How To Become A Family Nurse Practitioner

Considering a career in Nursing? Excellent choice. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job outlook for being a Nurse is at 26%; meaning employment for this occupation will grow faster than average for the next ten years. If so, why not be one step higher on the nursing career ladder and become a family nurse practitioner (FNP)?


Family Nurse Practitioner: An Overview


Family Nurse Practitioners are unique as they are licensed to diagnose, order tests/procedures and prescribe medications to patients which are typical responsibilities of a Physician. FNPs also provide counseling to educate their patients about staying healthy and disease-free. A typical Family Nurse Practitioner earns $67,000-$107,000 per year, finding work in many settings such as clinics, offices and other healthcare facilities.



Sounds like a good career? The following step-by-step guide will provide answers for you on how to become a family nurse practitioner:


Step 1: Get a Nursing degree.

There are three ways to do this, and completing one would make sure that you’re ready for the next phase of your career in Nursing. You have the following options:

Option 1: Complete a Diploma Program from a school of Nursing. This program usually takes about two to three years.

Option 2: Complete an Associate Degree Program from community colleges or universities. This normally takes two years to finish.

Option 3: Get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree. The most preferred way, this four-year program will prepare you as a future nurse to practice in a wide variety of healthcare settings.


Step 2: Pass your NCLEX-RN.

After completing Step 1, you will now be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). You need to pass this national exam to make sure that you are fit to practice and be a licensed Registered Nurse.


Step 3: Get your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

You have to complete a Family Nurse Practitioner Program leading to the Master of Science Degree to achieve this. However, if you are already working as an RN at this point, you do not have to give up your job to attend university full-time to pursue your masters. Online Nurse Practitioner Programs from well-known Universities can lead to your MSN without you giving up the current job.


Nurse Practitioner Programs offered online are customized to fit your schedule and pace. Most universities offering them will allow you to choose between Full-Time and Part-Time Online-Based Matriculation Plans. Through their coordinators, a schedule will be fixed for you to make sure that pursuing your Masters do not disrupt your other activities.

However, the pace of your studying will affect the time it would take for you to finish your degree. Full-Timers may finish it in 1.5 to 2 years on average while Part-Timers usually take 2.5 to 3 years.

Step 4: Get Board Certification in Family Practice.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) are accredited institutions that give certifications for you to become a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (CFNP).  To be eligible for the certification, you must have an active Registered Nurse License and a Master’s Degree from a Family Nurse Practitioner Program.


Step 5: Become a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner.

As a CFNP, you will be spending more time with your patients than their doctors. This gives you the opportunity to understand your patient’s concerns better and provide a holistic treatment approach. Most patients are satisfied with the level of care their FNPs give them, in the same success as that of Physicians.


The demand for FNPs is projected to rise in the coming years due to the growing elderly population and recent awareness of healthier living and disease prevention.  Job prospects will be even better for Family Nurse Practitioners who would specialize in geriatrics (care of old people).


If you are a compassionate person with a strong sense of responsibility and openness to learning, being a family nurse practitioner is the right career for you. The job does not only pay well, it is also very rewarding.

Through education, counseling and treatment of medical problems, family nurse practitioners help people live better, healthier and more productive lives.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Comment