The exact requirements for becoming a nurse practitioner vary from state to state. In many cases, a person must already be a registered nurse with a bachelor's degree in nursing and then acquire a master's degree with a nurse practitioner track from an accredited nursing school.
Many nurse practitioners also specialize in an area of medicine, such as cardiology, oncology or pediatrics. Nurse practitioners generally possess more authority than other types of nurses. They are able to diagnose and care for patients in a manner similar to medical doctors. Some states allow nurse practitioners to practice independently, but they usually practice under the supervision of a medical doctor.