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Are You Considering a Career as a Family Nurse Practitioner?


Take a closer look at the role of family nurse practitioners (FNPs).

Do you enjoy working with diverse communities and focusing on health promotion and disease prevention? Are you skilled at empowering patients to maintain their health throughout their lifespan? If you responded yes to either question, you should consider a career as an FNP.

What Is an FNP?

An FNP is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who provides a wide range of family-focused health care services to patients of all ages, including infants, adolescents, adults and seniors. FNPs maintain patient records; perform physical exams; order or perform diagnostic tests; prescribe medications; develop treatment plans; and treat acute and chronic illnesses, conditions and injuries that fall under primary care. FNPs practice in a variety of health care settings, including community health centers, private practice, health care systems and universities.

Although FNPs have a broad scope of practice, from educating patients on disease prevention to treating serious illnesses, they can also obtain additional certifications in areas such as diabetes, pain or obesity management. FNPs are not required to have these additional certifications. Instead, they are available to many APRNs seeking to meet the needs of their patients and enhance their careers.

As your national NP community, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) recognizes that the decision to become an FNP and pursue additional certification will shape your career and the health of your future patients. AANP offers a list of NP certification boards and a searchable list of NP programs to help guide you as you make this important decision. As a student member of AANP, you also gain resources created specifically for you—from NPs who are committed to advancing the NP profession.

Perspectives of Working FNPs

“Being a primary care provider [PCP] presents many challenges, but working through them with my patients brings great satisfaction; I feel like we are in a partnership. After burnout from years in intensive coronary care as a registered nurse (RN), I wanted patients who were able to participate fully in their care and take more responsibility for their health with my guidance, so I decided to become a nurse practitioner [NP]. As an FNP, I am a little like the old general practitioner [GP]; I prefer being a generalist and collaborating with colleagues and experts when the need arises. The FNP role affords the option to practice broadly or within a defined area in primary care.”
—Jamesetta A. Newland, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP, FAAN, Clinical Professor at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing

Five Facts You Should Know About FNPs

  1. On average, FNPs have 9.8 years of experience.1
  2. Full-time FNPs have a median total annual income — which includes base salary, productivity bonuses, incentive payments and more — of $115,000.1
  3. The top clinical focus areas for FNPs are family, primary care and urgent care.1
  4. The top practice settings for FNPs are hospital outpatient clinics, private group practices and private physician practices.1
  5. The top diagnoses treated by FNPs are abdominal pain, urinary tract infection and gastroesophageal reflux disease.1

Career Resources for FNPs

When you are ready to start your career as an FNP, you can find available positions listed at the AANP JobCenter. You can filter your search by state, experience level and job type, including full-time positions, part-time positions or internships. You can also upload your resume to the JobCenter and let employers find you!

If you need help navigating the process of finding a job, please check out the JobCenter’s resources. The JobCenter is dedicated to helping you prepare for interviews, negotiate your salary and polish your resume. AANP also offers tips on becoming certified, finding the right practice setting and staying informed on important health issues at every stage of your NP career.

Professional Development Tools From AANP

Next Steps

By now, you may have decided that this career path is right for you. If you are not already a member of AANP, you should consider joining to gain access to more than 150 hours of continuing education activities through the AANP CE Center, a $75 discount on American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) applications and discounted registration to AANP conferences so that you can connect with your fellow FNPs and NP colleagues of all specialties.

¹ 2020 AANP National NP Sample Survey: Practice.