab tests
Assisting patients with bathing and wound care
Michigan LNPs with the Family certification can prescribe non-scheduled drugs, such as over-the-counter medications, without a doctor’s approval.
For any scheduled drugs, an FNP in Michigan will need a physician’s delegation.
RN Versus FNP Statistics
Career-wise, the outlook is bright for nurse practitioners in general, as this group of professionals are rated #4 in Best Healthcare Jobs, #5 in 100 Best Jobs, and #5 in Best STEM Jobs by U.S. News and World Report.
Nurse practitioners are well-positioned in today’s dynamic healthcare environment with the FNP being one of the most in-demand specialties.
Many factors contribute to the FNP role being desirable, including high levels of job satisfaction, flexible work environments, more autonomy, and the ability to care for a broad patient population.
Accomplishing the designation of FNP in Michigan can open doors to ample opportunities and substantial salaries beyond the initial RN designation.
According to key 2018 data from BLS, those who achieve an LPN designation, such as licensure as an FNP in Michigan can see substantial differences, including:
The median salary for RNs reached $71,730. Meanwhile, licensed nurse practitioners (LNPs) achieved a higher median of $113,930.
Although average annual salary varies by state, LNPs in urban areas traditionally earn more. As a group, LNPs are among the nation’s highest paid healthcare professionals.
RN jobs are projected to grow by 12% until 2028. While this percentage is high, it is less than half of the projected growth of LPN jobs (which is forecasted to be 26%).
Still, it is important to note that to achieve the LNP designation – necessary for licensure as an FNP in Michigan – means progressing through several key requirements including:
Beyond your initial undergraduate work and achievement of your RN licensure, you must complete a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree to meet the education requirements necessary for licensure as an FNP in Michigan. These requirements include:
It is essential to seek out an MSN degree that is accredited by one of the country’s central accrediting bodies for nursing programs, such as the highly respected Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
CCNE accreditation, like Spring Arbor University’s online MSN, assures that the program’s curriculum and expectations of its graduates meet the national standard of excellence.
Accreditation assures MSN graduates receive the same level of education across the country, and meet the educational requirements necessary for FNP licensure.
You must also assess if a given MSN program offers the specialties of study that align with your career aims.
Some MSN programs provide a standardized course series that give enrolled students a generalized preparation for a variety of nursing positions.
Spring Arbor’s online MSN-NP, for example, offers two tracks (Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult Gerontology). As such, students have the opportunity to hone their clinical skills and deliver care to patient populations that they are passionate about serving.
In a broad sense, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) graduates will be able to serve a large patient population (ages 0 and up).
Many FNPs treat individuals from infancy through adulthood, while developing long-term relationships with their patients during the course of their careers.
MSN-NP students in Spring Arbor’s FNP track take courses like “Health Promotion Across the Lifespan,” and broaden their clinical knowledge to meet the unique health needs of all developmental stages.
In comparison, nurse practitioners who specialize in Adult Gerontology are able to care for and treat patients from age 13 through geriatrics. This group is well-versed in the assessment and increasingly complex care of aging patients.
Students enrolled in Spring Arbor’s MSN-NP Adult Gerontology track are prepared to master primary care knowledge and clinical reasoning skills to best care for adolescents, adults and the elderly.
When online MSN degree students near completion of their program, they will need to register for either the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) exam or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (AANC) exam to continue their progress toward licensure as an FNP in Michigan.
While both exams are comparable, they offer slight variations in format and content that make each better suited to different areas of the nursing field.
Designed for those entering clinical practice, this test focuses primarily on the aspects of assessment, diagnosis, planning, and evaluation as gauged across 150 multiple-choice questions.
The AANP test is clinically-focused, and the test item categories include assessment (35%), diagnosis (25%), planning (21%), and evaluation (18%).
More aligned with those seeking roles in academia, research, or as nurse practitioners, this exam focuses in large part on the aspect of clinical management.
It also assesses the student’s knowledge of diagnosis, assessment, and professional practice across its 175-item bank of multiple-choice questions.
The ANCC contains four subjects, including clinical management (43%), diagnosis (26%), assessment (35%), and professional role (10%).
These exams assess a wide range of abilities and thus require ample preparation for the months leading up to the marathon test day. The good news, though, is that the majority of first-time test takers achieve passing scores.
After you pass your exam, you can then begin to assemble the materials for your licensure application to the Michigan Board of Nursing.
In addition to agreeing to a background check and paying the associated fees for your licensure as an FNP in Michigan, you will also need to provide transcripts from your degree programs to ensure you’ve completed an accredited MSN degree program and passed your licensure exam successfully.
The Michigan Board of Nursing and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has moved this application process online with their MiPlus portal that allows you to review and confirm the submission of your materials.
Once you’ve obtained your licensure as an FNP in Michigan, you can celebrate a job well done.
You can also set a calendar reminder for your next renewal, as these licenses are valid for only two years. The renewal process can also be done online, including the payment of your license renewal fee.
For renewal, you should have also completed at least 25 hours of continuing education in the two years since you received (or last renewed) your license.
These credits can be accomplished through courses that cover topics such as pharmacology or clinical applications, however Michigan does mandate that at least two of those 25 credit hours are earned in coursework covering pain and pain symptom management.
The renewal application process online will not ask for you to upload proof of completion for these credit hours, but the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs does perform a random audit of renewal applicants.
If you are selected for this auditing process, you will need to submit proof of your continuing education credits. If not, you will be considered in violation and might lose your license altogether.
FNP Licensure: A Path Worth Taking
Achieving licensure as an FNP in Michigan is a rigorous and rewarding process. Beyond your coursework, you will need to consider your career path so you can register for the appropriate FNP exam.
The rules might be strict and the steps might be complex, but the potential it adds to your burgeoning career after licensure makes all of those struggles seem completely worth it.
Success With Spring Arbor
Spring Arbor’s online MSN degree has strong pass rates for graduates taking the necessary licensure exams—either the AANP exam or the ANCC exam.
While the national average for first-time pass rates on both the AANP and ANCC exams hovers around 85%, MSN students at Spring Arbor have an above average pass rate of 88% on their first attempt (and 100% pass rate on the second attempt at the exam).
Through a rigorous curriculum and the support of caring faculty, students are prepared for real-world experiences where they can effectively apply theory and practice. A clear path from graduation to licensure helps students take part in inspiring outcomes.
Spring Arbor’s online MSN-NP program can help you confidently prepare to become an FNP in Michigan, as well as other states. Online MSN-NP students graduate as nursing leaders who confidently make ethical decisions empowered by faith. Experience a supportive online community and be the difference in patient care.
What Our MSN Students Are Saying
Spring Arbor offers student-centric services from enrollment through graduation, including a supportive nurse residency experience.
Below, Ashley DeCraene—a recent graduate of the online MSN-NP program— elaborates on Spring Arbor’s dedicated community of faculty and staff, and touches on how the overall experience has been beneficial.
“It's a program that's actually doable for full-time working moms ... There was A LOT of support from fellow students and faculty. I definitely used what I learned throughout the whole program. It made me more confident in my current role, and going into my new role as a provider.”
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“Michigan Board of Nursing Approved Education Programs.” State of Michigan. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/lara_nurse_approve_ed_program_481300_7.pdf
“Michigan Nursing Licensing Guide.” Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/Nursing_517651_7.pdf
“Nurse Practitioner Overview.” U.S. New and World Report. https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/nurse-practitioner
“Nurse Practitioners.” The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm
“Registered Nurses.” The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
“What’s The Deal with Accreditation?” NursingCAS. ttps://www.nursingcas.org/whats-the-deal-with-accreditation/
“333.16215 Delegation of acts, tasks, or functions to licensed or unlicensed individual; supervision, rules immunity; third party reimbursement or worker’s compensation benefits.” State of Michigan Public Health Code. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(xrnfg5v3p1lhn3w4xsvtjn3q))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-333-16215
“333.17211a Advanced practice registered nurse; authority to prescribe nonscheduled prescription drug or controlled substance.” State of Michigan Public Health Code. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(pjo4xzuv5c5s0a3thgqjqhhq))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-333-17211a