Nurse Practitioner Masters Degree Programs

Nurse practitioner studies are typically part of a Master of Science in Nursing program. Students develop a professional knowledge of their chosen specialty through a combination of didactic and clinical instruction.

Essential Information

Nurse practitioners combine nursing and healthcare skills to serve as a patient's or family's primary or specialty care provider. Many nurse practitioners work in a specialty such as women's health, pediatrics and family practice. Acute care, adult practice and geriatrics are also popular specialties. Nurse practitioners can also work in less popular, but important specialties, like neonatology and mental health.

Applicants to nurse practitioner master's programs must have a bachelor's degree, and nearly all nurse practitioner candidates have nursing degrees and those who don't must have nursing experience. Students should also be prepared to submit a resume, letters of recommendation, a personal statement and in some cases proof that the candidate is a registered nurse. Many times, an interview will also be conducted.

  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree, nursing experience, submit resume, letters of recommendation and a personal statement
  • Online Availability: Yes, many students are also RN's and online courses accommodate their schedules
  • Program Specializations: Women's health, geriatrics, pediatrics, family practice and acute care are a few options
  • Program Length: 1-3 years

Master's Degree for Nurse Practitioners

Because nurse practitioners often take leadership roles, programs emphasize leadership and organizational problem solving. Students also learn to work with physicians to treat common health problems, manage chronic illnesses and administer diagnostic tests. Programs are many times available online or on a part-time basis because most students are already registered nurses and can last between one and three years. Classes in nurse practitioner master's degree programs combine classroom coursework and clinical hours. Here are some classes you might find in these programs:

  • Statistics
  • Medical technology
  • Family practice
  • Physiology
  • Research methods

Career Outlook and Salary Information

Like most medical professions, job opportunities for nurses, including nurse practitioners, are expected to grow faster than the national average, with an expected growth rate of 16% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, Nurse practitioners made an average annual salary of $97,990 as of May 2014, according to the BLS. In the same year, the lowest 10% of nurse practitioners earned $68,830 per year, while the top 90% of workers made approximately $131,050 (BLS).

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