Whether you're a registered nurse already or are planning to play a vital role in the lives of patients, you may want to consider becoming a family nurse practitioner. Your education and training allow you to work directly with patients or may even lead to a position in research or teaching.
If you feel like you have the time and traits necessary to work as a nurse practitioner, you would be surprised to know that a family nurse practitioner salary is higher than many other career options.
What a Family Nurse Practitioner Is
A family nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who underwent additional training after earning his or her registered nursing license. Sometimes, a nurse practitioner is known as an advanced practice registered nurses (APRN).
This professional takes care of the health and wellness of people of all ages. In some states, a nurse practitioner performs most of the tasks a physician can, while in some states, a nurse practitioner works under the direct supervision of a doctor.
A majority of family nurse practitioners work in the offices of physicians. It’s possible to find a position in a hospital, but these jobs aren’t plentiful for this specialty.
Typical Responsibilities of a Family Nurse Practitioner
A family nurse practitioner performs physical examinations on men, women, and children. As a nurse practitioner, you may take patients’ medical histories, order and analyze labs, diagnose medical conditions, and provide patient education. Depending on the state you live in, you may write prescriptions, but in some cases, you may need to have a physician write the prescription.
As a nurse practitioner, you create a course of action for patients and monitor their results. You may need to discuss patients’ health conditions with physicians and other medical professionals. Additionally, you consult with physicians and other medical professionals.
Keep in mind, as a family nurse practitioner, you’re taking care of the needs of everyone in the family. Therefore, you’ll deal with people of all ages.
Education Required to Earn a Family Nurse Practitioner Salary
Becoming a family nurse practitioner consists of two parts:
Earning Your Registered Nursing License
Before you can earn your master’s degree, you must earn your registered nursing license first. In order to accomplish this, you must either earn your associate’s degree in nursing or complete a diploma program. You also might want to further your education by earning your bachelor of science in nursing by applying to a BSN program after you already have an associate’s degree in nursing or another similar field.
During your education, you must complete science courses including biology and chemistry. You must take anatomy and physiology courses. Additionally, you have to take pharmacology to understand how medications work.
The first part of your education is your book work. Then, the next portion of your education consists of clinicals, where you work under the direct supervision of other registered nurses.
Once you earn your degree or diploma, you must sit for the National Council Licensure Examination - Registered Nurse, also known as your NCLEX-RN.
Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner
Once you earn your registered nursing license, you must gain one year of experience practicing as a registered nurse. This gives you the ability to practice as a nurse and allow you to try nursing before you commit to earning your graduate degree. Not to mention, you gain skills and knowledge during this time.
If you don’t already have your BSN, you may want to earn it before applying to earn your graduate degree. On the other hand, you could choose to complete an Associate’s to master’s degree program, referred to as an ADN-to-MSN program. If you weren’t a nurse prior to deciding to become a nurse practitioner, you could take a course that allows you to hold a bachelor’s degree in another subject and then finish your master’s degree in nursing.
If you take a traditional master of science in nursing (MSN) program, it takes at least two years to complete. You take courses that offer more intense versions of pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology. You might also have courses related to leadership, which helps you hone the skills you need to diagnose and treat patients.
You could choose to specialize during this time. For instance, some colleges offer programs specifically for those who want to become a family nurse practitioner. On the other hand, it’s possible to complete your residency after your nursing program in order to receive the training you need to earn a family nurse practitioner salary.
To earn your licensure to practice as a nurse practitioner, you must either take a certification exam through the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
You should look into any specialized certifications you can earn to further your credentials to take care of patients. Additionally, you could enhance your skills and qualifications by earning your doctorate.
Traits a Family Nurse Practitioner Should Have
Before you complete your education so you can earn a family nurse practitioner salary, you should evaluate if you have the traits that a qualified family nurse practitioner needs to have a successful career.
For one, a family nurse practitioner should have compassion. You need to care about patients to put the time and effort it takes to diagnose and treat them properly. You also deal with patients who are in pain or emotional distress, so you must sympathize with your patients. When you take care of children, you must take into consideration they’re often scared to go to the doctor’s office.
Secondly, communications skills are a necessity since you have to communicate with patients effectively. As a nurse practitioner, you speak to other medical professionals on a regular basis to treat your patients.
In order to have a successful career as a family nurse practitioner, you must possess critical-thinking skills, which allow you to diagnose and treat patients properly. This is because you must determine a care plan for each patient, usually quickly. Additionally, you must know when you need to consult with other medical professionals.
Those who have the most success as a family nurse practitioner are detail oriented. You must pay attention to small details in order to diagnose patients properly. In addition, paperwork is an important aspect of the care you provide, so you must fill it out correctly.
You might have nurses underneath you that you must lead accordingly, so leadership skills are beneficial.
Family Nurse Practitioner Salary in the United States
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average nurse practitioner salary was $103,880 per year as of May 2017. This figure is equivalent to $51.68 per hour.
The highest family nurse practitioner salary was more than $145,630 per year, which is the same as $70.01 per hour. The bottom percent of earners made a family nurse practitioner salary of less than $35.98 per hour or $74,840 per year.
Averages Based on Industry
The BLS states the average nurse practitioner salary for nurse practitioners who work in the offices of physicians was $108,300.
The BLS revealed the highest concentration of jobs for family nurse practitioners were in physician offices, but the highest paid individuals in this field work in personal care services, where nurse practitioners earn an average of $67.05 hourly or $139,460 annually.
Averages Based on Location
The places where jobs are most plentiful include the following:
- New York
California also ranks as the state with the top family nurse practitioner salary. The median salary in California was $126,770 per year or $60.95 per hour.
Alaska ranks as the state with the second-highest average salary. Individuals in this state made an average of $125,140 per year or $60.16 per hour.
Hawaii is the third highest paying state with nurse practitioners earning an average of $122,580 per year or $58.93 per hour.
Certain metropolitan areas have the highest average salaries including:
- Titusville, Florida
- San Francisco, California
- Spokane, Washington
- Alexandria, Louisiana
If you choose to work as a family nurse practitioner in Titusville, Florida, you can expect to make $78.93 per hour or $164,180 per year. In San Francisco, California, the average family nurse practitioner salary was $72.91 per hour or $151,660 per year.
Job Outlook for Family Nurse Practitioners
The BLS projects employment opportunities for nurse practitioners will grow by 31 percent from 2016 to 2026. This rate is much higher than the average occupation.
The reason for the expected job growth deals with the increasing need for healthcare services. People are living longer and require more preventative care and general healthcare services. This is especially the case since highly populated baby boomer generation is at the age where they need care.
Nowadays, nurse practitioners are performing the same services as physicians and are working in more places than ever before.
If you’re looking for a career, you may want to consider becoming a family nurse practitioner. Not only is a family nurse practitioner salary high, but you receive the benefit of helping families.