How Can I Become a Nurse Practitioner in Alaska?
Nurses save lives—there's no doubt that nursing professionals are an integral part of Alaska healthcare. Nurse practitioners are taking on a growing role throughout the United States, particularly in states like Alaska that have large rural populations.
Nurse practitioners can manage acute and chronic diseases (National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 2016). Their duties include disease prevention, health promotion, counseling, and health education.
If you've earned your Bachelor's degree in nursing, you may earn a Master's degree in nursing to become a nurse practitioner. Both Bachelor's and Master's degree graduates may be interested in doctoral options.
Master's degree requirements include:
• Credit hours required: 50 credit hours
• Average cost: $675 per credit hour; different rates for residents and non-residents
• Clinical hours required: 500+ hours
• Timeframe: 2 to 3 years
Doctoral programs require more in the way of credits and clinical work. Explore common doctoral (DNP) requirements below:
• Credit hours required: 37 credit hours beyond Master's degree
• Clinical hours required: 1000+ hours
• Timeframe: 2-3 years beyond Master's degree
NP degrees may build on your nursing skills and empower you to take the next step in your career. Get more detailed information on local degree options by contacting Alaska schools below.
What Types of Nurse Practitioner Programs Are Available in Alaska?
If you are ready to drill down into one area of nursing and become a clinical care expert, it's important to choose the right nurse practitioner schooling option for you. Alaska schools allow you to specialize in a variety of areas, including family primary care and psychiatric-mental health care.
Consider your desired work setting and patient population while choosing an area of specialty, since your choice determines where you complete your clinical hours and what type of experience you get.
Whether you are a Master's degree or a doctorate degree nursing student, you need to meet clearly outlined learning outcomes to succeed in your program. For example, local schools may track your progress in critical thinking, scholarly inquiry, ethical nursing standards, interdisciplinary collaboration, competence as an independent care provider, and dedication to ongoing education. Your courses, both classroom and clinical courses, should bring you closer to these goals.
Some of the courses you may take as a graduate nursing student include:
• Role Development in Advanced Practice Nursing
• Nursing Health Policy
• Evidence-Based Advanced Nursing Practice
• Advanced Pathophysiology
• Advanced Health Assessment in Primary Care
• Pharmacology for Primary Care
While earning a doctoral degree, you are expected to develop the same competencies, knowledge, and skills as Master's degree students, but you must also take your education further.
Doctor of Nursing Practice courses explore healthcare issues in greater detail, as evidenced by courses like:
• Epidemiology for Advanced Practice
• Clinical Immersion
• Genetics in Advanced Pathophysiology
• Advanced Nursing Leadership
• Health Economics
When it comes to nurse practitioner degrees, Alaska schools generally have work experience requirements. Most schools require at least one year of full-time nursing experience, while other schools require more. If you are considering enrolling in nurse practitioner programs online, you may compare program requirements to find a school that fits your previous education and work experience.
How Can I Pay for Nurse Practitioner School in Alaska?
As a general rule, earning a graduate degree or doctoral degree is more costly than completing an undergraduate degree. Planning ahead and applying for different types of financial aid may help you minimize your student loans and out-of-pocket obligations. In particular, PhD students may have quite a few options.
Many universities hire PhD students as teaching assistants and research assistants, a responsibility for which students may receive partial tuition or full tuition. A monthly stipend may allow you to restrict your work hours.
While looking for ways to fund your education, explore the following options:
• BestNursingDegree.com scholarships: Four times per year, we award scholarships worth $2500 each. Check out our scholarships page to find out when the next round of applications begins.
• NURSE Corps Scholarship Program: This federal program offers graduate nursing students sizable scholarships in exchange for two years of service in a Health Professional Shortage Area.
• NHSC Loan Repayment Program: This is another federal program. If you take out loans to cover your nursing education, you may have up to $50,000 of loans forgiven when you work at an approved site for two years.
• Alaska Nurse Practitioner Association Scholarship: Not only is this association an excellent networking opportunity, it gives students scholarships of $100 to $1000.
• Alaska Division of Public Health;: Look into this program if you plan on staying in Alaska after graduation. The SHARP program forgives up to $35,000 in student loans for psychiatric nurse practitioners who work two years at an approved site.
Nurse Practitioner Careers in Alaska
As a nurse, you may already be familiar with nurse practitioner practice requirements across the country. Alaska is one of many states that offers full practice rights to nurse practitioners (AANP, 2016).
This means that you can independently open your own practice and see patients as a primary practitioner. You may also collaborate with other practitioners at a clinic, hospital, or urgent care center. The need for healthcare practitioners is fairly severe in many parts of Alaska, so you may be able to serve your community in a variety of ways.
Your income may depend on your employment setting and your level of experience. Overall, the average salary for an Alaska nurse practitioner is $117,080 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net anticipates a 7% increase in job openings for nurse practitioners (2016).
Licensing and Practice Requirements
Licensing is a huge part of the healthcare industry, a trend that includes nurse practitioners. All licensing goes through the Alaska Board of Nursing, which requires you to maintain your registered nursing license. Renewal applications are due by the end of November in every even-numbered year.
To earn your nurse practitioner license, you must supply official proof of education to the Board of Nursing. This includes official transcripts from your school and signed verification of clinical hours. In addition, you must be certified by a national certification organization in your chosen area of nurse practitioner practice.
Prior to getting your license, you must meet with a physician and consult to create an approved practice plan.
Are you ready to provide the people in your community with the healthcare they deserve? Find out how you can start working more independently. Check out the list of mental health and family nurse practitioner programs below.