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Family Nurse Practitioner

By definition, a family nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse with the training it takes to provide health care for the whole family. Working with families, they provide a broad range of services, such as well-baby checkups, vaccinations for children, direct care to adults and education to people of all ages on how to manage their illness and injury. Family nurse practitioners diagnose and treat patients with common and complex medical problems, request for lab work to be done and have the authority to write prescriptions under the regulations set by their particular state. They often work and consult with physicians but have a great deal of autonomy in primary care.

All nurse practitioners are prepared at the master’s level, and the degree most often earned is the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). To become a nurse practitioner, you must first complete a bachelor’s degree program in nursing, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), from an accredited school of nursing. This process typically takes four years. It is critical that you gain some initial nursing experience upon graduation, as it is a condition for acceptance into master’s degree programs in nursing. Most master’s programs take two years. You also must obtain certification as a family nurse practitioner.

Entry-level family nurse practitioners earn between $62,180 and $74,961 when they have less than a year of experience, according to online compensation site Payscale.com. However, nurse practitioners have tremendous earning potential, and those with 20+ years of experience can earn between $71,990-$88,270, Payscale.com shows. In fact, CNNMoney.com ranked nurse practitioners No. 4 in their Top 50 list of the Best Jobs in America based on earning potential, projected future growth in the career, personal job satisfaction, benefit to society and job security. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that advanced practice nurses such as nurse practitioners will be the most in demand of all nurses during the current nursing shortage.