How to Become an OB-GYN Nurse Practitioner

The additional schooling to become a nurse practitioner can pay off.
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Becoming a nurse practitioner is a bit more time intensive than becoming a registered nurse. In addition to the four years it takes to earn a nursing diploma, a nurse practitioner -- no matter your specialty -- takes another two to three years of schooling. But the extra time doesn’t go unrewarded. Nurse practitioners can earn as much as $96,630 a year or more, while registered nurses make closer to an average of $66,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not a bad trade-off for $30,000 more a year, don’t you think?

    Step 1

    Enroll in an accredited nursing program at your local college or university. A bachelor’s of science degree in nursing, or BSN, is your best bet. It’s often the preferred degree for most graduate programs in nursing. During the four years it takes to complete a BSN, you’ll take classes in nursing, anatomy, physiology and nutrition, among others. You’ll also complete supervised clinical rotations in pediatrics, maternity and surgery.

    Step 2

    Sit for the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN, in the state you plan on practicing. Passing the NCLEX-RN certifies you as a registered nurse, and you can officially begin your nursing career. RN licensure is also a prerequisite to nurse practitioner programs.

    Step 3

    Enter a master’s of science in nursing, or MSN, program. Advanced-practice registered nurses -- which include nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse specialists -- must hold at least an MSN. For OGNPs, or obstetric-gynecology nurse practitioners, look for a program with an emphasis on women’s healthcare. You’ll take classes in health care policy, clinical reasoning, advanced health assessment and advanced women’s healthcare, among others.

    Step 4

    Seek advanced certifications to improve employability and demonstrate your skills in OB/GYN medicine. Consider earning certificates in maternal newborn, electronic fetal monitoring or inpatient obstetric nursing to help further your career -- though all are voluntary certifications.


    • If you currently hold an associate degree in nursing, or ADN, your employer may be willing to reimburse you for completing an RN-to-BSN program. The BSN can then be used to enter an APRN master’s degree program.

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