It’s no secret that people who work in medicine are well paid. Everyone knows that doctors are some of the highest paid people in the country, but doctors obviously aren’t the only people who are involved in your care when you’re sick. Nurses are also a very valuable asset to any hospital. Not all nurses are created equal, however. A nurse practitioner is a special kind of nurse who is a more advanced form of your traditional registered nurse. They are capable of diagnosing and treating illness like a doctor would, but their work is typically more focused on education and prevention than treating ails. Since their work is more complex, your average nurse practitioner is going to have to receive a more thorough education than a standard nurse.
With that in mind, are nurse practitioners paid any more than a traditional registered nurse? Although nursing is a great field to go into, some are discouraged by the long hours and salary that the profession can provide. I think it’s a shame when people decide not to work in a field that their passionate about over something like money.
Average Nurse Practitioner Salary – $104,740
The average nurse practitioner makes approximately $104,740 per year, which is actually pretty competitive with the salary of your average doctor. It takes much more work to become a nurse practitioner than it takes to become a standard nurse, so you can imagine that a nurse practitioner is typically paid much more for their work. Location is one factor that can affect the average salary of a nurse practitioner in 2017. Although people need medical care just about everywhere, larger cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, and New York City obviously have a larger demand for it.
Let’s think about how something like experience could affect the salary of a nurse practitioner. I’m sure that you can figure out for yourself that, the more experienced you are, the more you can be paid. People will almost always pay more for a more experienced nurse practitioner. Generally speaking, a nurse practitioner with over twenty years of experience can make up to $15,000 more per yer than a nurse practitioner with just entry level experience. This means that the pay scale for your average nurse practitioner is very wide. What contributes to such a large difference in earnings? As your common sense can probably tell you, a more experienced nurse practitioner is generally going to be a better nurse practitioner. The more experience that someone has in healthcare, the better equipped they are to tackle the challenges that one may face in this field. They are more familiar with the equipment and software most commonly used in this field. To put it simply, they are better at their job and they are more independent in it. People are willing to pay top dollar for nurse practitioners with this sort of independence.
You may think that education is another factor that influence the income of a nurse practitioner. That is really only partially true. If you work in some kind of business, then it’s very possible that your education is a large reason why your salary differs from the salary of someone who works in the office next door. However, in healthcare, the very specific licensing and training processes in place mean that it’s difficult for people to have wildly varying salary due to something like education. Pretty much every nurse practitioner will have the same backgrounds in formal education, with a couple of minor differences. Most all nurse practitioners have done post-graduate work, since such work is basically a requirement in order to become a nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner lacking this education is basically just a registered nurse. Although an unwieldy educational history can’t hurt you, it may not help you as much as you think in this field.
How to become a nurse practitioner – Do you have to go to school?
With all of that information in mind, it’s possible that you’re interested in seriously pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner. The job pays exceptionally well, and it allows you to help people as a doctor would help people, without having to go to medical school for quite as long. What does someone actually have to do in order to become a nurse practitioner? First, understand that you’re going to have to go to a lot of school. If you haven’t already finished high school, then you’re going to want to get that out of the way as soon as possible. If you’ve already dropped out of high school, then you should start looking into diploma alternatives like a GED. Once your high school education is done with, you can begin to look into becoming a registered nurse. There are a few different paths that you can choose here.
First, you can consider just jumping straight into your bachelor’s degree of nursing. This is good if you think that you can afford to go through a four year college, and it will save you time later on since you’ll basically need a bachelor’s degree anyway in order to get into graduate school. However, if you would like to take a shortcut, you can also consider getting an associate’s degree or a diploma from an accredited training program instead. This may seem like a stupid thing to do since you’re going to need a bachelor’s degree later on, but there are actually certain programs in place that allow pre-existing registered nurses to acquire their bachelor’s degree at a quicker pace. Figure out which of these two paths that you want to take, and commit to it. You’re already on your way to becoming a nurse practitioner.
While all of this is going on, hopefully you’re acquiring a lot of experience as an on-the-job registered nurse. This experience will make it a lot easier for you to get into a good graduate school, which is the next thing that you need to do in order to become a nurse practitioner. Many people will study for a master’s degree of science in nursing, but you can also look into a doctor of nursing practice degree. Your graduate level education will involve both classroom and experiential learning, and you can expect it to be somewhat rigorous. Once you’re graduated, there’s just one thing that you need to do: get your license and certification. Obtaining a state license obviously varies from state to state, but it generally involves having the right qualifications and passing an examination.
Becoming certified is a little trickier, since it largely depends on what you have decided that you want to specialize in while you work as a nurse practitioner. For instance, if you want to be a nurse practitioner who works primarily with kids, then you would want to be certified by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. This step varies depending on your own career path, but it is still very important. Once you have your certifications and your license in hand, then you are free to begin looking for work as a nurse practitioner. Since you’ve only been working as a registered nurse up until now, you should be seeing a very large increase in salary and also a very large increase in responsibilities. As long as you’re in love with what you do, though, I’m sure you’ll do great.