3 Things You Need to Ask When Looking for a Nurse Practitioner Program

Finding the right NP program can be very overwhelming.  There are online programs, campus based programs, part-time and full-time options.  Then, there is the unknown.  What will you wish you had asked once you are in the program?  Here are 3 things you should ask your nurse practitioner program admissions staff before enrolling:

  1. What percentage of your NP program graduates pass the national certification exam on the first attempt?  Once you graduate from your NP program, in almost every state you will need to take a certification exam through the AANP or ANCC in order to practice as an NP.  By asking this question, you will be able to determine how well your prospective NP program will prepare you for the certification exam.  I would recommend only considering NP schools that have a 95% or better pass rate.  If your prospective school will not release the pass rate, this is a warning sign!
  2. What percentage of your NP program graduates are working as nurse practitioners within six months of graduation?  You are getting your nurse practitioner degree with the ultimate goal of getting a job so make sure your prospective NP program will prepare you well.  Some schools do not track this information but admissions officers should be able to give you some idea of how their graduates fare when looking for employment.  One thing to consider- the percentage finding employment may be more reflective of the job market in the city where your school is located rather than the quality of the school itself.  Either way, this information should be considered. 
  3. Are students required to find their own clinical sites and preceptors or are clinical sites assigned by the school of nursing?  Are NP students' graduations ever delayed due to lack of clinical sites?  Clinicals are a major part of your NP education and in order to complete your clinical requirements, you must have a NP, physician or PA willing to precept you.  In many NP programs, students are required to find their own preceptors which can be a very difficult task.  In other NP programs, the school does not have enough preceptors willing to teach students so graduations are delayed as NP students wait to complete their clinical requirements.  Don't let this happen to you!  For the most stress free NP education, find a NP program that finds your clinical placement for you and ensures a timely graduation.

Are there any other questions you wish you had asked before starting your NP education?  If so, let us know by commenting below!