How to Become a Family Nurse Practitioner

Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are trained to provide primary care to patients, from newborns to people over a hundred years old. This means they can examine, diagnose, and medicate patients for almost any illness they encounter. Family nurse practitioners usually serve as primary care providers. Primary care is family care’s core.

Family nurse practitioners handle the basic healthcare needs they encounter. They track and maintain chronic diseases like diabetes and cirrhosis and conduct regular checkups to catch health issues before they begin. FNPs work closely with physicians, regular nurses, and other specialists in the usual course of their daily work. Here’s how to become a family nurse practitioner.

1.   Enroll in an MSN-FNP Program

If you already have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and would like to progress your career with a master’s degree, you can become a Family Nurse Practitioner. As an FNP, you’ll have similar responsibilities as a physician, offering healthcare services for adults and children of all ages.

To advance, youneed finish a specialized program to earn an advanced nursing practitioner certification. You can enroll in online MSN FNP programs for Montana nursing graduates to become an advanced practice nurse or family nurse practitioner. However, you should hold an active Registered Nurse (RN) license and a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited program.

2.   Become a registered nurse (RN)

To join any FNP program, you must have attained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and be a certified registered nurse in any state. To become a registered nurse, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam. You can work for a year or two before joining an FNP program to gain hands-on experience.

If you’re a new entrant into the nursing field and don’t have any degree, you may pursue a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree to accelerate your graduate nursing journey. If you have a bachelor’s degree in any other field besides nursing, consider accelerated BSN programs to prepare you for professional nursing practice.

3.   Enroll in a specialized master’s degree program

Becoming a family nurse practitioner starts when an RN chooses to advance their career into a specialized nursing area. This involves earning a master’s degree, including clinical experience and classroom education. You can find reputable nursing institutions providing CCNE accredited online programs that balance intense online classes with hands-on clinical experiences. You may also consider taking up EMDR Certification Classes.

The clinical hours and patient encounters offered in a master’s degree program should help you gain outstanding patient-care skills. Upon completing the program, you should pass a national certification examination by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) or the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC).

4.   Apply for the FNP exam from AANP or ANCC

Upon finishing your accredited FNP program, you’ll be eligible to take the AANP or ANCC certification exam. The AANP family nurse practitioner certification examination contains 150 questions assessing your knowledge of clinical decision-making, health history, evidence-based practice, patient education, and more.

The ANCC family nurse practitioner certification exam has about 175 to 200 queries concerning pharmacotherapeutics, assessments, regulatory guidelines, age-appropriate interventions, and more. Since both bodies are widely recognized certification boards, passing either exam qualifies you as a certified family nurse practitioner (FNP).

5.   Complete your clinicals and graduate

The FNP program clinicals are among the crucial elements of becoming a nurse practitioner. With the help of a preceptor you choose from in your local area, you have to complete a set amount of precepted clinical hours plus another predetermined independent patient encounters for practicing your examination, diagnosis, medication, and evaluation. Finding the proper preceptor can be challenging, but with a guide to choosing a nurse practitioner preceptor, you can learn everything about the procedure and what’s expected of you.

6.   Obtain licensure

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing provides the National Council Licensure Exam for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN). Most states use this exam as their licensing requirement basis, and hospitals and other healthcare facilities require candidates to pass this test before working as RNs. Reach out to the nursing board in your state to determine the FNP licensure requirements. To practice in a different state, you must become a licensed registered nurse there if you aren’t presently in a compact state.

7.   Look for a family nurse practitioner job

Becoming a practicing FNP can be a fulfilling and life-changing career for you, your patients, and the community you reside in. As an FNP, you can work in hospitals, private practices, emergency rooms, and community health centers. Look for a job in a facility of choice to kickstart your career.


A family nurse practitioner career is an excellent way to advance your nursing career. Use these ways to become an FNP.