National Avg. Salary$101,260 More Salary Data →
Job Growth Rate35.3% More Growth Data →
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Nurse practitioners provide a level of care between a registered nurse and a physician. They perform typical nursing responsibilities like taking vitals, administering medications, and performing injections, but they may also see patients independently, prescribe medications, and order laboratory tests.
The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in nurse practitioner roles:
- Perform physicals, take vitals, and collect patient medical histories
- Listen to patient concerns and provide guidance on improving or sustaining health
- Take blood, skin, and urine samples and order laboratory tests of samples
- Diagnose diseases and other disorders, and either prescribe medications or refer patients to physicians for further care
- Administer immunizations and other injections, perform skin biopsies, and stitch injuries
A Day in the Life of a Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses that undergo training beyond a bachelor’s degree in order to provide more advanced care to patients. While many physicians are concerned with treatment of diseases and disorders, nurse practitioners are more concerned with disease management and preventative health care. Nurse practitioners commonly specialize in working with a specific group of people, such as diabetics, children, seniors, women of childbearing age, or organ transplant recipients.
NPs perform some traditional nursing tasks as well as tasks more commonly performed by physicians. They often work in private physicians’ offices, unlike RNs who more commonly work in hospitals. When patients arrive for an appointment, the NP collects medical histories, performs physical examinations, and listens to patients’ health concerns. However, the NP also goes a step further, ordering laboratory tests when needed, diagnosing diseases, illnesses, and disorders, and prescribing treatments.
Each state has its own set of regulations that dictate the types of tasks nurse practitioners are allowed to perform. In some states, NPs can prescribe medications, but in others, NPs must work with physicians to prescribe medication. In all states, the nurse practitioner works under the guidance and supervision of a physician. NPs may also focus their work on teaching patients how to manage and prevent disease, teaching diabetics how to control their glucose levels, or teaching teenagers about STDs and prevention.
Typical Work Schedule for Nurse Practitioners
Because nurse practitioners more commonly work in doctors’ offices than hospitals, they have more regular schedules than other types of nurses. They commonly work full-time schedules, and they are frequently off in evenings and on weekends and holidays. However, they may need to be on call to handle patient emergencies when issues arise.
Projected Job Growth for Nurse Practitioners
Demand for NPs is expected to grow significantly in the coming decade due to several factors. First, health insurance has become more accessible and affordable, allowing greater access to healthcare. Second, the large, aging Baby Boomer population is expected to increase demand for healthcare workers of all types as they move into their senior years. Finally, the general population is more focused now than ever before on preventative care, increasing demand for the services NPs provide.
- Early Career: Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Mid-Career: Registered Nurse (RN)
- Late Career: Nurse Practitioner (NP), Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), Nurse Midwife (CNM)
The large majority of nurse practitioners work for in private physicians’ offices. Some may also work in hospitals or outpatient care centers, and some work in education, teaching the public about the importance of preventative healthcare and disease management.
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Nurse Practitioner (NP) Salary Data
We've provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.
National Annual Salary
National Hourly Wage
How do Nurse Practitioner (NP) salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Nurse Practitioner (NP)'s can make an average annual salary of $101,260, or $49 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $84,860 or $41 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.
Salary Rankings And Facts
#66 Nationally for All Careers
Above Average Salary Nationally
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How To Become
The first step in becoming a nurse practitioner (NP) is to earn a bachelor’s degree from a college or university with an accredited nursing program. With a bachelor’s degree, you’ll qualify to sit for the licensing examination that’s required to become a licensed registered nurse (RN). After earning a bachelor’s degree and an RN license, most RNs will work as nurses in hospitals for two or more years to gain professional experience before pursuing further education to become a nurse practitioner.
To find work as a nurse practitioner, you’ll need to continue your education to earn a master’s degree in nursing. These programs typically last two years. In a master’s degree program, you may be able to choose a focus or specialty if you want to work with a specific group of individuals, becoming a Family NP, Pediatric NP, Geriatric NP, Acute Care NP, or Women’s Health NP. With a specialization, you can focus your education on the population of individuals you want to care for as a nurse practitioner.
After graduating from a master’s degree program in nursing, you’ll need to pass another test to become licensed to provide care as a nurse practitioner in your state. Each state has its own guidelines for licensing prerequisites and requirements—as well as what tasks an NP is allowed to perform—so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the requirements before pursuing higher education. Some NPs also go on to earn a doctoral degree in nursing practice (DNP) if they want to conduct research studies.
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Recommended Min. Degree
Programs and Degrees
Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP). a Master's is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.
Highest Education Among Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- 13.5% Doctorate
- 77.7% Masters
- 5.8% Bachelors
- 1% Associates
- 1.2% College
- 0.6% High School
- 0.3% Less than High School
Job Growth Projections and Forecast
2014 Total Jobs126,900
2024 Est. Jobs171,700
Job Growth Rate35.3%
Est. New Jobs44,800
How does Nurse Practitioner (NP) job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 44,800 jobs for a total of 171,700 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 35.3% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.
Growth Rankings And Facts
#7 Nationally for All Careers
Above Avg. Growth Nationally
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