How do I become a nurse practitioner? If you’re wondering, then you’re in the right place. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have undertaken advanced training and gained extra knowledge through an online nurse practitioner degree or other specialized training in healthcare. Due to their advanced status, nurse practitioners are able to perform a variety of functions that are normally the responsibility of doctors and physicians, such as prescribing and administering medications in most states. If a nurse practitioner is the perfect job title for you, read on to discover more about how to achieve it.
Become a Registered Nurse
Before you can work as a nurse practitioner, you must train to become a registered nurse (RN) if you have not done so already. Eligible degrees include the associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or the bachelors of science in nursing (BSN), which take two and four years to complete respectively. After successful completion of the degree program, students must obtain the RN certification.
Advanced Degree Study
On your pathway to learn how to become a nurse practitioner, the next step to take is a master’s degree, once you have gained the RN certification and graduated from nursing school. The master of science in nursing (MSN) program offers a range of areas of specialization to choose from for students, for example working in pathology, pediatrics, emergency treatment, anesthesia, immunology, infusion, microbiology, maternal and neonatal care, and more. Studying for a master’s degree normally takes around two years, but if you have work experience in a healthcare related field, you may be able to complete it in a shorter time frame. You will also need to undertake a doctorate degree in nursing and sit the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) which will qualify you to become a nurse practitioner in the U.S.
One of the main questions asked by prospective students is: ‘is it hard to become a nurse practitioner?’ Studying to become a nurse practitioner does require a lot of hard work, as there are at least two college degrees involved, along with the need to gain work experience and become comfortable working in a hands-on, practical setting. Because of this, many prospective nurse practitioners are considering studying for their degree online, with online nurse practitioner degrees available from top nursing schools in several states.
Job and Salary Opportunities
For the period 2014-2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment for nurse practitioners is expected to rise by over 30%. Currently, the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of nurses, with an aging population putting increasing strain on the healthcare system and creating a higher demand than ever before for experienced nurses. As of May 2015, nurse practitioners could expect to earn an average of almost $105,000 per annum.
Becoming a nurse practitioner is not an easy task, but with high demand, great job security, and increasing career opportunities, investing your time and energy in becoming a nurse practitioner is a great career choice.