Advanced Practice Nurse Education and Career Facts

Nurses who work in advanced practice fields of nursing include nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives. Each of these positions requires a master's degree in nursing or higher, and professional nursing organizations offer certification to nurses in each field. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Officially known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), these professionals practice specialized areas of nursing as nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists. To work in these roles, most states require that you become certified as an APRN, which includes having current registered nurse licensure, completing an accredited graduate program and passing a certification exam.

Program Options Master of Science in Nursing with tracks in Adult Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Anesthesia, Doctor of Nursing Practice concentrations in Nurse Midwifery and Advanced Population Health Nursing
Courses Clinical pharmacology, advanced practice in primary care, advanced health assessment and measurement, diagnosis, symptom and illness management,
Career Outlook Much faster than average job growth anticipated for APRNs

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Prerequisites to Becoming an Advanced Practice Nurse?

To enter an advance practice nursing program, you must typically hold a bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum amount of relevant coursework. You'll need to earn your degree from an accredited nursing school and then take the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN, to become licensed as a registered nurse. Some schools offer accelerated options to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in combination with a Master of Science in Nursing.

What Education Do I Need?

You must earn a graduate nursing degree, master's-level or higher, to work as an advanced practice nurse. Nursing schools typically offer master's degree programs in specialized areas of advanced practice nursing, such as nursing education, family nursing, pediatric nursing or geriatric nursing. Coursework is typically based on the area of specialization. Other professional options are also available at the master's degree level, including programs that offer combined study in business and public health, or programs that combine master's and doctoral levels of study.

What Other Requirements Must I Meet?

You need a current registered nursing license in order to earn an advanced practice nursing certification. Certifications are available to you in all areas of advanced practice nursing, but nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists have the largest number of different types of certifications available to them. Nurses who work in these areas often must obtain degrees in sub-specialties of their field in order to become certified. For example, a clinical nurse specialist seeking a gerontological certification would need to hold a graduate gerontology nursing degree.

What Resources Do I Have as an Advanced Practice Nurse?

As an advanced practice nurse in a professional organization, you may have access to conferences, continuing education courses and certification options. Nurse practitioners are represented by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners; clinical nurse specialists are represented by the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists; nurse anesthetists are represented by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists; and nurse midwives are represented by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

What is the Career Outlook For Advanced Practice Nurses?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that there were a total of 151,400 APRNs employed in 2012. From 2012 to 2022, employment for APRNs is expected to grow by 31% (www.bls.gov). As of May 2014, average salaries were $97,990 for nurse practitioners, $158,900 for nurse anesthesiologists and $97,700 for nurse midwives, according to the BLS. The BLS did not report on salaries for clinical nurse specialists; however, Payscale.com reported a median salary of $81,305 as of July 2015.

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:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • South University

    South University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at South University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

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

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Next »