How do I become a Nurse Practitioner?

Perhaps you are interested in becoming a Nurse Practitioner. They are among the growing number of professionals that are trained to take care of and help others when medical attention is needed. The job outlook for Nurse Practitioners is positive with a 31% growth between now and 2022.

At this point in your career, you are already familiar with the duties of being a Registered Nurse and therefore, you are ready to advance in your career. Nurse Practitioners are also known as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). Although they continue to adhere to traditional healthcare procedure, they may also choose to specialize in areas such as the Gerontology, Surgical, Cardiology, Neonatal or Psychiatric Health Nurse Practitioners.

A Nurse Practitioner’s duties, in accordance to each individual’s state of practice, may include tasks such as assessing patient’s health, diagnosing illnesses, ordering tests and administering treatment. In some states, you may be able to prescribe medications. And again, depending on your state, you may be required to work under the supervision of a medical doctor within your workplace.

The first step to becoming a Nurse Practitioner is to become a Registered Nurse and then secondly, you must earn your online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Next, it is best that you gain some valuable work experience; in fact, some programs require it before entering their program. This allows you to work with all types of patients, work in a variety of healthcare facilities or environments and how to be a team player working in tandem with other healthcare professionals. Finally, you must earn your online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. The MSN degree is the minimum requirement for becoming a Nurse Practitioner. If you wish to move on to earning your Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, then you will be ahead of the game, for some employers are requiring their Nurse Practitioner to own a doctorate degree.

There are admission requirements to join a MSN program which may include clinical experience, letters of reference and a declaration of a specialty. Whichever graduate degree you are earning, the coursework for a Nurse Practitioner is generally an advanced course study focusing on a specialization of some sort. Subjects included are anatomy, pharmacology and physiology, as well as, more specialized classes in pediatrics, gerontology, family or primary care and health systems management, depending on your chosen area of expertise.

Pursuing a Master’s (MSN) degree typically takes 18 – 24 months and a Doctor (DNP) program will generally take 2 – 3 years to complete. All Nurse Practitioners must be licensed in the state which they will be practicing. Eligibility requirements to obtain the license include a RN license, a degree from an accredited MSN or DNP program and the required amount of supervised clinical hours.

If you are interested in the flexibility of an online Master’s degree in Nursing, then please verify that the program is offered by an accredited online program approved by your state. Also, be aware that clinical work will be required.

As of June 2017, the Nurse Practitioner’s median salary is $101,639 annually with an average range from between $94,310 – $110,415 annually, depending on experience, educational degree and job location.

For further information, check out our picks for Top Online Nursing Degree Programs to help you along your educational journey.