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How Long Does It Take To Become A Nurse Practitioner

How Long Does It Take To Become A Nurse Practitioner?

The nursing profession doesn’t go much higher than Nurse Practitioners. They are incredibly educated in the nursing profession and are responsible for the primary care of their patients. Fun fact, some states give NPs or Nurse Practitioners full practice authority with the ability to give fluids and drugs. For many Nurse Practitioners, they often specialize in the areas of pediatrics or obstetrics.

Because of the extensive training required to become a nurse practitioner and the educational requirements to become licensed as one, many years of education in the field are needed beyond high school. Due to this period of additional nursing education, it typically takes between 6 to 8 years to become a nurse practitioner.

Educational Requirements: Nurse Practitioner

Becoming a nurse practitioner requires you to complete a 4-year Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). There are programs designed to train registered nurses at many colleges and universities, these programs help nursing graduates to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

A Nurse Practitioner doesn’t have to become a registered nurse, but it can definitely help with the cause because of the part-time work that they can pick up at hospitals while pursuing their demanding educational requirements.


After earning your BSN, the next step in your nursing education is to complete an accredited master’s degree program that trains nurse practitioners. These are called NP or Nurse Practitioner degrees for all intents and purposes. These degree programs last between 2 to 4 years.

What’s the difference between an NP and a Physician Educationally?

Many of the educational requirements to become a Nurse Practitioner can resemble that of a physician. This is because nurse practitioners can share many of the same duties that physicians have, mostly pertaining to the administration of primary care. Nurse Practitioner degree programs also include an extensive amount of clinical work, just like in becoming a physician. This is why NP degree programs can take 2 to 4 years beyond earning the coveted 4-year BSN degree. New NPs need to take a state-specific exam and become licensed in their specific state.

What Do Nurse Practitioners Do and Where Do They Work?

The majority of Nurse Practitioners work in the offices of family physicians, medical centers, or hospitals. Some nurse practitioners establish their own practices, especially those who have a specialization such as obstetrics or pediatrics. The responsibilities of Nurse Practitioners on the job include but are not limited to:

  • Interpreting medical histories
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Providing diagnosis and recommended treatments

They are often responsible for treating medical conditions that are generic or general and do not require the work of a specialist. They may also prescribe medications, but in many cases are limited in their ability to do so.

Common Confusions About NPs

There are often some aspects to being a Nurse Practitioner that people get mixed up when it comes to the educational requirements or the achievements needed. Many people hear the term ‘Nurse Practitioner’ and assume that the job is identical to any other nurse out there. They do not realize that a nurse practitioner needs to spend years completing post-secondary education. There are also people commonly confused that nurse practitioners can only be a specialized healthcare professional.

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