Nurse Practitioner degree program overviews

Explore Nurse Practitioner master’s degree programs. Get information about prerequisites, program coursework and the employment outlook for graduates.

Nurse Practitioner degree program overviews

Nurse Practitioner degree program overviews

Essential Information

Most nurse practitioner degree programs are designed for registered nurses, and they typically last between one and two years. Students may focus on a specialty, such as acute care, geriatric care or pediatric care. In general, students learn how to order, perform and interpret diagnostic tests, take comprehensive patient histories and develop and execute treatment plans. An MSN program prepares graduates to sit for licensing boards in their particular states, as well as national board certification through either the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Education Prerequisites

All aspiring nurse practitioners must first complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, or BSN, before enrolling in a master’s degree program. Some students may elect to first complete an associate degree or certificate program in nursing and gain practical experience before going on to complete a BSN.

In addition to an undergraduate degree, all those applying to a nurse practitioner program must also be registered, licensed nurses. Typically, they must also prove that they have worked at least two years as a registered nurse before applying to a nurse practitioner program.

Program Coursework

Courses included in a nurse practitioner master’s degree program include both traditional classroom lectures and mandatory clinical experience. Some of these courses include:

  • Patient assessment
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Nursing research and theory
  • Nursing management
  • Clinical diagnosis
  • Primary family care

Popular Career Options

Career opportunities for registered nurses, including nurse practitioners, are expected to increase by 26% in the 2010-2020 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ( This is because nurse practitioners can perform many of the same procedures as physicians at a fraction of the cost, making them attractive alternatives in rural communities. See more information at:  Nurse Practitioner NP salary and job outlook

Free Nurse Practitioners exam practice test

Along with useful information, you can also review, evaluate your skills, knowledge and strength to get ready for your important career exam, by implementing the practice tests below that we have introduced:

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