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Nurse Practitioners

Explore a career path as a nurse practitioner

Do you want to make a difference by impacting patients’ health outcomes through advanced care, teaching or leadership? Becoming a nurse practitioner may fulfill your goals.

Also called advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), this category of healthcare professionals also includes nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives. Nurse practitioner (NP) duties can vary by state; while some may work independently and have their own nursing practice, others may work in collaboration with other medical professionals. NPs provide a range of advanced services while managing the day-to-day primary and preventive medical care. This may include prescribing medication, physical exams, screenings, requesting lab work or medical tests and diagnosing health conditions.

While delivering and managing patient treatment, NPs can also work within a specialty, such as geriatric, pediatric or psychiatric health. To become an NP, you must be a registered nurse (RN) with a graduate degree in nursing.

A group of nurses sitting down

The roadmap from RN to NP

It’s not unusual for ambitious, self-directed individuals to explore new professional challenges. If you want to advance to NP, you must have a master’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for a master’s degree, though your bachelor’s degree does not have to be in nursing to pursue this graduate program.  

There are 3 academic pathways Registered Nurses (RNs) can take to get to an NP. If you have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, you can apply to the online Master of Science in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner degree program.

If your bachelor’s degree is not in nursing, you can apply to an online Master of Science Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner degree bridge program may be your best pathway to a master’s degree.

If you’re one of the many RNs with just an associate degree, don’t fret – you’re in good company. In 2018, you were the majority. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 31.1% of U.S. RNs were required to have a vocational associate degree and 20.0% were required to have an associate degree.

You can earn a bachelor’s degree while strengthening skills that apply to your current role without stopping your progress toward applying for a graduate-level program. Here’s more good news – our RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is designed so that you do not repeat the same coursework and information you likely covered in your RN program.  you already know . Instead, you’ll build on what you already know as you focus on more advanced practices in nursing.

Let’s get started by exploring the path from RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

The RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree

There are many advantages to going from an associate’s degree in nursing (RN) to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Their curriculum often includes courses in communication, leadership and critical thinking, which are important skills for an RN – or any profession — to have.

The bachelor’s offers the potential to increase your clinical competency and expand your perspective . This can help prepare you for public health, patient education, help support quality decision-making and could lead to leadership opportunities.

It also can present you with more options. Public health opportunities, patient education, home health services, health maintenance organization, case management and leadership roles are open to nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, whereas they may not be to RNs with only an associate degree.

If you’re concerned about the time commitment, here’s a degree program that could reduce the time and cost of earning your BSN.


Bachelor of Science in Nursing Competency-based  

Like our traditional RN to BSN, this Bachelor of Science in Nursing Competency-based degree prepares you to take on graduate school and the NP designation while providing greater flexibility in how you can practice as a nurse.

To qualify for the RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (Competency-based CB), you must have an associate degree, an RN license and at least one year of experience working as a nurse. If you meet these requirements, you may be able to complete your BSN in about half the time (as little as 12 months) and for about half of the cost of a traditional BSN degree program.

Although it has many benefits, the RN to BSN competency-based program isn’t for everyone. If you prefer to have a structured learning environment with regular instruction, the traditional BSN may be a better fit.

Day in the life of a nurse practitioner

Learn more about the role of a nurse practitioner in this CareerOneStop video.

Day in the life video: Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Bridge Program

If you’ve practiced as a nurse with your bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject, and don’t have the BSN that’s required to apply for a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), there’s a pathway at the University of Phoenix that won’t require you to repeat foundational nursing courses.

The Nursing Bridge Program starts with 3 upper-level BSN courses, then moves into the Master of Science in Nursing curriculum, so you can complete your graduate degree.

MSN / Family Nurse Practitioner degree

Prepare for a nurse practitioner role by expanding your knowledge of clinical practice, patient care and leadership within a clinical setting.

After earning your MSN/FNP, the next step is to apply for certification, followed by your license in the state or states where want to practice. The process and fees for licensing may vary state by state.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, advanced practice registered nurse roles, such as Nurse Practitioners, are projected to increase 40% between 2021 and 2031, which is a faster growing rate than average. If you want to join this growing heathcare field, the time to act may be now. 

A knowledgeable enrollment representative will reach out to you soon. 

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