1. Become a registered nurse
Your education path to becoming a nurse practitioner starts out the same as registered nurses. You must first earn your nursing undergraduate degree, according to the online nursing community Nurse Journal. Then, you have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become a registered nurse. While not always required, you may benefit from working a few years to gain valuable experience that could help you in future nurse practitioner classes.
2. Earn your master’s or doctoral degree in nursing
Nurse practitioners hold either master’s or doctoral degrees from accredited schools. According to U.S. News and World Report, this process takes about two to four years to complete, meaning it may be eight years before you finish your education entirely. During this time, you select a specialty so that you can take the appropriate classes.
3. Get certified as a nurse practitioner
Upon graduation, future nurse practitioners must earn their license, and requirements for this process vary depending on the state. Then, you have to get your certification by passing a national exam. This test varies based on the organization you choose to become certified through. For example, professional groups that offer certification include the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, according to the career resource site Learn How to Become. You should decide which one to take based on your specialty.
The exact path to becoming a nurse practitioner isn’t the same in every state, so it’s important to review the local requirements on theAmerican Association of Nurse Practitioners website. Regardless of where you live, though, you need to earn an advanced degree in nursing and secure a license in your state. If you’re ready to embark on a fulfilling career path, remember that while the journey involves a lot of work, the independence of being a nurse practitioner may be worth it in the end.
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