Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

Prior education, certification and clinical practice are among the requirements for acceptance into a nurse practitioner program. Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner:

How to Become a WHNP

  1. Become a Registered Nurse: In order to apply to a women’s health nurse practitioner program, you must have completed a degree in registered nursing and be certified as a registered nurse in a US 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.
  2. Apply to a WHNP Program: WHNP programs are accredited under the standards of any nurse practitioner program, as set forth by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

    WHNP programs will vary depending upon the type of enrollment and student availability. Online WHNP programs offer students the ability to learn on flexible schedules, participate in discussions with classmates and are held to the same accreditation standards as their on-campus counterparts.

  3. Apply for the WHNP Exam From the National Certification Corporation (NCC): The exam tests comprehension of physical assessment, primary care, gynecology, obstetrics, pharmacology and professional issues. A copy of your diploma and your official transcript documenting completion of a women’s health nurse practitioner program are required.
  4. Apply for WHNP Certification in Your State of Practice: Typically certification and/or registration as a women’s health nurse practitioner could resemble or be a recognition as a nurse practitioner in your state with women’s health as a specialty area. Be sure to check your state’s nursing requirements.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Role and Responsibilities

A women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP)provides primary health care services to women of all ages, generally beginning at adolescence and continuing through pregnancy and menopause.

The WHNP has a specialization in obstetrics and gynecology but also engages in well-woman care, health education, prenatal care and contraceptive counseling as well as providing care for episodic or chronic illnesses, eating disorders and sexually transmitted diseases.

Some women’s health nurse practitioners are heavily involved with diagnosis and treatment, while others function as advisers to women who want to plan a healthy pregnancy, offering advice from pre-conception through the postpartum period. In short, the WHNP is not defined by any single role and may provide essential health care to women throughout the lifespan.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice

The WHNP has the opportunity to provide care in a variety of clinical settings. Women’s health nurse practitioners work in hospitals, OB-GYN clinics, family planning clinics, Planned Parenthood centers, women’s health clinics, prenatal clinics, women’s prisons and private practices.

These nurse practitioners that specialize in women’s health provide services to women, including: well woman exams, pregnancy testing, fertility evaluation, STD screening, urinary tract problems, menopause health promotion and more.

Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Certification

Name of Certification: Certifying Body: NCC Certification - Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP - BC)

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Current U.S. Nursing License
  • Completion of an accredited graduate nursing program meeting NCC program requirements in preparation for WHNPs.
    • Master’s, DNP, or post-master’s accepted
  • Complete the exam within 8 years of graduation form above program
  • Diploma copy provided to NCC
  • Official transcript, issued by school registrar, provided to NCC
  • For post-master’s applicants, certificate of completion provided to NCC

Fees: $325, which includes a $50 non-refundable application fee and a $275 testing fee

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Salary

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t offer a salary summary for WHNP’s, these types of nurses are first and foremost nurse practitioners. The BLS reports that nurse practitioner median salary for 2018 was $107,030. With an increased emphasis on preventative care and demand for healthcare services from the aging population, employment of nurse practitioners, midwives, and anesthetists are expected to grow 26% from 2018 to 2028.

According to the BLS’s nurse practitioner occupational employment and wages statistics, most nurse practitioners are employed in New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Ohio. Nurse practitioners were also reported to have made the highest annual average salary in metropolitan areas like Bedford, MA, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA, and Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA.