Earn A Degree From An Accredited Program
Whether you earn an associates degree, a bachelors degree or a nursing diploma, this is your first step. Associate programs typically take two years to complete, while bachelors degree programs take four years. Both prepare you for the next step to take the NCLEX-RN exam but keep in mind that many institutions require a baccalaureate degree for hire.
Associate programs often cover many of the same topics taught at the BSN level, but a four-year program provides a more in-depth set of knowledge and skills. If you get your associates degree you should plan on continuing your training in an RN to BSN program. In addition to giving you a leg up with many employers, earning a BSN gives you more options, allowing you to move into administration, advanced nursing, nursing consulting, teaching, or research roles.
The third option, a nursing diploma obtained through hospital-based programs that provide hands-on training alongside nursing course work typically takes three years to complete but does not give you a degree upon completion, making it the path that gives you the fewest options professionally. There are no diploma programs in Oregon.
Education And Training Requirements To Become A Nurse Practitioner
As noted previously, an MSN degree is the minimum requirement to become a nurse practitioner. However, some candidates choose to pursue a DNP, either as the initial path to meeting the educational and training requirements to become an NP or as additional education beyond the MSN. Both are popular options to meet NP education requirements, with many MSN programs available and the number of DNP programs growing.
When you are researching MSN programs, it is important to find one that offers your preferred area of focus. To determine the right specialty for you, consider the following tips:
- Gain clinical experience to help you determine which area may be a good fit.
- Understand the education and certification requirements for the specialty you desire.
- Research salary and work settings for various specialty areas.
- Talk to NPs who work in various specialties to better understand their roles.
Obtain Licensure In Your State
Licensing is handled by your states board of nursing. There are very few states allowing nurse practitioners to practice without certification but even in those cases employers and insurers often require nurse practitioners become certified.
In order to practice in another state you will be required to become licensed there as a registered nurse if you are not currently in a compact state. Then you may become licensed as an advanced practice nurse.
Contact the board of nursing in your state to find their requirements for FNP licensure.
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Bachelor Of Science In Nursing
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The bachelor’s degree prepares nurses for a wide variety of professional roles and graduate study. Course work includes nursing science, research, leadership, and related areas that inform the practice of nursing. It also provides the student with general education in math, humanities and social sciences. An undergraduate degree affords opportunities for greater career advancement and higher salary options. It is often a prerequisite for teaching, administrative, consulting and research roles.
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing is not currently required for entry into professional nursing in all countries. In the US, there has been an effort for it to become the entry-level degree since 1964, when the American Nurses Association advanced the position that the minimum preparation for beginning professional nursing practice should be a baccalaureate degree education in nursing. The Institute of Medicine affirmed in 2010 that nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
Womens Health Nurse Practitioner
A womens health nurse practitioner provides primary healthcare services to women from adolescence and continuing through pregnancy and menopause. A WHNP might share birth control options with a patient or provide prenatal counseling. WHNP programs help students build knowledge about infertility, high-risk pregnancies and other womens health topics.
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It Makes Financial Sense
For starters, although NPs and doctors share similar responsibilities, the cost of education to become a nurse practitioner is significantly less than medical school. An American Association of Nurse Practitioners study found that the total cost of tuition for an NP is equal to less than one year of medical school tuition .
Over the past few years, Forbes has listed the nurse practitioner role as one of the highest-paying jobs for women. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, advanced practice nurses earn an annual median salary of $115,800 .
Become A Lifelong Learner
With new technologies and treatments, the healthcare industry is constantly evolving. Working on the front lines of healthcare requires nurses to stay informed and educated so they can remain effective as their responsibilities change. Nurses who pursue their careers from the perspective of lifelong learners can take advantage of new opportunities and roles as they arise.
- Takecontinuing education courses: Nurses are required to complete continuing education courses, usually every two years. Check with your state nursing board for requirements.
- Get certified: If you decide to specialize in a certain area of nursing, consider earning professional certification. This cements your commitment to the field and demonstrates your skill set to employers.
- Earn an advanced degree: Earning a masters degree will qualify you for a career as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife, and certified nurse anesthetist.
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Youll Have A Real Impact
Few career paths allow you to positively impact peoples lives. As an NP, youll care for people at their most vulnerable. Youll be instrumental in improving and sometimes saving the lives of your patients. With your advanced clinical training and practice, youll be given the authority to diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, provide evidence-based preventive education and even prescribe medications .
Did you know? Care by nurse practitioners is correlated with better patient outcomes. Choosing an NP for care leads to higher patient satisfaction, increased health counseling, more emphasis on prevention, better provider-patient communication, improved follow-up, fewer visits to the emergency department and increased time spent with patients. States that allow NPs full practice authority see fewer hospitalizations and better outcomes for Medicare and Medicaid patients, which is especially important for our aging population .
Earn Your Bachelor Of Science In Nursing
A nursing diploma or associate degree is sufficient to become a registered nurse. But to become a nurse practitioner, youll need to complete a Master of Science in Nursing program. Most MSN programs require a BSN for admission. The baccalaureate degree is designed to equip aspiring nurses with the clinical skills needed for practice. Be sure to select a BSN program that relates to your career goals and fieldwork involving nursing specializations of interest.
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The Benefits Of Earning An Msn Degree
Regardless of whether you intend to become a nurse practitioner, a Master of Science in Nursing degree is just a smart career choice. Not only can you pursue certification in a number of advanced practice nurse roles as the U.S. healthcare industry moves toward the Institute of Medicines goal of 80% of RNs holding a BSN degree by 2020, youll stand out with an MSN degree. Additionally, many hospitals and other healthcare providers require an MSN degree in order to take on nurse leadership roles. Not to mention, an MSN degree also allows you to work as a nurse educator.
Benefits Of Becoming A Nurse Practitioner
Why become an NP? There are many reasonsboth personal and professionalthat may drive a nurses decision to pursue an advanced degree. The opportunities abound for this profession.
Becoming an NP allows for increased autonomy, more specialized and intense training in your field of interest, more freedom and flexibility with your career, and usually, a higher wage.
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Join A Rapidly Growing Career Path
If you are a nurse looking for more responsibility, excellent earning potential and a greater sense of purpose and professional fulfillment, becoming a family nurse practitioner might be the path that leads you there.
Your services will be in high demand and youll have what it takes to be a difference-maker in healthcare across America.
If this sounds good to you, here are the steps you need to take to make it happen:
Whats The Bottom Line About Nurse Practitioners
Nurse practitioners are a lot like superheroes. They can do it all: treat and diagnose patients, inform and influence public policy, serve as preceptors, educate patients, improve the health of individuals and communities, and the list goes on and on. Nurse practitioners are well-rounded, professional and caring. And the career potential as a nurse practitioner has never looked brighter.
If you are considering a career in nursing or are an RN interested in taking the next step in your career, the option to become a nurse practitioner can provide endless opportunities to learn and grow within the profession and to help the greater community around you.
*Carte’s credentials stand for: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner-Certified and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse .
**Dixon’s credentials stand for: Advanced Practice Registered Nurse , Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified .
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Ways To Grow Professionally
- Volunteer to treat patients in underserved communities. This is a great way to grow your skills, learn from professionals across disciplines, and make a real difference.
- Attend events and conferences to expand your knowledge and network with your peers.
- Find a mentor you can learn from and who inspires you to grow as a professional.
Make Connections During Clinicals
When its time for you to complete clinical rounds during school, youll likely be assigned to a hospital where youll shadow a nurse . During this period, be an attentive learner with a positive attitude. Make connections with your preceptor and even their managers. If a position opens up, they may be more willing to recommend you for the job.
Once your clinical ends, stay in touch with your preceptors as they may be a good resource for job opportunities.
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How Do You Become A Nurse Practitioner
All nurse practitioners must meet endorsement criteria established by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia . This means:
A. Have a masters degree
B. Have at least three years of nursing experience as a registered nurse
We have a variety of eligible courses on display here. Make sure to choose one that includes nurse practitioner as the major, making sure its approved by the NMBA as suitable for registration as a nurse practitioner rather than merely registered nurse. Some great programs include:
- The Master of Nursing from Flinders University
All of these will require you to complete your professional experience prior to commencement, taking one and a half to two years of full time study to complete. Part time options are available. Note that some of these courses will also require more professional experience than the minimum, in addition to other education requirements. USYDs offering is an example of this, requiring some applicants to have completed five years of professional experience, three of which must be in the discipline of their choosing. Exactly what admission requirements apply to you varies between institutions and backgrounds, so read and enquire carefully before applying. Having three years of professional experience as a registered nurse should suffice in many cases however.
If youre still looking for a job as a registered nurse, weve written a detailed guide on it here.
Is A Doctorate Required To Become An Np
It is not a requirement that Nurse Practitioners earn a doctorate degree unless they are pursuing a CRNA certification.
As of January 2022, it will be required that all CRNA school applicants enter into a doctorate program, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. And in 2025, all CRNAs will need to have a doctorate in nurse anesthesia to enter the field.
Outside of working as a CRNA, however, NPs can have a masters-level education. There may also be additional educational requirements if you plan on working as an NP educator and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing is often discussing the future possibility of transitioning all NP programs into doctoral-level programs, although there is not a final decision that has been made on that switch.
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Pursue A Graduate Education
While an undergraduate degree and completion of state licensure will in most cases be enough to allow you to practice as a registered nurse, you will need to complete a graduate degree in order to ultimately become a nurse practitioner. Depending on the state in which you hope to practice, the employer you hope to work for, and your personal career goals, this requirement may be fulfilled by earning either a Master of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice .
Not sure whether you should pursue your MSN or DNP? While an MSN can still enable you to become a nurse practitioner in some cases, the DNP is increasingly becoming the required degree. A DNP is also a more advanced degree that prepares you for more senior roles in the healthcare industry. DNPs and MSNs also vary in their clinical practice, research, and specialties.
Because many students enter college knowing that they would like to become a nurse practitioner, and because earning either an MSN or DNP are required to reach that goal, many colleges and universities offer joint programs or bridge programs designed to enable students to earn multiple degrees in a shortened time frame. For example, at Regis the following degrees are offered:
Obtain A Graduate Degree
A Master of Science in Nursing is the minimum requirement to become a nurse practitioner. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners , there are about 400 academic institutions that offer NP programs in the United States. The AANP recommends the following considerations to help you choose one that will fit your specific needs:
- Is training offered in your preferred specialty area?
- Is your preferred method of attendance available?
- What are the entry requirements, and do you qualify?
- What is the programs accreditation and graduate certification rate?
The requirements to apply for an MSN program vary depending upon the individual school. In addition to the required undergraduate education and licensure, the typical requirements for admission to an MSN program include clinical experience, letters of reference, and academic transcripts.
For example, many family nurse practitioner online programs require that candidates meet a base set of requirements, including:
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from an accredited university or college
- Active registered nurses license in good standing
- Minimum amount of work experience as an RN
- Ability to meet the particular FNP programs required clinical and/or on-site practicum
Some candidates also choose to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree to advance their foundation of knowledge. Timeframes for programs and educational paths vary, but here are general estimates to help you consider your options:
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Does A Nurse Practitioner Provide The Same Care As A Medical Doctor
Working as a nurse practitioner is a distinctly nursing career, but youll have a lot more autonomy than an RN would. Nurse practitioners have the unique ability to treat patients and provide primary care from a nursing perspective, which, according to DeGarmo, is distinctly unique and differs from the perspective of an MD.
treat the human response to the disease process, says DeGarmo. In medicine, they treat the disease process itself.
NPs incorporate their nursing perspective into the care they provide. This means the care might look different from the care provided by a physician, even if theyre taking on many of the same tasks.
Earn Your Degree From Bradley
The road to becoming a nurse practitioner may be a multiyear and multistep process, but it can also be rewarding. NPs are depended on to deliver high-quality care, provide leadership, educate patients and their families, and coordinate with other stakeholders as autonomous care professionals. Financially, NPs also stand to earn a higher salary as APRNs.
When assessing the steps you need to take to become an NP, depending on where you are in your career, consider Bradley for your graduate education. As mentioned, nurses with a BSN can enter the MSN-FNP or DNP-FNP program, while those with an MSN can enter the DNP leadership track, and those with an ADN, nursing diploma or non-nursing bachelors can enter the RN-MSN-FNP program. Another way to prepare for becoming a nurse practitioner is an FNP certificate with an MSN entry, like the type Bradley offers.
Overall, there are many education decisions to make on the path to becoming an NP. Choosing the best degree programs for your needs is essential. Bradleys nursing programs are offered online and allow students to pick their own approved site supervisors. Want to learn more about the MSN-FNP program or another track? Contact an enrollment advisor today.
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Apply For State Licensure
Once youve taken your exam, you will need to submit your results, transcripts and fingerprints to the Oregon State Board of Nursing to obtain your nurse practitioner license.
As part of the application process, applicants must submit their practice history. The practice requirement must be met in one of the following ways: