Adult Nurse Practitioner Role
An adult nurse practitioner (ANP) focuses on the primary care of adults (ages 12 and over). The main roles of ANPs focus on preventive care involving health promotion and disease prevention as well as the management of patients with acute and chronic health issues.
Adult Nurse Practitioner Salary
The average ANP salary is approximately $97,000 per year. An adult nurse practitioner (ANP) focuses on the primary care of adults (ages 12 and over). The main roles of ANPs focus on preventive care involving health promotion and disease prevention as well as the management of patients with acute and chronic health issues.
How to Become an Adult Nurse Practitioner
Adult Nurse Practitioner Eligibility Requirements
There are several steps to becoming an adult nurse practitioner. Prior education, certification and clinical practice are among the requirements for being accepted into a nurse practitioner program. Here is a step-by-step path you can take to become an adult nurse practitioner.
- Become a registered nurse. In order to apply to an adult nurse practitioner program, you must have completed a degree in registered nursing and be certified as a registered nurse in a U.S. state or territory. Passing the NCLEX-RN examination is required for certification as a registered nurse. Working one to two years before applying for a nurse practitioner program is highly recommended.
- Apply to adult nurse practitioner programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). These programs must be master’s, postgraduate or doctoral programs. More information on adult nurse practitioner programs and coursework requirements can be found below.
- Complete 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours related to the adult nurse practitioner role and population.
- Apply to take the family nurse practitioner exam administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) to earn your certification. The exam tests comprehension of assessment and diagnostic techniques, pharmacology, theory and more. Final transcripts and proof of education are required. More information about certification can be found at the bottom of this page.
- Apply for state certification as an adult nurse practitioner in the state where you wish to practice. Go to our state certification pages to learn the requirements and find out how to apply. Many applications can be submitted online.
- Once you have earned your adult nurse practitioner certification, your certification must be renewed every five years. In addition to renewing certification through the board, renewal through the state is also required and may require additional fulfillment of continuing education contact hours.
Adult Nurse Practitioner Programs
As noted above, the path to become an ANP begins with a specialized program that prepares graduates to pass a certification exam administered by the ANCC or the AANP. To be eligible to take the test, candidates must have a current registered nurse (RN) license, a post-graduate degree from an accredited adult nurse practitioner education program and at least 500 supervised clinical hours in the APN role. The certification examination will evaluate your knowledge of advanced physiology, health assessment and pharmacology.
Adult nurse practitioner programs are post-graduate degrees that lead to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a PhD. Admissions criteria vary somewhat from university to university. In general, all nurse practitioner programs require students to have a current RN certification in the state they will be attending school (or at least be eligible for certification) and at least two years of relevant work experience in a clinical setting.
Some universities and colleges may require specific course requirements in fields such as nursing or statistics and a minimum score on the GRE. Most universities require a 3.0 grade point average.
Adult nurse practitioner programs are commonly offered at universities and colleges nationwide. There may be full-time and part-time course tracks available to accommodate students who are working while preparing to take the certification exam. Students should expect to complete 40 to 50 credit hours of coursework and 500 to 600 hours of clinical work experience.
Eligibility to sit for the APN certification exam requires completion of the following three core courses: advanced physiology, advanced health assessment and advanced pharmacology. Accredited adult nurse practitioner programs should include these courses and also develop nurses’ leadership and health care advocacy skills through additional coursework and real-world work experience consisting of at least 500 faculty-supervised work hours in an adult nurse practitioner role.
Students who enroll in a full-time adult nurse practitioner program can expect to graduate in approximately two years, depending on how quickly their clinical hours are completed. Part-time students may take up to four years to complete the necessary coursework and training.Alternatively, RNs who wish to obtain a PhD instead of an MSN may attend classes and clinicals for an additional year or two, depending on the specific program requirements. While attending the program full time will lead to a shorter program length, it is not always possible for working RNs. As such, individual program length will vary according to your personal circumstances and schedule.
Online Adult Nurse Practitioner Programs
For working registered nurses who do not want to put their career on pause or uproot their lives to attend a far-away on-campus program, online adult nurse practitioner programs can be both a flexible and high-quality option. When looking for an online ANP program, make sure that it is high quality, with interactive features such as live classes and excellent placement services that will help you get the most out of your education. Some universities offer online programs that are identical to what they offer on campus, allowing students to earn a degree from a university they know and whose reputation they trust, without having to move there. ANP online programs are growing in popularity and are a great way to become an adult nurse practitioner.
Adult Nurse Practitioner Certification
There are two accredited certifying agencies where you can earn an ANP certification:
American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
Types of Certification
ANP-BC (Adult Nurse Practitioner—Board Certified)
Active RN license, master’s degree or higher from an adult nurse practitioner program with at least 500 clinical hours accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC)
Initial application (two week processing time for online applications, eight week processing time for mailed applications), followed by a computer-based exam (offered year-round, but must be taken within 90 days of whenever the application is processed)
$270 for American Nurses Association members/$340 for American College of Nurse Practitioners/$395 for non-members/$290 for American Association of Nurse Practitioners Members
Certifications must be renewed every five years. Renewal applications are due at least three months before your certification expiration date. Fees for renewal are $200 for American Nurses Association members/$280 for American Association of Nurse Practitioners/$350 for non-members
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
Types of Certification
NP-C (Nurse Practitioner–Certified) with Adult National Certification
Master’s degree or higher from an approved nurse practitioner program
Initial online application, followed by a computer-based exam (offered year-round, but must be taken within 120 days of whenever the application is processed)
$240 for AANP members/$315 for non-members
Nurse practitioners certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program may become recertified every five years by sitting for the appropriate examination or by meeting the clinical practice and continuing education requirements established for recertification. These requirements include a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical practice as a nurse practitioner in the area of specialization, and 75 contact hours of continuing education relevant to the nurse practitioner area of specialization. Fees for recertification are $120 for AANP members and $195 for non-members.
Adult nurse practitioners with prior certification by an approved national certification body who meet the criteria for endorsement established by the AANP Certification Program may apply for endorsement by submitting a separate endorsement application. Fees for certification by endorsement are $120 for AANP members and $195 for non-members.
Adult Nurse Practitioner Certification Retirement
Adult nurse practitioner certifications will soon be phased out in favor of adult-gerontology certifications. Applications for the final examination will be accepted until December 31, 2015, and the final examination for this specialty will take place on December 31, 2016. As long as professional development and practice requirements are met, those with this certification can continue to renew their status as adult nurse practitioners. Those who have not yet begun graduate education to become an adult nurse practitioner may not be able to apply for this specialty in time. Learn more about becoming an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner.
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