If you are a nurse or nursing student who enjoys learning, helping patients, and always developing your skills, you may be a good fit to become a nurse practitioner (NP). An NP is an advanced practice nurse who works directly with patients but has greater roles and responsibilities than a registered nurse (RN).
Here are a few common types of NP specialties:
1. Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
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.
Discover the steps you need to take to become a family nurse practitioner.
2. Psychiatric / Mental Health (PMHNP)
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.
3. Acute Care (ACNP)
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.
5. Women’s Health (WHNP)
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).1
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.
Certification is available for some NP specialties and required in most states. Becoming certified demonstrates knowledge and skill and can help increase your salary potential and improve an already positive job outlook.2 The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) both offer certification options.
Programs we offer
Herzing University offers multiple MSN pathways for RNs interested in two of the concentrations listed above: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).
- An accelerated RN to MSN program for ADN nurses looking for the fastest path to becoming an NP. Go from ADN to FNP or ADN to PMHNP. You may also choose to earn your BSN on the way and go from RN to BSN to MSN.
- An MSN program for current BSN nurses ready to earn their master’s degree. Learn more about our online MSN-FNP program and MSN-PMHNP program.
- MSN nurses considering a career change to FNP may enroll in our post-master’s FNP program.
Become possible with Herzing University.
Our goal is to help you discover your unique career path and advance to the next level. We can help you take a big step towards becoming a family nurse practitioner and transform into a new you!