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Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs

Written by NS StaffJuly 30, 2011
Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs

Do you enjoy working with people and solving health problems? If you have a keen interest in caring for patients, health and wellness, and want to help people recover from injury and disease, a career as a nursing practitioner could be a strong fit for you.  Patients need an empathetic and well-trained nurse to help them through the critical stages of illness and treatment, and you can help restore them back to good health as a nurse practitioner (NP).

Completing a nursing degree program is the first step towards becoming a nursing practitioner (NP), and this credential is required before entering the field of nursing at a hospital, assisted-living facility, or even opening up your own private practice.  The field of nursing is diverse and can be very rewarding, but requires an extensive educational background in the field.  Choosing a specialized field is one way to enjoy a rewarding, long-term career in the health and patient care industry. 

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Schools to consider: 

Sample Coursework with a Nursing Degree Program

Most students interested in becoming a nursing practitioner earn a Master’s Degree in Nursing, but many choose to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) and then become a registered nurse (RN) by passing an exam. 

Typical classes in a nursing degree program include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Chemistry
  • Maternal/Child and Neonatal Care
  • Home Health Care
  • Physical Assessment Practices and Procedures
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Critical Care Nursing

If you excelled in chemistry, biology, and mathematics during high school, you have a strong chance of success with a nursing degree program. It’s only possible to become a nursing practitioner (NP) after completing a nursing degree program; this credential is earned by taking additional classes and passing the official nursing practitioner examination.

Careers and Job Opportunities with a Nursing Degree
Specializing in the field of nursing can open up many more career options than becoming a general nurse, and salary ranges are usually higher for these positions.  Typical nurse practitioner specializations include:

  • Family NPs who provide care for all members of a family
  • Adult NPs who work solely with adults over the age of 21
  • Geriatric NPs who work solely with the elderly population
  • Neonatal NPs who work solely with newborns up to 21 days of age
  • Acute Care NPs who work solely with those who have acute illnesses or diseases
  • Occupational Health NPs that work with patients who may have been involved in an accident or athletic injury

Career options for those who have earned an advanced nursing degree include jobs as a:

  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Head Nurse
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Nursing Education Director
  • Clinical Information Systems Consultant

The average salary for all nursing specialties was $86,464 in 2007 (Source:  Nurse.net, 2007), and this can vary with productivity bonuses, benefits, and the location of the hospital or medical facility.