Table of Contents
- 1 What is a nurse practitioner?
- 2 The difference between nurse practitioners and doctors
- 3 How to become a registered nurse practitioner
- 4 What are the best nursing schools in the US?
- 5 Can I get a degree online?
- 6 How long is schooling?
- 7 What jobs can a nurse practitioner do?
- 8 Where do I find nurse practitioner jobs?
Becoming a registered nurse practitioner is a significant decision. Many people see it as an incredible way to be of service to people in their greatest time of need. Others see it as a solid career path that can provide long-term job security and income. Regardless of what brings you to consider a career in nursing, it is crucial to get all the facts so that you can make the most educated, informed decision possible.
While the process is straightforward, it is far from easy, and your path to becoming a registered nurse practitioner may depend on your personal preferences, goals, or limitations.
What is a nurse practitioner?
Registered nurses can provide a wide range of care in various medical settings. Nurses who would like to further their skills and education have the opportunity to become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).
One of the most popular types of APRNs’s the nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner has a master’s degree and is qualified to diagnose conditions, prescribe medication, and administer treatments.
The difference between nurse practitioners and doctors
While a nurse practitioner can perform many of the same responsibilities as a doctor, there are some critical differences between the two.
While an NP can prescribe medication to patients, some states require that it be done so under the supervision of a doctor. There are no such restrictions related to doctors.
We will discuss salary later, but generally, doctors can make an average salary of $208,000.00. Depending on where you practice, the average for a nurse practitioner is roughly 60% of that.
Another significant difference is when it comes to the type of education each receives and the length it takes to complete. It may take between 10-14 years to become a doctor. Nurse practitioners will also need to go through advanced education, but the length is between 6-8 years.
How to become a registered nurse practitioner
You will need to become a registered nurse, earn a Bachelor’s in Nursing Science degree (BSN), work as a nurse for experience, gain a graduate degree, and pass the state requirements for licensure.
What are the best nursing schools in the US?
Just as with becoming a doctor, what nursing school you attend is very important. Beyond the name recognition that will look good to prospective employers, going to one of the best programs in the country ensures you are the most prepared for the career that lies ahead.
Here is a list of the top 5 nursing schools in the United States in no particular order:
Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
Located in Baltimore, Maryland, this school has a rich history of producing some of the best medical professionals of the past and present generations. Their nursing school consistently ranks in the top 10 of every specialization for nurse practitioners. Their faculty is massive, with 78 full-time members providing education for an enrollment of 1,124 nursing students.
Located in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is one of the top nursing programs in the nation. Their emphasis on research and cutting-edge resources provides a top-level education from start to finish. Of the top 10 nursing schools, Emory boasts one of the best student-to-faculty ratios.
University of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s premier college boasts one of the best nursing schools in the nation. They are ranked 3rd nationwide for those seeking a Master’s Nurse Practitioner specializing in adult acute care.
Case Western Reserve University
The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, located on this beautiful campus, consistently appears in the top 10 lists of many nationally recognized publications for their master’s programs.
Also referred to as DUSON, Duke’s nursing program consistently battles for #1 in the nation with John Hopkins University. Since 1931, the school has had an impressive track record of producing world-class nurse practitioners.
Can I get a degree online?
Online nursing schools use technology to answer the question “are there nursing schools near me?” with a resounding yes. As most are working nurses, online nursing education makes things significantly more achievable and economical. For example, family nurse practitioner online schools present savings of up to 30% compared to in-person programs.
Some things to consider when selecting an online school are costs, the type of program curriculum, their accreditation, graduation rate, and participation requirements.
While you can complete nursing school online, there is one caveat. Because nursing requires the direct treatment of patients, there are portions of your study that will require being done in person, referred to as clinical rotations. The good news is that some online nursing schools will allow you to perform them at the medical facility where you presently work.
How long is schooling?
The length of your education will depend on various factors, including what school you choose, whether you are full-time or part-time, and online or in person. In general, from start to finish, you can become a nurse practitioner in 6-8 years.
What jobs can a nurse practitioner do?
Becoming a nurse practitioner opens up many options in terms of what jobs you can do.
Types of jobs include:
- Travel nurse practitioner
- School nurse practitioner
- Health and wellness coach
- Onsite corporate NP
- Cannabis clinic manager
- Medical weight management coordinator
- Opioid addiction clinic NP
- Health content and medical copywriter
- Forensics nurse practitioner
- Aesthetic NP
Where do I find nurse practitioner jobs?
Many nursing schools offer professional placement services for nursing students after graduation. Nurse practitioners are exploding in demand which makes the possibilities endless. Using online staffing agencies or enlisting the help of a medical “headhunter” can also be helpful.
Finally, applying directly to the following places may yield promising results.
- Medical offices
- Community clinics
- Birthing centers
- Patient homes
- Private practice
What is the average salary?
The national average annual salary for nurse practitioners is $111,000.00. This amount can vary depending on where you work and your areas of specialization. For example, NPs that work in medical research may earn significantly more than the average.
Becoming a nurse practitioner may take significant time and work, but from an economic and personal satisfaction perspective, the process could be well worth it.