You can start by volunteering or working as a CNA in a facility or home setting. Next you would need to research nursing schools. NPs are Advance Practice RNs. You would need to go through training to become a Registered Nurse. Once a RN, my best advise is to get clinical experience in a hospital for a few years before continuing to NP school. This will give you a good basis for your clinical knowledge to treat patients. After 4 years for your BSN, you'll need 2 years for your MSN. You will also need to pass two board exams. The NCLEX for initial RN licensure and then a board exam for the NP specialty type you go into.
Carly recommends the following next steps:
There is more than one answer as it depends on the type of program you are interested in.
Here is one path to be an RN (registered nurse) which you will need first before attaining a nurse practitioner license (which requires a masters degree):
The minimum education for an RN is an associates degree in nursing (ADN), offered in some community colleges.
Each program will have different prerequisite courses (courses you must take prior to being accepted into the program in this case). Making an A will increase your chances of being accepted into the nursing program.
The ADN RN programs are varying lengths depending on the school. Usually 4 semesters.
After completing the associates degree in nursing you are eligible to take the state board. When you pass, you will be a registered nurse and can work anywhere as an RN.
You can go back to school to get a bachelors (how long it takes depends on the college and how many college credits you can transfer- the information will be on the website), masters (lengths of programs vary, this is what you will need to become a nurse practitioner), and doctorate (varying lengths) if you wish.
This is the cheapest way to do it.
I received my ADN at a community college and started working as an RN in a hospital.
Most hospitals have tuition reimbursement. I was able to work and complete my BSN online, and the cost was totally reimbursed... free.
Then I received my MSN FNP (family nurse practitioner) in which I also received tuition reimbursement from the hospital. Those classes are more expensive so I had some expenses.
Some people graduate from high school and go to a 4 year university and get a BSN and RN (after passing the state board) when they graduate (and then go on to get a masters if nurse practitioner is the goal). This is a lot more expensive. Plus, you aren’t making money until the end ... and then you typically have a LOT of student debt to pay off.
A lot of high school students dwell on the amount of time it takes to get a degree, but in the end it matters very little.
The time will come and go. Ask yourself if you want a degree when you get to the end of that time period, or will you get there and regret never starting.
Anyway- good luck to all of you who are thinking about this wonderful and challenging career. It’s worth it, and if you have a passion for this type of work, your future patients need you to get started!
You are worth the time and energy to achieve your own goals ;)