schooling for nurse practitioner

How Much Schooling For A Nurse Practitioner?

How much schooling is required for a nurse practitioner? Read on to find out.

A nurse practitioner needs to complete six to eight years of education. However, how long it takes you will primarily depend on your present educational background and qualifications.

Nurse practitioners are highly trained and have a lot of knowledge about health and patient care. The job market pays handsomely for this kind of knowledge, but it can take some time to acquire.

In this article, you will learn not only how long it will take you to become a nurse practitioner but also what they do, their job outlook, and the path you need to take to become one.

Who is a Nurse Practitioner?

A nurse practitioner(NP) is a licensed professional with advanced practice nursing certification who can provide both general and specialized care. 

NPs are able to manage patient care over a range of lifespans, so they examine patients, decide which therapies to administer to manage or improve general health, and use advanced assessment and diagnostic tools to create treatment regimens and incorporate health promotion methods. 

Some nurse practitioners also specialize in areas such as psychiatry, mental health, or particular clientele, such as children, adults, or the elderly.

In summary, nurse practitioners:

  • Identify health issues and treat them
  • Carry out diagnostic tests
  • Take samples, like blood tests
  • Give medical prescriptions
  • Advise patients
  • Educate patients on lifestyle changes and health-related problems

Related: Schooling For Labor And Delivery Nurse: The Best 5 Schools To Attend

A group on nurse practitioners with their supervisor
A group on nurse practitioners with their supervisor

What are the specialties of Nurse Practitioners?

Below are the different specialties of nurse practitioners;

  • Acute Care NP
  • Adult NP
  • Adult-gerontology acute care NP
  • Adult gerontology primary care NP
  • Adult Psychiatric-mental health NP
  • Family NP
  • Gerontological NP
  • Pediatric Primary Care NP
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health NP
  • School NP

What are the differences between NP, DNP, and APRN?

Nurse Practitioner (NP) is a career or job title of a nurse that is an APRN(APRN stands for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse). 

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a graduate degree in nursing that NPs often complete. DNP programs are designed for those interested in working in direct patient care or leading teams in a clinical setting. It is more research-focused than clinical.

How do I become a Nurse Practitioner?

You will need a master’s degree from a recognized program together with classroom instruction and clinical experiences. 

When thinking about advanced degrees in healthcare, finding and choosing recognized schools is crucial. 

Schooling for nursing programs involves advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacology skills. 

You will also need to pass through these two major programs: The American Association of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

How long does it take to become a Nurse Practitioner?

You will need a Ph.D. or master’s degree in nursing to become a nurse practitioner, which will be roughly six to eight years of education.

First, you complete a registered nurse (RN) program for two to four years, get a master’s degree for two to three years and then take and pass the APRN certification exam (less than one year.)

See the 10 Best Schools For Public Health

What Are The Steps To Becoming A Nurse Practitioner?

Depending on the state in which you want to work, the precise steps you must do to become a nurse practitioner may change. 

Below are the general steps:

1. Become a registered Nurse.

You must first become a registered nurse before you can practice as a nurse practitioner. You become a registered nurse when you pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

2. Pursue a graduate education.

While an undergraduate degree and successful completion of state licensure will typically be sufficient to let you work as a registered nurse, you will need to finish a graduate degree in order to eventually become a nurse practitioner.

3. Seek a certification relevant to your career goals.

Depending on the certification and the company that issues it, different people may have different criteria to achieve it. 

However, the majority of NP specialty certificates demand that applicants have finished the necessary amount of academic coursework, worked a particular amount in the clinic, and passed an exam.

4. Get a state license.

After earning your degree and certification, you can submit an application for licensing in the state where you want to work. 

State-specific standards for licensure will vary, but the general procedures include:

  • Submit an application
  • Pay an application fee
  • Fingerprinting/background check

In many cases, a temporary license can be issued for a few weeks while the permanent license is taken into account and authorized.

Find out: What is the Cost of Nursing School?

What is the future and salary expectations of Nurse practitioners? 

The employment path for NPs is promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between 2020 and 2030, employment possibilities for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners would increase by 45 percent (far faster than the average). 

Also, there is a significant profit potential with such high demand in the profession. A median annual compensation of $120,680 was made by NPs in 2020, which is significantly more than the national median pay of $35,805 for individuals in the same year.

What are the different types of nurse practitioner degree options?

Schooling for nurse practitioner will require you to take any of the following paths:

  • RN to MSN Nurse Practitioner Program
  • BSN to MSN Nurse Practitioner Program
  • Direct Entry MSN Nurse Practitioner Program
  • BSN to DNP Nurse Practitioner Program
  • MSN to DNP Nurse Practitioner Program

How much is schooling from RN to MSN Nurse Practitioner?

You can anticipate your RN to MSN Nurse Practitioner School Length to be two years, regardless of whether you choose to become a family nurse practitioner (FNP), adult-gerontology nurse practitioner (AGNP), neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP), women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP), psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP), or pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP).

How much is schooling from BSN to MSN Nurse Practitioner?

BSN to MSN programs normally last from 24 to 48 months when taken on a part-time basis. This partially relies on the institution and what it provides BSN students.

How much is schooling from Direct Entry MSN Nurse Practitioner?

A direct entry MSN program for nurse practitioners typically requires 20 to 24 months of full-time study or 24 to 48 months of part-time study. 

Some colleges, like Northeastern, extend the length of the program by requiring you to work as an RN for a few years while enrolled. Even though this is not typical, you should check your curriculum before applying to avoid being surprised.

How much is schooling from BSN to DNP Nurse Practitioner?

After receiving your BSN, it will take 3 to 4 years to complete nurse practitioner school full-time or 4 to 7 years to complete it part-time.

How much is schooling from MSN to DNP Nurse Practitioner?

MSN to DNP programs typically last between one and two years full-time and between two and four years part-time. The process can take a little longer if you’re adding a second specialty.

How long does nurse practitioner school take to complete a post-master’s certificate-NP program?

It will take between 12 and 16 months to finish your post-master’s certificate nurse practitioner program full-time or 16 to 24 months part-time.

See The 8 Best Nursing Schools in Dallas, Texas

Where can Nurse Practitioners work?

The majority of nurse practitioners are employed by hospitals, clinics, or family practice practices. 

Also, many nurse practitioners start their own businesses, particularly those who specialize in areas like obstetrics or pediatrics.

What skills and qualities do you bring to the Nurse Practitioner role?

Whether you’ll be a successful nurse practitioner depends on a variety of elements. A good nurse practitioner exhibits a wide range of qualities including

  • Attentiveness
  • Compassion
  • Integrity
  • Competence
  • Communication
  • Optimism
  • Empathy
  • Creativity.

How much can a Nurse Practitioner earn?

After schooling as a nurse practitioner, you can make an average of $107,030 per year.

The states with the greatest employment rates for nurse practitioners are New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Ohio.

Related: How Much Do College Professors Make?


Because of how much schooling you need to be a nurse practitioner, you should be equipped with the necessary skills to thrive in the career.

Schooling alone is not enough, you also need to put more hours into practice and experience to become successful.

After all, whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well.

Frequently Asked Questions About Schooling For Nurse Practitioner

What is the most difficult nurse practitioner specialty?

Critical Care Nurse Practitioner strikes as the most difficult nurse practitioner specialty.
This is because they handle the sickest or most traumatized patients, who frequently face life-or-death situations.

What do you look out for in your first NP job?

The first thing to check is your supervisor. You will need to ask a lot of questions as a fresh graduate so it’s crucial to work for a company that accepts your lack of experience.

What makes a nurse practitioner unique?

Nurse practitioners not only diagnose and cure patients’ ailments, but also incorporate the remedies into the patients’ families, cultures, daily routines, and communities. This makes them unique.

Is becoming an NP worth it?

Yes, there’s a lot of demand for nurse practitioners with so many career opportunities available.

What type of NPs is most in demand?

Family practice is the most popular NP specialization. This is a result of the job’s flexibility. If you study FNP, you can be employed in family medicine, urgent care centers, and the majority of specialist clinics, including hospice and palliative care.

What type of NP gets paid the most?

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist gets paid the most as they receive an average salary of $181,040.

Can nurse practitioners make a diagnosis?

Yes, a nurse practitioner can diagnose patients.


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