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How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

female nurse holding tablet computer

Interested in learning how to become a nurse practitioner through education, training, and certification?  A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse (RN) who has specialized training in a certain area of healthcare. As a result, nurse practitioners are able to perform job duties that would otherwise be reserved for doctors and physicians, such as administering patient exams and making diagnoses. How much does a nurse practitioner make?  According to US News and World Report, the average nurse practitioner salary is around $95,000, which is significantly higher than the average RN salary of around $64,000 annually.

 

Nurse Practitioner Requirements

Gain Experience as a Registered Nurse

First of all, understand that all nurse practitioners have to start out as registered nurses; therefore, you’ll need to begin by obtaining either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in the nursing field. From there, it’s also recommended that you have some experience working as an RN, as this will come in handy when it comes time to apply for a more specialized degree program. In fact, some schools with advanced degree programs will require candidates to have at least a few years of experience working in the field.

Obtain a Specialized Degree

Once you’ve got enough experience as a registered nurse, it’s time to begin looking into Master’s degree programs. Depending on the program and school you’re interested in, you may need to have a Bachelor’s degree in the field or an Associate’s degree; it really depends on what program you’re looking to apply for, as some will offer a combined Bachelor’s/Master’s degree, whereas others will only include a Master’s degree. Different schools may also offer different areas of study and nurse practitioner programs.

How Long to Become a Nurse Practitioner?

Generally, completing a Master’s degree program to become a nurse practitioner takes anywhere from a year and a half to two years, assuming you’re enrolled on a full-time basis.

Get Licensed and Certified

Just as you need to pass an exam and get certified as an RN before you can begin working in the field, the same applies when it comes to how to become a nurse practitioner. Specific license and certification requirements can vary greatly from state to state, but a national exam is always a part of the process. Depending on your area of expertise, you may also need to obtain certification from a professional organization. For instance, if you plan on working as a nurse practitioner in the pediatric field, then you may need to be certified by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. From there, you will have done everything you need to begin working as a nurse practitioner.

Working as a nurse practitioner can be a very rewarding career choice, but it will take some time and understanding to get to that point. However, with enough dedication and education from the right nurse practitioner programs, combined with a strong knowledge of how to become a nurse practitioner, you can be on your way to this career and be making a nurse practitioner’s salary in no time.

 

Source:

http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/nurse-practitioner/salary

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