There are many nursing schools in the U.S. that offer nurse practitioner programs. This is a career that offers a variety of job opportunities due to the shortage of primary care providers. Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who offer health care services to patients in a variety of settings.
Job Duties and Career Opportunities for Nurse Practitioner Graduates
NPs or Nurse practitioners function similarly to primary care physicians, offering clinical services and patient education. They can work independently in several states, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat medical diseases and health conditions. Some nurse practitioners work in sub-specialty areas such as orthopedics, oncology, and women’s health.
Nurse practitioners practice settings include private practices, physician offices, urgent care centers, emergency departments, health clinics, health departments, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Many nurse practitioners venture out on their own and open clinics, aesthetics centers, and other healthcare facilities.
Nurse Practitioner Educational Requirements
To become a nurse practitioner, you must hold a BSN degree from an accredited nursing school. Bachelor’s nursing program requirements include good grades from both high school and undergraduate college work, certain immunizations like tetanus and hepatitis B, and a physical examination.
NPs earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and specialize in a particular area, such as family nurse practitioner or mental health nurse practitioner. Most MSN programs require you to hold an active RN license, successfully score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), submit an admissions essay, and provide letters of recommendation.
Certification for nurse practitioners is offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Some areas of credentialing include:
- Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health
Courses of Study of Nurse Practitioner Program
Nurse practitioner students study a variety of subjects, and the curriculum varies based on area of practice. Common courses of study of nurse practitioner programs include advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, theory, ethics, primary care management, and research. Additionally, advanced practiced education requires extensive practicum hours, where you work under a preceptor.
NP Healthcare Professional Salaries
According to several web sources, the average annual salary of a nurse practitioner is anywhere from $55,000 to $85,000. The pay depends on location of practice, employment setting, years of experience, and degree status. A recent survey conducted by the AANP found that the more specialized the nurse practitioner is, the higher the pay. Also, those who choose to work in urban areas earn higher wages.