FNP Careers for Students

Below are a few answers on the Family Nurse Practitioner career, or a Nurse Practitioner Career.

What are the Education Requirements to Be a Nurse Practitioner?

A Nurse Practitioner must have an RN License, meaning it needs ot pass the NCLEX-RN. This usually is required before even entering into a program that allows for a Nurse Practitioner certification, or Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner license.

Most Nurse Practitioner programs consist of a Master’s of Nursing degree that allows you to sit for the Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified (FNP-BC) credential. There are also numerous BSN to DNP programs that allow for the same ability to take the certification test for the FNP-BC credential.

From the ANCC on the FNP-BC

The ANCC Family Nurse Practitioner board certification examination is a competency based examination that provides a valid and reliable assessment of the entry-level clinical knowledge and skills of nurse practitioners. This certification aligns with the Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification and Education. Once you complete eligibility requirements to take the certification examination and successfully pass the exam, you are awarded the credential: Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified (FNP-BC). This credential is valid for 5 years. You can continue to use this credential by maintaining your license to practice and meeting the renewal requirements in place at the time of your certification renewal. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies and the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification accredits this ANCC certification.

Nurse Practitioner Specialties

There are many options when it comes to different Nurse Practitioner tracks. Below are some of the top NP program specialties.

Nurse Practitioner CertificationsClinical Nurse Specialist CertificationsSpecialty Certifications

Nurse Practitioner Certifications

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Adult Nurse Nurse Practitioner
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
Adult Psychiatric–Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Family Nurse Practitioner
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
Psychiatric–Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
School Nurse Practitioner
Diabetes Management—Advanced Nurse Practitioner
Emergency Nurse Practitioner

Clinical Nurse Specialist Certifications

Adult Health CNS
Adult-Gerontology CNS
Adult Psychiatric–Mental Health CNS
Child/Adolescent Psychiatric–Mental Health CNS
Gerontological CNS
Home Health CNS
Pediatric CNS
Public/Community Health CNS
CNS Core
Diabetes Management—Advanced

Specialty Certifications

Ambulatory Care Nursing
Cardiac Rehabilitation Nursing
Cardiac-Vascular Nursing
Certified Vascular Nursing
College Health Nursing
Community Health Nursing
Diabetes Management—Advanced
Faith Community Nursing
Forensic Nursing—Advanced
General Nursing Practice
Genetics Nursing—Advanced
Gerontological Nursing
Hemostasis Nursing
Home Health Nursing
Informatics Nursing
Medical-Surgical Nursing
Nurse Executive
Nurse Executive—Advanced
Nursing Case Management
Nursing Professional Development
Pain Management Nursing
Pediatric Nursing
Perinatal Nursing
Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing
Public Health Nursing—Advanced
Rheumatology Nursing
School Nursing

What is the Job of a Nurse Practitioner?

A Nurse Practitioner is typically a primary care providers, and the typical daily duties are similar to a general practice doctor. Family Nurse practitioners tend to be the primary care provider for a mix of ages – from children to adults. Many times, one family will have the same Nurse Practitioner – this can help streamline and can increase trust in the Nurse Practitioner.

What is the Role of a Nurse Practitioner?

A Nurse Practitioner works directly with patients, usually as the primary care provider. The Nurse Practitioner diagnoses and manages most common and some chronic illnesses. They are authorized to exam, diagnose, order diagnostic testing, and write prescriptions.

What are the Working Conditions of a Nurse Practitioner?

More often than not, Nurse Practitioners work in hospitals or healthcare offices / general practitioner or family care offices. Some Nurse Practitioners, depending on the specialty, work in acute care or ambulatory care settings, long-term care faculties, nursing homes, or other outpatient settings.

How Much Does a Nurse Practitioner Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Practitioner salaries average around $97,000 per year, which is equivalent to roughly $47 per hour.

National FNP Certification

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers the FNP-BC credential certification. To qualify for the FNP-BC, applicants must have a current and active RN license and a Master’s in Nursing or Doctorate in Nursing Practice, or post-graduate from a program that is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (formerly NLNAC | National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission). A minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours must be included in your family nurse practitioner program.

Some Sample Questions from the FNP-BC credential

The FNP-BC test consists of three types of exam questions: multiple response, drag and drop, and hot spot. For more info on the test, view the full Sample Test here.

  1. Which drug is associated with increased lipoprotein levels?
  2. What is the main reason for administering a progestational medication to perimenopausal women who use estrogen?
  3. The family nurse practitioner asks a patient to perform rapid, alternating movements of the hands to evaluate what?
  4. Routine immunization guidelines recommend administering the hepatitis B vaccine at birth and repeating doses at:
  5. A patient who sustained a myocardial infarction comes to the clinic for a refill of atorvastatin (Lipitor). The family nurse practitioner explains that the medication is prescribed for:
  6. Which health promotion strategy is most appropriate for adolescents who are obese?
  7. Treatment of viral conjunctivitis includes the use of:
  8. A patient who had a total gastrectomy one year ago complains of a sore mouth, indigestion, and tingling in the lower extremities. Which test is ordered by the family nurse practitioner?
  9. The family nurse practitioner participates in a hospital-based quality improvement project. The nurse practitioner reviews four charts per month of a nurse practitioner colleague to ensure diabetes protocols are met. This process is a:
  10. After determining that a two-and-half-year-old patient has a lead level of 16 mcg/dL, the family nurse practitioner does what?

How to become a Family Nurse Practitioner

The most common question for those interested in becoming a family nurse practitioner is, “How can I become one?” In order to get on track to becoming a part of this growing community, students should consider the requirements set forth for people in this specialty.

Bachelors of Science in Nursing or Related Specialty

Starting with a BS in Nursing is the best option for those wanting to be a family nurse practitioner. There are other science-related degree programs that are accepted in this path, but the nursing degree path can provide students with the pre-requisite courses that most FNP programs require. In order to cut out a lot of extra time and effort, it is best to get started in the nursing field from the beginning. From the start, students should choose universities that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) to ensure acceptance from state agencies and higher degree programs.

FNP Licensure

After receiving the appropriate bachelors degree, the next step is applying for licensure through the appropriate state departments. Different states have different requirements of nursing professionals, so it is important to get in touch with these agencies prior to applying to ensure that everything necessary is included with the application. Once this process is complete, the state can approve applicants to take the NCLEX exam.

The NCLEX

The National Council Licensure Examination is a requirement for all nursing professionals. This exam includes situational and knowledge-based questions that determine whether or not examinees are qualified to work in the health care field. There are plenty of resources and study guides available for students that are nearing this spot on their path to the FNP program.

Family Nurse Practitioner Masters or Doctoral Program

Once students have obtained licensure in their respective states, the next step is getting into the right graduate program. There are numerous available programs across the country that have Masters, Doctoral, and even post-certificate programs for family nurse practitioners. Depending on which level an individual desires to achieve, the estimated completion time can vary greatly between each one. During these programs, students will be introduced into the didactic and clinical experiences required for graduation. After successfully completing this program, graduates can be eligible for certification as a family nurse practitioner.

FNP Certification

Certification is the one of the most important steps to becoming a FNP. This involved a state board exam, which includes the various topics and exercises that were introduced during graduate studies. Most states require that applicants for the certification exam be licensed as nurses and have 500 – 750 hours of supervised work experience. National certification is provided by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) in the form of the FNP-BS (Family Nurse Practitioner – Board Certified).

Degrees to be a FNP

Bachelors of Science in Nursing

Although other related science fields can be accepted, this is the most common bachelors degree for this field.

Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner

The MSN-FNP program is the fastest path to becoming a FNP and the most common.

Doctor of Nursing Practice, Family Nurse Practitioner

The doctoral program is not required to become a FNP, but it provides an advantage to individuals wanting something extra on their resume.

Family Nurse Practitioner, Post Graduate Certificate

Typically designed for nurses with masters degrees in other specialties, this degree program is a great way to transition into a FNP career without having to pursue an additional degree entirely.

Top FNP organizations

Staying connected is the key to success as a family nurse practitioner. There are various agencies at the state and national levels that provide information, communication, and networking to others within the field. Professionals that seek answers to work-related questions or that just want to stay up to date with the latest literature are encouraged to become actively involved with one or more of these organizations. Those interested in this field are urged to connect with local and state organizations in their desired employment area.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)

The AANP is one of the largest organizations for nurse practitioners in the United States. This agency provides its members with reliable and consistent data concerning their field and provides ample support for nurse practitioners through the length of a career.

American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

As the main resource for licensure and renewal, the ANCC is also a very important organization for nurses in all specialties. Family nurse practitioners can stay informed of changes regarding licensure with this organization as well as network with others in the nursing field.

Top FNP careers and salaries

FNP at General Medical and Surgical Hospitals

– $105,690 per year on average (BLS;, 2015).

FNP at Outpatient Centers

– $103,710 per year on average (BLS;, 2015).

FNP at Doctors Offices

– $99,760 per year on average (BLS;, 2015).

FNP at Colleges and Universities

– $94,050 per year on average (BLS;, 2015).

Top places hiring FNPs

Family nurse practitioners are needed in any area in which health and wellness care can be administered to people. We have listed a few of the industries below that are consistently in need of experienced and qualified family nurse practitioners.

  • >Hospitals
  • Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers
  • Physicians Offices and Specialty Medical Centers
  • K-12 Schools and Colleges
  • Local Health Departments