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What career benefits come with advancing to a nurse practitioner role?

Roles in healthcare have shifted significantly due to the increasing demand for healthcare services. Today, there is more flexibility in healthcare responsibilities and roles in what used to be a physician-centered industry when it comes to autonomy in practice. 

One of the roles that has evolved over the years is that of nurse practitioner (NP). It dates back to 1965 when Dr. Loretta Ford and Dr. Henry Silver developed the first program. As today’s role differs from others in healthcare, its scope of practice grew quickly due to the high demand for healthcare services. 

The duties and responsibilities of NPs have branched out and gained more importance over time. A career as an NP allows for authority in practice and a great degree of flexibility, making it a rewarding path personally and professionally. 

Becoming a nurse practitioner

A career as an NP starts with becoming a registered nurse (RN). To become an RN, you must earn a diploma or Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) from an accredited nursing program. You will get these accreditations from organizations such as:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation

You may also pursue a National Council of State Boards of Nursing-approved program. This will prepare you for the NCLEX exam.

An RN with a diploma can continue to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. You will then have to take the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) once you’re ready to take the next step toward becoming an NP. You can also obtain a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from an accredited program. Here, you will complete specific NP courses and supervised clinical practice hours. 

It is worth noting that in addition to advanced graduate education, NPs must complete a specific number of practical hours. 

How long does it take to become an NP?

Several factors will determine how long it will take to become an NP. These include whether you pursue a part-time or full-time education, certification requirements and credit hour requirements. Other factors might include the type of degree you pursue and your current level of education. 

These are the available program options depending on your current education level

  • An RN to MSN program will take around two years to complete. These programs are meant for practicing nurses with associate-level degrees. 
  • The BSN to MSN program will take between 18 months and three years to complete. 
  • An MSN to DNP program takes a year at a minimum.
  • It will take three to four years to go from a BSN to DNP.

Certifications may also require clinical experience. The specifics can vary from one state to another and by certification. However, overall, expect to have a certain number of hours of supervised clinical experience before qualification. 

How do credentials differ by state?

All NPs must pass an exam leading to a national certification. While a national organization gives credentials, it is vital to note that licensing varies by state. 

Some states allow NPs to practice independently. On the other hand, others might require them to work under the oversight of a physician. Every state can set its licensure standards in terms of clinical hours and the type of training required beyond the master’s degree, continuing education and national certification. 

Benefits of becoming a nurse practitioner

The choice to become an NP is a win-win scenario for both nurses and the patients. There are many reasons to become nurse practitioner besides improved patient outcomes that education advancements provide. 

Working with autonomy

As an NP, you will have more control over your professional practice. You can practice independently in more than half of the states, and NPs are granted more autonomy nationwide. In addition, there is a nationwide shortage of physicians and an ever-increasing need for primary care. 

Many remote and rural areas require NPs. You will be able to run an independent clinic in these areas to meet demand. 


There is a need for medical care everywhere, all the time. As this is a far-reaching field, and NPs are in high demand, you will have the luxury of choosing your location and schedule. 

As an NP, you will get to decide whether you will work from nine to five or the night shift. Also, you will choose whether you will go into private practice or otherwise. 

You will also be able to select your specialty. So, if you know what you want as a nurse and get the right education, you will easily find what you are looking for. 


Nurses have different paths they can choose from. What’s more, they can change paths when they decide. For instance, it’s possible to move from an inpatient nurse to a researcher at a medical device organization. Additionally, after passing your certification exam and getting your license in any state, you can apply for reciprocity in a different one and move around freely. 

Career advancements

You are not limited to working as an NP in a clinical setting. You can do research, teach other nurses, hold a medical-related corporate position, and advocate for patients and nurses, among others.

Professional growth

All fields are constantly changing, and the medical field is no exception. Nursing offers many learning opportunities as it is constantly growing and evolving. By advancing to become an NP, you will easily accept change as it comes. 

Better pay

Another upside of becoming an NP is the competitive salary. The median annual salary for NPs is about $120,000. Salaries will vary according to the market, education and specialty level. 

Trust and respect

Nursing is among the most trusted professions. It is a demanding job that requires a lot of stamina, skills and compassion. In return, you will enjoy respect, admiration and appreciation. 

The nurse practitioner’s job outlook

Overall, the job outlook of NPs is a great one. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the job outlook for NPs includes a 40% growth rate by 2031. This means that almost 118,600 jobs will need to be filled by then. 


Apart from the numerous benefits, the opportunities for NPs are endless. You will have a wide area to choose from while studying. Likewise, you can choose the environment you want to work in. From clinics and hospitals to nursing homes and colleges, you will be able to shape your career in your desired direction.