A clarification for NP students and current NPs who really can't remember at the drop of a hat which is which: The American Nurses Credentialing Center awards the "Advanced Practice Registered Nurse - Board Certified" (APRN-BC) designation after successful completion of their exams for nurse practitioners. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners National Certification Program awards the "Nurse Practitioner - Certified" (NP-C) designation after completion of their exams.
The state of Texas requires that nurse practitioners use the specific title of the certification they received, and prohibits "Advanced Practice Nurse" as a title. This is probably because it's vague and covers a wide range of scopes of practice, from Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists to Nurse Practitioners (nine different specialties plus six "by exemption only" specialties are approved in Texas) to Nurse Midwives to Clinical Nurse Specialists (six approved specialties, and ten exemption specialties). For this reason, Family Nurse Practitioners in Texas usually sign their name either FNP-BC or FNP-C, although I've seen NP-C. I am happy to report that this convoluted situation appears to be the result of state legislation rather than RN oversight or the desire to overwhelm patients with long lists of confusing letters.
Image courtesy of Nurse Week.