There are two options to be a nurse practitioner with a degree in biology. The first option is to register for the accelerated BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program. Then, complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) nurse practitioner program and obtain a nurse practitioner licensure.
The second option would be to enroll in the direct-entry or accelerated MSN program. After that, take your certification exam and obtain a license to practice as a licensed nurse practitioner in your state.
But how long does it take to be an accredited nurse practitioner, also known as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner? This guide includes a breakdown of everything you need to know about becoming an NP.
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Can you be an Accredited Nurse Practitioner (NP) with a Biology Degree?
Yes. But you must complete an accredited nursing program in either BSN or MSN. Also, you must fulfill additional coursework and clinical training and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
The NCLEX-RN exam is an adaptive computer test that nursing graduates must pass to become licensed to practice as registered nurses. And once they pass the exam, they will have to obtain an NP degree to become certified NP.
How to be a Nurse Practitioner (NP) with a Biology Degree?
Below we will discuss the different methods of becoming a certified nurse practitioner when you have a degree in biology.
Method One: Accelerated BSN Program
An accelerated BSN program is the fastest route to becoming a certified nurse practitioner with a degree in biology. Below is a step-by-step guide on how this option works.
Step 1: Identify a Nursing School
The first thing is to find a nursing school that offers an accredited BSN program. Consider relocating if there are no nursing schools near you offering this program.
Step 2: Determine your Eligibility
Once you have identified a good nursing school, the next step is to determine if you are eligible to take the accredited BSN program. Each institution has its own admission criteria, including GPA requirements.
With a degree in biology, most institutions offering this program require that you have a 3.0 GPA or higher.
Step 3: Earn a BSN
Next, submit your application. Once your application is accepted, you can start nursing school and earn a BSN degree. The program usually combines online-based coursework, clinical rotations, simulation labs, and in-person skills.
Step 4: Obtain a Nursing License
After earning your BSN, you must obtain a nursing license by taking the NCLEX-RN exam.
This test determines whether nursing students are qualified to practice in the US and Canada. And once you pass the exam, you will become licensed to practice as a registered nurse. However, you must answer at least 75 questions correctly to pass the test.
Step 5: Register in a Graduate Program
After becoming a licensed registered nurse, the next step is to enroll in a graduate program to be a certified nurse practitioner. In this case, you should sign up for an MSN nurse practitioner program.
Generally, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is the minimum educational requirement to be a licensed nurse practitioner. This program may take about two years, including over 600 hours of clinical experience.
Step 6: Obtain NP Licensure
Lastly, you must take the national NP board certification exam. Once you pass the test, you can apply for nurse practitioner licensure in your state.
Method Two: Direct Entry MSN Program
With the direct entry or Accelerate MSN program, you earn an MSN and not a BSN. This usually takes 3 years. Here are steps to becoming an NP by enrolling in a direct entry MSN program.
Step 1: Confirm your Eligibility
First, find a school that offers an accelerated MSN program. Then, confirm that you are eligible to enroll in the program.
Generally, similar to the accelerated BSN program, you should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher to enroll in the direct entry MSN program.
Another requirement is that you must have obtained your biology degree from a regionally accredited US university or college.
Step 2: Enroll in the Program
If you are eligible for the accredited MSN program, the next step should be to submit your application. Once your application succeeds, you can start studying for the direct-entry MSN program.
Step 3: Become a Registered Nurse
After the first year, you must take the NCLEX exam. Then, you will automatically become a registered nurse once you pass the test.
Step 4: Earn a Post-Masters NP Certificate
Once you become a registered nurse, the next step is to obtain a post-master’s nurse practitioner certificate and become an NP. Apart from the theory part, you must fulfill over 600 hours of clinical experience with an instructor to earn the certificate.
Step 5: Become Certified and Licensed
After graduating as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner or NP, you must take your national certification exam. The certification exam you take entirely depends on your specialty.
For example, if you are studying to be a family NP, you could take the ANCC Family Nurse Practitioner board certification exam. Once you pass the exam, apply for the NP licensure to be a Certified Nurse Practitioner.
How Long Does it Take to be a Certified Nurse Practitioner?
With a degree in biology, it can take you up to three years to be a certified nurse practitioner. This is because you first have to be a registered nurse, which may take around 15 months. Of course, only when you enroll in the accredited BSN or MSN programs.
However, without a degree in biology, it may take you up to 6 years to earn your graduate and undergraduate degree. During the 6 years, you will also have to gain work experience in a clinical setting to be a certified nurse practitioner.
Which Nursing Schools Offer Accelerated BSN and MSN Programs?
Unfortunately, not all nursing schools offer accelerated programs. For instance, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Maryland doesn’t offer it.
So, below is a list of the best nursing schools offering accelerated BSN and MSN programs:
- New York University
- Duke University School of Nursing
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Washington School of Nursing
- University of Florida
- Emory University
- Baylor University
Becoming a certified nurse practitioner has many benefits, which include increased job opportunities, better salary, and ease of career advancement. Now, to be an accredited nurse practitioner with a degree in biology, you can register for the accelerated BSN or direct-entry MSN program.
Whichever program you choose, it will take you at least 15 months to be a registered nurse if you pass the NCLEX exam. But to be a certified nurse practitioner, it could take you up to 3 years. The good news? Many good nursing schools, both public and private, offer these accelerated programs.