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How to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner

Launch your journey by earning a Master of Science in Nursing degree online.

How to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner Learn about the steps you’ll take to become an advanced practice nurse caring for patients at all life stages. With a Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner degree, and after earning the proper licensure and certification, you’ll be on your way to a fulfilling career with expanding job opportunities.

Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are advanced practice nurses who provide care for patients at every stage of life. It’s a career that offers diverse opportunities to help prevent disease and manage patient care—a career that attracts 67% of all nurse practitioners.1


If you’re ready to reach your goal, here’s a list of steps to take to help you become a family nurse practitioner:

Know the Qualifications

What does it take to become a family nurse practitioner? According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), you must be a registered nurse (RN), hold a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), complete a nurse-practitioner-focused master’s degree or doctoral degree program, and pass a national nurse practitioner (NP) board certification exam.2

Choose an Online Nursing Program

The journey to becoming a family nurse practitioner starts when you enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or doctoral degree program. Earning a degree online gives you the flexibility to work toward your master’s degree or doctoral degree while staying active in your nursing career and engaged in your personal life. Be sure to select an accredited online nursing degree program.

Enroll in an MSN Program With an FNP Specialization

A Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner online degree program helps prepare you to become an advanced practice nurse skilled in disease prevention, health promotion, and restorative care in patients of all ages. Some nursing schools offer different learning paths to help you reach your goal, including a BSN to MSN track and an RN to MSN track.

Get Licensed and Certified

After you successfully complete your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) online degree program with a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization, you’ll pursue licensure and certification. Family nurse practitioner licensure requirements are set at the state level, meaning each state’s nursing board has the authority to determine the requirements for licensure. Check with your state nursing board for licensure and certification requirements; however, the vast majority of states require individuals to be certified by a national certification board.

Select Your FNP Setting

Where will you make your contribution to building healthier communities? Most FNPs find a wide variety of options. Family nurse practitioners work in settings that include community health centers, urgent care centers, and primary care practices. Some choose to work in schools, public health departments, and primary care practices. In some states, FNPs can operate their own practices.

Maximize Your Career Potential

Becoming an advanced practice nurse is your calling. But it’s also a smart career choice because there’s a strong demand for nurse practitioners. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs for NPs to grow by 52% through 2029. That’s a rate much faster than the average for all occupations.3 Family nurse practitioner salaries are competitive. According to the AANP, FNPs have a median total annual income of $114,000, which includes base salary, productivity bonuses, and incentive payments.1

Kick Off Your FNP Career

When you’re ready to get started in an online nurse practitioner program, you may find that Walden University’s MSN-FNP degree program meets all of your requirements. No other school graduates more MSN students.4

Walden’s MSN-FNP program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, CCNE is an autonomous accrediting agency, contributing to the improvement of the public’s health.

At Walden, you’ll find that 100% of didactic NP faculty members hold doctoral degrees, and you’ll learn from certified, practicing nurse practitioners who work in clinical settings. Walden uses cutting-edge technology, including interactive simulations, to help provide an immersive and engaging learning experience. Match your career goals to an online MSN program and you can become a family nurse practitioner who is committed to improving the health of patients of all ages.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner online degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

4Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Based on the most recent year of completions survey data available, using CIP code family 51.38 “Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research, and Clinical Nursing” for master’s degrees (Award level 7). Available at (Retrieved February 2020; may consist of or include provisional release data.)

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing (BSN), master’s degree program in nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Walden University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

Note on licensure: Walden’s MSN nurse practitioner specializations are designed to academically prepare graduates with an active registered nurse (RN) license to practice in the U.S. as nurse practitioners. However, each state has its own academic preparation and authority to practice requirements and issues its own license for an RN to be permitted to practice as a nurse practitioner in that state. Learn more about professional licensure.

No graduate program can guarantee that graduates will obtain licensure to practice as a nurse practitioner. We encourage students to consult the appropriate board of nursing or regulatory authority in the states or jurisdictions in which they reside or intend to seek licensure to determine specific requirements. Walden Enrollment Specialists can provide information relating to licensure; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to licensure for the state in which they intend to practice, as requirements vary widely.

Note on certification: Walden’s MSN program is designed to academically prepare graduates to apply for national certification. Walden makes no representations or guarantees that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to achieve national certification. We encourage students to consult an appropriate certifying body for the specific certification eligibility requirements. Students should also consult their state board of nursing or other state agency to determine what certifications are required or accepted in that state. It is an individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to national certification, as requirements vary widely. For more information about nurse practitioner certification exams, students should visit the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board at, the American Nurses Credentialing Center at, or other nurse practitioner certification websites.