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How many years does it take to be a nurse practitioner?

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Annie’s Answer

Hi Anthony,

It depends! There are a couple different academic routes to becoming a nurse practitioner.

1. You can get your Bachelor of Science in Nursing and become a Registered Nurse (this takes four years) and then go back to school to get either your MNP (Masters) or your DNP (Doctorate). Some schools require you to work as an RN for a certain amount of time before applying to NP school. Both graduate degrees allow you to practice as a nurse practitioner once you complete your licensing exam after you've graduated. A masters takes 2 years and a doctorate usually takes 3 years, the extra year focuses on nursing leadership etc. It just depends on what you want to do as a nurse practitioner. If you want to do patient care both degrees work and you usually get paid the same amount of money either way.

2. If you decided to major in something else for your undergraduate degree, you will have to go back to school for an accelerated program where you will get your Nursing and NP education in about 3-4 years, depending on the school. Before you can apply to these programs you have to complete prerequisite courses if you didn't take them during your undergraduate schooling. The prerequisites required to depend on the school you want to go to.
Thank you comment icon You rock! This advice is very helpful. Anthony
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Ann’s Answer

Annie’s answer is spot on. It took me a total of 6 years. 4 years for my BSN. 2 years for my MSN. I highly recommend getting experience as an RN before going on for an MSN or DNP (I understand more schools are going to a DNP program as the NP requirement).
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Lorraine’s Answer

Hello, Anthony.

In total, it took me 8 years to become a family nurse practitioner (FNP). I began by taking courses at a community college that prepared me for the nursing program. After being accepted into a BSN program, I completed it in three years. Then, I worked as an RN for eight years and earned my MSN/FNP in two years. Whether you are going full-time or part-time and how long it takes you to finish your RN will determine the time it takes you to become a nurse practitioner. On average, the MSN and nurse practitioner portions should take about two years full-time and three years part-time.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Anthony,

Becoming a nurse practitioner (NP) is a journey that typically spans 6 to 8 years of educational endeavors.

The first step on this path is securing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, a process that generally requires 4 years. Once you've achieved this and become a registered nurse (RN), it's beneficial to acquire some practical experience in the field before advancing your education.

The next milestone on your journey to becoming an NP involves earning either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. This stage of your education will take approximately 2 to 3.5 years of full-time study. It's during this time that you'll select a specific patient population focus to specialize in, such as pediatrics, gerontology, or mental health.

Upon completion of your MSN or DNP degree, the final step to becoming a certified NP is passing a certification exam in your chosen specialty. Various nursing organizations, including the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), offer this certification.

To summarize, the path to becoming a nurse practitioner involves:

1. Earning a BSN degree (4 years)
2. Acquiring work experience as an RN (optional, timeline varies)
3. Pursuing an MSN or DNP degree in a chosen specialty (2 to 3.5 years)
4. Passing a certification exam in your specialty (timeline varies)

May you be blessed on your journey!
James Constantine.
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