Master of Science in Nursing: FNP Program

We've listed out a variety of FNP programs available across a wide variety of geographical locations as well as online options too.

How to Become A FNP

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.

Bachelor's 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.

Licensure

After receiving the appropriate bachelor's 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.

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 Master's 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 Master's, 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.

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 to 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

  • Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing: Although other related science fields can be accepted, this is the most common bachelor’s 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 master’s 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 General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $105,690 per year on average (BLS;, 2015).
  • FNP Outpatient Centers: $103,710 per year on average (BLS;, 2015).
  • FNP Doctor’s Offices: $99,760 per year on average (BLS;, 2015).
  • FNP 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
  • Physician’s Offices and Specialty Medical Centers
  • K-12 Schools and Colleges
  • Local Health Departments

Each type of workplace will have it’s own culture and differences from one another. Begin earning the degree, decide the FNP career path you want to take, and start today!