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3 Popular Career Paths for Family Nurse Practitioners

by South University
April 4, 2017

Among the thousands of family nurse practitioners practicing across the US, day-to-day work varies greatly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common place for family nurse practitioners, or FNPs, to work is a physician's office. Others work in hospitals, outpatient care centers, walk-in clinics, or community and school healthcare facilities. Some FNPs start their own practices, while others chose to travel and work across the country.

If you’re not sure what’s right for you, here’s a close look at three of these diverse paths.

Family Nurse Practitioners in a Physician’s Offices

Family nurse practitioners in a physician's office typically work regular, set hours, which can provide a nice work-life balance. Because it is less hectic than a hospital or walk-in clinic, working in a private office can give you more time to focus on treating and educating each patient. You’re likely to get repeat patients, helping you to build close, trusting relationships. Here, you can expect both healthy patients and routine problems or concerns, but you’re unlikely to encounter a great diversity or severity of healthcare needs.

Because you’ll probably be part of a small staff, your relationship with your colleagues can play a big part in how much you enjoy your work. However, you should have relatively easy access to a physician when you need additional support or a consultation.

Practices Owned by Family Nurse Practitioners

Opening a practice on your own or jointly with another family nurse practitioner can be rewarding and offer increased autonomy, but it’s not without challenges and is best for someone with experience under their belt. Because the laws around operating a practice as an FNP vary by state, you’ll want to start by researching your state laws to see what’s possible.

To open a practice, you’ll need business acumen as well as financial know-how and resources. Alternatively, you could partner or seek advice and mentorship from someone more familiar with the logistics of running a business. You’ll also need to look into third-party reimbursement rates for FNPs and requirements around collaborative agreements with physicians, hospital privileges, and malpractice insurance.

On the upside of owning your own practice, you can make it a priority to build relationships with your patients and provide a quality of education and care you’re proud of. You’ll also set your own schedule, and, while being in charge of staffing isn’t easy, you’ll have full control over who your colleagues are. If you focus on a medically underserved population, starting your own practice can be particularly fruitful.

Traveling Family Nurse Practitioners

For those looking for adventure, a traveling family nurse practitioner career could be a great fit. These FNPs travel from city to city, filling temporary open FNP positions, staying in some roles for a few weeks and others for a year or more. This can be a fantastic opportunity to find out what positions and settings might be the right long-term fit for you. In addition to your compensation, most employers will cover your expenses for housing, travel, and insurance, and may help with making sure you have the right credentials to work in the state you’re considering.

Of course, for this job, you must be incredibly flexible and enjoy change—because from your patients to your colleagues to your home residence, change will be a constant part of your life. Each position will vary slightly, with different expectations and patient care needs. It’s possible that the experience could be isolating if you don’t make friends quickly, but, alternatively, you could end up with friends in every state!

Want to know more about career options and becoming a family nurse practitioner?

Explore our nurse practitioner articles on the blog, or contact us to talk about our graduate degree programs that can prepare you for a career in this field.

Sources for this article include Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, The Pros of Being a Nurse in a Doctor's Office, Open Your Own Nurse Practitioner Practice, and How to Become a Travel Nurse.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2017 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is

by South University
April 4, 2017
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Career Outlook: Employment Growth and Salaries for Nurse Practitioners

by South University
April 4, 2017

Nurse practitioners play an essential role in our country’s healthcare system, working in collaboration with physicians or independently to provide primary and specialty care for their patients. If you’re considering pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner or enhancing your existing nursing practice leadership and knowledge, when it comes to both salary and employment growth, the outlook for nurse practitioners is promising!

Employment Growth for Nurse Practitioners

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2014 to 2024, nurse practitioner employment will grow across the country at a rate of 35%—a rate 5 times the average.

Nurse practitioners can expect particularly high demand in inner cities and rural areas, which are frequently medically underserved by physicians. Growth for the nurse practitioner career is anticipated due to factors that are also increasing demand for healthcare services. First, the number of people with health insurance is growing, and these newly insured individuals will want preventative and primary care providers—a role regularly filled by nurse practitioners. Second, as the large baby-boomer population continues to age, this group will also require increased care from nurse practitioners for chronic and acute conditions.

As of their most recent stats from 2015, the BLS estimates that 136,060 nurse practitioners are working in the United States, with Mississippi, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Tennessee having the highest concentration of nurse practitioner jobs in their state’s population.

Nurse Practitioner Salaries

In May 2015, the BLS reported a median annual wage for nurse practitioners of $98,190, noting that some positions also offer flexible hours, educational benefits, and childcare.

Not picky about where you live? Maybe you’re looking for adventure? In 2015, California, Alaska, and Hawaii reported the highest mean nurse practitioner salaries, each over $114,000, followed closely by Massachusetts and Oregon. Nurse practitioner salaries also vary based on your specialization and the area of the healthcare industry in which you work.

How to Build Your Career as a Nurse Practitioner

Interested in a career as a nurse practitioner? South University offers a master’s degree and postgraduate certificate programs with nurse practitioner specializations, including RN to MSN programs which do not require a BSN for admission. Combining online learning with on-site training, these programs are led by professional nursing instructors who can offer valuable support and mentorship as you develop your skills.

For those already working in nursing practice, South University also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program designed to help you enhance your clinical nursing practice, inquiry, and leadership skills. Explore our full list of Nursing programs available online and at our campus locations today!


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015 - Nurse Practitioners

South University does not guarantee employment of any particular level of compensation following graduation.

South University does not guarantee third-party certification/licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to South University.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2017 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is

by South University
April 4, 2017
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Quick Tips for Transferring College Credit to a New School

by Jared Newnam
November 10, 2016

Quick Tips for Transferring College Credit to a New School

When it comes to college, not everyone finds the right fit the first time. Maybe your degree program no longer excites you or your current school isn’t as supportive or flexible as you’d hoped. Perhaps you took a break from college, and you’ve decided to finish what you started. Whatever the case, transferring college credits to a new school is sometimes the best choice for completing your degree.

The following tips can help you create a plan for transferring your credits and finishing your degree.

  1. Set aside time to research programs and contact your target schools.
    Once you pick what type of program you want, you’ll need to see what schools offer the program near you on campus or online. If you’re switching schools but want to stay in a similar program, be aware that program names may differ slightly across institutions. You’ll need to dig into the program details or ask an admissions representative to ensure you understand the program outcomes.

    While you’ll likely find programmatic information online, everyone’s academic history is unique, so you’ll need to speak to the admissions team about your eligibility for transferring credits. Your easiest and fastest option will be talking on the phone or in-person to avoid a long, complex email chain. Make sure to come prepared for these conversations by gathering documentation, including transcripts, to make sure you can prove you’ve completed courses or training.

  2. Ask schools about their transfer policies.
    Transfer of credit policies and procedures will vary by school and often involve minimum grade requirements. Schools typically require that courses you transfer for credit have similar descriptions and outcomes to the courses they offer. In addition, some schools may be able to take your diploma, certificate or associates degree and apply those credits towards a bachelor’s or even master’s level degree program.

    Sometimes two schools may have an articulation agreement--a document that describes what courses students may transfer from one school to the other in specific programs. While an articulation agreement between two schools can make transferring credit easier, you’ll still want to review the document carefully and contact a school representative for specific questions. Most community colleges will have articulation agreements in place with traditional, 4-year institutions.

  3. Don’t overlook non-traditional sources of transfer credit.
    Having prior college experience isn’t the only way to earn transfer credit. If you’ve been in the military, you may qualify for military experience transfer credit, as most military training courses have been evaluated for academic credit by the American Council on Education (ACE).

    Other non-traditional sources include exams that assess whether what you’ve learned from the military or other professional experiences may be deemed equivalent to college credit. These exams include the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) and DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) exams.

    Let the schools you’re considering know if you have military experience or are researching the CLEP or DSST exams, so that they can advise you on how to move forward.

  4. Transfer credit policies should not be the only factors driving your decisions.
    It’s easy to get caught up in the focus on transferring credit, but picking a school should be a fully thought out decision. Treat the process the same as if you were looking for a new school from scratch. Be sure to ask about accreditation, financial aid, academic support resources, faculty credentialing and access, alumni success, career services, class scheduling and anything else that might be important to you in a new school. Was there something you didn’t like about your last school? If so, avoid running into that same problem again.

  5. Considering transferring to South University? Let’s arrange a time to talk.
    If you’re thinking about transferring colleges, consider South University. Backed by a tradition of over 100 years, South University allows you to earn your degree online or on campus, with classes led by qualified and supportive faculty who are always ready to lend a hand. We are driven to help you succeed, so our transfer of credit policies are designed to make the most of the effort you’ve already put into your education. Request information online to learn more today.

Transfer credit is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. South University offers no guarantee that credit earned at another institution will be accepted into a program of study offered by South University.

by Jared Newnam
November 10, 2016
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Career Pathways for Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners

by South University
December 8, 2015

Considering a career as an Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)? If so, there are many places you could find yourself practicing--including your own private practice in certain states. You might work in a specialty clinic, a physician's private practice, a long-term care facility, or perhaps even in the homes of your patients. Let’s look at three of these options for AGPCNPs now.

Home Healthcare

Some Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners own or work in a practice in which they treat patients who have difficulty leaving their homes. This work can allow for flexibility and variety in your schedule, as every day you’ll be travelling to different locations. Your patients may include elderly, as well as those with chronic conditions or who are recuperating from surgery or a serious illness.

This role will allow you to treat patients in an environment where they’re more relaxed, social, and receptive to receiving care. You may also meet your patient's family and other caregivers as well as gain a clearer picture of their daily life, including social interactions and living conditions. This can help you in developing a treatment plan and giving your patient relevant educational counseling and guidance.

Your day will include a set number of visits as well as occasional unscheduled urgent visits. Nurse practitioners in home health are usually compensated per patient visit plus mileage. If you run your own practice, in addition to examining, diagnosing, treating, educating, and following up with patients, you’ll be in charge of scheduling, billing, and other administrative duties, unless you hire someone to assist with such duties.

Walk-in and Community Healthcare Clinics

Depending on the size and type of clinic, your experience as an AGPCNP could vary greatly. In small community and nurse-managed clinics, you may have set hours and see repeat patients on a regular basis for healthcare planning and treatment.

At walk-in clinics, however, your hours may be longer or more varied. While you might see patients with more diversity in healthcare needs, the increase in patient load coupled with fewer repeat patients could make it challenging to give each patient the attention or education you wish to provide. However, clinics that are part of large chains may offer opportunities for advancement, better benefits and even allow for relocation if that becomes needed.

At many clinics, you’ll be working alongside other nurse practitioners and collaborating with healthcare providers outside the clinic as needed.

Long-term Care Facilities

As an AGPCNP, you may have the opportunity to work as a nurse practitioner in a long-term care facility, such as an assisted living community or a nursing home.

In this role, you’ll primarily work with the elderly or those with debilitating chronic conditions, providing treatment, preventive care and education. Overall, you’ll likely spend less time on diagnosing problems than on managing, prescribing and adjusting care and treatment, and many of your patients will have multiple conditions you’ll need to consider. While providing long-term care for patients in need can be very rewarding, you should be prepared to work with patients near the end of their lives as well as the families of these patients--something that can take an emotional toll over time.

In some cases, you may be associated with one particular facility and have a set schedule, while in other instances you may travel between various facilities to care for more patients.

Want to know more about becoming a nurse practitioner and your career options? Explore our nurse practitioner articles on the blog, or contact us to talk about our graduate degree programs that can prepare you for a career in this field.


Sources: Day in the Life of a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner | | A day in the life of a home care nurse practitioner | More nurse practitioners visit home care patients | 3 Reasons You Should Become a Home Health NP | Why walk-in health care is a fast-growing profit center for retail chains

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2015 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is

by South University
December 8, 2015
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The Role of Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners

by South University
November 30, 2015

As you may already know, nurse practitioners serve as important primary medical care providers for many patients across the United States. Among the various specialties nurse practitioners may have, adult gerontology primary care is one that could increase in importance as the average age of the US population continues to rise. Today, we look at the care and services adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioners offer patients.


An Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) is a type of a nurse practitioner who specializes in caring for patients from adolescence to adulthood to old age. AGPCNPs provide acute, chronic and preventive healthcare services, coordinating with specialty physicians and other healthcare providers as needed.

On top of diagnosing, examining and treating their patients, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners typically offer routine checkups, assessments, immunizations, and one-on-one health counseling and education. In fact, providing education is a large part of their day and these nurse practitioners work closely with their patients to develop and implement healthy lifestyle and disease prevention plans, often involving things like diet, exercise and physical therapy in addition to any prescribed medications. AGPCNPs will also work with a patient's family to make sure family members are as involved and informed as needed to support the patient.

Places of Practice

Although state laws vary regarding scope of practice for nurse practitioners, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners in many states may have their own private practice in which they see patients in an office or provide home care or do both. AGPCNP may also work in a range of organizations including:

  • Long-term care and assisted living facilities
  • Healthcare clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Correctional centers and other settings with primary care services


All Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners have achieved licensure and credentialing beyond what is required to work as a registered nurse (RN). To practice, every nurse practitioner must complete a master’s degree program, with many earning additional post graduate certificates and even doctoral degrees. Over the course of their career, nurse practitioners continue to grow and maintain their knowledge of healthcare by completing regular continuing education courses and workshops.

Learn more about Nurse Practitioner Careers

To learn about nurse practitioner programs, careers and opportunities, read more articles about nurse practitioners on our blog or explore our Nursing programs, including those designed to prepare students for careers as Nurse Practitioners.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2015 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is

by South University
November 30, 2015
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