Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner (ONP)

Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner Role

An orthopaedic nurse practitioner’s job description includes managing the care of patients who suffer from a range of musculoskeletal conditions. From prescribing medications for the pain of a broken bone to analyzing x-rays of a hip replacement, orthopaedic nurse practitioners take care of patients with bone, joint and muscle problems from all populations.

An orthopaedic nurse practitioner is expected to conduct physical exams on such patients, take detailed patient histories, prescribe tests and treatments, and analyze those tests and treatments. Orthopaedic nurse practitioners work closely with physicians and nursing staff to coordinate patients’ care from the time of injury to discharge. Orthopaedic nurse practitioners can work in physicians’ offices, clinics and hospitals.

Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner Salary

While orthopaedic nurse practitioner salaries are often self-reported, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does report on nurse practitioner salary averages. In 2018, nurse practitioners earned an average of $107,030 a year.

How to Become an Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner

Eligibility Requirements

There are several steps to earning an orthopaedic nurse practitioner (ONP) certification. Prior education, certification and clinical practice are among the requirements for being accepted into a nurse practitioner program. Here is a step-by-step path you can take to become an orthopaedic nurse practitioner.

  1. Become a registered nurse. In order to apply to a nurse practitioner program, you must have earned a license as a registered nurse in a U.S. state or territory. Passing the NCLEX-RN examination is required for certification as a registered nurse.
  2. Apply to nurse practitioner programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). These programs must be master’s, postgraduate or doctoral programs.
  3. Apply for state recognized licensure as a nurse practitioner.
  4. Apply to take the ONP-C exam administered by the Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB) to earn your orthopaedic nurse practitioner certification. The exam tests knowledge of a variety of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries and the roles required of ONPs. Final transcripts and proof of education are required. More information about certification can be found at the bottom of this page.
  5. Earn a certificate as an oncology nurse practitioner from the ONCB.
  6. Once you have earned your orthopaedic nurse practitioner certification, certification must be renewed every five years. In addition to renewing certification through the board, renewal through the state is also required and may require additional fulfillment of continuing education contact hours.
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Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner Certification

Orthopaedic Nursing Certification Board (ONCB) - Oncology Nurse Practitioner - Certified (ONP-C)

Eligibility Requirements: Nurses must hold a valid RN license, a master’s level degree as an APRN and 2,000 hours of APRN work experience in the last three years.


  • $345 NAON/AANP/NOVA members
  • $460 for non-members

Renewal Process: Certification is valid for five years. ONP-Cs must present 1,500 hours of practice as a nurse practitioner during the last five years before renewal and 100 contact hours of education (65 in clinical orthopaedics and up to 35 in general nursing).

Information for the ONP-C certification through the ONCB was retrieved as of February 2020. For the most up-to-date information, check with the ONCB’s website.

State Nursing Certification Information