Schools Offering Nurse Practitioner (NP) Degrees
Just one level below licensed physicians, nurse practitioners (NPs) provide both primary and specialty care. NPs are commonly found in the areas of women's health, adult practice, family practice, pediatrics, geriatrics, and acute care. NPs often maintain close working relationships with physicians and would be wise to practice in rural or inner-city areas, which are areas that tend to have fewer physicians, but which still require great attention to health care. Nurse practitioners can serve as a patient's regular health care provider. They perform many of the tasks of physicians, such as diagnosing medical conditions, informing patients about important decisions involving their health, performing medical examinations, and more. Prevention and patient education are also among the most important responsibilities for nurse practitioners.
The degree of responsibilities that you will have as a NP will depend largely on the state in which state you live, as the career is regulated individually by each state. For instance, some states may require NPs to work under the supervision of a physician while others allow NPs to work independently. If you'd like to pursue a career as advanced as a NP, you will need at least a master's degree. Once you obtain the advanced degree in nursing, you will acquire many more responsibilities than a registered nurse would have, such as the ability to prescribe medicine depending, again, on the state you live in.
- Neonatology: NPs working in neonatology must be emotionally strong to work with newborns in need of medical care on a daily basis. Knowing that what they do saves precious lives probably helps these NPs get through their work days.
- Mental Health: NPs working in the mental health sector often have to deal with patient noncompliance with medication and treatment.
- Women's Health: Women make up approximately half of the population and have very specific healthcare needs. NPs specializing in women's health work to meet these needs.
- Pediatrics: Work in pediatrics is very rewarding to NPs, who work directly with those who have just begun life's journey.
- Geriatrics: In a field where there is an incredible amount of neglect and abuse, there is a strong need for good nurse practitioners to uphold health standards. NPs working in geriatrics must possess a certain degree of patience and kindness to deal with the elderly population.
- Master in Nursing: 2 years to complete
- Doctor of Nursing Practice: 4 to 5 years of advanced practice education to complete
The vast majority of those working to become NPs have already received a bachelor's degree in nursing at an accredited school and are licensed as a registered nurse. Only after working two or more years as a registered nurse can people pursue an advanced nursing degree to become a nurse practitioner. Although there are a few programs you can take to become a licensed nurse practitioner without having previously obtained a bachelor's degree, they will require quite a bit more time to complete than traditional nurse practitioner programs. A master's degree in nursing will take about two years to complete, while a doctorate in nursing practice can take up to five years. Also, in order to graduate, you must complete a certain number of clinical hours. Mostly, this number will be somewhere in the hundreds.
To work as an NP anywhere in the United States, you must achieve national certification through your state's nursing board. You should look to achieve certification (otherwise known as the Certified Nurse Practitioner) through the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. However, to even be able to sit for the exam, you must meet a number of eligibility requirements. For example, the certification eligibility criteria for the Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified includes holding an active RN license that was administered in the United States and having obtained a master's, post-master's, or doctorate degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.
In May 2008, the mean annual wages of registered nurses were found to be $62,450. Of these, the lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,410, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $92,240. (BLS) As a nurse practitioner you will have achieved a master's degree, which means that your annual earnings will be somewhere near those in the highest 10 percent . For example, the 2009 National Salary and Workplace Survey of Nurse Practitioners found that the average annual salary for nurse practitioners was $89,579, which represents a 10 percent increase from the average in 2007 ($81,397).
Employment for NPs should be similar to that of Registered Nurses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that over the period of 2008-2018, employment for registered nurses will grow 22 percent. This amount is much faster than the average for all occupations. (BLS) Because of technological advancements in patient care, there will be more health problems that can be treated, and thus, a need for more professionals to treat them. Also, more people living longer means that nurses will be required to treat the elderly whom will require long-term care (BLS). Nurse practitioners are expected to be in high demand, particularly in under-served communities, as NPs generally function as a cheaper alternative to a primary care physician. (BLS)
Working as a physician assistant, you will have many of the same responsibilities as a nurse practitioner would. You will be responsible for retrieving patient medical histories, aiding in the diagnoses of medical conditions, and in some states, even prescribing medications. Like a nurse practitioner, you will maintain a close relationship with physicians and your responsibilities will vary according to where you live.
If you want to remain working in healthcare but are more interested in the business side, you might consider working in medical office administration. With this job, you will be responsible for recording medical histories, scheduling follow-up visits and hospitalizations, and maintaining a friendly relationship with patients to enhance their experiences with healthcare. A vocational degree in medical office administration is required for entry-level work.
Lastly, the same caring nature that exemplifies many nurse practitioners can also be found among physical therapists. With a career in physical therapy, you will ease people's suffering from pain and physical disabilities by providing massages, electrical stimulation, or by guiding them through strengthening exercises. In order to work as a physical therapist, you must earn your master's degree at an accredited school and pass a licensing exam.
Accredited Schools Offering Nurse Practitioner (NP) Degrees
|School Type||Annual Tuition?||Recommend Rate|
|Kaplan University||For-Profit||$11,115 - $20,736||17% (6 reviews)|
|Walden University||For-Profit||$11,010||100% (2 reviews)|
|Grand Canyon University||For-Profit||$16,500||Add Review|
|Grand Canyon University||For-Profit||$16,500||Add Review|
|1 Campus: Phoenix|
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