How Long Does it Take to Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP)? Complete Guide

Nurse practitioners are highly educated and professionals to serve primary care to their patients in an hour of need. They are not like our common nursing staff, yet they seem to be equivalent to performing a physician’s job. You can easily spot NP in almost every part of the USA as it is becoming an integral part of their health care department.

How Long does it take to become a Nurse Practitioner? It’s not an easy thing to answer in no time. It would help if you went through this article to learn more about it.

What does a Nurse Practitioner do?

Nurse PractitionerA nurse practitioner holds great power in the nursing field as it is a licensed professional degree, and it does come with great responsibility. Further, they can provide diagnoses to patients, prescribe medications, treatments, and, most importantly, give first aid without a doctor. It is essential to keep in mind that a Nurse Practitioner works under the supervision of a doctor but still there hold more authority than other nurses.

Earning a BSN

Bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) is the initial step to be a nurse practitioner. This educational degree program mostly takes 3 to 4 years to complete. The mixed learning experience is the best part of this program. Students have been given an edge to take classes in classrooms as well as in clinical wards.

Practicing all learning theories in clinical labs will give the advantage of exploring what they have been taught and a better understanding of various approaches like health promotions, pathophysiology, and most importantly, care delivery services.

You must complete your clinical hours, do an internship or any research project, and earn a BSN. Many universities are offering this degree program online and on-campus format. You can also read How to Become a Medical Coder

Obtaining an RN Licensure for NP

RN license is 2nd thing you need to have for becoming a nurse practitioner. National Council Licensure Examination for Registration Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) who grants RN licenses. If you pass this exam; if not, you must wait for an additional 45 days to appear in it again.

This exam consists of knowledge that is given to you during your BSN degree. Questions may be lies between several 265 questions to the minimum of 75 based on the knowledge of safe and effective care environment, psychosocial, health promotion and maintenance, and physiological integrity. There is no restriction in this field as it will allow you to appear in this exam 8 times per year with no age restriction. It costs about 200$ per exam.

Get an MSN/DNP Degree

In most cases, getting a BSN and RN licensure is good to start your career as a nurse practitioner. But in few states, it is not acceptable. You must have either Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). It has been seen that DNP has an increasing demand everywhere. MSN and DNP are both for the clinical practice, yet both vary in their Work.

DNP typically takes 1 to 2 years to complete. The trick is that you need to complete 500 clinical practice hours to have it. On the other hand, MSN takes 2 years for its completion if you are a full-time student. But if you do part-time Work, you will be able to complete it in 2 to 5 years to serve humanity.

Time to apply for Work

When you have completed your educational degree and have certification, you are compatible to apply for licensure in any state of the USA in which you wish to practice. You can see a list of state-to-state requirements online to see their specific needs and apply for those who suit you the best.

Here are few things that are typically a part of state-by-state requirements:

  • Writing an application
  • Paying a particular amount of application fee
  • Fingerprinting/background checking

Most of the states give you a temporary license valid for only a few weeks, while a permanent license requires approval.

Also, read How to Become a Medical Assistant

Duties of a Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioners’ duties depend on the major of their specialization and where they are performing their duties. Nurse practitioners are always in a stand-by position when it comes to giving primary care to patients. They are compatible with taking patient medical histories. Furthermore, They make sure to discuss disease symptoms with their patients. In addition, they can prescribe medications and administer diagnostic tests. Nurse practitioners are always concerned about the health of their patients, so they monitor the time to see the progress. In this case, they do constantly work with medical teams to bring innovative results in their Work. Particularly, when Dealing with medical equipment and monitoring them is their routine Work. Moreover, these are few things that draw a fine line between a nurse practitioner and a nurse.

The specialization you do as your Major

Many people, while doing NP, go for Primary Care as their major. But there are few other fields you can do specialization of your NP in. Here is a list of few fields that welcome you with open arms to specialize in. According to this given list, high-paying specializations are listed first, then low-paying specializations.

  • Psychiatry and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

The Final Thought

Lastly, How Long does it take to become a Nurse Practitioner is surely based on how long and which path you take to conquer it? Typically, it takes around 6 to 8 years of education as well as practical experience. No doubt, there are many things to consider in this long journey, whether you will go for BSN or any other degree. Furthermore, choosing DNP or MSN is truly your choice which will predict it. Go for the state which offers you the best you have been looking for. We wish you All the Best in your journey.


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