Continuing Education for Nurse Practitioners

Continuing education is needed for nurse practitioners after they've completed a nursing program and become licensed. Read on to learn about nurse practitioner program requirements, licensing regulations, and options to obtain continuing education units. Schools offering Family Nurse Practitioner degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Nurse Practitioner?

A nurse practitioner (NP) is an advanced registered nurse who has completed a master's degree program in nursing. As a nurse practitioner, you will specialize in a certain area, such as pediatrics, adults, family health, women's health, mental health or gerontology. You will also provide primary care and diagnose issues, as well as prescribe medication.

Most NP degree programs require you to already have a bachelor's degree in nursing and be a licensed registered nurse (RN). Depending on the school, some courses may be offered online, evenings or weekends. Certification for NPs is available through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). You may find that requirements for certification vary by state, as well as your nursing specialty.

Nurse Practictioner Degree Prerequisites Bachelor's degree in nursing and licensing as a RN
Licensing Requirements To maintain your licensure, a certain number of Continuing Education units are required depending on your state.
Continuing Education Options Credits can be earned through the ANA, as well as various colleges and universities.

Why Do I Need Continuing Education?

Many states or employers require nurses to take a number of continuing education units (CEUs) over a certain time period to maintain licensure. You may also need CEUs to keep your NP certification active. For example, the adult nurse practitioner certification requires you to complete CEUs every five years.

Taking continuing education courses periodically can also help you stay up-to-date with changing technology and practices within your field. Courses may cover a variety of nursing topics, such as pain management, dealing with the latest health crisis or other topics of interest in your specialty.

What Options Are Available to Me?

Continuing education courses are offered at many colleges and universities. You can also find them at professional associations, such as the American Nurses Association (ANA). Other organizations may keep track of local continuing education events or schools that are accredited and offer continuing education courses. You may also be able to earn CEUs by attending conferences or workshops in your field. Some schools offer fellowships or certificates that will count towards your CEU requirements.

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:

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