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Nurse Practitioners Education Requirements

Majors Overview February 6, 2013

Patients who require healthcare in various specialized settings rely on professionals called nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners usually possess at least a graduate degree, and must be both nationally certified nurse practitioners and registered nurses.

Education Requirements

Patients are provided primary care in healthcare facilities such as hospitals among others. During the performance of their duties; nurse practitioners record and analyze a patient’s history, perform physical exams, order diagnostic tests, prescribe physical therapy, and perform a variety of other tasks. Education requirements vary according to the chosen specialty; however, a graduate degree is the minimum requirement. A nurse practitioner’s duties focus on Occupational health, Acute, Neonatal, Geriatric, Adult, Family and Pediatric care specialties among others.

Nursing – Master of Science Program

These courses last two to three years and they are devised to provide students with the skills needed in an entry level nurse practitioner job, in a health care setting. Graduates can obtain professional certification. Coursework often includes Nursing theories, Pharmacology, Pathophysiology and Health promotion.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

A Master of Science in Nursing is generally considered sufficient qualification for entry level jobs in the field; students can improve their career prospects by completing a doctoral degree program. Coursework in such programs focuses on advanced practices aimed at meeting patient needs in a better way. Graduates can qualify to become teachers in nursing. Coursework typically includes Capstone project, Behavior complexity, Leadership and Population health.


Maintaining licensure as a registered nurse through the National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) are mandatory for all prospective nurse practitioners. This is a post-undergraduate requirement that must be fulfilled by students, so they can become registered nurses, which is a requirement to becoming a nurse practitioner. Passing the National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurses proves that registered nurses have the essential skills to work in the field.

Credentials for Nurse Practitioner

Once students complete a graduate degree program, they can acquire professional certification as a nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner program usually focuses on one concentration area of nursing and graduates usually opt for certification in the same major. Certifications in nursing are offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners among others. These certifications are renewable every five years.

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