If you’re earning an MSN online with a nurse practitioner specialization—or are planning to—congratulations! All signs point to a career outlook that’s brighter than ever.
In the coming years, jobs for advanced nursing degree holders are projected to grow at a much faster than average rate, with 64,200 new jobs added to the workforce between 2016–2026.1 And nursing salaries are growing. Nurse practitioners working in the gerontology field saw a base salary increase of 30% from 2015 to 2017. Family nurse practitioners’ salaries increased by 18%. The mean total income for full-time NPs in 2017 was $112,923.2
What’s fueling this growth in nursing careers? An aging population, a projected physician shortage, and an increasing number of nurses nearing retirement age are combining to create more abundant nurse practitioner opportunities.
As you complete your nursing school degree program online, you’ll be ready to pursue certification for your specific nurse practitioner specialization: adult/gerontology primary care (AGPC-NP), adult/gerontology acute care (AGAC_NP), family nurse practitioner (FNP), or psychiatric-mental health (PMH-NP). If you’re like many master’s degree in nursing candidates, you may have questions about the exams. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Each national certification exam is a competency-based examination that tests clinical knowledge in specific focus areas. Each autonomous national nursing certification board assesses entry-level nurse practitioner knowledge and practice competencies required to provide safe and quality healthcare. There are several national certification boards that offer the exams necessary for credentialing AGAC-NPs, AGPC-NPs, FNPs, and PMH-NPs:
A nurse practitioner who is certified by one of the national certification boards has successfully met the requirements for certification by the respective board. Certification boards do not license individuals as NPs. In order for an individual to be licensed as an NP, individuals must meet the requirements as set forth by their state nursing board.
Nurse practitioner requirements are set at the state level, meaning each state’s nursing board has the authority to set forth the requirements for licensure. It’s best for individuals to check with their state board of nursing for certification and licensure requirements; however, the vast majority of states require individuals to be certified by a national certification board (i.e., meet the requirements of the certification board including passing one of the national certification exams).
Individuals must assess which national certification exam best fits their needs, as well as which national certification exams are accepted by their state’s nursing board. Individuals should check with their state board of nursing for specific certification and licensure requirements. Further, it is recommended that individuals visit each of the certifying agencies’ websites.
The costs of the AANP, ANCC, and AACN exams vary, from around $300 to $400. Students who join the AANP, ANCC, or AACN professional associations approximately six months prior to graduating may be eligible to receive examination discounts and/or student rates for membership.
Walden University, No. 1 in master’s of science in nursing graduates in the United States,3 offers its students a wide range of preparation opportunities. Key pieces of that process include:
With an online MSN degree and the proper certifications and licenses in hand, you can join the trusted cohort of healthcare providers visited by more than 1.02 billion patients each year.4 Whether you’re just starting your MSN program or are getting ready to take your certification exam, a rewarding nurse practitioner career is waiting for you.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with four nurse practitioner specializations. Expand your career options and earn a degree online in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
3Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Retrieved July 2017, using CIP code 51.3801 (Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse). Includes 2016 preliminary data.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.