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, licensure and training information, in addition to the experience required in order to begin a career in this healthcare position.

For those individuals interested in finding out how to become a Nurse Practitioner, learning about the role and responsibilities of the NP will help to determine if this type of position is right for you. The NP is an advanced nurse, who works by providing healthcare services 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 include providing treatment for patients suffering from an illness or injury. An NP can educate patients and prescribe medication. Some practitioners also order tests and determine their results.

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 be prepared to meet the determined state licensure and certification requirements for the RN. Most students will begin the career by completing the Associate’s Degree program and will use transferable credits to obtain their Bachelor’s.

Many colleges offer a number of options for students interested in learning how to become a Nurse Practitioner. They will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree to qualify for NP programs. Some of the common areas of study include anatomy, basic pharmacology, community health and nursing, pediatrics and geriatric medicine. In the clinical rotation portion of the program, the 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 require an NP to pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure as a Registered Nurse. Additional registration and licensing requirements include fingerprinting and a criminal background check.

To work as a Nurse Practitioner, an individual will need a Master’s degree from an approved nursing program. These programs are designed to prepare students for specialty and primary care practices. Courses a student will need to complete in an accredited Master’s degree program 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 typically they include 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 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 becoming 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 includes lectures, seminars and courses in addition to 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 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 require NPs to complete continuing education classes to maintain valid licensure and renew their licenses.

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

Now that you know how to become a Nurse Practitioner, you can begin your path to an exciting career by researching schools in your area that offer accredited Nurse Practitioner programs.