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Nurse Practitioner


Nurse practitioner programs prepare registered nurses to give primary care to family members of all ages.

Nurse practitioner programs prepare registered nurses to give general care to families. Students learn to evaluate and treat health needs of patients. They also learn to refer patients to doctors as needed.

Nurse practitioner programs include topics such as:


Many universities and nursing schools offer graduate-level nurse practitioner programs. A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program usually requires two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

Many schools are phasing out the master’s degree as preparation for nurse practitioners. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the becoming the most common level of preparation.

See schools that offer this program.

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree in nursing, good grades, and good test scores.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Graduate Program Courses

This graduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Graduate programs that lead to a doctoral degree in nursing typically include:

Nurse practitioner programs require you to participate in clinical preceptorships, usually each term, where you work and study in hospitals and medical centers under the supervision of professional nurse practitioners and professors. Students continue learning about the principles of primary health care through observation and actual patient care. They practice the skills and techniques of interviewing patients, administering physical exams, and prescribing medications.

Clinical preceptorships allow students to apply their course work to real-life situations. They also give students valuable experience that they can apply to their work after they complete their degree.

Things to Know

Some schools offer a doctoral (PhD) degree in nursing. This degree is more focused on nursing research.

Often, graduates from nurse practitioner programs study for an additional year to specialize in a specific area of patient care.

Many nurse practitioner programs are offered part time, with day and evening classes.

Most people who become nurse practitioners choose to become certified. You must graduate from a nationally accredited program and pass a national exam to be certified.


East Side Area

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle University

University of Washington - Seattle

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University (Spokane Campus)

Gonzaga University

Washington State University Health Sciences - Spokane

Tacoma Area

Pacific Lutheran University

Tri-Cities Area

Washington State University - Tri-Cities

Vancouver Area

Washington State University - Vancouver

Yakima Area

Washington State University - Pullman (Yakima)