Education Career Articles

Connect Facebook Connect Twitter Connect Google+ Connect Pinterest Connect Stumbleupon

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

Majors Overview January 25, 2013

The healthcare industry relies on advanced practice registered nurses for the provision of health care services similar to those provided by a physician. Such nurses are called nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners can opt for specialization in geriatric, pediatric or family nursing.  Commonly, they perform diagnosis and treatment of injuries and illnesses, prescribe medications and educate patients. Their duties also involve ordering diagnostic tests and analyzing the results. Licensure is mandatory for all nurses through the passage of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) informs us that a professional association’s certification and a graduate degree and state licensure are also mandatory requirements for these professionals.

Common Requirements

Degree Level

Master or Doctorate Degree in Nursing Required

Area of Concentration

Nursing

Certification and Licensure

Nurse practitioner licensing and certification is required

Experience

Minimum of one year of experience as a nurse practitioner (NP)

Key Skills

Oral communication, decision making, problem solving and written skills

Computer Skills

Medscribbler Enterprise, GE Healthcare Centricity EMR, eClinicalWorks software

Other Requirements

Current basic life support (BLS) certification

The following is a step-by-step guide that should be followed by students who plans to pursue this career field.

Stage One: Earning a Bachelor Degree in Nursing

Prospective nurse practitioners should take their first educational step by completing an associate or bachelor degree program in nursing that would serve to prepare them for entry-level jobs in a clinic and serve to satisfy state licensure norms as a registered nurse (RN). An associate degree normally takes two years to complete, and the student is often allowed to use the credits earned in an undergraduate degree completion course. Nurse practitioners who want to earn a bachelor degree have several choices offered by schools; they include full four-year courses, accelerated courses for those who possess an associate degree, completion courses that can be completed by licensed registered nurse and online choices for those who have sufficient experience and education. Students who aspire to become nurse practitioners will have to complete an undergraduate degree, so they can pursue the required master degree program. Common coursework in undergraduate nursing program includes community health, pediatric nursing, anatomy and physiology, and pharmacology. Students are also given supervised hands on experience in a clinical environment. Taking communications classes will benefit prospective nurse practitioners who needs both exceptional speaking and writing skills in a job that requires them to explain procedures in a concise way to patients as well as patients’ families. Enrolling in an accelerated program will enable quicker completion of the program by students who have possession of a non-nursing undergraduate degree.

Stage Two: Becoming a Registered Nurse

All states demand a practicing nurse to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). States may also ask for satisfaction of additional registration and licensing norms; these could include fingerprinting and background checks. Candidates seeking a master degree program or want to satisfy advanced nursing licensure norms would need to possess a RN license.

Stage Three: Completing a Master Degree Program in Nursing

Registered nurses who hold an undergraduate degree seeking to become nurse practitioners must earn a graduate or doctoral degree in nursing. There are several nurse practitioners with specialization in a focus area of medicine such as family medicine or pediatrics during their master degree. These courses typically last for two to three years and require students to complete lectures and seminars and participate in a clinical residency program. Common coursework includes advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology and healthcare management.

Stage Four: Satisfying Advanced Practice Nursing Licensure

Most states require advanced practice nurse to meet additional licensure norms. Advanced practice nurses can perform any of these four roles: clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist or nurse practitioner. Individual states regulate licensing and the requirements could vary from state to state. However, there are general requirements for all nurse practitioners to hold a registered nurse license and a graduate degree in one of the four advanced practice areas of concentration. Professional experience and additional exams are mandated by some states. Many states require renewal of a license via maintenance of a national certification or through continuing education classes.

Stage Five: Specialize Via Certification

Graduates can qualify by successfully completing a master degree and satisfying licensure norms to take a certification examination specific to their career. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) are among the organizations that award national certification that state nursing boards commonly recognize. Certification usually results from passing an exam, and most organizations call for maintenance of the credentials via continuing education. Available specialty examinations nurse practitioners can select from pediatrics, gerontology, mental health, school nursing, family care, diabetes management and acute care. Preparation for the examination can be completed by obtaining the proper materials required for study pertaining to the focus area of practice. Taking any available practice tests will improve student chances of success in the examination.

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, IT, Healthcare Management, Pscyhology & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Do you aspire to fulfill an evolving healthcare role as a highly-qualified nursing professional? GCU is the place for you.
  • RNs, pursue your BSN or MSN conveniently online, backed by the legacy of GCU's traditional campus.
  • GCU's bachelor's and master's programs prepare students to fill roles in direct care, management, health education and administrative disciplines.
  • The baccalaureate degree in nursing and master's degree in nursing at GCU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Develop with hands-on practice, online and lab simulations and in depth peer discussions exploring best practices.
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
3 Program(s) Found
South University , Glen Allen
  • Several nursing programs are available at the bachelor's, post-graduate, master's, and doctoral levels.
  • Graduate-level specialization options include Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administrator, and more.
  • Nursing programs are available at many of the 11 campus locations across the United States.
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
Fortis Institute , Grand Prairie
  • Gain Knowledge and Skills While You Earn Your Nursing Degree at Fortis!
  • Accredited
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.*
  • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
  • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help maximize the credit you previously earned.
  • *Excludes licensure, certification, and some doctoral programs
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities (beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
  • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
2 Program(s) Found
  • 100% Online Education Degrees - Ashford University
  • Break new ground in your education career with your BA or MA in Education.
  • Bachelor’s, Master’s & Associate's programs to prepare you for the invaluable role of guiding learners or shaping educational initiatives.
  • Help Build the World's Future. Apply today!
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Earn your Master of Public Health Online from GW in 12 months.
  • GRE waivers available for qualified applicants.
  • Advance your career in a range of industries, including epidemiology, public health and biostatistics.
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Education Connection is a 100% Free College Matching Service used by 50,000 People Daily.
  • Get Matched to the Right Early Childhood Education, ESL/TESOL, Special Education, Education Leadership and Administration, and Curriculum and Instruction Degree Program for YOU.
  • Affordable and Flexible Education and Teaching Degree Programs from Top Colleges Across the Nation. Both Online And Campus!
  • Just Fill Out a Few Questions and You Can Find Your Perfect Education and Teaching Degree Program Within Minutes.
  • Start Using our Fast, Free, and Easy Matching Service Right HERE and Right NOW!
  • Online Courses

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, IT, Healthcare Management, Pscyhology & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
  • Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
  • College of Nursing and Health Care Professions: Rich 25-year history providing outstanding health care and nursing degree programs, including an RN to BSN program & master's in nursing degrees.
  • College of Education: Whether you are looking to start or advance your career as a teacher or administrator, GCU offers bachelor’s and master’s in education degrees in key areas.
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Provides a job focused education and features a variety of programs from counseling and psychology to justice studies, history and English literature.
  • Does something else interest you? GCU also offers programs in Doctoral Studies; Theology; Science, Engineering & Technology; and Fine Arts & Production. Speak with an enrollment counselor today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.*
  • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
  • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help maximize the credit you previously earned.
  • *Excludes licensure, certification, and some doctoral programs
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities (beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
  • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!