How to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner
Duties, Responsibilities, Schooling, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary
As a Registered Nurse (RN), you will have the opportunity to specialize in an area of healthcare that piques your interest and sparks your passion.
(Click here to learn how to become a Registered Nurse (RN))
Every nursing specialty is different. They each have their own job responsibilities, patient groups, and unique work environments. Most of these specializations may also require specific academic qualifications and certifications.
This career guide will focus on the nurses who specialize in providing care to patients of all ages, Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs).
(Click here to see our full list of the highest paid nursing jobs)
Family medicine is a specialty that focuses primarily on comprehensive health care for people of all ages. Nurses who work within a family practice work alongside physicians and other healthcare professionals to provide the best care possible to these patients and their families.
If family medicine is something you’re passionate about, this guide will help you understand the role of a Family Nurse Practitioner, their job responsibilities, salary*, and educational requirements.
Family Nurse Practitioner Definition
What is a Family Nurse Practitioner?
Family Nurse Practitioners are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNS) with specialized educational and clinical training in family practice. They are trained to work with both adults and children in a variety of clinical setting.
Family Nurse Practitioner: Job Description
What Does a Family Nurse Practitioner Do?
As a general care provider, Family Nurse Practitioners are qualified to provide medical care throughout multiple developmental stages in their patients’ lives. Their scope of care ranges from diagnosis to treatment, disease management, and prevention. FNPs play an increasingly vital role in providing primary care for their communities as the baby-boomer population continues to age.
Family Nurse Practitioner: Day-to-Day Responsibilities
Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of Family Nurse Practitioners include:
- Providing care for people of all ages, from infants and children to adults and the elderly
- Developing treatment plans for acute and chronic diseases
- Educating patients and their families regarding their treatment, as well as healthy lifestyle habits
- Ordering and prescribing medication
- Conducting routine health assessments and physical examinations
- Managing overall patient care regarding lifestyle and development issues
Family Nurse Practitioner Jobs
Where Do Family Nurse Practitioners Work?
Because Family Nurse Practitioners can treat patients of all ages, they can find work in various healthcare settings, including doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals. Since FNPs are specialized, they can also work in nursing homes, schools, and rehabilitation centers.
Family Nurse Practitioner Schooling & Certification
How Long Does it Take to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner?
What Degree Do You Need to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner?
Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner involves extensive education and training. At a minimum, you must earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree to become one.
While a master’s degree may seem strenuous, the hard work does pay off in the end. Family Nurse Practitioners rank amongst the highest paying nursing jobs in the US.
Here are the steps required to become a Family Nurse Practitioner:
1. Earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree
The first step to becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner is earning your BSN degree (Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree). If you have no prior nursing education or experience, a BSN program will take you three to four years to complete.
If you already have an associates degree in nursing (ADN), you can enroll in an RN-to-BSN program. These bridge programs are convenient and can be completed in as little as 20 months.
Accelerated nursing programs are also available to licensed vocational nurses and licensed practical nurses who already have their associate degree in vocational nursing (ASVN). These LPN/LVN-to-BSN pathways allow you to skip the first three semesters of the bachelor’s degree program.
2. Pass the NCLEX-RN Certification Exam
Upon earning your bachelor’s degree, the next step to becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner is earning your nursing license. To do that, you must pass the NCLEX-RN or the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. With the NCLEX, you’ll be certified to enter the workforce as a registered nurse (RN).
(Click here to read our NCLEX-RN Exam Review & Study Guide).
3. Earn your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Degree
To become eligible for FNP certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), you’ll have to earn a post-graduate degree from an accredited program. Most MSN programs take about 18 to 24 months to complete. By earning your MSN, you set yourself up for higher earning potential and greater job outlook for the rest of your nursing career.
4. Get Certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner
The final step to becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner is passing the FNP certification exam provided by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The ANCC Family Nurse Practitioner board certification examination is a competency-based examination that provides a valid and reliable assessment of a nurse practitioner’s entry-level clinical knowledge and skills. On the exam, there are 150 scored questions and 25 unscored questions – 175 questions total.
Family Nurse Practitioner Salary
How Much Do Family Nurse Practitioners Make?
According to Salary.com, the average salary* of a Family Nurse Practitioner is about $110,000 per year or about $53 per hour.
Family Nurse Practitioner salaries in the top 10th percentile can reach as high as $128,000 or more.
What Is the Job Outlook for Family Nurse Practitioners?
Unfortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report any specific data related to the job outlook of Family Nurse Practitioners.
However, they indicate that the overall employment of APRNs is expected to grow an astonishing 45% by 2029, which is much higher than the average of all occupations (4%). As the job outlook for APRNs continues to boom, you can expect a similar growth in demand for skilled family practice nurses.
Family Nurse Practitioner Career
Are you ready to start your career as a Family Nurse Practitioner?
There are several amazing specialties you can pursue as a nurse. If you love caring for patients of all ages while forming a bond with their families, then becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner could be a fantastic career choice for you!
If you’re ready to begin your journey to becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner, you can start by earning your nursing degree at Provo College.
Click here to learn more about all our nursing programs.