Thinking about advancing your nursing career is such an exciting time! There are so many options when it comes to changing your nursing specialty.
If you’re looking to expand your leadership opportunities and connect on a different level with your patients then moving from a registered nurse to a nurse practitioner could be the best career move.
There are many different types of nursing careers to choose from. Incredible Health will be here for you along the way! Let’s start by going over some of the steps for transitioning from an RN to an NP.
- What are some reasons to become an NP?
- What are the differences in responsibilities?
- What are the steps to becoming an NP?
- How much do NP programs cost?
Expert advice from nurses like you
What are some reasons to become an NP?
There are many types of nursing certifications out there you could choose from. Becoming a nurse practitioner can give you the ability to experience your nursing career in new ways that aren’t possible with an RN license, like prescribing a patient medication and ordering tests and treatment.
When becoming an NP there’s also a huge shift in responsibility, income, and employment outlook. You can ask fellow nurses about their experience in becoming a nurse practitioner and other topics on Incredible Health’s Questions & Advice page.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) projects the RN profession is expected to grow by 6% between 2021 and 2031. Over the next decade, there are expected to be over 190,000 openings for registered nurses yearly.
The need to employ NPs is expected to grow a whopping 40% from 2021 to 2031. They are expecting more than 121,400 openings a year on average for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners.
The BLS reports registered nurses make an average $82,750 a year.
California comes in as the state with the highest-paid RNs at an average of $124,000 per year.
Family nurse practitioners are one of the highest-paid types of nurses averaging a yearly mean salary of $118,040. California comes in again topping the pay out of all 50 states with an annual mean wage of $151,830 for NPs.
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What are the differences in responsibilities?
The responsibilities of an RN vs an NP vary quite a bit depending on the specialty and type of workplace. Compared to an RN, an NP can do many things a physician can, but the NPs require a lot more clinical hours to reach that level of patient care.
|Registered Nurses||Implement the treatment plans for the patient put in place by the NP or physician||Administer the medications to the patient prescribed by the NP or physician||Provide blood transfusions to patients and draw blood for tests the NP or physician has ordered|
|Nurse Practitioners||Diagnose and create the treatment plans for patients||Select and prescribe the medication for the patient||Order blood tests for the patients|
What are the steps to becoming an NP?
As the demand for nurse practitioners rises you can educate yourself on what steps are needed to start earning NP credentials.
Some bridge programs that allow you to take the first steps in becoming an NP include:
Applying to NP programs
Applying for NP school can be competitive, but worth the effort. Requirements for most programs (RN to MSN) are as follows:
- After you’ve earned your RN license many programs require you to have 1 or more years of experience as a nurse
- A record of strong academic discipline, usually a GPA of 3.0 or above
- A nursing license in good standing
- Letters of recommendation
- School application completion
- A letter of what you intend to do with your career goals as an NP
- Prerequisite classes passed with an A or B grade that vary depending on school
- An interview with the school
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How much do NP programs cost?
How to pay for it
Many of the NP programs have monthly payment plans. You can also:
- Take out student loans
- Apply for college, state, and private scholarships
- Apply for federal and state student aid like FAFSA
- Apply for college grants
- Check with your employer to see if they have a tuition payment or reimbursement program
- Apply for Public Service Loan Repayment
After graduating and choosing a specialty, you will take a state exam to obtain your state license. Then you find your place in the field to start your new career as an NP!
Becoming an NP is a big commitment, so make sure you’re ready and willing to invest in your future with the time, energy, and finances that it takes.
Incredible Health has created a detailed guide to becoming an NP to help walk you through the steps!
Yes, and your license needs to be unencumbered.
If you have nothing slowing you down, and can attend full-time, it can take as little as 15 months and up to 4 years.
The average mean wage for an NP is $118,040. The average mean wage for an RN is $82,750.
Yes, there are many! Here is a list containing some of the best to choose from.
- “Best Direct-Entry Nurse Practitioner Programs (Online & Campus) For 2022.” nursingprocess.org. Accessed August 26, 2022.
- “Cost of NP School.” nursingprocess.org. Accessed July 27th, 2022.
- “FAFSA.” studentaid.gov. Accessed July 27th, 2022.
- “NP annual wages.” bls.gov. Accessed July 27th, 2022.
- “NP job outlook.” bls.gov. Accessed July 27th, 2022.
- “Online NP programs.” nursingprocess.org. Accessed July 27th, 2022.
- “Public Service Loan Repayment.” studentaid.gov. Accessed July 27th, 2022.
- “RN annual wages.” bls.gov. Accessed July 27th, 2022.
- “RN job outlook.” bls.gov. Accessed July 27th, 2022.
- “U.S. NP programs.” aanp.org. Accessed July 27th, 2022.