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How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

The number of licensed nurse practitioners in the United States is rising. This is due is in part to the shortage of physicians. By 2032, it’s estimated that the US will be short 122,000 doctors, including many primary care doctors. This means that nurse practitioners may be called on to help fill the gap. Here is an overview of how to become a nurse practitioner.

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

A nurse practitioner is considered an advanced practice nurse which means they work with other people in settings like hospitals, clinics, and research environments. They can specialize in different areas of nursing including family practice, pediatrics, geriatrics, and acute care nursing.

Requirements to Become a Nurse Practitioner

The first step to becoming a nurse practitioner is to become a registered nurse by graduating from a state-approved program with a 2 or 4-year degree in nursing. Nurse practitioner positions require a master’s degree so a 4-year degree may be preferable depending on the career path chosen. Prospective nurse practitioners must also pass the NCLEX-RN exam and meet all other licensing requirements to become an RN.

After working for a while, apply to a graduate nursing program like the MSN or to an FNP program. These degree programs often require a certain amount of work experience and the ability to meet the clinical or on-site practicum.

Every nurse practitioner must be licensed by the state board of nursing and meet the requirements for that. In addition, nurse practitioners must pass a certification from a national certifying body like the National Certification Corporation or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Nurse Practitioner Duties and Salary

A nurse practitioner can do a wide variety of things including:

  • Performing intake duties that include taking information from patients, families, and guardians.
  • Serving as a primary care provider in some communities where they can perform detailed exams and prescribe medications.
  • Ordering tests and operating some types of diagnostic equipment.
  • Educating patients about medical conditions and making treatment plans.

Nurse Practitioners make on average about $115,800 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are expected to increase by 45% in the next decade with growth being faster than average.

If you’re a nurse practitioner looking to move into a new job, come over to NexNurse. NexNurse connects nurses and employers across the country to help them fill available positions. Create your free NexNurse profile today!