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Family Nurse Practitioner Career Guide

Family Nurse Practitioners are good options for nurses who want to pursue an advanced degree and handle a wide range of patient demographics, from babies to the elderly.

FNPs, or Family Nurse Practitioners, have more autonomy and independence, make much more money, and have high work satisfaction and respect from other health professionals and the general public.



FNPs are advanced practice registered nurses who have completed specialized graduate educations and provide primary health care to persons of all ages. Family nurse practitioners play an important part in the health-care system, providing patient care to individuals of all ages and backgrounds, including the underserved.

Individuals and families are served by FNPs throughout their lives. For individuals who prefer building long-term connections and getting to know others over time, this may be very satisfying. FNPs can have fulfilling professional, personal, and financial careers.


Tasks and Responsibilities

It's all about providing family-centered care as a Family Nurse Practitioner. That means they'll look after patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, and all in between. An FNP's healthcare services are diverse and always focused on the patient. It provides the chance to teach individuals about healthy living choices and disease prevention in addition to treating illnesses and injuries. They are typically the family's main care provider, which means they will not only diagnose but also treat illnesses.

FNPs examine patients, conduct diagnostic tests and procedures, diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe necessary medications, and teach patients how to live healthy lives to promote health and avoid disease. Your responsibilities as a FNP may include:

  • Health condition evaluation and diagnosis

  • Performing regular physical examinations

  • Treatment programs for acute and chronic disorders are developed and implemented.

  • Providing primary health-care services with a focus on prevention

  • Medications and other therapy are prescribed.

  • ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests at the lab and elsewhere

  • Assisting with minor procedures

  • When necessary, making appropriate referrals

FNPs must be able to operate both independently and collaboratively with other members of the healthcare team. Strong communication skills and a compassionate attitude are other beneficial qualities.



Advanced practice nurses are paid more than registered nurses, and family nurse practitioners are no exception. The average family nurse practitioner pay is $104,928 according to the 2020 Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Salary Survey. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for nurse practitioners in 2020 was $111,680, with the lowest 10% of NPs making $84,120 or less and the top 10% earning $190,900 or more.

When considering any job offer, FNPs should consider a variety of criteria, including the cost of living in the area and the complete benefits package (health and dental insurance, retirement benefits, educational benefits, and others). To learn more about the exact FNP wage ranges in your region, look for employment in the location where you wish to work.

Nurse practitioners who want to open their own practice should research the local market, get expert guidance from an accountant and a lawyer, and develop a good business strategy. FNPs with a strong business strategy can build a profitable private practice.

Highest Paying States for Family Nurse Practitioners

  • California - $145,970

  • New Jersey - $130,890

  • Washington - $126,480

  • New York - $126,440

  • Massachusetts - $126,050

Work Locations

Family nurse practitioners are known for their abilities to operate independently and cooperatively. As a result, persons with an advanced practice nursing degree can work in a number of settings, including:

  • Academia

  • Clinics

  • Community health centers

  • Correctional facilities

  • Government sector

  • Home health care

  • Hospice centers

  • Hospitals

  • Long-term care facilities

  • Nurse-managed health centers

  • Outpatient care centers

  • Private offices/private practice

  • School clinics

  • Urgent care centers

Family Nurse Practitioners are sought for jobs in administration, policymaking, and education, in addition to working directly with patients to deliver treatment. Nurse practitioners, in particular, have been able to fill a substantial vacuum in treatment offered to patients in rural regions due to their autonomy in most states throughout the country. The national physician shortage has had a significant impact on many communities, and Family Nurse Practitioners have stepped in to offer critical preventative care.


How to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner

Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner is a time and resource commitment for many nurses, requiring 8 to 10 years, but it is an investment in your future that will pay off in a variety of ways. Though the road to becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner might differ based on whether you pursue your degree full-time or part-time, in person or online, the majority of individuals will take the following steps:

  • 4-5 years to get your Bachelor of Science in Nursing

  • Obtain your Registered Nurse license.

  • Working as a Registered Nurse for 2-3 years will provide you with significant clinical experience.

  • Obtain a Master's Degree in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from an authorized Family Nurse Practitioner school in 2-3 years.

  • Pass the certification test offered by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners to become a FNP (AANP). You can acquire either the FNP-BC or FNP-C certification depending on whatever certification board you go through.

Step 1: Earn a Nursing Degree

Step 2: Pass the NCLEX-RN

Step 3:Obtain Experiences

Most nurses work for a few years after receiving their license, earning vital experience in patient care. Those interested in becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner should take advantage of this opportunity to obtain experience with a wide spectrum of patients while also learning about cradle-to-grave care.

Step 4: Finish Your MSN or DNP

Accredited schools and institutions provide Master's and Doctorate degree programs in Family Nurse Practitioner. Most universities offer full-time and part-time degree programs, as well as the option of attending classes on campus or online. Courses in the following areas will be included in Nursing programs that prepare you for the position of FNP:

FNP Coursework

  • Advanced Clinical Diagnosis and Practice across the Lifespan

  • Advanced Health Assessment

  • Advanced Pathophysiology

  • Advanced Pharmacology

  • Differential Diagnosis and Primary Care

  • Epidemiology

  • Leadership and Role of the Advanced Practice Nurse

  • Population Health

  • Primary Care of Childbearing and Practicum

  • Research

Both classroom and hands-on patient clinical learning will be part of the programs.

Step 5: Acquire Certifications in Family Practice

To become a qualified Family Nurse Practitioner, you must first obtain your FNP-C or FNP-BC certification. It's a good idea to check with your state board of nursing to see if they have a preference. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers the FNP-BC test, whereas the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board offers the FNP-C exam.


Requirements for FNP Certification

Exams for FNP certification are taken online. Whatever path you choose, you must have:

  • A current, active RN license in one of the United States' states or territories, or the equivalent in another nation.

  • A Master's, postgraduate, or doctorate degree in family nurse practitioner from a program authorized by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (ACEN)

  • Completion of comprehensive graduate-level courses in advanced physiology/pathophysiology, advanced health assessment, and advanced pharmacology, as well as 500 hours of faculty-supervised clinical time

FNP Recertification

Every five years, recertification is necessary. You must also keep a valid registered nurse license with your state board of nursing and follow its practice and continuing education standards.

In terms of recertification, your certifying body may have special renewal criteria, so be sure you're aware of them and ready to pay any fees. Clinical practice hours and CE credits are required by both the AANC and the AANP. Learn about these criteria well in advance of your recertification deadline.



According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for nurse practitioners will grow by 52% by 2030. Annually, competent NPs are estimated to be needed to fill 114,900 positions. The BLS, however, does not distinguish between FNPs and other forms of NPs. With the retirement of baby-boomer nurses, there will be a demand for new nurses to enter the field. Our aging population's increasing health demands contribute to the demand for more advanced practice nurses.

Our healthcare system urgently needs efficiency and cost reduction. Advanced practice nurses, such as FNPs, are a cost-effective way to deliver high-quality health care to a larger number of individuals, especially disadvantaged populations.


Continuing Education

Nursing license, certification, and advanced practice certification renewal procedures differ by state and credentialing organization. Keep your RN license and certification(s) up to date by checking with your state board and credentialing organization.

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