How Do You Become a Family Nurse Practitioner?

Family nurse practitioners work in hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices to diagnose and treat illness and injury, and educate families regarding their healthcare concerns. To become a family nurse practitioner you must complete several years of education and training as you hone your skills and work toward the completion of an advanced training program.

Becoming a Nurse

The first step to becoming a family nurse practitioner is to enroll in and complete a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing program, according to Discover Nursing. These programs are designed to be completed in four years and include both academic and clinical training. In many cases, you will need to complete academic prerequisite coursework in order to apply to these programs. This coursework can include classes in biological sciences, chemistry, algebra, psychology, sociology, and English composition. Other prerequisite classes may be required, but can vary from program to program. Bachelor’s degree programs in nursing are typically competitive, and pay close attention to details such as your undergraduate grade point average, standardized test scores, and volunteer experience.

Practicing Your Profession

Like many advanced practice programs in nursing, nurse practitioner programs require that potential applicants first spend one to three years practicing in their area of study before applying for admission to an advanced practice degree program. This means that after graduation, you must first pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses and register with your state’s board of medical examiners immediately after graduation from your undergraduate training program. From there you should focus your career ambitions on working in family practice settings to earn the required amount of hours needed to be considered for admission to an advanced practice graduate program in nursing. Check with local schools of nursing for further information. Prerequisites and admission requirements can vary from program to program. While program requirements vary from state to state, so do licensing requirements. Some states now require that nurse practitioners earn a doctorate-level degree, while others only require a masters-level. In either case, you should expect to spend an additional two – four years of training to complete your graduate training and become a nurse practitioner.

Career Expectations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics nurse practitioners earned an average salary of $104,610 in 2016. During that year, nurse practitioners were most frequently employed in physician’s offices, hospitals, and outpatient care centers, but also found employment in colleges, universities, and offices of numerous other health practitioners. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing also reports that the U.S. is projected to experiences a nursing shortage, particularly due to the fact that as Baby Boomers age, their health care needs will grow. The expected demand for nurses may result in the number of nursing jobs available doubling between now and 2022. This job growth is in addition to voids in the job market due to current nurses entering retirement and changing careers.

Related Resource: What is a Nurse Researcher?

If you have a passion for helping others, are looking for a stable career, and ready to make the time commitment involved, pursuing a career in nursing may be for you. After practicing as a registered nurse, you’ll then be able to take the next step and advance your career by becoming a family nurse practitioner.