Welcome to another informational article on how Registered Nurses can upgrade to become Nurse Practitioners.
At the end of this article, you will have learned about various RN to NP programs, the requirements, benefits, and more.
This article covers the following points and more:
- RN to NP – An overview
- Education requirements for RN to NP programs
- Tuition and Cost
- Salary and Job Outlook
- Top RN-to-NP programs
So, let’s continue!
RN to NP – An overview
Registered Nurses who desire to advance their careers in healthcare are increasingly choosing to become Nurse Practitioners (NP).
Nurse Practitioners can take on more responsibilities than standard RNs, work independently, specialize in certain areas of medicine, and make significantly more money.
An MSN degree-Master of Science in Nursing or a doctoral degree (DNP) in Nursing is required to work as a Nurse Practitioner.
The aspiration of becoming an Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner is within reach for RNs who currently have an ADN or a BSN.
RN-to NP Program Options
Current Registered Nurses can become Nurse Practitioners in a variety of methods.
Many colleges provide programs for ADN-educated RNs who want to become NPs and avenues for BSNs who want to become NPs.
If you’re an RN with an ADN, you’ll need to take BSN classes first, but many schools incorporate this into an expedited ADN to MSN program so that these RNs can get their advanced degree faster.
RNs must also determine whether they want to pursue an MSN or a DNP, a higher level of education.
When choosing a career as a Nurse Practitioner, an RN has a few alternatives.
Still, the most important thing to remember is that either an MSN – Nurse Practitioner or a DNP – Nurse Practitioner degree is required.
The following programs are specifically designed for registered nurses:
ADN to MSN – Nurse Practitioner
This bridge program, also known as an RN to BSN to MSN, is designed for ADN-educated RNs who want to pursue a career as a Nurse Practitioners.
The benefit of this sort of curriculum is that most of them allow students to get both a BSN and an MSN without completing both programs separately.
After completing the BSN phase of the program, some schools require students to declare which specialist specialization they want to pursue their MSN – Nurse Practitioner degree.
Among the specialties available are Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Emergency Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.
This degree can be finished in 2-4 years, depending on whether the student studies part-time or full-time.
Neonatal NP, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP, Pediatric NP, Emergency NP, Family NP, Women’s Health NP, and Psychiatric Mental Health NP are among the NP specialties available through Vanderbilt University’s ASN/ADN to MSN program.
BSN to MSN – Nurse Practitioner
The BSN to MSN pathway to becoming a Nurse Practitioner is a good choice if you have already finished a BSN degree.
This program normally requires 50 to 55 courses to graduate and takes about two years to complete (depending on part-time or full-time attendance).
Students in a BSN to MSN program can choose from various Nurse Practitioner Specialties like those in an ADN to MSN program.
Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner are the specialties available through the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s BSN to MSN program.
BSN to DNP – Nurse Practitioner
The BSN to DNP program is for nurses with a BSN who want to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.
Students will obtain a doctorate, which is more advanced than an MSN.
In addition, many NP specialties are offered, just as in the MSN program.
Depending on the emphasis of study, the curriculum might range from 78 to 84 credits and takes around three years to finish.
Family Nurse Practitioner, dual Pediatric/Family Nurse Practitioner, dual Adult-Gerontology/Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentrations are available through the University of San Diego’s BSN to DNP program.
Education and Course Requirements
Nurses who want to pursue an RN to NP program must have an ADN or BSN degree from a recognized university and an active RN license.
The degree chosen determines the other prerequisites for entry into a program.
The following are typical program requirements:
- Students must complete certain prerequisite courses
- A minimum quantity of professional nursing experience may be required on your current resume
- Transcripts from every college you’ve ever attended
- Multiple letters of recommendation Personal statement or essay
- GPA Requirement (typically 3.0 or higher)
Students enrolled in an MSN, or DNP-based NP program should anticipate completing a combination of advanced core courses and specialty courses in their chosen concentration; for example, an RN to FNP program might include Pediatrics and Women’s health courses.
After completing the coursework, the student is usually required to complete a certain number of clinical hours in which they will acquire supervised, hands-on experience.
RN-to NP Program Cost
Students must bear the expenditures of an RN to NP program, including tuition, school/program fees, and course materials, whether they are seeking a master’s degree or a Ph.D., online or in-person.
These fees will vary according to the school and type of NP degree pursued.
For example, the University of Virginia’s RN to Nurse Practitioner program costs $19,168/year (in-state), $31,298/year (out of state).
The University of Pennsylvania offers an RN-to-NP program for $52,508/year.
Choosing The Right RN to NP Programs
While attempting to choose a suitable RN to NP program, candidates should consider the following factors:
Certification Pass Rate
Start with the end in mind while embarking on any big life project.
Your goal in this scenario is to become a Certified Nurse Practitioner.
Inquire about the percentage of NP program graduates that pass the National Nurse Practitioner certification exam when looking at NP programs.
Thus, you will have a sense of the program’s level of education NP students receive.
An RN-to-NP program with a pass rate of 90% or above is ideal; a program with a pass rate of 95% or higher is even better.
Contact the program director or admissions staff for your program to learn about the pass rate for your school of choice.
The majority of colleges are eager to provide this information to prospective students.
Schools that refuse to give their statistics should be avoided.
Clinical Placement Assistance
Hundreds of hours of training in a real, live clinical setting will be necessary for your Nurse Practitioner education.
An MD, NP, or PA will supervise your clinical hours.
You will accompany this individual, known as a ‘preceptor,’ in their everyday practice as a pupil.
Some Nurse Practitioner programs assign students to clinical preceptors, while others allow students to find these people independently.
It can be intense to find a provider willing to accommodate students.
Attending a Nurse Practitioner school that assigns students to preceptors ensures that you’ll have a place to complete your clinical hours.
Having no preceptor may delay your graduation.
The challenge of choosing your preceptor will be eliminated, resulting in a far less stressful NP education.
After you finish your NP degree, you will look for a job.
Inquiring about the percentage of NP program graduates who find work soon after graduating can offer you an idea of your post-graduation chances.
In addition, job placement provides you with information about the job market in a certain area and how businesses view graduates of your chosen degree.
Although not all colleges keep careful track of their graduates’ job placement rates, NP program directors and career guidance counselors should be able to indicate how the school’s NP program alumni fare.
According to quality schools, nearly all of their graduates get jobs as Nurse Practitioners within six months of graduation.
When choosing a Nurse Practitioner degree, some students are tempted to neglect educational expenditures and take out loans without thinking about their future.
Taking out loans to pay for your NP education isn’t a bad idea, and most students will need to do so.
Depending on whatever institution you attend, Nurse Practitioner degrees can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000.
In the end, all of these programs lead to the same job.
Cost considerations can save you tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the stress of years of student loan payments.
When choosing which NP program to attend, consider your preferred learning style and time limits.
Do you learn better in a typical classroom setting, or do you have the self-discipline to finish an online program?
Will your employment and family obligations prevent you from attending classes on campus, or do you have a flexible schedule?
Students interested in becoming Nurse Practitioners can choose from various flexible educational options.
You will most likely be able to discover a school that meets your preferences, ranging from online programs to hybrid online/on-campus programs to programs delivered in a block structure.
Salary and Job Outlook
Nurse Practitioners, in particular, are in high demand, and qualified advanced RNs, such as Nurse Practitioners, have plenty of job options.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics-BLS projects a 31 percent increase in the profession between 2014 and 2024, which is substantially quicker than other occupations.
Because the demand for quality healthcare is growing as the population ages, NPs have a lot of career security.
Furthermore, NPs can operate in a wide range of healthcare settings, including:
- Offices of physicians
- Centers for outpatient care
- Hospitals with specialized services
- Advisory services
Nurse Practitioners have the knowledge and experience to qualify for a wide range of nursing positions requiring a high level of responsibility.
These are some of the job titles:
- Nurse Practitioner for Families
- Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner in Primary/Acute Care
- Nurse Practitioner in Neonatal Care
- Nurse Practitioner in Emergency Care
- Nurse Practitioner in Pediatric Primary/Acute Care
- Nurse Practitioner in Psychiatric Mental Health
- Nurse Practitioner specializing in women’s health
- Certified Nurse Midwife Clinical Nurse Specialist
Aside from the greater autonomy and satisfying levels of responsibility, being a Nurse Practitioner is a terrific method for an experienced RN to advance in their career.
Nurse Practitioners make an average of $107,460 per year, compared to $68,450 for general Registered Nurses.
These figures, of course, can vary depending on region, company type, amount of experience/education, and other things.
Nevertheless, many RNs believe that the greater remuneration is a worthwhile trade-off for their investment in higher education.
Top RN-to-NP programs
With today’s hectic schedules, many RNs who want to move to Nurse Practitioner positions believe they won’t be able to fit in a full load of coursework on campus.
So instead, they enroll in the RN to NP online program.
This option is ideal for the time-crunched RN who wants to keep working, has family or other obligations, or doesn’t live close enough to a university to make returning to school a viable option.
In addition, RNs can complete the RN to NP program independently thanks to flexible online sessions and access to staff and professors.
As a bonus, any clinical requirements can normally be accomplished in the student’s hometown.
The following are some of the many RN to NP programs that a registered nurse can enroll into:
A minimum 3.0 GPA is required for admission to Vanderbilt University’s RN to Nurse Practitioner program.
The Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-midwifery, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner are among the 13 Advanced Practice Specialties available in the master in nursing degree.
In addition, students can get clinical experience through the university’s faculty practice network.
Loyola University New Orleans
Loyola University offers an online MSN with a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) concentration for Registered Nurses.
Students who are enrolled full-time can expect to graduate in two years.
Graduates will have the chance to become certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) at the end of the program.
There are also the following features:
- 48 credit hours (plus 720 practicum clock hours, are required)
- The program is fully accredited
- No BSN is required (ADN and RN licenses are required)
George Washington University, Washington, DC
An ADN-educated nurse can achieve a BSN and an MSN through the GW School of Nursing’s online RN to MSN program.
Family Nurse Practitioner or Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner is the two concentrations available to students.
It takes 3–4 years to finish the program.
There are also the following features:
- Courses are offered online, although you may be required to do some campus visits depending on the specialization
- Clinical hours must be scheduled with a preceptor who has been approved
- State permission requirements may apply to online programs; check to see if your state qualifies
Medical University of South Carolina
Students can choose between Adult-Gerontology NP, Pediatric NP, Family NP, or Psychiatric Mental Health NP concentrations in MUSC’s online post-BSN to DNP program.
There are alternatives for full-time or part-time study.
There are also the following features:
- There are no GRE requirements
- Graduation requires around 1,040 to 1,310 clinical hours
- During the final year of the program, you will undertake a practice improvement project under the supervision of academics
University of South Alabama
For RNs with an ADN or BSN degree, the University of South Alabama offers MSN and DNP online Nurse Practitioner paths.
Family Nurse Practitioners, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioners, and more NP Specialties are available to students.
There are also the following features:
- To get admitted into certain programs, you may need some clinical experience
- Online classes are available; however, some on-campus trips may be required
- There are dual-role NP concentrations (such as FNP/Adult-Gerontological Acute Care) available
East Tennessee State University – Johnson City, Tennessee
If you are a Registered Nurse who wants to pursue NP study but has a Bachelor’s in a non-nursing field, East Tennessee State University’s NP program may be a good option.
You can become a Psychiatric Mental Health NP or Practice Advanced Family Health Care.
The online nature of the program, regardless of the track, may easily fit into your busy life schedule.
The college is proud of its alumni’s strong achievement on the NP certification tests and delivering exceptional interprofessional learning experiences.
Lewis University – Romeoville, IL
With Lewis University’s accelerated RN-to-Nurse Practitioner program, you can seamlessly advance your nursing career to the NP level.
Lewis University offers a variety of financial aid options and reasonable tuition rates.
In addition, you can get Employer Tuition Assistance, a scholarship, or a reduced fee through the Illinois Organization of Nurse Leaders if you qualify.
Monmouth University – West Long Branch, NJ
Registered Nurses with a bachelor’s degree in non-nursing subjects who want to complete their NP training quickly can benefit from Monmouth University’s accelerated RN-to-NP programs.
The supportive environment at the college and the small class sizes help to provide a personalized learning experience.
The college provides classes in either an online or hybrid style, keeping the working nurse in mind.
You can choose from three NP concentrations: FNP, AGPCNP, or PMHNP, depending on your interests.
Regardless of the route, the real-world experience provided by the college’s 500+ clinical partners prepares you for the various challenges that this profession entails.
The college is dedicated to the success of its NP students, with an exceptional pass record on the certification exam.
In practically any industry, the opportunity to develop your professional position is vital to having a long and prosperous career.
Suppose you want to have more autonomy and responsibility in your work.
In that case, you might want to explore pursuing a career as a Nurse Practitioner by acquiring a more advanced nursing degree and other certifications.
To do so, you’ll need to complete extra training and certifications.
No doubt about it, this was an extremely satisfying decision.
Can you become a Nurse Practitioner without BSN?
To work as a Nurse Practitioner, you don’t need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or prior nursing experience. However, obtaining a license as a Nurse Practitioner will necessitate an advanced or graduate degree. You can become a Nurse Practitioner with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject.
How do I bridge my RN to NP?
To advance from RN to NP, you must first obtain an MSN from a recognized institution, then pass the board certification exam in your chosen field of practice. The journey from BSN to NP will take at least two years, while ADN to NP will take even longer.
Do you have to be a Registered Nurse before a Nurse Practitioner?
To become a Nurse Practitioner, you must complete a rigorous educational program with an evidence-based curriculum and clinical rotations. Also, you must be an RN, have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), have completed an NP-focused graduate master’s or doctorate nursing program, and have passed the certification exam.
How long do RN to NP Programs take?
Most RN to NP programs need at least two years of full-time study for BSN nurses. Part-time programs take longer. Many RN-to-NP programs also require or strongly encourage applicants to have at least two years of experience as RNs. If you have an associate degree, it may take an additional 1-2 years.
Is an RN to NP Program worth it?
Increased autonomy means more responsibility, but graduate school takes two or more years and costs a lot of money. However, the additional autonomy, ability to make a greater influence on patients’ lives, and financial incentives make it worth it for most nurses who transitioned from RN to NP.