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Occupation Profile

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Nurse Practitioners
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Description: what do they do?
Diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a healthcare team. May focus on health promotion and disease prevention. May order, perform, or interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and x rays. May prescribe medication. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.
Also known as:
Nurse Practitioner, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Practitioner, Adult, Family Nurse Practitioner, Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner, Gastroenterology Nurse Practitioner, Adult Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Family Practice Certified Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center.

Career video
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00:00

    Transcript: At hospitals and clinics, the professional who examines, diagnoses, and treats patients’ illnesses may not be an MD, but instead, a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners review patient histories and symptoms to diagnose health conditions. If a patient is sick or has an injury, the nurse practitioner decides how to treat it, prescribes appropriate medication, and evaluates the patient’s response to medicines and treatments. Nurse practitioners order and interpret lab tests and x-rays, record their patients’ progress and symptoms, and refer to specialists as needed. These professionals have a particular focus on providing education on health conditions and health-management techniques to empower their patients. They talk with patients about how effective, safe, and expensive their treatment options are. Nurse practitioners may have a general family practice or work in emergency medicine, oncology, or women’s health. They may focus on a population like children, the elderly, or those with mental illness. Some nurse practitioners work in clinics independently; however, all nurse practitioners consult with physicians and other health professionals when needed. Nurse practitioners are required to have a master’s degree, a registered nurse license, and in most states, professional certification. Between spending generous time with patients and putting a focus on health promotion, this is an occupation that receives very high satisfaction marks from those it serves.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
US
N/A
2014 Employment
N/A
2024 Employment
N/A
Percent change
N/A
Annual projected job openings
United States
126,900
2014 Employment
171,700
2024 Employment
35%
Percent change
7,470
Annual projected job openings
N/A: We do not have employment projections in this state for this occupation.

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2014, the number expected to be employed in 2024, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions including a 5.2 percent unemployment rate in 2024 and labor productivity growth of 1.8 percent annually over the 10 years. While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central: Long Term Projections, through 2024.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Employment Projections: 2014–24.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Nurse Practitioners in United States
LocationUSUnited States
10%N/A$72,420
25%N/A$86,970
MedianN/A$100,910
75%N/A$120,450
90%N/A$140,930


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2016 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Analyze test data or images to inform diagnosis or treatment.
  • Prescribe medications.
  • Diagnose medical conditions.
  • Treat acute illnesses, infections, or injuries.
  • Prescribe treatments or therapies.
  • Train patients, family members, or caregivers in techniques for managing disabilities or illnesses.
  • Record patient medical histories.
  • Order medical diagnostic or clinical tests.
  • Operate diagnostic imaging equipment.
  • Provide health and wellness advice to patients, program participants, or caregivers.
  • Develop medical treatment plans.
  • Monitor patient conditions during treatments, procedures, or activities.
  • Maintain medical or professional knowledge.
  • Advise patients on effects of health conditions or treatments.
  • Treat chronic diseases or disorders.
  • Communicate detailed medical information to patients or family members.
  • Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
  • Refer patients to other healthcare practitioners or health resources.
  • Treat medical emergencies.
  • Schedule patient procedures or appointments.
  • Examine patients to assess general physical condition.
  • Supervise patient care personnel.
  • Advise patients on healthcare system processes.
  • Follow protocols or regulations for healthcare activities.
  • Immunize patients.
  • Apply bandages, dressings, or splints.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Active Learning - Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and strategies to solve problems.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Service Orientation - Looking for ways to help people.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.
  • Instructing - Teaching people how to do something.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Category Flexibility - Grouping things in different ways.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Social - Occupations with Social interests frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. Most involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Analyze and interpret patients' histories, symptoms, physical findings, or diagnostic information to develop appropriate diagnoses.
  • Prescribe medications based on efficacy, safety, and cost as legally authorized.
  • Diagnose or treat acute health care problems such as illnesses, infections, or injuries.
  • Recommend diagnostic or therapeutic interventions with attention to safety, cost, invasiveness, simplicity, acceptability, adherence, and efficacy.
  • Educate patients about self-management of acute or chronic illnesses, tailoring instructions to patients' individual circumstances.
  • Prescribe medication dosages, routes, and frequencies based on patient characteristics such as age and gender.
  • Order, perform, or interpret the results of diagnostic tests, such as complete blood counts (CBCs), electrocardiograms (EKGs), and radiographs (x-rays).
  • Maintain complete and detailed records of patients' health care plans and prognoses.
  • Recommend interventions to modify behavior associated with health risks.
  • Develop treatment plans based on scientific rationale, standards of care, and professional practice guidelines.
  • Detect and respond to adverse drug reactions, with special attention to vulnerable populations such as infants, children, pregnant and lactating women, or older adults.
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in nursing.
  • Counsel patients about drug regimens and possible side effects or interactions with other substances such as food supplements, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, or herbal remedies.
  • Diagnose or treat chronic health care problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Provide patients with information needed to promote health, reduce risk factors, or prevent disease or disability.
  • Consult with or refer patients to appropriate specialists when conditions exceed the scope of practice or expertise.
  • Treat or refer patients for primary care conditions, such as headaches, hypertension, urinary tract infections, upper respiratory infections, and dermatological conditions.
  • Diagnose or treat complex, unstable, comorbid, episodic, or emergency conditions in collaboration with other health care providers as necessary.
  • Schedule follow-up visits to monitor patients or evaluate health or illness care.
  • Perform routine or annual physical examinations.
  • Supervise or coordinate patient care or support staff activities.
  • Maintain current knowledge of state legal regulations for nurse practitioner practice including reimbursement of services.
  • Provide patients or caregivers with assistance in locating health care resources.
  • Maintain departmental policies and procedures in areas such as safety and infection control.
  • Perform primary care procedures such as suturing, splinting, administering immunizations, taking cultures, and debriding wounds.
  • Keep abreast of regulatory processes and payer systems such as Medicare, Medicaid, managed care, and private sources.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

Other resources

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.