Nurse Practitioner Education: Becoming an Advanced Practice Nurse

Publish Date : 2021-04-01

Nurse Practitioner Education: Becoming an Advanced Practice Nurse

If you're looking into a nursing occupation, you already know that you want to care for people, but how do you decide if nurse practitioner education is right for you? The first thing to do is look at all the possibilities for training, economics, and occupational outlook.

Becoming a nurse practitioner is a step up in education and responsibility from an LPN or an RN. While the wide variety of occupational areas is still there, you are now boosting your profession to the level of diagnostician. These professionals work in hospitals, health clinics, and doctor's offices, but diagnose their own patients, write prescriptions, and order patient care.

Depending on whether you are in a hospital, clinic, or specialty area of medical practice, as a nurse practitioner you might be called upon to regularly perform many of the following duties:


  • Ordering routine tests and taking case history information for diagnosis
  • Performing routine incisions and sutures, drainage and wound care, and tissue biopsies
  • Executing nasal intubations into the stomach, and gastric analysis
  • Testing for insulin and glucose tolerance
  • Ordering lab studies and prescribing routine medications


There is a rigorous standard for training to accompany this higher level of responsibility, but if caring for people is your gift, it's worth it to get the extra one- or two-year master's degree training required to be able to serve your chosen community more comprehensively.

So, what's involved in nurse practitioner education that differs from LPN or RN training? Most programs require prospective students to have registered nurse licensure and to have practiced as an RN for about two years.

Master's level programs add several hours of advanced pharmacology to the RN base of knowledge, along with intensive practice each semester in different areas. There is practicum in pediatric care, adult care, child health, and care of at-risk populations. All courses are progressively more complex than those offered in registered nurse training.

Some good news for prospective students is that some or all of a master nurse practitioner education may be attained online while continuing to work as an RN. There are an abundance of approved quality online MSN programs, which can be worked at part time or full time.

Upon completion of the master's degree in nursing, national certification by exam is required. There are several national nursing organizations approved to certify nurse practitioners. Two such organizations are the American Nurses' Association and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Some associations are specialty certifying organizations for neonatal, pediatric, obstetric, and gynecological practice certification. Certification exams are administered throughout the country and cost around $300.

According to the Department of Labor, the median hourly wage of an RN is about $31, and when you become a nurse practitioner it can jump to $45. Of course, the bump up to master's level in any profession offers a higher earning potential.

One of the most compelling things about pursuing nurse practitioner education, aside from the value of working with patients directly, is the economic advantage it offers. By acquiring advanced education, registered nurses can re-invent themselves and open new and exciting pathways.

The path to this profession starts with good education. There are several education programs open to surgical techs, each of which come with their own advantages and disadvantages. People who are interested in becoming surgical technologists are advised to learn as much as they could about the education programs they plan to take, as this would have an impact later on when they start looking for employment.

A certificate or diploma course is perhaps the easiest route towards education in surgical technology. This lasts anywhere 9 to 15 months, including the required clinical experience. The advantage of a certificate or diploma course is its short duration and lower cost and expense. Diploma-holders can also start looking for jobs right away in as little as 9 months after graduating from high school. The major disadvantage of this is that hospitals have a preference for graduates with advanced education such as associate degrees and bachelor degrees in surgical technology.

An associate degree in surgical technology lasts for 24 months and is the next best option for would-be surgical techs. They have higher chances of employment and better clinical training and experience than their diploma course counterparts, although the costs of education are higher.

Better still is the bachelor's degree in surgical technology, at least in terms of the knowledge base and training it provides to students. The cost of college education is, of course, a major drawback, but this can be compensated for by better employment opportunities and career advancement.

A new program available to those interested in surgical technology is the online surgical tech program. Online programs generally cost the same as classroom education, but its cost-effectiveness lies in savings that can be had from the usual expenses of college education (transportation, lodging, allowances, etc). However, surgical technology requires clinical experience; other options are therefore preferable, unless there are online programs that offer clinical training as well. There is also the matter of accreditation (which will be mentioned further); there are no accredited online surgical tech programs at present.

What matters regardless of type of program is its proper accreditation. Surgical tech programs are accredited by medical educational and specific professional organizations in order to ensure that the quality of education, curriculum, and clinical training meet the medical standards of hospitals and surgical teams within United States. Those who enroll in accredited programs have the opportunity to apply for certification. Certified Surgical Technologists (CSTs) have better employment and career advancement opportunities, so it's beneficial for students to get their certificates, diplomas, or degrees from duly accredited surgical tech education programs.

Category :education

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