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Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist

Career data updated last on 10/6/2014
Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist Advanced practice nurses (APNs) are nurses who have completed a graduate nursing degree and training as a nurse practitioner, as a clinical nurse specialist or in a combined NP/CNS role. Generally, the role of the advanced practice nurse is fairly independent, yet the nurse works in collaboration with a physician and with other members of the health care team. APNs can function in diverse roles and may not practice all of the roles listed. The APN can provide health screenings, physical examinations, order laboratory tests and prescribe specific medications. The APN can evaluate and manage individuals with acute and chronic problems and also educate clients in self-care and ways to stay healthy. APNs often care for special populations such as the rural poor, migrant farm workers, elderly individuals and children. In communities or facilities with few physicians, advanced practice nurses are important providers of health care.
Salary $51.11 hourly- $106,310 annually
Significant Points One of the 10 occupations projected to have the largest numbers of new jobs. Earnings are above average, particularly for advanced practice nurses who have additional education or training.
Specializations Advanced practice nurses can specialize in some of the following areas:
  • Family care
  • Oncology
  • Geriatrics
  • Adult health
  • Pediatrics
  • Women's health
Work Environment Advanced practice nurses are employed at community clinics, health departments, medical practices, hospitals, migrant health clinics and prisons.
High School Prep General college preparation is recommended: Three courses in math including algebra I, algebra II and geometry, or a higher level math course for which algebra II is a prerequisite; three science courses including one biological science, one physical science and one lab course; four English units and two social studies units, including one in U.S. History; and two years of a second language.
Academic Requirements Advanced practice nurses are registered nurses (RNs) with four-year baccalaureate degrees who go on to complete graduate or certificate nurse practitioner programs. The program usually takes one to three years, depending on the educational institution. Graduates must then apply to the Colorado Board of Nursing for placement on the Advanced Practice Registry.


Colorado State University-Pueblo
Masters Degree Master's    On-line program available On-line program available
Regis University
Masters Degree Master's
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Masters Degree Master's    On-line program available On-line program available
University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus
Masters Degree Master's    On-line program available On-line program available
University of Northern Colorado
Masters Degree Master's    On-line program available On-line program available

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