The nurse practitioner role is one that is not often completely understood. For a nurse who is looking to take on a number of new responsibilities which are usually only completed by a doctor. The role of a nurse practitioner is usually taken up by an experienced nurse who begins a career as an LPN or an associates degree in nursing which leads them into the nursing field. One of the major reasons why there are many nurses looking to develop their career by becoming an NP is the high demand there is for these informed medical professionals. The high rate of compensation on offer for a nurse practitioner reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics which states the average salary level of an NP reached over $100,000 in 2015.

Take the first educational steps

There are a number of steps which must be taken if a potential nurse practitioner is to reach the level of education needed to take on an NP role. Firstly, future NP’s must graduate from high school with excellent grades in subjects such as anatomy and biology. It is possible to move directly from high school to college to take on a Bachelor of Science in Nursing course and begin a career as a Registered Nurse and later a Nurse Practitioner, but this is not the common career path.

A Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing is the first step and should only be completed at an accredited school as these courses provide a basis in the courses offered by many graduate programs. This will cut down on the number of courses the nurse takes at a graduate school later.

Gain some experience 

After completing a Bachelor’s Degree they will be classed as a Registered Nurse and take on more responsibility of those with an Associate’s Degree. Those looking to fast-track to a career as a Nurse Practitioner usually spend between one and two years working as an RN before returning to college.

Complete a graduate program

Graduate programs last an average of 18 months to four years depending on the level of education already achieved by the Registered Nurse. The two most common courses for those looking to a graduate program are the Master of Science in Nursing and the Doctor of Nursing Practice. Once the program has been completed at an accredited school, state and national licenses can be obtained giving the nurse the right to practice as an NP.