There are six types of credentials commonly used by nurses:
Degree (for example, AD, BS, BSN, MS, MSN, PhD, EdD, DNP) indicates completion of an educational program. The highest degree attained is usually placed immediately after the last name.
State licensure (for example, RN, LPN) indicates completion of an educational program, passing a national/state license exam or accepted application by a state licensing board of nursing. More advanced level examples are APN, APRN, ARNP, CRNP, NP, CNS and CS.
National certification (for example, NP-BC, FNP-BC, ANP-BC, ACNP-BC, PNP-BC, GNP-BC, PMHNP-BC) is awarded by a nationally recognized body from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certifying Board.
Awards or honors are bestowed on individuals who are recognized for their outstanding achievements or service to the profession or nursing specialty.