A Growing Profession
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives, is projected to grow 26 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur primarily because of an increased emphasis on preventive care and demand for healthcare services from an aging population.
Since the demand for APRNs is increasing faster than that for physicians, their salaries are also increasing at a faster rate compared to family medicine physicians. Graduating APRNs are entering a booming market, one that is demanding APRNs to fill vital roles in the healthcare industry.
The Path to Becoming An APRN
Pathways differ to becoming an APRN in Ohio, but they generally involve the completion of undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing; the attainment of both an RN license and national certification; and finally an application to the Ohio State Board of Nursing for advanced practice licensure.
After earning an RN license, many seeking to become an APRN choose to work for a year or more to gain clinical experience necessary for furthering their education. Following at least one year of work experience, prospective APRNs in Ohio typically apply to a graduate program in nursing, and seek one of the following specializations: adult-gerontology (acute or primary care), pediatrics (acute or primary care), women’s health, family care, psychiatric-mental health, and neonatal care.
Upon earning the necessary graduate degree, APRNs in Ohio must earn their national credentialing. While the specific certifying agency varies by specialization, the application processes are similar, requiring proof of a graduate-level nursing degree from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited program; proof of at least 500 practice hours in one’s intended specialization; an application fee; and a passing score on a comprehensive application. Once national credentialing is received, APRNs in Ohio must apply for state certification through the Ohio Board of Nursing.
Choosing an APRN School
Admissions requirements for Ohio’s online APRN programs vary from school to school and by degree desired. Many require at least a bachelor of science in nursing prior to enrollment because this program fulfills many of the hands-on training requirements necessary to prepare students for the rigors of a distance-based graduate education in nursing.
When choosing an advanced-degree program (master’s or doctoral) to become an APRN, students should consider the following:
- Accreditation Status – When choosing an APRN school, students are strongly encouraged to verify the schools’ accreditation status and state authorization status. There are two main accreditation organizations for nursing programs in the US: the ACEN approves programs from the undergraduate diploma to the clinical doctorate level; and the CCNE approves programs from the bachelor’s level through advanced degrees.
- State Authorization – ‘State authorization’ status is crucial for students residing in a state other than the one in which their online program is based. Due to differing legislation regarding the provision of distance-based education, there is sometimes a mismatch between a student’s state of residence and the state in which the program is located.
- Program Cost – In Ohio, students can expect to spend an average of $730 per credit- and graduate programs can be 35-50 credits to completion. This figure is for Ohio state residents – out of state, and international students can expect a higher tuition. Additionally, the cost of books, supplies, and university fees are not included.
- Program Length – If starting out with an ADN in nursing, it can take around two years to earn a BSN. Many graduate programs require a minimum of a BSN before enrollment. Some schools offer bridge options for ADN nurses, and students needing a BSN can take advantage of available online or classroom programs. BSN to MSN can take two to three years, and BSN to DNP can take about three to four years. These time frames are based on full-time status.
- Internship/Externship Opportunities – APRN tracks in graduate programs require a specific number of clinical hours for the student to gain essential advanced-practice nursing skills (usually between 500-600 hours of supervised externship).
- Online/Campus Options – Online or distance learning is the wave of the future. Online learning allows for flexibility with regards to traveling as well as flexibility with learning methods. There are seven accredited schools with 51 – 100% online learning available. Students are encouraged to research each school of interest to determine the campus visitation requirements (if any).
A full list of APRN schools in Ohio can be found here.
Strength in Numbers
OAAPN is the largest and only full-service statewide professional membership organization for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses of all specialties within Ohio. Members of OAAPN receive numerous benefits, including:
- Timely news & legislative updates. Keep your finger on the pulse of your profession by receiving OAAPN’s perspective on state and national news, industry trends, and legislative activity in your inbox and through our Members-Only Forum.
- Access to OAAPN legal counsel. Through the “Ask OAAPN” program, members can send questions about their practice and receive vetted responses from our legal counsel.
- Support APRN Modernization in Ohio. OAAPN is preparing to take the next legislative step towards removing the remaining barriers to APRN practice in Ohio. Your membership dues support our efforts on behalf of all Ohio APRNs.
- Access to continuing education. Members receive reduced rates for regional and statewide meetings that offer opportunities to complete programs for CE credit.
- Opportunities to Network & Engage. Members have the opportunity to connect and network with fellow APRNs by attending events throughout the state, engaging in volunteer opportunities, and networking with other members online.
There are a variety of membership levels, including a non-voting student membership that is open to those individuals enrolled in a program for initial certification as a CNS, CRNA, CNM or CNP.