Nurse Practitioner Education Requirements
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a nurse practitioner. Get an overview of nurse practitioner educational requirements, licensure and job duties to see if this is the right career for you.
Nurse practitioners are responsible for taking care of patients in a variety of specialized settings. Nurse practitioners must generally obtain at least a master's degree, and must be both nationally registered nurses and certified nurse practitioners.
|Required Education||Master's degree|
|Licensure Requirements||RN licensure and nurse practitioner licensure|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*||34%|
|Average Salary (2013)*||$95,070|
Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education Requirements for Nurse Practitioners
A nurse practitioner (NP) provides primary care to patients in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. He or she is responsible for recording and analyzing a patient's history, performing physical exams, ordering diagnostic tests, prescribing physical therapy and other similar tasks. Education requirements to enter the career can vary slightly depending on the specialty, but at least a master's degree education is necessary. Some of the potential care specialties of a NP include:
- Women's health
- Occupational health
Master of Science in Nursing
These education programs take 2-3 years to complete. They focus on providing students with the skills necessary to enter professional health settings as nurse practitioners. Graduates are eligible to seek professional certification. Common courses include:
- Health promotion
- Nursing theories
Doctor of Nursing Practice
While completing a Master of Science in Nursing is generally enough to enter the profession, students may opt to complete a doctoral degree program to further enhance their career opportunities and expertise. Programs teach advanced practices in order to better meet patient needs. They can also qualify graduates to become teachers in nursing. Common courses include:
- Population health
- Behavior complexity
- Capstone project
Obtaining licensure as a registered nurse through the National Council Licensure Examination - Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), is required for all nurse practitioners. This is a post-undergraduate prerequisite to becoming an RN, which is a prerequisite to becoming a NP. Passing the NCLEX-RN proves that RNs have the necessary skills to work in the field.
Nurse Practitioner Credentialing
After completing master's degree programs, graduates are eligible to obtain professional certification as NPs. Nurse practitioner programs normally focus on one specialty area of nursing and graduates generally choose to seek certification in the same specialty. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Nurses Credentialing Center are two credentialing bodies that offer certifications in nursing. These certifications must be renewed every five years in order to continue development within the profession.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
In order to become a nurse practitioner, one must first be a registered nurse. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, (www.bls.gov), nurse practitioner positions are expected to increase by 34% between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than the national average for all career fields. Additionally, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for nurse practitioners was $95,070 as of May 2013.
Related to Nurse Practitioner Requirements
- Recently Updated
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a chronic pain nurse practitioner. Get a quick view of the schooling...
Get information on master's and doctoral degree programs for nurse practitioners. Read on to find out about advanced nursing...
Learn about Master of Science in Nursing programs that prepare Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree holders to become nurse...
Nurse practitioners require a significant amount of formal education. Learn more about the degree programs, licensing...
- Nurse Practitioner: Educational Requirements
- Nurse Vs. Nurse Practitioner: What's the Difference
- How to Become a Health Nurse Practitioner
- Marine Chemist: Job Description, Duties and Salary
- Career Info for a Degree in Medical & Health Professions
- Careers in the Media and TV: Job Options and Requirements
- Speech Therapist: Speech Therapy Career Education
- Gerontology Nurse Practitioner: Education and Training Program Info
- Cardiac Nurse Practitioner: Education and Training Program Info
- Win $1000 with the Study.com Teacher Grant Program
- Architecture Professions: Overview of the Architecture Related Careers
- Dr. Lynford Goddard Talks Engineering Outreach with Study.com