What Prerequisite Courses Will You Need for Your NP Program?

So, you’ve decided you want to become a nurse practitioner.  Now let the overwhelming process of applying to a nurse practitioner program begin!  Before you can apply to almost every nurse practitioner program, you will likely need to take some prerequisite courses.  Which courses are most commonly required?  Where should you go to complete these requirements?

Why do nurse practitioner programs require prerequisite courses?

Well, your background in art history or medieval studies won’t help you much in the realm of patient care.  NP programs want to be sure all their students are on the same page, that they are all entering the NP program with a similar level of basic knowledge in a few subjects.  No need to worry, you can usually complete these required courses relatively quickly and inexpensively.  You can also select a nurse practitioner program based on the number of prerequisite courses they require if you are concerned.

Which Prerequisite Courses Will I Need to Take?

Every nurse practitioner program has a unique list of required prerequisite courses.  These required classes are especially important if you are considering attending a ‘bridge’ or accelerated program as the list of prereq’s will likely be longer.  Here are the most commonly required courses:

  1. Anatomy and Physiology (2 Semesters)
  2. Microbiology
  3. Statistics

Some schools require a longer list of prerequisite courses.  You may consider taking these additional but not as commonly required courses.

  1. Nutrition
  2. Lifespan Development
  3. Psychology

“Wait, I don’t have to take and ‘hard’ science courses to become a nurse practitioner?”  No, not usually.  Some schools require completion of a chemistry and/ or a biology course but not all.

Where Should I Complete My Prerequisite Coursework?

Many community colleges and online universities offer these courses in convenient formats so you can complete your prerequisites quickly and easily.  You will likely be able to find a school that allows you to complete these courses in evening hours or online so they do not disrupt your other work and school commitments. Community colleges and online programs will also be the most inexpensive way to complete your prerequisite requirements.

Make sure you view the specific prerequisite requirements for the schools you wish to apply.  You don’t want any surprises after sending in your application!  If you aren’t sure where you want to go for your nurse practitioner degree, start with the list of most commonly required prereq’s above and go from there once you have narrowed down your list of prospective NP programs.