After becoming a Registered Nurse, many people choose to keep going to school to become a Nurse Practitioner. These are specialized RNs that can diagnose and treat illnesses. These are the responsibilities that are usually reserved for Medical Doctors. In addition, they can prescribe medicines, order lab tests, and x-rays as well as an array of additional tasks that nurses aren’t permitted to do.
Nurse practitioners make an average of $95,000 to $97,000 yearly in the US.
For those who choose this path, it usually takes about 6-8 years to complete the prerequisites of becoming an NP. The path starts with gaining a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Nursing, or BSN. This step takes 4 years alone, theoretically. See this article for details.
Next, they’ll need to gain experience in nursing patients. Some Nurse Practitioner Graduate Programs require all applicants to already have an RN license (passing the NCLEX exam). Additionally, schools look for an applicant with experience working or volunteering at a hospital. This may not be the case for all schools, though. If you’re interested in pursuing this career talk to an academic counselor at a school that offers this graduate program (assuming you already are an RN).
A Nurse Practitioner needs to earn a Master’s Degree from an accredited institution. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the program must include classroom education and clinical experience. The program will include classes like Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology. Interestingly, Nutrition is not usually taught in Nurse Practitioner Masters programs, but are a required course for those entering entry-level nursing programs. Similar to passing the NCLEX, NPs need to take a state and national certification exams to become licensed.
Employment for NPs is expected to grow by 35% between 2012-2022, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s almost 40,000 new Nurse Practitioner positions in 10 years!