In many ways, a nurse practitioner is like a doctor. They have training and education beyond that of a traditional registered nurse, and they deal directly with patients. A family nurse practitioner often works alongside a physician when necessary, but they are fully capable of handling cases on their own as well. If you are ready to take on a challenging career in the medical industry, then follow these steps and study online to become a family nurse practitioner.
Earn an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
The first step towards becoming a family nurse practitioner is earning an undergraduate degree in nursing. Although technically you may be able to get away with just a two-year associate degree, a bachelor’s degree is a much better choice. This degree program will take roughly four years to complete, and the courses will teach you about pharmacology, medical billing, diagnosis and treating patients. Busy individuals will appreciate that these degree programs are not limited to traditional students in a campus setting. You can earn your undergraduate nursing degree online thanks to streamed lectures and Internet-based exams.
Get Your RN License
Even though you have an undergraduate degree in nursing, you won’t officially be a nurse until you hold an RN license. An RN, or registered nurse, is someone who can work in a hospital, nursing home, school or private clinic legally. In order to secure your RN license, the first step will be passing the challenging NCLEX-RN, or the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Then, you will have to meet state requirements with a background check and fingerprinting.
Earn the Family Nurse Practitioner MS Degree
If you wish, you can begin working as a nurse as soon as you hold your RN license. However, many students who know that they want to become a nurse practitioner will move straight to the next step. This involves earning a master’s degree in nursing, and specifically the Family Nurse Practitioner MS. This will take anywhere from two to four years to complete, but most of it can be done online. However, even online students will need to put in some clinical work that must be done in person.
Receive NP License in a Specialized Area
With your undergraduate degree, RN license and master’s degree, you have finished all of the work needed to become a family nurse practitioner. You won’t be able to find work, however, until you receive your NP license. When doing so, you can also need to specify which area of medicine you focused on during your education. Most family nurse practitioners choose general medicine, which allows them to treat a wider range of clients. You might choose instead to specialize in diabetes management, pediatrics or even gerontology.
Working as a family nurse practitioner can be an incredibly fulfilling and satisfying career for the right candidate. You get to help others, and you often have more time for patients than the doctors do. Visit the website of an accredited-online-colleges.com to get started on an online degree that can help you become a nurse practitioner.