Friday, September 22, 2023

How Long Of School To Be A Nurse Practitioner

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Enroll In A Graduate Program

Is it worth it to be a nurse practitioner?

The simplest route to becoming a nurse practitioner for RNs who already have their bachelor’s degree is by earning a masters degree.

For RNs without bachelor’s degrees, there are RN-to-MSN programs. You may also see such programs called ADN-to-MSN .

Some institutions offer doctoral degrees like Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, which is the highest level of nursing education available.

Should I Become A Nurse Practitioner

Prospective nurse practitioners should evaluate whether the role matches their personal and professional goals. Experienced RNs with BSNs typically need to pursue an additional 2-4 years of education to acquire the necessary degrees and certifications. Nurse practitioners also carry more responsibility than RNs, which can cause stress.

With this increased responsibility comes higher pay. As of May 2020, the BLS reports a median annual salary of $75,330 per year for RNs, while APRNs earned $117,670. Over a 25-year career, that can translate to more than $1 million in additional earning potential at current rates.

Aspiring nurse practitioners must display high levels of drive and commitment to succeed. As such, becoming a nurse practitioner generally appeals to ambitious RNs seeking to advance to their professionâs highest level.

Are You Ready To Start Your Career As A General Nurse Practitioner

A Master of Science in Nursing degree can lead to many wonderful career opportunities that are beyond the reach of the RN certification alone. Becoming a general nurse practitioner is just one example.

If you enjoy the autonomy of treating and diagnosing patients, but without the hassle of spending years in medical schools and residency, becoming a nurse practitioner might be the perfect role for you.

If youre ready to take the next step towards becoming an general nurse practitioner, you can start by earning your MSN degree at Eagle Gate College.

Click here to learn more about our MSN program, as well as our MEPN program.

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Apply For Nurse Practitioner Licensure

This is the final step to getting licensed and beginning your nurse practitioner career. There are typically fees required to get licensed.

Research the nurse practitioner requirements for the state you want to work in so you can stay on track as you work toward licensure. Once you have your nurse practitioner license, its important to meet renewal requirements to stay active.

Information on this page was retrieved in August 2020.

What Do Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Do

How to Become A Nurse Practitioner

PMHNPs’ scope of duties typically includes performing mental health assessments, diagnosing patients, and completing psychiatric evaluations. They also identify risk factors and develop care plans. PMHNPs can provide psychotherapy or crisis intervention and prescribe medication.

These NPs follow a holistic approach to healthcare, informing and educating patients and their families about various mental health issues. Common responsibilities of psychiatric NPs include diagnosing mental health issues, such as mood disorders, anxiety/trauma disorders, substance use disorders, psychotic disorders, and neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Take And Pass The Aprn Certification Exam

Once aspiring nurse practitioners have completed an MSN program, they will then need to take and pass the certification exam to become a certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurse . The amount of time it takes to study for and pass this exam can vary but most individuals complete this in under a year.

Individuals wishing to pursue a career in a specialty nurse practitioner field may obtain their certification through an organization such as the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists, or the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, depending on the field. To be eligible to take the exam, an individual must hold an active Registered Nurse license and have a minimum of 500 clinical hours under the supervision of a physician.

What Degrees Do I Need

Before you pursue a masters or doctoral degree, youll need an RN-level nursing degree. You can apply to an MSN program if you already have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing . You can also apply to special MSN programs known as bridge programs if you have an Associate Degree in Nursing . In either case, youll need to meet the requirements of your desired MSN program. In many cases, this means youll need to have an active RN license in good standing. Some programs will also ask that you have some professional experience working as an RN.

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Alternate Routes To Becoming An Np

There are four additional routes to becoming an NP that are worth noting. The first applies to bachelors program graduates who would like to enter the nursing field without having to repeat bachelors program general education requirements. These are students who have not yet trained for RN licensure and thus qualify for what are often called Accelerated BSN programs. An Accelerated BSN program provides students who have a bachelors degree in a non-nursing field with only the coursework and clinical training necessary to qualify for RN licensure. Once they earn their BSN and RN license, students can then pursue an MSN program for training in an NP specialty.

There are also Direct Entry MSN programs, which are similar to Accelerated BSN programs, but combine BSN and MSN training into one program. Students in these programs typically earn their BSN, become licensed as an RN, and then continue on through their MSN coursework. These programs, which require a non-nursing bachelor degree, often have strict admissions requirements as they are fast paced and academically challenging.

Fulfill Safe Nursing Practice Requirements

So You Want To Be A Nurse Practitioner?

One of the requirements to become registered as a NP in Ontario is to demonstrate safe nursing practice. This entails proving that you have been practicing nursing safely for at least two years of the past five years. At least one of those years must have consisted of you practicing in an advanced practice nursing role.

Your advanced practice nursing experience must include demonstration of the following advanced practice clinical competencies:

  • Health assessment and diagnosis
  • Health promotion
  • Prevention of injury, illness and complications

Additionally, you must be able to provide an employer reference attesting to your fulfillment of the safe nursing practice hours requirement. This reference must include numeration of hours practiced, the safety of your practice, your role, a copy of your job description, and must meet the advanced practice competencies above.

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Nurse Practitioner Education Requirements

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners cites two key schooling requirements for NPs. A candidate must hold at least a bachelor of science in nursing to enter graduate-level NP school. Secondly, candidates must complete a general or specialized master of science in nursing or a doctor of nursing practice degree.

An MSN is the minimum education needed to qualify for NP licensure. However, organizations like the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses advocate for the DNP designation to become the new standard for APRNs. Therefore, prospective NPs may avoid the need to upgrade their credentials in the future by opting for a DNP instead of an MSN.

Notably, multiple nursing schools offer BSN-to-DNP programs that allow students entering with a bachelorâs degree to graduate with terminal credentials. These programs generally demand a greater time commitment, but they also maximize studentsâ career potential since they culminate in the highest degree designation.

Meanwhile, experienced RNs seeking quick advancement may find more value in accelerated MSN programs. The links below detail the various educational paths a student can follow to earn the educational credentials needed for NP licensure.

Completing A Graduate Nursing Program

A graduate degree is necessary to become an NP, as it is a minimum requirement for licensure as an APRN. In 2018, 99.1% of NPs held a graduate degree, according to the AANP. Typically, professionals who want to become a nurse practitioner pursue a Master of Science in Nursing. MSN programs are designed to refine skills and knowledge in areas of undergraduate education, while also expanding expertise in advanced nursing principles, evidence-based practice, statistical procedures, advanced health assessment, health care informatics and health care organizational management.

Generally, MSN programs are offered on a part-time or full-time basis and take between two and four years to complete. However, the years required to complete an MSN program depend on the track and NP specialization. For instance, Bradley offers a graduate nursing program that prepares students to become a family nurse practitioner. According to 2018 AANP statistics, more than two-thirds of NPs were certified in family care. Bradley MSN programs are offered on two tracks with differing lengths:

  • The BSN-entry program can be completed in three years and requires 750 clinical hours
  • The RN-MSN-FNP program takes 3.6 years , includes bridge courses and requires 800 clinical hours

The timeline to completion for a DNP, just like with any other degree program, depends on the entry degree and the specialization track. Considering Bradleys two DNP programs helps illustrate these differences:

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Becoming A Nurse Practitioner

In order to become a nurse practitioner, youll need to obtain at least a BSN and MSN, pass certification exams, perform clinical research, and apply for licensure within the states you wish you to practice. But, depending on your career goals and the specific states in which you wish to practice, you may need to earn your DNP to become a nurse practitioner or advance your career to take on leadership roles.

No matter your decision, being a nurse practitioner is a challenging and rewarding career. Youll be charged with providing top-of-the-line healthcare for your patients while also shaping the future of the healthcare industry for the betterultimately saving and making a huge difference in peoples lives.

Nurse Practitioner Schooling Options

How Long Does It Take to Become a Nurse Practitioner?

Accreditation is fundamental. There are a lot of accredited programs . The choices are many. Nurse practitioner programs may be cohort-based with lockstep progression or may be very flexible, with opportunities to adjust pacing.

While education can be very flexible, it can also place high demands for academic and professional maturity. In some cases, students will locate their own clinical sites and preceptors. A practicing nurse may be granted the opportunity to use his or her own workplace as a clinical site, provided that the clinical experience is separate from normal work experience and duties are appropriate for the course of study.

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Master Of Science In Nursing And Post

  • MSN and Post-Graduate Admit Terms: Summer, Fall, and Spring
  • 41 for the MSN 29-33 for the Post-Graduate
  • Enrollment Mode: Curriculum includes both online and on-campus courses
  • Enrollment Level: Complete in 5-7 semesters
  • Estimated Total Cost: $16,482

The Family Nurse Practitioner program prepares graduates to care for individuals and families and across the lifespan with a focus on primary care in outpatient settings. There is a strong emphasis on health promotion, risk reduction, disease prevention, and illness management. The clinical component provides interdisciplinary experiences working with other healthcare providers in caring for individuals and their families.

FNP students at UTHealth participate in 660 precepted clinical hours that prepare them to be skilled practitioners. Graduates are eligible to take the FNP certification examination offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center or American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board .

Graduates of the advanced practice degrees are eligible to take national certification exams and eligible for licensure as an Advanced Practice Nurse in Texas Requirements for other states vary and graduates should check individual state requirements prior to applying for an advanced practice status or license.

Also, after being admitted to the FNP track, students can apply to concurrently enroll in the Emergency/Trauma Care Post-Graduate program.

Earn A Bachelor Of Science In Nursing Degree

The first step in how to become a PMHNP begins with a BSN degree. A traditional bachelor’s nursing degree program typically takes four years of full-time study. However, RNs who hold an associate degree in nursing may shorten the time needed to complete their BSN by enrolling in an RN-to-BSN bridge program.

Students with a bachelor’s in a non-nursing field may pursue an accelerated BSN program that allows them to complete all their undergraduate nursing requirements in 18 months or less.

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Qualifying As A Registered Nurse

To be eligible for admission to graduate programs in psychiatric nursing, you will need to be an RN. To qaulify, you need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-RN. If you have earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing, you are already eligible to take the examination, but if your bachelor’s degree is in another field, you need to first complete an appropriate course of education, such as an associate degree in nursing or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Associate degree programs and diplomas in nursing usually take between two and three years to complete.

How Long Is Lpn School

How To Become a Nurse Practitioner and Fastest Way To Becoming One

The amount of time it will take to complete your LPN certification depends on which program you choose and whether you decide to go to school full-time.

There are accelerated programs that can help you earn your certification in just 7 months. However, most people finish the program in 1-2 years depending on how many credit hours they are able to take.

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Getting Into Nurse Practitioner School: Expectations For Prior Experience

Nurse practitioner schools typically like to see nursing experience. In fact, the average new nurse practitioner has spent about a decade out in the field. This isnt a mandate, however. The stated minimum may be just a year or two. In some cases, it will be none.

There are different types of nursing practitioner, and some are more open to newcomers than others. A nurse would-be practitioner who will be working with vulnerable populations can expect to demonstrate nursing experience that is relevant to the specific population and setting. In other words, a neonatal nurse would be well poised to become a neonatal nurse practitioner. Primary care and acute care represent separate specialties. Primary care tends to be the most friendly to those whose careers have been built on the basis of something other than direct patient care. While nurse practitioners often practice more or less independently, they have the responsibility to consult with others as the need arises. Those in primary care have the luxury of time when it comes to healthcare decisions. Fortunately, from the standpoint of a person building his or her career, family nurse practitioner represents an area of high need.

What Is Being A Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse and a type of mid-level practitioner, similar to yet distinct from a physician assistant, which we covered in a previous episode.

NPs assess a patients needs, order and interpret tests, diagnose conditions, and formulate and prescribe treatment plans. Their training covers disease prevention, patient education, managing acute and chronic conditions, and coordination of care, but they are not trained to the same extent as MDs or DOs, and therefore may not be able to recognize and manage more complex and nuanced conditions straight out from graduation. Do note, however, that after working with supervising physicians for some number of years, they may be better equipped to handle more complex levels of care.

Similar to the physician assistant profession, the first nurse practitioner program was developed in the 1960s to address the shortage of primary care physicians, particularly in rural areas, which were most heavily impacted. By the 1970s, there were approximately 15,000 NPs across the United States, and by the late 1990s, close to 70,000. There are currently over 250,000 nurse practitioners in the U.S.

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How Do I Go From Rn To Np

A career as a nurse practitioner begins with becoming a registered nurse . To become an RN, you will either need to hold an earned diploma or Associate of Science in Nursing from an accredited nursing program , or state Board of Nursing approved program that prepares students for the NCLEX-RN exam.

Registered nurses with an ADN or diploma can continue with an online RN to BSN program. Some schools, such as Southern New Hampshire University , may require a BSN or Bachelor Science in Nursing as a requirement for graduate studies. When you’re ready to take the next step toward becoming a nurse practitioner, you will need to earn a Master of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice from an accredited program. There, you’llneed to complete specific nurse practitioner courses and supervised clinical practice hours.

In addition to the advanced graduate education, nurse practitioners are required to complete a specific number of clinical practicum hours, said Dr. Nicholas S. Carte, AGPCNP-C, APRN, graduate nursing faculty lead at SNHU.*

How Important Is Accreditation


Attending an accredited nursing school opens many doors for students, since its often a gateway for students to study in federally funded and state entitlement programs. In fact, you cant apply for federal financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid unless you attend an accredited school. Secondly, a degree from an accredited school and program allows a student to pursue further education at other accredited schools.

There are two agencies that accredit nursing programs:

  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing : Accredits bachelors masters, and doctorate programs.
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education : Accredits bachelor and masters degree level programs.

While each agencys accreditation process differs, they both meet national standards.

What if My Program or School Isnt Accredited?

If youre thinking of attending a non-accredited but state board-approved school, there can be drawbacks.

While you can still take the NCLEX, your nursing profession may stall out if youre seeking additional education. Generally, education from a non-accredited school doesnt qualify students for acceptance at an accredited school. If youre thinking about a career as a nurse practitioner where an MSN is necessary, attending a non-accredited undergraduate school can limit your options in the future. Furthermore, employers might not consider you for employment with a degree from an unaccredited school.

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