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Nurse Practitioner Program and School Information

Nurse Practitioners came to be during a shortage of doctors in the 1960s, and remain a crucial part of the American health care system.  With their high level of education and clinical training, Nurse Practitioners provide both primary and acute care, and are in fact able to care for the majority of patients medical needs much as a general physician would.   They diagnose and treat illness and injuries, prescribe therapies and medicine, council patients about their health and conditions and sometimes assist in minor surgeries and procedures.  Almost 600 million patients visit Nurse Practitioners for their primary care needs every year.
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Education to Become a Nurse Practitioner

To become a Nurse Practitioner requires a higher level of schooling than most registered nurses.  You'll first need to complete a registered nursing program at an accredited college or university.  Usually this requires a 2-4 year program to attain an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, or a Registered Nurse Degree from a Registered Nurse Diploma program.  You will then need to pass the National Council Licenser Examination to acquire a Registered Nursing License.  Most states then require a masters degree, post-masters certification, or doctorate degree to become a Nurse Practitioner, and you will have to become licensed as a Nurse Practitioner in the state in which you intend to practice.  Many Nurse Practitioners are also nationally certified in an area of expertise such as acute care, pediatrics, or women's health.  

Nurse Practitioner Salaries

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for registered nurses was $62,450, though the top 10% made more than $92,240.  Numerous salary sites online put Nurse Practitioners within this range, usually $72,000 - $90,000.

In some states Nurse Practitioners provide service completely independent of physicians, working out of clinics and in their own practices.  Other states require that they work collaboratively with a physician.  Nurse practitioners work in a wide variety of medical facilities, including hospitals, clinics, government offices, schools colleges and universities.  They are in especially high demand in under-served areas such as urban neighborhoods and rural parts of the country, where doctors may be in short supply. 

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