Over the last decade, the number of nurse practitioners working in the U.S. has exploded from an estimated 97,000 to more than 189,000.
According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, these NPs are working in all areas of specialization.
Thanks to the triple-headed healthcare challenge that includes sweeping reforms, the looming doctor shortage of 2020 (and-beyond), and the skyrocketing medical needs of baby boomers, nurse practitioners are more in demand than ever: That’s good news if you’re already in this field and better news if you’re considering going into it.
Why they’re in-demand…
What’s more, the job forecast for nurse practitioners is only getting better, employment opportunities are in abundance, and unemployment rates for NPs are extremely low.
According to the National Salary Survey, the median annual salary for nurse practitioners has increased in the last decade from $69,203 to $90,700. Perhaps even more impressively, the top 10% of NPs in the country earn over $120,000.
Nurse practitioners focus on disease prevention and wellness counseling. They work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, health centers, and walk-in clinics. They may go into general or family practice or specialize in specific areas of the population such as pediatrics, women’s health, or geriatric care.
Nurse practitioners take patient histories, perform exams, order and analyze lab results, prescribe medication, authorize treatments, and counsel patients about continued care. Some NPs also conduct research and teach.
What you need to become one
To train as a nurse practitioner, be prepared to spend more than a few years in school.
In order to become licensed to practice, nurse practitioners typically obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, followed by a three-year Master’s degree.
A Doctor of Nursing Practice takes an additional two to three years beyond the Master’s degree, although there are some programs that skip the Master’s degree and allow you to go straight into a Doctorate from a BSN.
Then comes the national board certification exam, along with state and federal licensing.
To maintain certification and licensing, NPs must update regularly with continuing education credits.
Soliant Health can help you expand your possibilities as a nurse practitioner. Take a look at our most recent job opportunities here.