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What are the main differences between a Nurse Practitioner and a Physician Assistant?

Hi!
I am planning on going to college and becoming a Neonatal nurse, but I am also thinking of furthering my education and becoming either a Nurse Practitioner or a Physician Assistant. What is the difference between the two? Do they both have the same amount of schooling? Do they both do the same things? Do they both have the same salary?
Thank you! #medicine #nursing #healthcare #health #nurse-practitioner #social-media #physician-assistant #financial-planning #career-details


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Lisa’s Answer

Angelina,
There is a big difference between being a PA and a Nurse Practitioner (NP). To be an NP, you must go to nursing school and get a four year degree. Second, you must work as a nurse between 2-4 years before you can apply to an NP program. You cannot go straight through and be an NP, without first being a nurse. A Nurse Practitioner earns a graduate degree, either a Masters or Doctorate, depending on the school the go to. A Physicians Assistant (PA) can either get a degree in biology, and complete a graduate program to obtain PA certification, or there are some programs that have the student start the Bachelors curriculum, but they may go 5-6 years and complete their program with a Masters Degree. It is very hard to say what the difference is between what an NP and a PA can do, because it depends on what state you live in, etc. Nurse Practitioners are starting to be able to practice independently, whereas the majority of PA's work under a doctors license. Pay is also variable based on where you live, responsibilities, etc.
I hope this helps you,
Lisa


Thank you so much for your helpful and in-depth answer! It really taught me a lot, and gave me a lot to think about. How many years of school, total, does a nurse practitioner need? Thank you again! Angelina P.

In the end it's about the same amount of schooling, but the NP must work as a nurse for a certain amount of time before entering a NP program. Monica Alston

Okay, thanks again! Angelina P.

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Charles’s Answer

Last I heard a PA is about 2 years shy of being a full fledged MD. I have also heard training to be a Navy Corpsman is the same level as PA.
Not sure about nurse practitioner. Do know RN's do well and are in demand.


Thank you for your answer! It was very helpful to me. Angelina P.

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Monica’s Answer

The biggest difference is that a NP went to nursing school, then did nursing for x amount of time and then went back for more education. PA gets a bachelor in any degree then applies to PA schools. In the end we practice side by side doing the same things. Since you want to be a neonatal nurse I would go for NP if I was you!


Thank you so much for answering! I really appreciate it. Angelina P.

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