If you want to become a nurse practitioner you are going to have to work long hours for your degree and for your career. While the cost may seem overwhelming, there is a lot of financial aid available for students who are interested in nursing. Pursuing a career is never easy, especially with a career such as nursing. That is why you need to be aware of ahead of time of the challenges and perks that lie ahead. Learn more about how to become a nurse practitioner.
In order to become a nurse practitioner you must first obtain a Bachelor’s degree. Students on a path to becoming a nurse practitioner will need to earn a bachelor’s degree to qualify for necessary graduate study. Completion of a bachelor’s degree program prepares students to meet state requirements for licensure as a registered nurse (RN). Common areas studied in undergraduate nursing programs include pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, pediatric nursing and community health. In the clinical experience part of the program, students will have the opportunity to practice skills learned in the classroom under the guidance of their instructor.
You must then become a registered nurse. Every state requires a practicing nurse to first pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Additional licensing and registration requirements, which typically include background checks and fingerprinting may be required at the state level. Before candidates can pursue a graduate degree or advanced nursing licensure, an RN license is required.
Registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree who are interested in becoming nurse practitioners can qualify for the position by earning a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing. Many nurse practitioners specialize in a specific area of medicine, such as pediatrics or family medicine during their graduate study. These programs typically take 2 to 3 years to complete and require students to take courses, seminars and lectures in addition to completing a clinical residency. Common courses may include healthcare management, pathophysiology and advanced pharmacology.
Most states require additional licensure to work as an advanced practice nurse. Advanced practice nurses operate in one of four roles: nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife or clinical nurse specialist. Licensing is regulated by individual states, and requirements vary. However, all NPs must first be licensed RNs with a master’s degree in one of the four advanced practice specialties. Some states mandate extra exams and professional experience. Many states require continuing education classes or maintenance of a national certification to renew a license.
Becoming a nurse practitioner will not be easy and you have many steps to take to get there. Take your time so you do not stumble along the way.