Is an Adult Nurse Practitioner the Right Career for You?

Adult nurse practitioners have advanced education and are qualified to diagnose a variety of medical conditions as well as prescribe medications. They generally focus on pathophysiology, disease management, and wellness management specifically for adult patients.

Job Duties

Adult nurse practitioners can work in a doctor’s office, emergency room (or other areas of the hospital), nursing home, or other medical facility. Their workdays are spent helping patients with acute or chronic conditions and managing medications. They also write referrals, order and interpret tests, prepare blood transfusions, update patient records, and educate patients on diet and exercise.

Adult Nurse PractitionerEducation

A Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing is the first step to becoming an adult nurse practitioner. You can expect to take classes such as:

Cross-cultural Patient Care
Introduction to Pathophysiology
Pharmacology Foundations
Physical Assessment

Once you graduate from nursing school, you have to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) given by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

After you receive your license, the next step in your education is to enroll in the Master of Science in Nursing in Adult Healthcare program. It takes two years to complete and classes include:

Advanced Health Assessment
Advanced Pharmacology
Health Wellness Promotion
Population Based Healthcare

It used to be you could end your education with a master’s degree. But it is becoming standard practice for adult nurse practitioners to earn a Doctor Of Nursing Practice degree. Classes include:

Clinical Data Management and Analysis
Evidence Based Practice and Design and Translation
Population Health in Advance Practical Nursing
Program Evaluation Methods
Writing for Publication

There are several schools across the United States where you can your degrees. They include:

Capella University
Duke School of Nursing
St. Louis University School of Nursing
Winona University


If you desire, you can choose to specialize in areas such as:

Cardiovascular or cardiopulmonary care
Mental health care
Women’s health


The American Nurses Credentialing Centers (ANCC) offers board certification in adult nursing. Registered Nurses who have a master’s or doctoral degree along with a minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours of experience are eligible to sit for the exam. To pass you need to score at least 350. You will be given your results at the testing site, and if you do not pass, you can retake the exam in sixty days. Test questions will be similar to the following:

Where are fungal infections normally found?
An adult nurse practitioner witnesses a coworker’s injury due to a chemical spill. To which regulatory agency is this accident reported?
According to Becker, which factor plays a big role in influencing a patient’s health?

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) exam also requires you to have your master’s or doctoral degree before you can apply to take the exam. It contains 150 multiple choice questions, and the certification is good for five years. To renew, you can take the exam again or complete 75 hours of continuing education and 1,000 hours of clinical practice.

No matter which certification you take, studying before hand is a must. Take a few practice tests and make flashcards using the questions and answers. This will help you pass the exam on the first try so you don’t have to wait any longer to become an adult nurse practitioner.

Adult Nurse Practitioner Salary and Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most nurse practitioners earned anywhere from $66,960 to $126,250 in 2013 depending on specialty. The Bureau also states that job opportunities will rise significantly over the next ten years.

It takes a lot of schooling to work as an adult nurse practitioner, but it is well worth your time if you like working with adults and helping people. If you would like to learn more about this career, contact us.