Career Options for Nurse Practitioners: A Top Job with a World of Opportunity!

career options for nurse practitioners
Cross Country Locums
September 01, 2022 04:22 AM (GMT-05:00)
Provider Tips

Whether you’re currently a nurse practitioner or on your way to becoming one, your career opportunities are virtually unlimited.

There are more than 355,000 licensed nurse practitioners in the U.S. as of January 2022, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Imagine the diversity of roles all those NPs fill!

Nationwide, NPs are serving in both clinical and non-clinical roles, in a wide array of facility types, and across all specialties and subspecialties. The versatility of the career is hard to beat. Plus, U.S. News and World Report ranks nurse practitioner as #1 in Best Health Care Jobs and #2 in 100 Best Jobs!

Here, we’ll cover several routes you can pursue as an NP through various:

  • Clinical roles
  • Non-clinical roles
  • Work environments
  • Career scheduling options

Nurse Practitioner Clinical Roles

Nurse practitioners have opportunities to practice across all fields of medicine – from general to highly specific. Plus, NPs can pursue certification in many of these specialties. Nurse Practitioner specialty certifications include:

  • Acute Care Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP-AC)
  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNPC)
  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification Adult-Gerontology (ACNPC-AG)
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner Certification (ANP-BC)
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (AGACNP-BC)
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (A-GNP), (AGPCNP-BC)
  • Advanced Diabetes Management Certification (ADM-BC)
  • Emergency Nurse Practitioner Certification (ENP), (ENP-BC)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Certification (FNP), (FNP-BC)
  • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Certification (GNP-BC)
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certification (NNP-BC)
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (PPCNP-BC)
  • Primary Care Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP-PC)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Across the Lifespan) Certification (PMHNP-BC)
  • Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (WHNP-BC)

For more information on pursuing the specialty certifications above, NPs can visit the various certifying organizations:

In addition to the specialties above, other clinical areas to consider are:

  • Allergy and immunology
  • Cardiology
  • Critical care medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Hematology
  • Hospitalist medicine
  • Infectious disease
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Pain medicine
  • Pathology
  • Public health
  • Pulmonology
  • Rheumatology
  • School nursing
  • Sleep medicine
  • Sports medicine
  • Transplant medicine
  • Trauma medicine
  • Urology

Nurse Practitioner Non-Clinical Roles

Nurse practitioners aren’t bound to clinical roles and patient care. If NPs need to make a change to avoid burnout or mix things up a bit, they can get creative and pursue non-clinical opportunities like (

  • Academic leadership/education
  • Advocacy
  • Clinical editing
  • Clinical research
  • Community food and housing
  • Corporate consulting
  • Emergency relief
  • Healthcare administration/leadership
  • Health ethnography
  • Hospice administration
  • Infection control
  • Legal consulting
  • Medical product research and design
  • Medical product sales
  • Medical writing
  • Nutrition
  • Pharmaceutical representation
  • Politics
  • Public speaking
  • Technology development

Nurse Practitioner Work Environments

Although you may initially picture NPs working in hospitals and traditional healthcare facilities, they’re actually in all types of work environments. As an NP, you may find yourself practicing at an:

  • Academic research center
  • Acute care clinic
  • Ambulatory surgery center
  • Ambulatory/transport care
  • Cancer center
  • College/university campus clinic
  • Laboratory
  • Inpatient hospital
  • Government (VA, HIS, DOD, military)
  • Home health
  • Hospice/palliative care center
  • Otolaryngology
  • Outpatient clinic
  • Private practice
  • Psychiatric facility
  • Public or private schools
  • Rehabilitation Center
  • Skilled nursing facility
  • Substance abuse center
  • Telemedicine
  • Trauma center

Career Options for Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners aren’t locked into permanent, salaried, full-time positions, though that may appeal to some. Consider the many options you can choose from to help find a schedule and work-life balance that suits your lifestyle.

  • Full-time or part-time
  • Day shift, night shift, or weekends
  • Salaried, permanent position or hourly, locum tenens assignments
  • Nearby work or travel opportunities

Which of the roles above can you see yourself in? What work environments would bring you the most fulfillment? Do you see yourself working part-time or full time? Working near home or traveling the country? Consider the many possibilities and picture yourself each scenario to decide which is the best fit for you!

We’re here to help find the perfect NP position for you!

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