How Do You Become an Advanced Practice Nurse?

Advanced Practice NurseTo become an Advanced Practice Nurse, you will need to advance your education and expand your knowledge. Advanced Practice Registered Nursing professionals, which is written APRN in the field, are trained to assess patients, diagnose medical conditions and manage existing medical problems through treatment. Since APRN’s are such a vital part of a medical team and play such an independent role, you will need to become a master of core subject areas before you can earn your certification. If you would like to learn more about the steps that you need to take and the role that you will play within a team of healthcare professionals, read on and find information on what you need to know.

What Are the Education Requirements to Become an Advanced Practice Nurse?

Advanced practice nurses need advanced degrees before they can meet requirements to sit for a certification exam. The actual requirements vary from state to state, but according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, possessing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) will meet the educational prerequisite.

If you only possess a bachelor’s degree or are working towards your BSN, you can earn your master’s by completing an additional two years of school or by enrolling in a fast-track MSN program. The fast-track programs are great for undergrad students who would like to be a graduate alumni after completing their BS and MS degrees in a three to four year time frame. Be sure that whatever program that you take is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, so that all of the credits that you take count towards your license and other certifications.

How to Turn Your Master of Science in Nursing Into a APRN License

Once you pass the National Council Licensure Exam to become a Registered Nurse, you will need to get professional experience working in acute care. The requirements to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam given to prospective APRN’s are much more stringent. After you earn your MSN, you will then be expected to demonstrate superior clinical skills so that you can pass the specialty tests that you are required to pass.

The tests that you must take will depend upon the role you select. You can choose from certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), certified nurse practitioner (CNP), certified nurse-midwife (CNM), and clinical nurse specialist (CNS). All of these titles are considered to be APRN’s, but to hold the designations you may have to take a different combination of specialty exams. All APRN’s must pass a population-focused national exam for certification to show that they are competent and have a larger skill set than the general nurse, according to the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. You must also recertify to ensure that you have maintained your competencies.

Related Resource: Become a Nurse Practitioner

There is a growing need for Advanced Practice Nursing professionals who are available to treat a specific demographic of patients who are in need of a diagnosis, pain management, or other forms of treatment. There is a growing shortage of Registered Nurses with advanced degrees as the need for care intensifies. If you want to pursue a career in a specialty area that is growing and offers you more potential, time to compare Master of Science programs so that you can decide which school offers the best program to prepare you for licensure.