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Herzing University

Jessica Dickenson

Three Key Steps for Any RN-to-NP Transition 

If you are considering moving from an RN and becoming an NP, here are some important steps and considerations for making a successful transition.

Making the transition from a Registered Nurse (RN) to a Nurse Practitioner (NP) will be a significant moment in your career, offering a variety of new opportunities. NPs are advanced practice nurses with specialized knowledge and skills, allowing them to provide a higher level of patient care, including diagnosing and treating medical conditions, prescribing medications, and ordering diagnostic tests. Moving from an RN to an NP is a way to level up in both your knowledge and your ability to locate higher-paying jobs with more responsibilities.

 The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a 46% national increase in NP jobs across the 2020s — 112,700 new NPs by 2031 — is a clear indication of the potential long-term demand you can have on the healthcare industry and an aging population.

For those considering pursuing this fulfilling pathway, there is no time like the present and no program like Herzing’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Earning an MSN with Herzing University can take anywhere from 16-32 months, depending on your current education, your chosen degree pathway, whether you enroll part or full-time, and your MSN concentration. The flexibility and accessibility of the program give students the power to choose the most accessible pathway possible to get them from the classroom and into the workforce.

If you are considering moving from an RN and becoming an NP, here are some important steps and considerations for making a successful transition:

1. Research and Enroll in a Program

Not all nursing programs are created equal. Look into accredited Nurse Practitioner programs and decide on the NP specialty that interests you the most and aligns with your nursing experience and career aspirations. Each specialty has unique responsibilities and patient populations. At Herzing University, we offer five unique nurse practitioner programs for RNs to transition into:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

You can take a quiz to see which specialization is best for you! Many NP programs require specific coursework or clinical experience as prerequisites. Make sure that you check the program's admission requirements and ensure you have completed any necessary prerequisites.

2. Gain Clinical Experience

While working as an RN and in school for your NP, try to gain clinical experience in the area you plan to specialize in. This will enhance your skills and knowledge and give you a deeper understanding of the patient population you will be serving as an NP. It can confirm whether you want to work with the population you have chosen.

Take advantage of your clinical experience! During the first few days of clinicals, you can expect to do a lot of shadowing while you adapt to your role, but you also have a chance to put your classroom knowledge into practice.

You might also want to connect with other current NPs or other healthcare professionals in your chosen specialty for guidance and mentorship. Networking can provide valuable insights and opportunities for professional growth.

3. Obtain Certification and Licensure

After completing your NP program, you will need to pass a national certification exam specific to your chosen specialty. Additionally, you must obtain state licensure as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in the state where you plan to practice. Even after earning your certification and degree, you want to stay current with developments in your specialty and engage in continuing education to maintain and expand your clinical knowledge and skills. Many of these critical career pathways can be accessed within Herzing’s broad array of degrees, diplomas, and certifications.

Transitioning from an RN to an NP requires dedication, education, and a commitment to lifelong learning. However, becoming a Nurse Practitioner can open up numerous opportunities for leadership, and advanced clinical practice, and allow you to make a more significant impact on patient outcomes and healthcare delivery. It’s a career worth pursuing!

Jumpstart your most impactful career move yet, and explore Herzing University’s flexible and accessible nursing programs today.

Learn More About Our MSN Programs


* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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