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How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

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Are you a compassionate professional looking to have a rewarding career in healthcare? If so, then embarking on a career as a nurse practitioner might be the perfect path for you. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, nurse practitioners are “clinicians that blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management.” Nurse practitioners can work in a wide variety of fields such as oncology, geriatrics, and family care. Furthermore, the profession is expected to grow 40% by 2031, making it an excellent and profitable career choice.

You might be wondering, how long does it take to become a nurse practitioner? That can be a tricky question, which is why we’ve outlined six steps on how to become a nurse practitioner. Additionally, to provide you with further support, we encourage you to explore our collection of nurse practitioner interview questions. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and set you on the right track towards your goal!

Step One: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN)

The first step towards becoming a nurse practitioner is to obtain your BSN from an accredited nursing program. BSN programs can be expensive, however, it’s worth nothing that online options are available to help cut costs. As an undergrad, you’ll take classes such as physiology, microbiology, and organic chemistry – if you enjoy science, you’re in for a treat! Beyond the excitement of studying science, your degree will give you a foundation in nursing knowledge and hands-on clinical experience.

Step Two: Gain Experience as a Registered Nurse (RN)

After completing your BSN, the next crucial step is to gain nursing experience as a registered nurse (RN). Hands on experience in healthcare settings will help you develop a strong foundation in patient care and refine your clinical skills. Once you start doing clinical rotations, you might even have a better idea of which specialty you’d like to focus on as a nurse practitioner. 

Step Three: Pursue a Master's Degree in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DPN)

To become a nurse practitioner, you must further your education by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). These graduate-level programs provide advanced coursework and specialized training in areas such as pharmacology, pathophysiology, and advanced health assessment. Depending on your career aspirations and the level of practice you seek, you can choose between an MSN or DNP program.

Step Four: Obtain Certification

After completing your graduate program, the next step is to obtain a nurse practitioner certification. The certification requirements vary depending on your specialty and the state in which you plan to practice. Common certifying bodies include the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Additionally, you will need to obtain state licensure to practice as a nurse practitioner.               

Step Five: Obtain State Licensure and Start Practicing

Once you have completed your NP program and achieved certification, you will need to apply for state licensure as a nurse practitioner. Each state has its own licensing requirements, so make sure to check the specific regulations in the state where you plan to practice. After obtaining your license, you can start practicing as a nurse practitioner in your chosen specialty.

In conclusion, becoming a nurse practitioner is a challenging yet rewarding career choice. Our blog on how to become a nurse practitioner
will hopefully serve as a useful resource for you as you begin your NP journey. Be sure to check our open NP positions on our job board for when you’re finished your training, and best of luck to you!

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