How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner, often abbreviated as NP is a type of APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) offering specialty or primary healthcare treatment to patients, just like a physician.

Depending on state legislation where the NP is based, they can offer their services independently or under supervision by a qualified and licensed physician.

It is important to state that it is a growing trend for NPs to be licensed to operate independently in American states due to the low number of medical practitioners available.

The journey to become a licensed and practicing NP is a bit complicated especially due to the fact that they have acquired specialized skills.


Below we will look at some of the main steps on how to become a nurse practitioner in the USA.


Become a Registered Nurse

The first step in the journey to become an NP is to achieve the necessary qualifications to become a registered nurse.

You can become a registered nurse by following a variety of established educational and training paths; however, most employers in the healthcare industry today require applicants in this field to have a college degree.

Alternatively, you can choose to become a licensed nurse practitioner before becoming a registered nurse.


Earn a Graduate Degree in Nursing

A registered nurse who has earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing can earn the necessary qualifications to become a nurse practitioner by earning a master’s or doctorate degree in nursing.

These degree programs usually take two to three years to complete depending on various circumstances.

During this time, the student takes a variety of courses depending on their chosen area of specialization.

Additionally, they take part in seminars and have to complete clinical residency as well.

Get an Advanced Practice Nursing License

To practice as a nurse practitioner after attaining the above qualifications requires a license.

All states have different qualifications that all applicants must satisfy before earning a practice license.

It is recommended that all aspiring nurse practitioners take the time to familiarize themselves with the specific requirements in the state they wish to practice in before commencing education or training.

The main qualifications of nurse practitioner licensure candidates include passing a national certification examination, holding a current registered nurse license and a master’s degree in nursing.


Further Specialization

It is important to note that a career as a nurse practitioner involves being a lifelong learner.

This is due to the fact that continued certification and licensure involves earning continuing training and educational credits.

Additionally, some professional associations require their members to earn additional qualifications in specific areas of specialization.

It is also worth noting that one can only seize career advancement opportunities by gaining training, certification, and experience in various areas of specialization.


This material was prepared by an independent third party.

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