How Long Does It Take To Become A Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners are highly trained professionals in the medical industry who frequently offer patients primary care and other advanced medical services. 

Normally, it takes six to eight years of study and training to become a nurse practitioner.

NPs have received additional training in a variety of nursing specialties, including adult-gerontology, family nurse practice, neonatology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and women’s health. 

Hospitals, doctor’s offices, outpatient clinics, and community health centers all use nurse practitioners to diagnose and treat patients. 

The chances for professional progression and income potential for RNs can rise by becoming nurse practitioners. 

The additional study required to become a nurse practitioner often lasts six years, but graduates say that the time and effort were well worth it. 

In addition to reporting a median annual salary of $123,780, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts a 46% growth rate for NP positions from 2021–2031.

Therefore, this article shall examine how long it takes to become an np as well as the salary and job outlook of a nurse practitioner.

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What is a Nurse Practitioner School Like?

A student needs to complete a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in order to become a nurse practitioner (BSN). 

Several colleges and universities provide registered nurse training programs that are targeted at preparing graduates to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. 

Although it is not necessary, becoming a registered nurse might be beneficial because it will allow a nurse practitioner to work in local hospitals on a part-time basis while still pursuing their degree. 

A 4-year nursing degree is required at the very least. 

A master’s degree program that prepares nurse practitioners must be completed after receiving your BSN. 

Degrees in nurse practitioners (NP) are what they are known as. 

Degrees in nursing practice might take two to four years to complete.

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Is Attending a Nurse Practitioner School Worth It?

In hospitals, clinics, or family doctors’ offices, nurse practitioners are most frequently employed. 

Many nurse practitioners open their own clinics, particularly those with specializations in obstetrics or pediatrics. 

Interpreting medical histories and carrying out physical exams are among the tasks and obligations of nurse practitioners. 

Along with making diagnoses and therapy suggestions, they do both. 

Common medical problems and injuries, such as those that don’t need a specialist’s care, are frequently treated by NPs. 

Additionally, they are able to prescribe drugs with some restrictions.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nurse practitioners get an average salary of $115,800 annually for their laborious work. 

Moreover, according to the Bureau, the industry will grow rapidly over the next ten years. 

In the US, it is anticipated that the overall number of nurse practitioners will increase by 45 percent between 2019 and 2029, compared to a considerably more sluggish growth rate of four percent for all occupations. 

Many people decide to become nurse practitioners for the competitive compensation, high level of job security, and improved independence at work. 

Lastly, for many, the desire to assist their patients is at the center of their choice.

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What Schooling Do You Need to Be a Nurse Practitioner?

A PhD or master’s degree in nursing is needed to become a nurse practitioner. 

Consequently, obtaining a degree to become a nurse practitioner often requires six to eight years of education. 

The Following is a typical breakdown of these academic years:

  • Bachelor’s degree in NP takes an approximate average of 4 years.
  • A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) takes an average of 2 years.
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) takes an approximate average of 4 years.

It would take about eight years to complete both a bachelor’s and a doctoral degree because a master’s degree is not necessary to pursue a DNP. 

The time frame is roughly 10 years to complete all three degrees.

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How Long Does It Take To Become a Licensed Nurse Practitioner in 2023?

An average of six to eight years of study and training are needed to become a nurse practitioner.

Depending on the state you want to practice in, the precise steps you must take to become a nurse practitioner may differ. 

In light of this, the actions listed below describe typical prerequisites for becoming an NP. 

Before beginning, make sure to confirm the criteria with your own state.

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1. Complete a registered nurse (RN) program (two to four years)

Being a registered nurse is a prerequisite for becoming a nurse practitioner. 

This is a very important prerequisite. 

You will need to finish an approved nursing program in order to achieve that. 

You can satisfy this criteria by earning a variety of degrees. 

While many states and businesses now demand a bachelor’s degree in nursing, the typical entry-level educational requirement for becoming a registered nurse is an associate’s degree (BSN). 

No matter what, getting your BSN is advised if you want to eventually work as a nurse practitioner because you’ll need it to pursue the graduate studies needed for that position.

If you already have an associate’s degree but don’t yet have your BSN, bridging programs are available to help you finish your degree more quickly. 

The U.S has a plethora of medical schools which offer completion programs for RNs leading to a BS.

In addition, people who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing can enroll in a number of accelerated programs to complete their BSN in less time. 

For instance, Regis College, USA offers accelerated options with 16 and 24 month terms. 

You must first pass the NCLEX-RN Exam after receiving your degree, and only then may you submit an application for licensing in the state where you want to work as a registered nurse.

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2. Obtain a graduate school Certificate 

While an undergraduate degree and successful completion of state licensure will typically be sufficient to enable you to work as a registered nurse, you’ll need to finish a graduate degree in order to eventually become a nurse practitioner.

This prerequisite may be satisfied by receiving either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice, depending on the state in which you desire to practice, the employer you hope to work for, and your own personal career aspirations (DNP). 

If you are having trouble deciding between a DNP and an MSN, know that you can still become a nurse practitioner in some situations with an MSN, the DNP is increasingly the necessary degree.

Additionally, a DNP is a highly specialized degree that prepares you for more senior positions in the healthcare sector. 

The clinical work, research, and specializations of DNPs and MSNs also differ. 

Many colleges and universities provide joint programs or bridge programs that allow students to complete multiple degrees in a shorter amount of time because many students enter college with the intention of becoming nurse practitioners and because obtaining an MSN or DNP is necessary to achieve that goal.

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3. Consider a Certification That Is Relevant to Your Career Objectives

Acquiring a speciality certification might be a great method to achieve your aim of working with a certain population of patients if that is what you’d like to do. 

Depending on the certification and the company that issues it, different people may have different criteria to achieve it. 

However, the majority of NP specialty certificates demand that applicants have finished the necessary amount of academic coursework, worked a particular amount in the clinic, and passed an exam. 

The graduate degree program you choose must offer that speciality as a track if you choose to pursue it. 

For instance, at Regis College, students have the option of choosing one of five nurse practitioner tracks: adult-gerontology, pediatric, psychiatric-mental health, women’s health, or family medicine.

You will also take the appropriate certification exam after completing the material for your chosen track (just like the NCLEX-RN exam). 

In addition to the state license, the practitioner must maintain this certification annually. 

More importantly, board certification is also required for nurse practitioners.

4. State Licensure

You can submit an application for licensing in the state where you intend to practice once you have earned your degree and certification. 

State-by-state requirements can be found here; nonetheless, the following are frequently part of the licensure criteria: 

  • Application submission 
  • Paying a fee for an application 
  • Background check and fingerprinting 

While the permanent license is being considered and accepted, a temporary license is frequently given for a few weeks.

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How Much Does It Cost to Become a Licensed Nurse Practitioner in 2023?

Starting out, there is a variety depending on the type of degree you intend to pursue and the degree you now hold. 

Whether you decide to enroll in a program as an out-of-state or in-state resident will also have an effect on your costs. 

Students who reside in the same state as the NP program may be eligible for a discount from certain of the programs. 

The cost of tuition for someone with a BSN who wants to enroll in a nurse practitioner program to earn an MSN can range from $81,810 to $185,280. 

Now imagine you wish to transition straight from a BSN to a DNP. 

So, you may expect to pay anywhere between $26,490 and $254,260 for a BSN to DNP.

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Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses after Study

It should be noted NPs have excellent employment prospects. 

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 45 percent (far greater than average) increase in career opportunities for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners between 2020 and 2030. 

In contrast, the BLS forecasts that between 2020 and 2030, the U.S. will have an overall increase in jobs of 7.7%. 

A strong earning potential results from such high demand. 

The median annual compensation for NPs in 2020 was $120,680, which was significantly greater than the $35,805 median salary for individuals across the nation in the same year.

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Finally, a variety of factors will determine how long it will take you to become a nurse practitioner. 

The decision to work before or after earning your nursing degree and becoming a nurse practitioner will have the biggest influence. 

A lot of people who want to become nurse practitioners decide to get their BSN first, then work as an RN for a while before going back to school to do so.

Expect your BSN to take between two and four years if this is the path you choose (depending on whether or not it is an accelerated program). 

When you are ready to return to school, you can anticipate spending another two to five years on your MSN or DNP, taking into account the time you spend working. 

Again, whether you enroll in a particular degree program and whether you want to study full- or part-time will rely on these factors. 

On the other hand, if you decide to pursue your career as an NP without taking a break to work between degrees, you might be able to do it in as little as three to five years overall.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How long does it take to graduate from being an RN to being a Nurse Practitioner? 

With full-time study, the majority of BSN to NP programs can be finished in two years. The RN to NP career path takes 3–4 years if you already have an associate’s degree. Most colleges offer part-time RN-to-NP programs, but they take longer to complete and don’t allow you to continue working as a nurse either full- or part-time while you’re in school.

Do nurse practitioners have it tough? 

Building on information you already know while becoming ready for the job of the provider makes nurse practitioner school challenging. To accurately diagnose and treat your patients, you’ll need to finish a lot of advanced courses. It involves a very different degree of accountability.

What qualifications are required for nurse practitioners? 

You must perform the following actions in order to obtain a license: the completion of a Master of Science in Nursing program, two years of post-registration clinical experience must be completed and, you must pass the required national certification test.



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