Planning Your Nurse Practitioner (NP) Education

Begin Your Journey to Become Patients’ Partner in Health

Not only must NPs obtain advanced clinical training, but they must also complete advanced education. Start your NP journey today by learning how to become an NP, choosing your population focus, selecting your NP program and finding other resources to support your education.


What Type of NP Should You Become?

Are you interested in advancing your nursing career? Are you ready for the responsibility of diagnosing and treating illnesses, prescribing medications and interpreting laboratory results? If so, you should consider a career as an NP, a type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). Use the survey below to determine what type of NP career aligns with your goals and passion.


Select Your NP Program

There are approximately 400 academic institutions with NP programs in the U.S. How do you choose the perfect program for you?

  • Consider whether the institution offers training in your desired population focus or concentration (e.g., adult, family or pediatrics).
  • Consider which attendance method you prefer (e.g., online learning versus on-campus).
  • Consider which degree the program offers (e.g., MSN or DNP).
  • Consider the entry prerequisites for which you qualify (e.g., BSN or second degree student).
  • Consider the program’s accreditation and graduate certification rate.

Do you need help with your search? Whether you’re searching by state or specialty, the NP Program Search* tool from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) helps you find hundreds of NP specialty tracks throughout the country.

NP Program Search

*This database, obtained from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), is provided as a courtesy to AANP site visitors. Inclusion of programs is based on available data from AACN and does not imply endorsement by AANP.

Find Additional Guidance

  • Pathway to Becoming an NP

    Review the steps to become an NP — from obtaining your bachelor's degree in nursing through obtaining NP licensure — in this free, downloadable infographic.

    Download Infographic

  • Preceptor and Faculty Expectation Checklists

    Learn what your preceptors and faculty expect from NP students as they progress through their education and clinical preparation. Presented through a collaboration between the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) and AANP, the Preceptor Expectation Checklist and the Faculty Expectation Checklist offer evidence-based suggestions on preceptorship and may serve as a useful tool for faculty, preceptors and students.

    View the Checklists

  • Financial Support

    Since 2014, AANP has awarded more than $500,000 to exceptional AANP members for use in furthering education or to conduct research, advance evidence-based care or implement quality improvement projects.

    • AANP Grants: AANP supports research and clinical practice efforts that aim to improve the quality of care for patients and to enhance understanding of the NP role. Grants are available to AANP members who are certified NPs or graduate-level NP students.
    • AANP Scholarships: AANP is proud to support the talented NPs and health care leaders of tomorrow, which is why scholarships are available to members who are currently enrolled in an accredited graduate school in pursuit of an advanced degree.
    • Loretta Ford Centennial Scholarship: This program will provide support to AANP members who are registered nurses (RNs) as they pursue advanced education to earn their Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP). Applicants will follow in the footsteps of Dr. Ford, epitomizing the qualities of courage, determination, perseverance, dedication and introspection. The application period is now closed.
    • This free, downloadable Loan Forgiveness infographic helps explain the differences between loan forgiveness, cancellation and discharge programs, such as the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program, Public Service Loan Forgiveness and others.
  • External Resources