How To Become a Nurse Practitioner

A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) that holds a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). NP’s earn a higher salary, have more responsibilities, and have greater career opportunities than other types of nurses. The educational path to becoming an NP is a rigorous one founded in coursework and clinical rotations. You must first become a registered nurse (RN), earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), complete an NP-focused master’s or doctoral nursing program, and pass the national NP board certification exam.

Become A Registered Nurse


The first step toward a nurse practitioner career is to become an RN. You can either earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN). It’s a good idea to earn a Bachelor’s in Nursing Science degree if you don’t hold a BSN. You can enroll in an accelerated RN-BSN program if you have an ADN, and many programs offer online degrees.

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Earn A Graduate Degree And Get Licensed


You’ll need to gain a few years of experience in the nursing field before enrolling in a graduate program. Once you have real-world experience under your belt, it’s time to enroll in a graduate degree program. RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree can become nurse practitioners by earning a master’s degree. RNs who don’t hold a bachelor’s degree can enroll in an RN-to-MSN program or an ADN-MSN program. Some graduate schools offer doctoral degree programs such as Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs.

The online NP programs at U of C – Nurse Practitioner are nationally recognized by the U.S. News & World Report for academic standards, diversity and inclusion, technology application, and research activity. Students who complete the online FNP program are prepared to diagnose and manage common and complex medical conditions across the lifespan. The program coursework prepares RNs for more specialized roles and focuses on developing a deep understanding of the complexities of family medicine. Graduates of the online program will be prepared to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) certification exams. The specifics of earning your Advanced Practice Nursing licensure are determined by the state you wish to work.

Nurse Practioner Specialities


There are several different NP specialties you can pursue. Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) provide primary health care to individuals and families of all ages. Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (ACNPs) are advanced practice registered nurses that work with patients in acute care and hospital settings, specifically adults with complex diseases. Pediatric Nurse Practitioners are Advanced Practice RNs who treat children from infancy into adulthood. Emergency Nurse Practitioners assess, diagnose, and manage injuries and illnesses that need immediate care.

Neonatal NPs are responsible for diagnosing, providing treatment plans, and prescribing medication to premature and sick newborns. Aesthetic NPs specialize in cosmetic medical procedures, including examining and evaluating patients, counseling them on procedures, performing procedures, and caring for patients during recovery. Oncology NPs provide cancer patients with comprehensive care.

Nurse Practitioners earn an average of $30,000 more than RNs annually. Salaries vary by location, employer, years of experience, and specialty. Having additional specializations increases your earning power and offers more career opportunities.