Nurse practitioner

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner & How Long It Takes

A nurse practitioner can perform many of the same roles as a doctor. They can see and treat patients with typical illnesses, refer patients to specialists for more in-depth care, and even prescribe medication in many states. One of the perks of becoming a nurse practitioner is the fact that it takes less time to become one as compared to a doctor, yet brings many of the same privileges. Just how long is schooling for nurse practitioners, thought? How can you learn how to become a nurse practitioner? This guide will walk you through the process step-by-step so you can decide if this is the right career path for your medical training.

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner Step by Step

As you look to become a nurse practitioner, here are the steps to follow.

1. Get a Nursing Degree

The first step is to become a Registered Nurse (RN). This gives you foundational instruction in nursing as well as clinical experience. It also allows most nursing students to start their careers, even while pursuing additional training to be a nurse practitioner.

2. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

To pursue a career as a nurse practitioner, you can initially become a Registered Nurse (RN) through a two-year program. Following this, you can advance to an RN-to-BSN program to obtain your bachelor’s degree. Since nurse practitioners are considered advanced practice nurses, they require graduate-level training, which necessitates having a bachelor’s degree as a foundational qualification.

3. Gain Hands-on Experience

Before most nursing schools will accept nurse practitioner hopefuls, they will look for work experience. Each program has different requirements, but you’ll want to get some time working in a medical setting to gain clinical experience before applying to graduate nursing school. Advanced eClinical Training’s online medical certifications allow you to begin working in the medical field before completing your RN degree.  

4. Apply to Graduate Nursing School

Nurse practitioners require either a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. If you want to get started quickly, then work towards a DPN. If you want to get a leadership-level job, then you may want to get a DNP. Talking to an advisor through your Advanced eClinical Training program can help you decide which is best.

When applying for nursing school, make sure you showcase your skills and abilities well. Earning a Medical Assistant Certification or Patient Care Technician Certification will demonstrate your experience in the medical field and help set your application apart from the rest. 

5. Earn Your Degree

Dedicate the required time and effort to earn your degree, as it’s a crucial step in your career journey. Strive for excellence throughout your studies, keeping in mind that a comprehensive examination awaits you upon completion. If you have a specific area of interest, such as pediatrics, consider enrolling in specialized courses to tailor your expertise and focus your career path in that direction.

6. Earn Your Licensure

After finishing your degree, you need to be licensed in your state. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) both offer this certification. See if your state has a requirement as to which test to take, register for your chosen exam, and earn your national board certification.

7. Find Your Job

After you’re certified, apply to hospitals, clinics, private practice offices, and more to find your dream job. Consider if there is a particular demographic of patients you want to work with and apply to several locations. Your advanced training may help you land a position quickly.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Nurse Practitioner?

The amount of time it takes to become a nurse practitioner depends on whether you choose a master’s degree or a doctoral degree. It can take up to four years to earn your bachelor’s and gain some work experience. Most MSN programs take about one to two years. If you choose the doctoral path, you can complete your degree in three to four years if you attend school full-time. 

This means it can take from six to eight years of full-time study to complete your training. However, most nurse practitioners will work for a few years between their undergraduate and graduate training, which adds to this time. In contrast, the road to becoming a medical doctor is 10 to 14 years, so nurse practitioner training is far quicker.

There are a few ways you can accelerate this training if you wish. For example, if you graduate with a two-year RN degree, you can jump ahead by taking an RN-to-MSN program rather than earning a bachelor’s degree first. This can take a bit of the time off of your training. In addition, you can look for accelerated programs if you have the freedom to go to school full-time.

Get started on Your Training with Advanced eClinical Training

Advanced eClinical Training offers a wide range of medical certification programs, including programs designed for nurse practitioners, that can get your career path started. Our programs give you mentorship and hands-on training in a flexible format so that you can begin your training right.

Enroll today and make your dreams of becoming a nurse practitioner a reality with Advanced eClinical Training.

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