Advanced Nurse Practitioner Schooling and Education

A nurse practitioner is a type of advanced practice nurse who is required to have at least a graduate degree in a designated specialty area of nursing. Get information on certification options, and learn what the job growth predictions and salary expectations are for registered nurses. Schools offering Family Nurse Practitioner degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

If you are a registered nurse with a bachelor's degree in nursing, you can advance your career by attending an accredited graduate degree program, and be a primary care provider in your choice of a variety of medical specialties. Upon graduation, you can obtain professional certification through your choice of certification organizations.

Job Outlook (2012-2022) 34% increase (for all nurse practitioners)
Programs Nurse practitioner graduate-level programs require candidates to have bachelor's degree in nursing and be license as a registered nurse
Certification Professional certification is available in several medical specialties

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Nurse Practitioner?

As a nurse practitioner, you serve as the main provider of health care services to your patients. You will often specialize in seeing to the needs of a particular group of individuals, such as children or the elderly. Nurse practitioners work in what is considered to be an advanced practice specialty field of nursing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in 2013 there were 122,050 nurse practitioners working in the country, and that this number is expected to grow 34 percent between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). Nurse practitioners made an annual median wage of $95,350 in 2014.

What Kind of Education Do I Need?

To practice as a nurse in the U.S., you must have a degree from an approved nursing program in order to take the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN, to get your license. You should obtain either a diploma, an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree from an accredited nursing school. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program provides you with the most training, as well as the prerequisite credits needed to enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program.

If you want to get a job as a nurse practitioner, you will need to obtain at least a master's degree in the nurse practitioner specialty in which you want to work, if not a higher-level of graduate degree. Although you will generally study nursing as a single major at the graduate level, degree programs which train you specifically to become a nurse practitioner, or to work in a specialized area of this field, are common at the master's and doctorate levels.

How Can I Become Certified?

After you graduate, there are a number of certification programs that you can earn from professional nursing organizations to prove that you are able to work as a nurse practitioner. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners offers designations in the profession, for example. Certifications are offered in sub-specialties, such as pediatrics, adult care, family care and geriatrics. You earn a certification by taking an examination online or at the time and place required by the organization offering the certification. To sit for one of these examinations, must obtain your RN license and hold an accredited degree in the nurse practitioner specialty in which you want to become certified. You may also have to have some supervised experience as a nurse practitioner.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

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  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • South University

    South University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at South University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

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  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Herzing University

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  • Colorado Technical University

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  • Penn Foster Career School

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  • University of Delaware

    University of Delaware responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of Delaware:

    • Master

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