Is it Worth Spending Time to Become a Nurse Practitioner?
The time it takes to become a nurse practitioner (NP) can vary depending on the individual's educational background and the type of NP program they choose. Here are the general steps to becoming an NP:
- Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree: This typically takes 4 years to complete.
- Obtain a nursing license: This typically requires passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and meeting other state-specific requirements.
- Obtain a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree: These programs typically take 2-3 years to complete, although some accelerated options may be available.
- Obtain NP certification: After completing an NP program, individuals must pass a certification exam in their area of specialty to be able to practice.
- Get licensed as an NP: After obtaining certification, individuals must obtain state licensure to practice as an NP.
In total, it can take anywhere from 6-8 years to become an NP, depending on the individual's educational background and the type of NP program they choose. Some students enter the field of nursing after earning a bachelor's degree in a different field, in that case, the time required will be longer.
Whether or not it is worth spending time to become a nurse practitioner (NP) depends on the individual's goals, values, and circumstances. Here are a few factors to consider:
- Job outlook: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of nurse practitioners will grow by 45% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This is due to an aging population and an increased emphasis on preventive care.
- Salary: NPs typically earn more than registered nurses and have the potential to earn a high salary, depending on their specialty, location, and experience.
- Autonomy and flexibility: NPs have more autonomy in their practice than registered nurses, which can be a positive for those who enjoy making independent clinical decisions. They also have the flexibility to work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, private practices, or research centers.
- Personal satisfaction: Many people find great personal satisfaction in the work of a nurse practitioner, and the role allows for more continuity of care and more time spent with patients.
- Time and cost: Becoming an NP typically requires obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, which can take 2-3 years to complete and may be expensive.
It is important to weigh these factors and consider your own goals and values to determine whether becoming an NP is the right path for you.
Besides, the nursing field is in high demand, and with a shortage of nurses around the world, becoming a nurse practitioner can be a rewarding and stable career choice, but it also requires a significant investment of time and money.