The Résumé Rx

How To Write Nursing Credentials: Tips From An Expert (+ video)

Amanda Guarniere

I’ve discussed this a few times before, but one of my biggest pet peeves is when I see that fellow nursing professionals have NO IDEA how to write their nursing credentials. You know, the order in which you should list the letters after your name.

I see the errors everywhere: on lab coats, business cards, even journal publications.

Today we’re going to make sure you know exactly how to write your nursing credentials, so you never question the order to list the letters after your name again. Ready?

The Right Order to Write Your Nursing Credentials

The simplest way to explain this is:

  1. Degree
  2. License
  3. Certification

But there are a few nuances to know as well, when it comes to which letters to add after your name, and the order in which they appear. For example, there’s no need to list both your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees; go with the highest degree, unless they are different but related. So if you are an advanced practice nurse, you no longer list your RN.

Nursing Credentials When You’re Still In Nursing School

Another common question I get asked when it comes to nursing credentials and how to refer to yourself as a nursing professional, is from nursing students. They often ask: how do you refer to yourself when you are still in school but sending out your résumé?

I answer these types of questions directly in this video on Instagram, but in general, you should not use the letters of your degree or credential until you have officially received them!

If you have not graduated or sat for your nursing boards yet, I like to use the word “candidate” to reflect the fact that you will SOON be legitimate.

So in that case, the formula to do so might look like this:

  • [Your future role] + Candidate
  • Your future role] + Student
  • Student + [your future role]⠀

But, as an example, if you’ve graduated with your BSN but have not yet passed the NCLEX, for example, your name should read as:

Your Name, BSN⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Registered Nurse Candidate⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Ideas for what to refer to yourself as when you're still in nursing school

Let me know any questions below, or feel free to practice with your current (or anticipated) alphabet soup!

If you need another pair of eyes to determine if you wrote your credentials correctly feel free to connect with us!


  1. Bob Brown

    Amanda, Awesome video, informative and to the point. Nicely done.

  2. Amanda

    This is so helpful, thank you!

  3. Katie

    I have a BA in psychology and don’t like the idea of leaving it off my letters. It’s not a BA in art history, and psychology is certainly relevant to nursing therapeutic communication, amongst other things. What do you think?

    • Hannah Bushnell

      Hi Katie!
      Great question! We recommend leaving the BA letters off once you have your BSN. You can still list it under your education section of your résumé but only nursing degrees or grad school level credentials should be listed after your name once you’re a licensed RN. 🙂
      The Résumé Rx Team

  4. Monica Rodriguez

    I am thinking:

    Monica Rodriguez, MSN, APRN, PHN, FNP-C, FNP-BC

    • Hannah Bushnell

      Hi Monica!

      We recommend listing your FNP credentials before your PHN since PHN isn’t NP specific. 🙂
      Also, we’ve found it’s usually better to list just one of your FNP boards since listing two could confuse people.
      I hope this helps!
      The Résumé Rx

  5. Katherine Eberhard

    Hi! If I am applying to jobs as an FNP student, Should I use “BSN, RN, FNP-S” or stick to my current “BSN, RN”?

    • Hannah Bushnell

      Hi Katherine,

      Great question! You won’t want to list your FNP until you’ve graduated. You can list under your name heading that you are a Nurse Practitioner Student though 🙂 Check out our post on IG where we list a couple different option for what to call yourself when you’re still in school.

      Team Résumé Rx


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