Home / Nursing Careers / The Different Types of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and How to Become One

The Different Types of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and How to Become One

Where do Advanced Practice Registered Nurses Work?

These nurses can work in several settings such as clinics, doctors’ offices, home healthcare agencies, hospitals, and schools.

Job Duties

Advanced practice registered nurses provide several services depending on their education and training. Duties include:

  • Taking medical histories
  • Performing physical exams
  • Ordering and interpreting laboratory tests and x-rays
  • Providing end of life care
  • Reducing healthcare costs and length of hospital stay
  • Diagnosing and treating acute and chronic problems
  • Providing education and support for healthy lifestyle behaviors

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

Different Types of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

Certified Nurse Midwife – These nurses provide gynecologic services, menopausal management, and care for women during pregnancy and childbirth.

Certified Nurse Practitioner – CNPs are allowed to diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses and prescribe non-narcotic medications. They tend to focus on patient education, prevention, and wellness.

Certified Nurse Anesthetist – These nurses provide patients with pre-operative care, and during the procedure or surgery, they are responsible for administering anesthesia and other forms of pain management.

Clinical Nurse Specialist – These nurses prescribe medications and are experts when it comes to diagnosing and treating illnesses. They treat patients with eating disorders, diabetes, and mental health issues just to name a few.

Educational Requirements

Your education begins by earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. Then you must obtain your Registered Nurse’s license and have a minimum of one year clinical nursing experience before you can move on to the next step. Once you meet these requirements, you need to earn a master’s of science in nursing and a doctor of nursing practice degree in one of the following areas:

  • Acute care
  • Adult practice
  • Family practice
  • Gerontology
  • Neonatal care
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatric/mental health
  • Women’s health


Master’s of Science in Nursing

This degree usually takes two years to complete, and the curriculum often includes clinical experience, management and research, nursing theory, and pharmacology. You will likely take courses such as:

  • Ethics in Nursing
  • Health Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Nursing Research and Methodology
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Pathophysiology


Doctor of Nursing Practice

This degree is now required in order to work as an advance practice registered nurse. Some programs you can enter with a bachelor’s degree in nursing or a related field, while others require a master’s of science in nursing degree. Courses that may be part of your program are:

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Care System Transformation
  • Management and Leadership Development
  • Nursing Practices in Diverse Populations
  • Principles of Teaching in Nursing
  • Quantitative Analysis



Certified Nurse Midwife – Certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

Certified Nurse Practitioner – Need certification from one of the following:

  • American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation
  • National Certification Corporation of the Obstetric, Gynecological, and Neonatal Nursing Specialties
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

Certified Nurse Anesthetist – Certified by the Board of Certification and Re-certification for Nurse Anesthetists.

Clinical Nurse Specialist – Certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for certified nurse midwives, certified nurse practitioners, and certified nurse anesthetists was $96,460 in the spring of 2012. The job outlook for all three professions is expected to grow by 31% until 2022, which is a lot faster than the average for all other occupations.

The average salary for a clinical nurse specialist is $94,487, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects there will be 19% more jobs for these nurses by 2018.

No matter which type of advanced practice registered nurse you decide to become, you will have an exciting and fulfilling career. Contact us if you have any questions.