Become A Nurse

NP| Nurse Practitioner

NP| Nurse Practitioner

If you’re interested in learning how to become a nurse practitioner, the first step will be to research the career and education requirements, and licensure and training information, in addition to learning about the experience that’s required in order to begin a career in this healthcare position.

For those individuals who are interested in finding out how to become a nurse practitioner, learning about the role and responsibilities of the NP will help you to determine if this type of position is right for you. The NP is an advanced nurse, who works by providing healthcare services that are similar to those of a doctor. A nurse practitioner can choose to specialize in geriatric, family or pediatric medicine. The common duties for this position will include providing treatment for patients who are suffering from an illness or injury. An NP can also educate patients and prescribe medication. Some practitioners can also order tests and determine the results of those tests.

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner: Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degree Programs

All NPs need to be licensed, which will involve passing the NCLEX-RN exam. When it comes to learning how to become a nurse practitioner, the aspiring NP will need to begin by obtaining a two or four year degree in nursing. Completing an undergraduate program will prepare a student for an entry level position in this field, in a clinical setting. Students will also be prepared to meet the determined state licensure and certification requirements for the RN. Most students will begin this career by completing the associate’s degree program and will use the transferable credits to obtain their bachelor’s degree.

Many colleges will offer a number of options for students who are interested in learning how to become a nurse practitioner and obtain the bachelor’s degree. Students that are interested in learning how to become a nurse practitioner will need to obtain the bachelor’s degree in order to qualify for NP programs. Some of the common areas of study will include anatomy, basic pharmacology, community health and nursing, pediatrics and geriatric medicine. In the clinical rotations portion of the program a student will have the opportunity to obtain hands on experience working in the field in a number of healthcare environments.

Obtaining Licensure as a Registered Nurse

All states will require an NP to pass the NCLEX-RN exam, to obtain licensure as a registered nurse. Additional registration and licensing requirements will include fingerprinting and criminal background checks.

In order to work as a nurse practitioner, an individual will need to obtain a master’s degree from an approved nursing program. These programs are designed to prepare a student for specialty practices and primary care practice. Courses a student will complete in an accredited master’s degree program will include advanced nursing practices, geriatric medicine, community medicine and healthcare, pharmacology and additional clinical rotations.

A nurse practitioner will need to obtain a state license. Each state will have their own licensure requirements, but will typically include obtaining certification from a certifying organization and completing an accredited NP program.

Certification for specialty areas are offered for adult care, family care, pediatrics, women’s health, mental health and diabetes management. To qualify for certification in a specialty area an NP will usually need to obtain over five-hundred hours working in the field, in addition to six-hundred hours of class time. Certification for specialties in this field are offered by the ANCC, AANP and the PNCB.
Master’s Degree Programs for Nurse Practitioners

The master’s degree programs designed for students interested in learning how to become a nurse practitioner can be completed in two to three years. As a professional, most NPs will choose to specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as internal medicine or gynecology, during their graduate study. A master’s degree program will include lectures, seminars and courses in addition to completing clinical rotations. Some of the common classes include pharmacology, pathophysiology and management in the healthcare field.

Nurse Practitioner Salary

To work as an NP most professionals will need to obtain additional licensure. The licensing for NPs is regulated by individual states and the requirements will vary, although all practitioners will first be required to have licensure as a registered nurse and have a master’s degree in one of four areas: nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, clinical nursing or nurse practitioner. Some states will mandate additional professional experience and extra exams. Most states will require NPs to complete continuing education classes in order to maintain valid licensure and renew their license.

Once a student has completed the master’s degree program they will be prepared to sit for the certification exam for their area of specialty. The AANP and the ANCC are two certifying organizations that offer certification that’s recognized by most states. Certification will typically include passing a written exam and most of these organizations will include continuing education requirements, in order to maintain credentials in this field.

Now that you know how to become a nurse practitioner, you can begin on your path to this exciting career by researching schools in your area that offer accredited nurse practitioner programs.