Educational Requirements for Family Nurse Practitioners

Before you can embark on your journey to become a family nurse practitioner, there are educational requirements you must attain.

The family nurse practitioner is tasked to provide primary or specialty care to individuals and families. These medical professionals work in various settings like educational institutions, private businesses and exclusive clinics. You need to become a registered nurse and obtain a graduate degree prior to becoming a nurse practitioner.

Educational Prerequisites

The FNP should finish advanced nursing degree programs which will equip them with special training and competence to evaluate, treat, guide and monitor healthcare conditions of families. The family nurse practitioner can dispense medical prescriptions, implement tests, refer patients and treat less serious conditions. Academic requirements differ by state although a lot of states prescribe at least a Master of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. You will be obliged to complete registered nursing programs and earn licensure as registered nurses. Continuing education is necessary to retain licensing and certification.

MS Nursing

Master of Science in nursing programs can be completed from one to three years for completion. This depends of course on the student’s preceding level of nursing education such as the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. MSN education is made up of classroom lectures and direct clinical experience in health care situations. Certain programs are made particularly for those who wish to become family nurse practitioners.

Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificates

You have the choice to complete a graduate certificate program in family nursing practice. This is open to nurses with experience or previous education in areas aside from family nursing practice. It is possible to obtain these graduate certificates after completing master’s degree programs. These can be completed in two years and intended for students who desire to specialize as primary care family nurse practitioners. Some of the courses include: Advanced Physiology; Advanced Health Assessment; Women and Child Care; and, Advanced Pharmacology.

Licensing and Certification Requirements

All family nurse practitioners must secure licenses before being allowed to work in the United States. You need to pass the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). It is a computer adaptive test and enables successful examinees to work as registered nurses. Additional requirements vary based on the state, institution or individual employer.

Certification for nurse practitioners is given by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The ANCC provides credentials for family nurse practitioners who successfully pass the qualifying examinations. While certification is not compulsory in many cases, some employers request that family nurse practitioners be certified by this national organization. This serves as insurance that patients will get high quality care from the nurses. These certifications need to be renewed every five years through additional continuing education, skills upgrading and appropriate fees.

Family Nurse Practitioner Eligibility Criteria

  • The nurse practitioners should hold a current and active RN license in a state or territory of the United States or possess the professional and legitimate equivalent in another nation.
  • You must have a master’s, post-graduate or doctoral degree from a family nurse practitioner program approved by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. A minimum of 500 faculty-administered clinical hours should be included in your family nurse practitioner program.