Eight Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Alabama

  1. Earn an RN Degree – All Nurse Practitioners (NPs) must first become RNs. Earn an Alabama RN degree from a top rated nursing school. Be sure to earn your RN or BSN from a university that is accredited by the ACEN or CCNE. Your credentials are more likely to be accepted by your NP program if you earned your RN from an top ranked accredited Alabama nursing school.
  2. Pass The NCLEX-RN Exam – Our practice tests  and NCLEX-RN exam study guide are just the tools you need to help you prepare for test day.
  3. Earn Your MSN or DNP – To become an NP you can either get your masters or doctorate. Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs take about 2 years while Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs take about 4 years. You will choose a population foci such as gerontology, family, neonatal when you start your program:
  4. Complete Supervised Clinical Hours – If you earn your MSN you will need to between 500-600 clinical hours depending on your population focus. To earn your DNP you need 1000 hours.
  5. Become Board Certified – Your certifying body to become an NP depends on your population foci:
  6. Obtain Licensure – Licensure is done on a state-by-state basis. Contact the Alabama state board of nursing (BON) for more information.
  7. Obtain a DEA Number – DEA registration is required in order to prescribe medication in Alabama. Once you are licensed, apply for your NPI number which is free. Then you use this to apply for your Alabama Controlled Substances Registration and then your DEA registration so that you can prescribe medications.
  8. Maintain Active Certification and Licensure – Your certifying body and BON in Alabama will tell you what is required to maintain certification and licensure. Usually this requires a certain amount of continuing education (CE) credits as well as clinical practice. You may also have to fill out an application and pay a fee every 2-3 years.

Popular Online NP Programs in Alabama

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Alabama

How much time it takes to become an NP in Alabama really depends on your background. Depending on the path you take it will be 2 to 4 years of education before you can become a Certified Nurse Practitioner. If you’re already an RN it can take as little as 2 years by earning your MSN. If you are not an RN some direct entry programs are as short as 2 years as well. If you already have your MSN but are not an NP you can do a DNP program in 2-3 years and become and NP while also earning your doctorate.

Here are examples of how long it will take you to become an NP depending on what degree you are starting with:

Starting Degree

How Many Years to Become an NP

Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)

2 years
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) 2 years

Bachelor’s in a non-nursing field 2 – 3 years

Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN)

1 – 2 years

Types of NP Programs Available in Alabama

BSN to MSN

If you are getting your MSN after having your BSN in the state of Alabama, you can expect to spend 2 years earning your degree to become NP. If you have your RN, but not your BSN, you can complete a program that is similar in length and will give you an MSN. General requirements to enter and complete your BSN to MSN program in Alabama include:

  • A 3.0 GPA or the equivalent of a B average
  • Must be licensed as an RN in Alabama
  • Complete about 50 credits of classroom work
  • Complete 500 to 800 hours of supervised clinical experience depending upon the University

Direct Entry MSN Programs

Direct Entry MSN programs or accelerated MSN programs give people who are not nurses but have a bachelors degree in something else the opportunity pursue nursing. These programs prepare you to be an NP without having you repeat non-nursing college courses that you have already taken. There are a handful of these programs in Alabama. Direct entry programs take between 2 and 3 years to complete. After the program you will be an RN and an NP. General requirements to enter and to complete your accelerated MSN program in Alabama include:

  • A 3.0 GPA or the equivalent of a B average
  • Completion of pre-requisites such as anatomy and physiology, developmental psychology, microbiology, organic and inorganic chemistry, and more
  • Complete about ## credits of classroom work
  • Complete ### to ### hours of supervised clinical experience depending upon the University

MSN to NP Certificate

If you already have your MSN but are not an NP you can complete a certificate program to train you to be an NP. This may be the right path for you if you have your MSN in something like nursing education, nursing administration, or if you are a clinical nurse specialist. In general MSN to NP certificate programs take about one year and to enter and to complete your NP to Certificate program requires the following:

  • You must be an RN in Alabama to be eligible to apply for these programs
  • Typically you are not required to take the GRE again for these programs
  • You will have to submit an application with your resume, references, past transcripts and more
  • Complete 500 to 700 clinical hours depending on the school and your population focus

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

DNP programs are the doctorate level programs that prepare nurses to be NPs. In these programs you will be trained to provide nursing care at the expert level and will also be able to teach in most universities. DNP programs are becoming more popular as the entry pathway into becoming an NP.  Program length varies from 3 to 5 years depending on whether or not you already have your masters. The eligibility requirements vary a little between the BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP programs.

BSN to DNP: These programs are for bachelor’s level trained nurses.

  • You must be a licensed Alabama nurse and have had a GPA of at least 3.0 (B average) or better.
  • The BSN to DNP programs will take about 5 years depending on the university.
  • Your application will need to include GRE scores, letters of recommendation, previous transcripts, and more.
  • You will need to complete 1000 hours of supervised clinical experiences.
  • Some programs will require you to have nursing experience.

MSN to DNP: These programs take into account that you are already a nurse trained at the master’s level. Depending on the program you may be required to already be an NP in Alabama.

  • All programs will require you to have your Alabama RN license.
  • These programs will take between 2 and 3 years to complete.
  • Like the BSN to DNP programs you need to submit an application with letters of recommendations, past transcripts, and more.
  • You do not have to take the GRE however, as it is assumed that you already had to take it for your MSN.
  • At the end of your DNP education you will not only be an NP but you will also have completed the highest level of clinical nursing education available.

Where Do Nurse Practitioner Typically Work?

As an NP the world is at your fingertips. You can work in a variety of settings and will have the flexibility throughout your career to change it up. Here are some examples of where you may work.

  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP: Cardiology,  neurology, emergency departments, intensive care units, medical surgical units, military settings, and more. Acute, Primary
  • Adult Gerontology Primary Care NP: primary care clinics, nursing homes, correctional facilities, college health, occupational health, military settings, and more.
  • Family NP: Primary care clinics, community health, urgent care, college health, occupational health,  military settings, dermatology, shelters, and more.
  • Neonatal NP: neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), emergency departments, labor and delivery units, and more.
  • Pediatric Acute Care NP: Emergency departments, specialty units in children’s hospitals, urgent care.
  • Pediatric Primary Care NP: community health centers, schools, children’s hospitals, private practices.
  • Psychiatric Mental Health NP: outpatient therapy, inpatient psychiatric units, partial hospitalization units, nursing homes, and more.
  • Women’s Health NP: Community health centers, women’s prisons, private practices, urogynecology practices, adolescent health, and more.

Campus and Online Nurse Practitioner Programs in Massachusetts

University Offered asCity/State
Samford University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineBirmingham, AL
University of South Alabama Campus, OnlineMobile, AL
University of Alabama in Huntsville Campus, Hybrid, OnlineHuntsville, AL
University of Alabama Campus, Hybrid, OnlineTuscaloosa, AL
Auburn University at Montgomery Campus, Hybrid, OnlineMontgomery, AL
Auburn University Campus, OnlineAuburn, AL
University of Alabama at Birmingham Campus, Hybrid, OnlineBirmingham, AL

NP Program Costs in Alabama

Nurse practitioner programs vary in price depending on the school; however, they usually fall within the following ranges:

• RN to MSN nurse practitioner program: $22,000 – $235,000
• BSN to MSN nurse practitioner program: $19,000 – $1750,000
• Direct entry MSN nurse practitioner program: $23,000 – $220,000
• BSN to DNP nurse practitioner program: $27,000 – $255,000
• MSN to DNP nurse practitioner program: $18,000 – $170,000
• Post-master’s certification nurse practitioner program: $9,800 – $84,000

NP Salaries in Alabama

CareerOneStop projects that demand for Nurse Practitioners in Alabama will grow 30 percent in the next 10 years. On average graduates from Alabama accredited nurse practitioner schools earn more than $100,000 annually.

Here are the average Salaries for NP specialties across the country:

Population Foci

Average Annual Salary

Adult Gerontology Acute Care

$90,050

Adult Gerontology Primary Care $85, 163

Family Nurse Practitioner

$91, 573

Neonatal

$108, 804

Psychiatric Mental Health

$101, 577

Pediatric Acute Care $91, 906
Pediatric Primary Care $86, 916
Women’s Health$90, 981

Popular Online MSN Programs for Alabama Nurses

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Nurse Practitioner Schools in Alabama

Alabama

Samford University

  • 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL - 35229-2240

Family Nurse Practitioner

University of Alabama in Huntsville

  • 301 Sparkman Dr, Huntsville, AL - 35899

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Family Nurse Practitioner

University of Alabama

  • 739 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL - 35487-0166

Family Nurse Practitioner

Auburn University at Montgomery

  • 7440 East Drive, Montgomery, AL - 36117-3596

Family Nurse Practitioner

Auburn University

  • Auburn, Alabama, Auburn, AL - 36849

Family Nurse Practitioner

University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL - 35294-0110

Family Nurse Practitioner

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Source: American Association of Nurse Practitioners

Alabama Organizations and Associations for Nurse Practitioners

National Organizations and Associations for Nurse Practitioners

Since it is such a popular career path there are multiple resources and organizations available for you to utilize as you gather more information:

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Sources: 50 State Boards of Nursing, University Websites, U.S. Department of Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ranking Methodology.