dcsimg

Can You Become a Nurse Practitioner Without a Nursing Degree?

Home > Can You Become a Nurse Practitioner Without a Nursing Degree?

Health care careers are on the rise, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the job market needs qualified candidates to step up and fill these critical career roles as the industry continues to expand. Opportunities for nurses in particular are booming -- more than 710,000 new registered nursing jobs are expected to open up between 2010 and 2020, a growth rate of 26 percent (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012) -- and career seekers are naturally curious about the multiple levels of the nursing profession.

Questions about nursing degrees and training have been at the forefront of future nurses' minds, and one question in particular seems to keep popping up. We've done the research, and we're here to settle it once and for all.

Can you become a nurse practitioner without a nursing degree?

Short answer? No. It's impossible to become a nurse practitioner without a nursing degree. Here's some reasoning, to help give context to the facts.

Nurse practitioners occasionally take on sensitive or complex medical cases and can serve on many of the same cases that primary care physicians do, which requires more extensive medical knowledge than vocational nurse training or registered nurse certification can provide. Advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) careers, which also include nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife and clinical nurse specialist, all require at least a master's degree in nursing (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012).

Here's a list of some of the duties that a nurse practitioner might perform on the job:

  • Provide basic primary or specialty care to individuals and families
  • Diagnose patients through physical examination and diagnostic tests
  • Analyze test results and determine appropriate steps for treatment
  • Assess symptoms and prescribe medications
  • Set up care plans for patients and explain what to do at home to help treatment succeed
  • Treat acute as well as chronic illnesses, including bronchitis, colds, flu, diabetes and obesity

Even nurses with many years of experience on the job have to go back to school and earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree before they can take on the responsibilities required of a nurse practitioner or other APRN. The depth and breadth of the medical skills expected of a nurse practitioner can only be learned in an educational setting. While job experience is invaluable when it comes to performing standard nursing duties, acquiring all the new knowledge necessary for a nurse practitioner career demands a focused learning environment.

How to become a nurse practitioner

Becoming certified as a licensed practical/vocational nurse (LPN/LVN) or a registered nurse (RN) is the first step toward a nurse practitioner career. This can be done with a bachelor's or associate degree from a two- or four-year college. Some hospitals and other clinical settings operate approved, non-university nursing programs as well (BLS.gov, 2012).

After getting your foot in the door as an entry-level nurse, you can apply to an MSN program that offers your chosen advance practice specialty. These programs typically take 3-4 semesters (about two years) of full-time study, but students who continue their career while earning their master's degree in nursing may find part-time and online degree programs that allow them to work around their professional schedule.

The length and intensity of MSN programs often depend on a student's prior training. Candidates who earned a bachelor's degree in nursing will have fewer required courses than those who became nurses through an associate degree or nursing diploma program.

Sources:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Registered Nurses," U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, March 29, 2012, www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm#tab-4

American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), 2013, http://www.aanp.org/education


Matching School Ads
Grand Canyon University
Online

There's still time to apply to Grand Canyon University and pursue your education. Learn more today!

Visit GCU.edu

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Phoenix
  • Phoenix
Hide Locations [-]
Lamar University
Online

A nationally recognized leader in online education, Lamar University online tailors the on-campus degree program to a flexible, affordable format for busy professionals.

Programs:
Brightwood College
Campus

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Salida
  • Salida
Hide Locations [-]
Platt College
Campus

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Alhambra
  • Alhambra
Hide Locations [-]
Unitek College
Campus

Unitek College™ is a privately held vocational school dedicated to helping you gain the skills needed to advance your career or begin a brand new career. 

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Fremont
  • Fremont
Hide Locations [-]
Ohio Christian University
Online

Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Circleville
  • Circleville
Hide Locations [-]
South University, Online Programs
Online

As a student at South University, Online Programs, you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

Visit www.southuniversity.edu

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Savannah
  • Savannah
Hide Locations [-]
Wilkes University
Online

Wilkes University’s School of Nursing offers CCNE-accredited online degrees and certificate programs ideal for working health care professionals, instructed by experienced, respected faculty dedicated to mentoring and personalized support for every student.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Wilkes Barre
  • Wilkes Barre
Hide Locations [-]
Northcentral University
Online

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • San Diego
  • San Diego
Hide Locations [-]
University of Rhode Island
Online

About the University of Rhode Island

 

The University of Rhode Island has grown from an agricultural school and agricultural experiment station to the community-committed university it is today—a place where ideas unleash potential and diversity incubates creativity.

Programs: Campus Locations:
  • Kingston
  • Kingston
Hide Locations [-]
Matching School Ads



Advertisement
About Us  |  FAQS  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy |  Sitemap |  Terms of Service
© 2006 - 2017 QuinStreet, Inc.