Family nurse practitioner is one of the fastest growing jobs in healthcare. To become one, it’s important to first earn a bachelor’s degree (BSN), get licensed as a nurse in your state, earn a Master of Science in Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP) and sit for board certification.

It’s a challenging road, but with hybrid online MSN-FNP programs, it’s more convenient than ever for working nurses to make the transition into higher levels of the nursing profession.

What Does Someone With an MSN-FNP Do?

Earning an MSN-FNP paves the way to becoming a family nurse practitioner. You’ll be prepared to take on nursing duties such as evaluating a patient’s medical condition, provide initial patient care, work with both patients and their families during a treatment process or medical procedure, and provide guidance to families on the best healthcare practices when it comes to issues such as diet and exercise. An FNP is on the “front lines” of medicine, working directly with patients.

Why Become a Nurse Practitioner?

As can be seen from the job description above, those with an MSN-FNP handle many aspects of care that older Americans associate with the family doctor. It’s a position that is increasingly in demand.

Around the country, the number of nurse practitioners is projected to increase by 31% by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates. It’s much bigger in Texas, where the increase is expected to reach 43.8%, according to the BLS-powered Projections Central.

The BLS also reports that Houston ranks in the Top 5 metro areas in the country for nurse practitioner jobs.

Training Needed for Nurse Practitioners

The steps to becoming a family nurse practitioner include the following.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

There are many BSN programs available for those who wish to become a nurse. There are also hybrid RN to BSN degree programs for working nurses who have not yet earned their bachelor degree.

Obtain a State License

After graduating from an approved nursing degree program, nurses must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). A license is required to work in any state, the District of Columbia or U.S. territory.

Earn an MSN-FNP

This typically takes about two years to complete. Programs are available in traditional classrooms, online, and in hybrid programs.

Earn Certification

Every type of nurse practitioner or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse must earn certification to operate in the state of their choice. The board of nursing in each state will have details on what is needed to earn a license in each state.

An Example of a Family Nurse Practitioner Program

Houston Christian University offers a hybrid MSN-FNP that is an excellent example of what you learn in such a program in Texas. The program is available for nurses in Texas who have earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). They also must have a Texas Board of Nursing License.

The Houston Christian University MSN-FNP program prepares nurses to take the Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Other features of the 40-credit program include:

  • 621 clinical contact hours
  • A competency-based education
  • The ability to complete the program in  24 to 26 months.
  • A combination of online classes and clinical experience at healthcare providers near where the student lives

An MSN-FNP provides nurses with the skills they need to take on one of the most challenging jobs in healthcare. For nurses with the ambition to work at the highest level of their profession, earning the degree is a move worth considering.