Nurses who earn a master’s degree stand ready to benefit from the expanding role of nurse practitioners in healthcare. This is especially true as the demand in Texas and nationwide continues to grow. A family nurse practitioner career can now involve work in many specializations, depending on a nurse’s career goals and the patient population they want to serve.

The demand for family nurse practitioners (FNP) outpaces the supply, especially in growing states such as Texas. Earning a Master of Science in Family Nurse Practitioner prepares nurses for some of the highest salaries and most rewarding jobs that nursing offers.

Federal estimates call for a 52 percent increase in NP jobs by 2030. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the current national average salary for all nurse practitioners is $114,510. It’s even higher in Texas, reaching $116,700 statewide and $125,810 in the Houston metro area.

What Is a Family Nurse Practitioner?

A family nurse practitioner provides a wide range of health services. They include performing exams, ordering diagnostic tests, giving patients medicines and treatments, creating patient care plans, analyzing test results, and diagnosing medical conditions.

Patients once associated many of those tasks with primary care physicians. An FNP still consults with physicians when necessary. However, an FNP may serve as the primary care provider in many rural areas where people have limited healthcare services.

What Are Popular Choices for  Family Nurse Practitioners Careers?

FNPs often work in doctor’s offices or private practice. Many also work for healthcare agencies, social assistance agencies, outpatient care centers, school-based health centers, and psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals.

Texas, which faces a nursing shortage, is one of the biggest employers of nurse practitioners, trailing only California and New York. The growth in family nurse practitioner careers in Texas is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Some of the most popular jobs in the profession include the following.

  • Family nurse practitioner: This ranks as the most popular choice among all NP career fields.
  • Adult nurse practitioner: These NP generalists specialize in treating adults, while those in primary care see patients of all ages.
  • Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner: NPs certification in this specialization provides mental health care services in private specialty practices, hospitals, mental health facilities, correctional systems, and clinics.
  • Adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner: NPs in this area specialize in working with older patients, a growing segment of the U.S. population. Some also specialize in working in acute care for older patients.
  • Women’s health nurse practitioner: NPs in this area focus on providing primary or acute care to female patients, specializing in women’s health issues.

The HCU MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner

Houston Christian University’s MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner program prepares nurses as leaders in the FNP field. Many graduates work in the Houston metro area, one of the nation’s biggest markets for NPs. The demand is strong throughout the state.

The master’s degree program prepares nurses to take the FNP certification examination from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Nurses can finish the 46-credit program in 24 to 26 months.

FNP program graduates have the skills and knowledge needed to manage, diagnose and treat patients across their lifespan. HCU designed the program for working nurses. The curriculum mixes online classes and practicum experiences at healthcare providers near where the student lives.

For nurses ready to boost their careers, earning a master’s degree can lead to a rewarding family nurse practitioner career. The FPN program from Houston Christian University provides a crucial step toward reaching that goal.