How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

If you are in the process of becoming a registered nurse or have already completed the educational requirements to become an RN, you may want to consider taking your skills a step further and becoming a nurse practitioner. Here are the steps that you will need to take to enter this exciting career field:

1. Education
Before becoming a nurse practitioner, you will need to receive the proper education. After completing your associate's degree in nursing, you must obtain certain advanced skills and specialized healthcare training. After becoming a registered nurse, you will also need to earn a Diploma in Nursing (DN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). As a full-time student, this could take as long as six years to complete. 

2. Licensure
After completing your degree programs, you will need to pass a licensure exam to ensure that you remember enough information from your training to work as a certified nurse practitioner. You should also contact your state's nursing board to see if there are any additional certifications that you may need. If you want to work in a specialized area of nursing, you will have to take additional assessments.

3. Experience
After passing your licensure exam, it is now time to gain work experience as a nurse practitioner. Many students will also work as RNs while completing their education to gain valuable on-the-job experience. However, if you have been studying as a full-time student, you will need to work as an entry-level nurse for a year or so until you can truly begin your career as a nurse practitioner.

4. Career
After gaining valuable entry-level work experience as a nurse and ensuring that all of your training and certification has been completed, you are now ready to begin your search for a job as a nurse practitioner. The demand for nurse practitioners is increasing, so if you have plenty of healthcare experience and the right education, you will be an excellent candidate for the job. To begin the application process, ask local hospitals and clinics if they are in need of your skills.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN,  BSN to MSN, and RN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. 

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