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Family Nurse Practitioner Jobs and Employment Options

Family nurse practitioners require significant formal education and experience. Learn about the education, job duties and certification options to see if this is the right career for you.

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Family nurse practitioners specialize in caring for patients and their families. It is common for them to provide care to entire families, sometimes multiple generations. A master's degree, doctoral degree, or postgraduate certificate is typically required, along with certification and licensure.

Essential Information

Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are registered nurses who have completed a master's or doctoral degree or a postgraduate certificate in advanced practice nursing. Many FNPs also hold specialty certification or licensure as advanced practice nurses. These highly-trained nurses perform similar job duties to physicians, such as diagnosing health conditions and managing treatment plans. They may work with parents and their children, multiple generations or even small communities.

Required Education Master's degree, doctoral degree or postgraduate certificate in advanced practice nursing
Other Requirements Current nursing license, professional certification as a family nurse practitioner often required
Projected Job Growth (all types of NPs) 35% (2014-2024)*
Median Salary (all types of NPs) $98,190 (2015)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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Family Nurse Practitioner Jobs

The title of family nurse practitioner denotes a specialization for nurse practitioners. To be employed as a nurse practitioner, one must complete a graduate degree in nursing, obtain state licensure (sometimes called state certification) and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Employers might require certification by agencies such as the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Job duties for FNPs include counseling patients and their families, conducting examinations, prescribing medications, analyzing lab tests, diagnosing health conditions and educating patients. FNPs focus on building the practitioner-patient relationship. This is especially important because they often work with patients for several years and throughout generations of the same family. FNPs also act as health advocates to ensure treatment plans meet individual needs.

The BLS reports an excellent overall career outlook for all types of nurse practitioners, including FNPs; jobs were expected to grow 35% between 2014 and 2024. Nurse practitioners earned an annual median wage of $98,190 in 2015, the BLS noted.

Employment Options

Family nurse practitioners are employed in diverse health care settings, including urgent care clinics, health departments, hospices, community clinics, private homes, nursing homes, physician private practices, hospitals and schools. In addition to working directly with patients, family nurse practitioners are qualified for leadership roles in healthcare settings. Management positions include nurse educator, researcher, administrator, case manager, policy maker and director.

Family nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who provide care to patients and their families. All FNPs are required to hold a graduate degree or certificate, and they need to be licensed and certified in order to practice. Aspiring FNPs can look forward to strong job prospects - the career field is expected to grow 35% between 2014 and 2024.

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