Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

Prior education, certification and clinical practice are among the requirements for acceptance into a nurse practitioner program.

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Georgetown University’s Online MS in Nursing

With Georgetown University’s online WHNP program, you can become a primary care provider for women’s health in as few as 27 months. RN/BSN required.

Here are some common steps to becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner:

How to Become a WHNP

  1. Scroll to Become a Registered Nurse
  2. Scroll to Apply for a WHNP Program
  3. Scroll to Apply for the WHNP Exam from the National Certification Corporation (NCC)
  4. Scroll to Apply for WHNP Certification in your state of practice

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.

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Earn a Master of Science in Nursing online from Simmons University.

  • Choose from two program options — FNP or PMHNP
  • Complete in as few as 24 months
  • Full-time and part-time tracks available

Earn an MS in Nursing online from Georgetown University.

  • Earn your MS in Nursing in as few as 23 months
  • Choose from one of four APRN specialty areas: AG-ACNP, FNP, NM/WHNP, or WHNP
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience in evidence-based practice

Earn an M.S. in Nursing online at the Wegmans School of Nursing

  • The Wegmans School of Nursing is ranked among the top 100 nursing schools nationally, and is No. 6 in New York state1
  • Part-time and accelerated tracks available
  • Four program options: PCFNP, PMHNP, AGACNP, AGPCNP

Earn your MSN online from USC’s School of Social Work.

  • Prepares RNs to pursue board certification as family nurse practitioners
  • Earn a CCNE-accredited MSN in as few as 21 months
  • Choose from part-time and full-time study options

1 U.S. News & World Report, 2022 Best Nursing Schools: Master’s. Ranked in 2021.


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 their 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: 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 for 2020 was $111,680. 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 52% from 2020 to 2030.

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


What is a WHNP?

A WHNP, or women’s health nurse practitioner, is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) trained to specialize in the healthcare and treatment of women, focusing on reproductive, obstetric and gynecological health. 

Can a women’s health nurse practitioner deliver babies?

While WHNPs provide care to women before and after pregnancy, they do not deliver babies. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioner’s (AANP) role of a women’s health nurse practitioner, WHNPs provide prenatal visits, after-pregnancy care and fertility evaluations, but they do not deliver babies.

Can a women’s health nurse practitioner provide care for male patients?

Although a women’s health nurse practitioner mainly sees female patients, they may provide sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care for all individuals, inclusive of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

What is the difference between an OB/GYN nurse practitioner and a women’s health nurse practitioner?

According to AANP’s role of a women’s health nurse practitioner, WHNPs used to be titled as “obstetric-gynecologic nurse practitioners” or OB/GYN nurse practitioners. These titles may exist in some states, but for the most part, a women’s health nurse practitioner certification is awarded for this practice.

Interested in other women-health related fields? Check out the guide to becoming a certified nurse midwife (CNM) or certified nurse midwife online programs.

Last updated October 2021.