How Do You Become a Certified Nurse Practitioner?


Quick Answer

To become a certified nurse practitioner, obtain a master's degree from an accredited program that gives you both clinical experience and classroom education, notes the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most certified nurse practitioners take on coursework that is specific to their roles as well as courses in pharmacology, physiology and anatomy. The certified nurse practitioner is sometimes referred to as an advanced practice registered nurse, or APRN, and must take a national certification exam.

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Full Answer

To be accepted to an APRN program, most candidates need a bachelor's degree in nursing, although there are some programs throughout the country that offer so-called bridge programs that allow registered nurses with diplomas or associate degrees in nursing to be accepted into APRN nursing programs.

Depending on the program, an APRN might be licensed by the National Borad of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists, the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, the American Midwifery Certification Board or the National Council of Boards of Nursing. Some APRNs elect to practice as APRNs while others go on to earn a Ph.D. or a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Others may earn a second license to provide a broader scope of potential career options, such as obtaining both a nurse-midwife and APRN designation, notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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