The steps to becoming a nurse practitioner have strict requirements to ensure rigorous education and training while opening the doors to a new opportunity and growth in the process. Nurse practitioners are trained to provide all types of care to the patients varying in intensity from acute to primary and emergency care as well.
Once you have decided to become a nurse practitioner, you need to follow the necessary protocol to attain the role and the associated responsibilities.
The below-mentioned points when followed step by step will help you in understanding how to become a nurse practitioner and correspondingly excel in the profession. A disclaimer in this section is that you should refer to the respective local boards for further knowledge of application and so forth.
Become a Registered Nurse
The initial step to becoming a nurse practitioner includes the registration process. So, you get your credibility and academic achievements in order so that you can take your goal to the next step.
The important point is that the educational institution should be accredited and the course you pursue can either be a professional diploma or a certificate evaluation. Though it must be noted that diploma programs don’t hold the same value as a professional degree because employers require nurse practitioners to hold medically approved certification.
There are many education paths to follow to obtain the position of a registered nurse. However, all of them state the essentials as qualifying for a state-level examination followed by obtaining a license. Hence, you can choose between becoming a licensed practical nurse and a registered nurse.
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
To pursue a higher level of an education program, it’s necessary that you start with a bachelor’s degree. For aspirants who wish to become nurse practitioners, the natural way is to pursue the bachelor’s degree of the Nursing course.
The easiest path to getting the required qualification is by entering the Bachelor of Nursing program immediately after high school. Soon after, you can decide whether you wish to level up or upgrade.
Also, it’s a widely accepted fact that the nurses with the position of a Registered Nurse or a Licensed Practical Nurse can opt for the bridge program to get qualified as Nurse Practitioners too.
Hence, with the required credentials you can get the bachelor’s degree and enhance your skillset for the profession as well. Be it leadership or team-building spirit, all of your qualities are further honed to develop skills essential for holding the position of a nurse practitioner.
Acquiring Experience and Expertise
As a frontline worker, its crucial to gain relevant experience in the field as a nurse practitioner.Further, during the practice you also adopt newer methods and techniques during the training program which further set you up for the rigorous involvement in the future.
While on-the-job training is the best form of education that you can receive, the experience gained prior to the job will also prove helpful in your decision-making and problem-solving skills.
Before embarking upon the career option of a nurse practitioner, adequate training and practice is essential for glowing recommendations and landing a job in a reputed place. Real-time experience as a registered nurse guarantees your future as a nurse practitioner.
Earn A Graduate Degree
The step that guarantees you a spot as a nurse practitioner is the fulfillment of the graduate degree requirement. Usually, graduate programs give preference to candidates with a few years of nursing experience. However, they also give them leverage by allowing them to gain experience while learning the course.
Nowadays, graduate level of education is open for admission for students with an advanced diploma or bachelor’s course in an allied field of healthcare. Then there are some educational institutes with the basic requirement of Bachelors of Nursing as a must.
Further, you have to follow it up with a Master’s degree to get a job as a nurse practitioner. Even though a Masters degree is a common path, a Doctor of Nursing Practice is also acceptable.
Graduate programs offer a comprehensive study of various aspects of the field like diagnostic, treatment and prevention. Further, depending upon your area of specialization, you can choose a single focal point. The Master’s level of education requires either a 1.5 year or 2 years commitment while the Doctor of Nursing Practice requires at least 2-3 years of commitment.
Obtaining A State License and Certification
The certification examinations are as important as the desired course and the curriculum. Further, it’s a rule that all the nurse practitioners are licensed medical personnel.The rules differ in every state and depending upon the jurisdiction, the specific license and certification should be obtained.
There are various organizations that provide the necessary certification such as the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANPCB). The eligibility criteria for getting the certificate includes the designation and subsequent license of a registered nurse along with a professional degree from an educational institution which has been accredited and finally, a duration of working time.
Pursuing A Nurse Practitioner Specialty
Another core requirement for a registered nurse practitioner is the field of specialization. Depending upon your interest and the choices available, you can decide to pursue an area of specialization like pediatric care, cardiology and so forth.
Even without searching for an additional field of expertise, the nurse practitioner is constantly learning during employment too because of the extra credits system.
Further, as a practitioner, you get the opportunity for a promotion and advancement in your field with better qualifications, technical expertise and subsequent work experience.
Get Started On The Path To Becoming A Nurse Practitioner
Depending upon your objective and career trends, you have a wide variety of qualifications and education programs to follow in your area of specialization. Also, depending upon the nature of the course and what it offers, the duration of the curriculum also varies and so does the pay package obtained after successful completion of the course and the subsequent job experience in the respective specialization.