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Nurse Practitioner Career Plan

Nurse practitioners take on many of the roles that were traditionally reserved for doctors, but their education is spread out over time. There are two main steps to becoming a nurse practitioner: completing an undergraduate program to become an RN and completing a graduate program to become an APRN. Of course there are many small steps along the way. This article breaks them down.

  1. Step 1: Take advantage of educational opportunities at the high school level. Take some advanced placement or honors courses if you can. Math and science classes, like chemistry, biology, and algebra, will be particularly helpful. You will also need strong composition skills.

  2. Step 2: Try to get some experience out in the field early on. There are numerous career exploration programs for future nurses, and many of them are free. You can enroll in an enrichment program during the school year or a nursing camp during the summer. Many camps are offered by schools of nursing; others are offered by local hospitals or by AHEC centers.

    You can also volunteer at a hospital or become a Certified Nursing Assistant. These experiences can make you more competitive for programs.

  3. Step 3: Research RN programs that are accredited by the AACN or the NLNAC and approved by your state board. Although associateís programs are acceptable for RN licensing, a baccalaureate program will bring you closer to your ultimate goal.

  4. Step 4: Complete admission requirements and prerequisite classes.

  5. Step 5: Excel in classwork and field experiences.

  6. Step 6: Take the NCLEX exam and fulfill other licensing requirements. You may be able to get an RN job under a provisional license while awaiting exam results.

  7. Step 7: Look to your state board for guidelines about becoming an advanced practice registered nurse. There may be minimum experience requirements, but you can begin taking classes while working as an RN. There are still some masterís level programs, but at the recommendation of the AACN and other professional health care organizations, most are transitioning to the doctoral level.

  8. Step 8: Seek out a position in advanced practice. There are loan repayment programs for exemplary candidates who are willing to serve where the need is high.

Personality Traits: Nurse practitioners have people savvy and scientific aptitude. They are proactive and take on multiple roles: clinician, educator, and advocate.

Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Georgetown University:

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult Gerontology ACNP/ CNS (Online)
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (Online)
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Midwifery/Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (Online)

Graceland University:

Programs:

  • Doctor of Nursing (DNP) (Online)
  • Online MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Family Nurse Practitioner (Online)

Kaplan University:

Program:

  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner (Online)

Maryville University:

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing-Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner (Online)
  • Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner (Online)

Regis University:

Programs:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Advanced Leadership in Health Care (ALHC) (Online)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Advanced Practice Nursing (APRN) (Online)

University of Cincinnati:

Program:

  • MSN - Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (Online)

Brandman University

Programs:

  • BSN to DNP - Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • BSN to DNP - Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • BSN to DNP - Gerontological Nurse Practitioner - Gerontology
  • BSN to DNP - Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • BSN to DNP - Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Masters to DNP

Georgetown University

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Nurse Midwifery/ Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Ohio University

Program:

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner

South University

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Accelerated RN-MSN - Adult Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult Health Nurse Practitioner

University of Cincinnati

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric and Mental Health or Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Womenís Health Nurse Practitioner

Walden University

Program:

  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology - Organizational Psychology and Nonprofit Management


Schools Offering Campus Based Nurse Practitioner Programs


Arizona

University of Phoenix

Campuses:  Phoenix Main | Southern Arizona | River Road Learning Center

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate/Family Nurse Practitioner

  • While widely available, not all programs are available in all locations or in both online and on-campus formats. Please check with a University Enrollment Representative.

Grand Canyon University

Campuses:  Evening Campus | Evening Satellite

Programs:

  • MSN - Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner

California

University of Phoenix

Campuses:  Sacramento Valley | Ontario Learning Center | Pasadena Learning Center | Southern California | La Palma Learning Center

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate/Family Nurse Practitioner

  • While widely available, not all programs are available in all locations or in both online and on-campus formats. Please check with a University Enrollment Representative.

Colorado

Regis University

Campus:  Denver

Programs:

  • MS Completion Program (for nationally certified NPs)
  • MS, Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MS, Nursing - Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate - Nurse Practitioner

Connecticut

Quinnipiac University

Campus:  Hamden

Programs:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) - Adult Gerentology Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) - Family Nurse Practitioner

District of Columbia

Georgetown University

Campus:  Washington

Programs:

  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner

Florida

South University

Campus:  Tampa

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner

University of Miami

Campus:  Coral Gables

Programs:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Post-Master's Certificate - Family Nurse Practitioner

Georgia

South University

Campus:  Savannah

Program:

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner

Illinois

Rush University College of Nursing

Campus:  Chicago

Programs:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse Practitioner - Adult-Gerontology Acute Care
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse Practitioner - Adult-Gerontology Primary Care (Online)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse Practitioner - Family (Online)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse Practitioner - Neonatal (Online)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse Practitioner - Pediatric Acute Care (Online)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse Practitioner - Pediatric Primary Care (Online)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse Practitioner - Psychiatric-Mental Health (Online)
  • Post Graduate Certificate - Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (Online)
  • Post Graduate Certificate - Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (Online)
  • Post Graduate Certificate - Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Online)
  • Post Graduate Certificate - Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (Online)
  • Post Graduate Certificate - Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Online)

Maryland

Johns Hopkins University

Campus:  Baltimore

Programs:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Master's - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Adult Acute/Critical Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate - Accelerated Acute/Critical Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate - Acute/Critical Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate - Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Missouri

University of Missouri - Kansas City

Campus:  Kansas City

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Online)
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (Online)

Nebraska

Creighton University

Campus:  Omaha

Programs:

  • Post-Baccalaureate to Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN-DNP)
  • Post-Master's to Doctor of Nursing Practice (MSN-DNP)

New Jersey

Monmouth University

Campus:  West Long Branch

Program:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

College of Nursing at Seton Hall University

Campus:  South Orange

Programs:

  • MSN Nurse Practitioner (Adult)
  • MSN Nurse Practitioner (Gerontology)
  • MSN Nurse Practitioner (Pediatric)

New York

Binghamton University - SUNY

Campus:  Binghamton

Programs:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice in Community Health Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice in Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice in Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Post-Master's Certificate in Community Health Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate in Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate in Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Nurse Practitioner Certificate - Disaster Management

D'Youville College

Campus:  Buffalo

Programs:

  • MS Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Graduate Certificate - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate - Family Nurse Practitioner

University at Buffalo

Campus:  Buffalo

Programs:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) - Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) - Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) - Nurse Anesthesia
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

University of Rochester

Campus:  Rochester

Programs:

  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult/Geriatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with Pediatric Behavioral Health specialization
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Adult/Family)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Child/Adolescent)

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City University

Campus:  Oklahoma City

Programs:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) - BSN-to-DNP (FNP)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Completion Program

Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Campus:  Philadelphia

Programs:

  • MSN - Family Health Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Pediatric Acute/Chronic Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Pediatric Critical Care Nurse Practitioner Program
  • MSN - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program
  • MSN - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program
  • MSN - Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner Program

Tennessee

Belmont University

Campus:  Nashville

Programs:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN-FNP)
  • Post Master's to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Post-Master's Certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner

Virginia

Marymount University

Campus:  Arlington

Programs:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate in Family Nurse Practitioner

Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Campus:  Milwaukee

Programs:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate - MS Completion for Nurse Practitioners