In this article, you will read about becoming a nurse practitioner and how long it takes: Nurse practitioners are in high demand and earn a good living. Find out how many years of education you will need to complete in order to become one of these important healthcare professionals.
A nurse practitioner needs to complete six to eight years of education. Yet, how long it takes you will primarily depend on your present educational background and qualifications.
In this post, you will learn what a nurse practitioner performs, what the future of their job looks like, and how to become one.
You will gain a better understanding of why it takes as long as it does and whether this fascinating vocation is the ideal one for you as you learn more about it and its function in the healthcare sector.
What is a Nurse Practitioner?
A nurse practitioner (NP) is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who has a master’s degree and more specialized training. They can evaluate patients, find medical problems, and suggest treatment plans. NPs, who should not be confused with registered nurses (RN), diagnose and treat patients, much like doctors. But in some areas, NPs can’t administer medication without a doctor’s permission, even though doctors can do it in every state.
Duties & Responsibilities
NPs carry out a variety of crucial tasks to offer patients high-quality medical treatment. Among these responsibilities are:
- identifying health issues and treating them
- arranging, carrying out, and evaluating diagnostic test
- Medication prescription (in some states)
- giving patients advice
- executing certain straightforward medical procedures, including suturing a wound
- educating patients on lifestyle changes and health-related problems
Nurse Practitioner Salary
The employment prognosis for NPs is excellent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between 2020 and 2030, employment possibilities for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners would increase by 45 percent (far faster than the average) . In contrast, the BLS forecasts that between 2020 and 2030, the overall job growth in the United States will be 7.7% .
There is a significant profit potential with such high demand. A median annual compensation of $120,680 was made by NPs in 2020, which is significantly more than the national median pay of $35,805 for individuals in the same year [3,4].
Education for Nurse Practitioners
A student must complete a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in order to become a nurse practitioner (BSN). Many colleges and institutions offer registered nurse training programs that are geared toward preparing graduates to pass the National Council Licensure Test for Registered Nurses. Although becoming a registered nurse is not necessary for becoming a nurse practitioner, it can be advantageous because it will allow them to work in local hospitals on a part-time basis while still pursuing their degree. The minimum 4-year degree required is in nursing.
You must complete a master’s degree program to become a nurse practitioner after receiving your BSN. These degrees go by the name of Nurse Practitioner (NP).
READ ALSO: Becoming a nurse: how long does it take
Nurse Practitioner how long does it take
The length of time it takes to become a nurse practitioner (NP) varies depending on the individual’s educational background, the type of NP program they choose, and whether they attend full-time or part-time. Generally, it takes a minimum of six years of education beyond high school to become an NP.
Here is a typical educational pathway to become an NP:
- Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): This degree typically takes four years of full-time study.
- Obtain a Registered Nurse (RN) license: This requires passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and obtaining a state license. The process can take several months to complete.
- Gain nursing experience: Many NP programs require at least one to two years of nursing experience before applying.
- Earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): NP programs can take anywhere from two to four years to complete, depending on the level of degree and whether the program is full-time or part-time.
In summary, it takes at least six years of education beyond high school to become an NP, including a BSN degree, an RN license, nursing experience, and an MSN or DNP degree.
What Are the Differing Educational Needs for NPs and Physicians?
The considerable education needed to become an NP can be comparable to that needed to become a doctor. This is due to the fact that nurse practitioners may do many of the same tasks as doctors, including managing primary care. Because nurse practitioner degree programs also need a large amount of clinical work, they can take an additional two to four years after completing a four-year BSN program. In addition to finishing their NP degree requirements, new NPs must pass a state-specific NP exam in order to obtain a license to practice in that stat
Places Where Nurse Practitioners work & What they do
The majority of nurse practitioners are employed by hospitals, clinics, or family practice practices. Many nurse practitioners start their own businesses, particularly those who specialize in areas like obstetrics or pediatrics. Interpreting medical histories and conducting physical examinations are among the tasks and obligations of nurse practitioners. They also offer diagnosis and make therapy suggestions.
How to become a Nurse Practitioner
Getting the education, training, and credentials needed to become a nurse practitioner can be a lengthy process. This is how you would go about doing it, from beginning to end.
Obtain a bachelor’s degree
You need a bachelor’s degree before you can enroll in a master’s or doctoral program in nursing. You can apply to a graduate nursing program with a non-nursing degree even though a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) will probably best prepare you for graduate study.
Get into nursing.
Becoming a registered nurse is a prerequisite for becoming a nurse practitioner.
State-by-state variations exist in the educational requirements for becoming a registered nurse, although the three most popular paths are a BSN, an associate degree program, or an authorized nursing program. To find out what you need to do to be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Test for Registered Nurses, get in touch with the nursing regulating body (NRB) in your state (NCLEX-RN). You can take the NCLEX-RN once you have satisfied the state’s requirements. The NCLEX-RN, however, evaluates your knowledge with questions that demand more than just rote memory; they also involve critical thinking and educated decision-making.
Get a nursing graduate degree.
You can become an NP by earning either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
An MSN typically requires two years of full-time study to complete and expands student knowledge in areas like evidence-based practices and health care informatics. The final nursing degree, the DNP, builds on the MSN’s subject matter while preparing students for leadership positions. Depending on prior experience and certifications, it may take anywhere from 18 months to 4 years to finish.
In the end, your decision to enroll in an MSN or DNP program will be based on your personal career objectives and personal situation. But, you can become a nurse practitioner with either degree.
Get a license.
After receiving your graduate degree, you are now eligible to take one of the certification tests required for obtaining a nurse practitioner license.
These two exams are the ANCC and AANP tests, which stand for the American Nurses Credentialing Center and American Association of Nurse Practitioners, respectively. You only need to take and pass one test in order to be granted NP licensure in your state, despite the fact that the two tests have relatively different foci—the ANCC is more research-based and the AANP is more clinically focused.
Myths about NP
Several people have misconceptions about how much education is required to become a nurse practitioner and how much training they must complete. A lot of individuals might think that a “nurse practitioner” is just another nurse when they hear the term. They are ignorant of the fact that nurse practitioners must complete several years of postsecondary study.
In conclusion, becoming a nurse practitioner requires a significant amount of education and training. It typically takes a minimum of six years of education beyond high school, including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), an RN license, nursing experience, and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. However, the length of time may vary depending on the individual’s educational background, the type of NP program they choose, and whether they attend full-time or part-time.