You have probably heard that the requirements for getting a nurse practitoiner degree are about to change.  The ANCC published a statement recommending that all nurse practitioners be doctorally prepared and that nurse practitioner programs require nurse practitioner students to graduate with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree rather than a Master’s of Nursing degree.

At MidlevelU, we have contacted nearly 200 schools to assess their view on the DNP with varied responses.  Some schools have already moved from offering a master’s program for nurse practitoiner students and already require the DNP.  Most schools are waiting to see if the transition actually occurs and if it does, when.  Most nursing faculty also believe that this change will not in fact happen by 2015.  Some schools disagree with requiring a DNP degree and do not plan to offer a DNP program.

Is the DNP transition actually going to happen?  At MidlevelU, we think not… at least not for a long time.  The reality is that in order for the DNP to be officially required, state laws and certifying bodies (the organizations through which you take your national certification exams) will need to require that nurse practioitners have a DNP rather than a master’s degree.  Schools will also need to develop DNP programs to replace their master’s programs.  Coordinating such a large change between universities, state governments and certifying bodies will take much longer than three years.  

The good news for you?  More time to get your nurse practitoiner degree in less time and at a lower cost.  A master’s level nurse practitioner program is usually completed in one to three years less time than the DNP degree.  Completing a nurse practitioner program at the master’s level will also cost you at least $10,000 to $15,000 less than a DNP degree.  The 2012 Guide to Nurse Practitioner Programs will show you which schools are still offering master’s programs as well as when and if schools plan to require the DNP degree.

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