Family nurse practitioners (FNP) provide primary and specialty care to patients of all ages, from pediatric to adults. They examine, diagnose issues, and develop treatment plans for individuals. FNPs also teach patients about disease prevention and wellness care and make referrals to specialists.
FNPs often work in a variety of environments, including hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, and even health insurance organizations.
Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) provide a full range of primary health care services, including diagnosis of patients with mental illness and psychiatric disorders. PMHNPs develop care plans for individuals, which may include medication, counseling and psychotherapeutic treatment.
Whole health begins with mental health, and it’s a PMHNP’s responsibility to help patients find their voice by diagnosing and treating common mental illnesses, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, dementia, and much more.
PMHNPs work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, private psychiatrist practices, and community-based mental health services.
Acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs) provide care across the lifespan similar to FNPs. The ACNP provides care in the acute care setting. and can provide the same level of care as FNPs. ACNPs are often found in emergency rooms, inpatient hospitals and ICUs where they treat critical, acute, or life-threatening conditions.
4. Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)
Adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioners (AGNP) provide primary health care to persons across the adult lifespan from adolescence (beginning at age 13) through end of life.
AGNPs examine, diagnose issues, and develop treatment plans for individuals, but may choose to focus on acute care (treating illness) or primary care (with a greater focus on health and wellness care).
AGNPs work in a variety of environments, including hospitals, community care centers, and private clinics. You may also find that an AGNP that has a geriatric focus my work in nursing homes and home health to educate patients and caregivers how to manage their chronic conditions or diseases.
A women's health nurse practitioner (WHNP) specializes in the care of women throughout their life. WHNPs focus on a wide scope of reproductive, obstetric, and gynecological health, as well as general wellness and disease management. These nurse practitioners may provide wellness visits, perform procedures related to women’s health, prescribe birth control and other medication. These NP’s may also provide pregnancy care for the low risk patient. It is not uncommon to see these NP’s partnering with an OB/GYN to assist in management of hospitalized patients as well.
WHNPs work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, home health, assisted living, and nursing homes.
These are just a few of the most common types of nurse practitioners. NPs can continue to discover their strengths, earn more experience and obtain additional education/certification to refine their professional emphases.
How much does a nurse practitioner make?
According to 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse practitioners earn an average salary of $111,840 per year ($53.77 hourly).*
Types of nurse practitioners and their salaries
Estimating average salary across each specialty is difficult to pinpoint given the wide range of possibility within each discipline based on years of experience, type of clinical care facility and state of practice. The BLS estimate is a good starting point for determining how much you could potentially make in the field given it accounts for specialties across the spectrum of nurse practitioners.
How you can become a nurse practitioner
To become a nurse practitioner, you’ll need to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing, become a registered nurse (RN), and gain work experience. You will also need to earn a graduate degree - a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with a nurse practitioner concentration of your choice.
There are also Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) programs for nurse practitioners, but that level of education is not required to practice as an NP.
1. The BLS projects employment of nurse practitioners to rise 52% from 2020-2030, much faster than the 8% average across all U.S. occupations.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2020. 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.