The three highest-ranked colleges for nurse practitioner programs are the University of Pennsylvania, The University of California - San Francisco and Johns Hopkins University, according to USNews.com. Additionally, the University of Michigan, the University of Maryland - Baltimore and the University of Washington offer strong programs for nurse practitioners.
Becoming a nurse practitioner requires an advanced degree, according to Learn.org. As of 2015, reputable programs for nurse practitioners require three to four years of additional study beyond an undergraduate degree. Highly ranked schools have low student-to-faculty ratios, often 10-to-1 or lower, according to USNews.com.
Nurse practitioners see patients, diagnose illness and treat injuries. They also order lab tests and interpret the results, prescribe medications and advise patients about treatment options. Nurse practitioners may also perform wellness exams as part of their duties.
Nurse-practitioner programs often include subspecialty degrees in care for the elderly, family care, pediatric care and mental health care. Other popular subspecialties for nurse practitioners are women’s care, cancer care and public health.
Each state administers its own licensing exams and sets the license renewal requirements for nurse practitioners. Two national professional boards offer certification in each of the specialty areas through examinations that they design and administer.