APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) Programs
What is an APRN?
An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is a specific type of nursing designation. Those who complete this nursing program typically study one specific patient population. They may, otherwise, study one specific skill set.
A nurse practitioner (NP) is a type of APRN. Other types of APRNs often include clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists. Students who wish to work in this career typically earn a master’s or doctoral degree. They may begin their education earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing and progress towards a masters. Students may need to complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Then, students may need to complete clinical courses before sitting for a national certification exam. They could then apply for state licensure.
APRN Bachelor’s Programs
It is not possible to become an APRN with just a bachelor’s degree. However, a student ofteb needs to first complete their bachelor’s degree and obtain licensure as a registered nurse (RN). This may be possible with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA). Both are undergraduate degrees. Both may prepare a student to enter into a master’s degree for APRN education.
It may be possible to complete an online bachelor’s degree in nursing. This type of online program may still involve clinical hours. This may need to take place in a traditional lab or in a local clinical practice. Typically, a bachelor’s degree program like this may take 4 years to complete, with some flexibility.
Master’s APRN Programs
Those with an RN license may wish to continue their education with a master’s degree. Earning the APRN degree means considering the scope of practice that interests the student. This type of program typically creates a concentration for coursework to be completed. Some may wish to become a women’s health nurse practitioner. Others may wish to work in neonatal. There are many aspects a student may pursue.
A MSN program often allows the student to focus their education into a specific area of interest. Many students may already have some clinical experience at this point. This may allow them to know who they wish to continue to provide care to or what type of environment they wish to work. Typically, a master’s program takes about two additional years. It may take longer or shorter depending on when a student enrolls.
PhD APRN Programs
A doctoral degree is the end level of education for a person in this field. Earning a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner or PhD may allow a student to dive into more research. The student may still have the same scope of practice overall. This level of program, which could take 2 to 4 years to complete, may open the door for new insights.
Students may be able to further focus on an area that interests them in healthcare or nursing. They may spend more time creating solutions to problems they see in healthcare systems.
What can I do as an APRN?
An APRN is often able to advise the public on health issues, treat disease, diagnose illness, and manage chronic conditions. They may also be prescribing medications for treatment in some states. Those who work in this field with a master’s degree typically provide clinical practice for patients on a daily basis. Some who complete a PhD in this area may focus on leadership as well as research-based aspects of this degree program.
Is an APRN Program worth it?
An APRN program may be worth it for those who wish to choose a specific concentration for their education. This may include studying a specific area of nursing. Those who wish to provide care to patients across their full lifespan in a general practice may not wish to complete this degree path.
The APRN program often allows students to focus their education on one area of patient care. This could be in mental health, midwifery, pediatrics, or a family nurse practitioner program. Many other examples exist. For those who wish to work in these areas, this type of education could be beneficial because it provides a more focused level of study. That may mean getting more in-depth support to potentially provide a better level of patient care.
APRN Programs Jobs & Salary
Take a look at some expected APRN occupations and potential earnings.
|Occupation||Annual Median Salary||Jobs|
|Registered Nurse||$71,730||Evaluate a patient’s health, provide patient care, educate patients|
|Nurse Practitioner||$107,030||Provide primary care, make diagnoses, prescribe medications|
|Certified Nurse Midwife||$103,770||Assist in labor and delivery of babies, provide gynecological exams, prenatal care|
|Nurse Anesthetist||$167,950||Provide anesthesia throughout medical procedures and after|
Top States for Jobs as an APRN
|State||Jobs||Annual Median Wage|
What classes will I take in an APRN Program?
Do you plan to become an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner? Perhaps you wish to become a pediatric nurse practitioner? Some may wish to complete courses to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. The courses you take depend on what specific concentration you hope to focus on as you complete your degree program. Here are a few examples.
Fundamentals of Nursing:
This course often introduces students to the field of nursing. It usually has a design to be broad range and covers multiple areas of the field to provide a solid foundation for the student.
Health Care in the Community:
This course typically focuses on the delivery of healthcare to the community. Students may be going out for field experience to see how the program works and what is entailed in the profession.
Applied Nutrition in Health and Disease:
This course often covers the nutrition aspect that nurses are going to deal with. Knowing how to understand different diet restrictions and what to allow patients to consume based on the orders from a doctor.
Introduction to Pharmacology:
This course often introduces students to the study of different medications. In this course, students may gain a base knowledge of different drug purposes. Items such as interactions, dosages, and administering of the drugs may all be covered.
Graduate Level Classes:
Health care policy:
Aims to cover major features of the health care delivery system, the financial and political impacts and teaches students to critically think about policy issues.
Advanced Concepts in Pharmacology:
Prescription guidelines, drug interactions, and side effects are often taught.
Health care ethics:
These courses may teach students about patient-provider relationships, legal and ethical issues, and moral judgment.
Theory and Practice (Specialty-based):
This topic may start from broad to narrow with initial classes covering theory and practice in your chosen concentration and moving to more in-depth learning related to the specific patients treated in your area of study.
Hands-on experience is often required as part of nurse practitioner education. The amount of clinical hours required varies by state so check your state board’s requirements to confirm your program provides those hours.
How long does it take to complete an APRN Program?
No matter which degree program a student completes, the length of time it takes depends on their specific goals and plans. Most commonly, students spend between 2 and 3 years completing this degree program. There are some programs that may help students complete their education in less time overall. Various factors influence this.
For example, some students may wish to complete their post-graduate certificate of study in less time. They may enroll in a school that offers an accelerated learning path. This may allow them to complete the program in 18 months, for example. For others, completing their education is secondary to completing other goals, such as working and maintaining family life. This may slow down the process. Part time education may be an option here. Previous education matters, too. Those who have some courses already completed may be able to move through a concentration faster. Also, taking courses in the summer may speed up the plan.
It may be beneficial for some students to achieve national certification. This happens after completing your NP education. It is beneficial when this type of certification comes from an accredited certifying body. This type of certification may prove to be important. It helps to recognize that the student completed the long journey towards becoming an NP. A certification program helps students work towards licensure as well.
There are several NP certification board options. They include:
- The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB)
- The American Nurses Credentialing Center Certification Program (ANCC)
- American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Certification Corporate (AACN)
- National Certification Corporation (NCC)
- The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
Nursing practitioner programs are accredited by several organizations. The most common include:
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
- American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
Some specialty accreditations exist as well. This includes the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs and Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
Scholarships for APRN Programs
Students considering an NP program may wish to seek out access to scholarships to help pay for these costs. These options may be available to those who have completed a bachelor’s degree. They may apply to students working on their master’s degree or higher education program. Consider these options as you consider a Master of Science in Nursing of any type.
Scholarship Value: This is a $5,000 scholarship. It is non renewable.
Deadline: April 30
- US student
- US citizen or resident
- Full time student
- Non traditional student
- Current undergraduate
- Major in Nursing
- Two letters of recommendation
This is a scholarship designed for students who did not immediately enroll in college after high school. It is a one time scholarship and requires the completion of a 500 word essay in order to qualify.
Value: There are four scholarships awarded per your in increments of $2,500 per semester. This scholarship is non renewable.
Deadline: December 30
- Application form
- Letter of recommendation
This scholarship is for students in a graduate nursing program that is an AACN member institution. In order to be eligible the student must have at least a 3.5 GPA. If not a member already winners must join the AACN Graduate Student Nursing Academy (GNSA) and make a post summarizing their essay.
Value: There are a total of 40 scholarships that are awarded. There are ten for $10,000 and 30 for $5,000. These scholarships are for one year and they are non renewable.
Deadline: June 27
- Two essays
- Application form
This scholarship program is designed to help those students who have already completed at least one of ear of school in a healthcare program. The primary basis for this award may be demonstration of leadership as well as academic performance.
Value: This is a $2,000 non renewable scholarship. There may be up to seven recipients for this award.
Deadline: March 31
- Application form
This award is for any student who is in nursing school anywhere in the US. The applicant for the award need sto watch the “A Nurse I Am” documentary in either the 32 or 62 minute version. It is recommended that the applicant watch both videos.
Value: This is a $500 one time non renewable scholarship.
Deadline: December 31
- Application form
- Official transcript
- Personal statement
This scholarship is for current or prospective nursing students. This is open to all levels of secondary students. The purpose of this scholarship is to help offset loans and tuition.
Scholarship Value: This is a $500 one time non renewable scholarship
Deadline: June 30
- Minimum of 3.0 GPA
- Pursuing career in pediatrics
This scholarship is for nursing students working towards a BSN. The student should have an interest in pediatrics and a minimum of 3.0 GPA.
Deadline: April 28
- Acceptance letter
- Statement of goals
- Copy of nursing license
- Official transcript
- Verification of tuition costs
- Application form
- Two letters of recommendation
This award is for students who are in good standing as a member of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA). Students must be pursuing an MSN and have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA as well.
GradSchools.com offers 3 APRN programs
Grand Canyon University
Purdue University Global
Seton Hall University