Quote from ec7855
First off, I want to thank you for all the advice you've shared on this forum. It's not very often I notice someone who's as eager to help as yourself. In regards to post-masters work, how does it work exactly? Can you start by earning one masters, say FNP, then take post-masters work to qualify for ACNP? It looks like a lot of the curriculum overlaps so is that how the post-masters work was designed? I'm just a little confused and don't want to live in BFE for 3 years because that's the only place that offers my desired degree. Let me know, bud. Thanks.
Sorry, I didn't see this question til now. You certainly can get another specialty NP track, i.e, FNP then ACNP later by doing a post-master's certificate program. Some schools do not specifically say in their websites that they offer a post-master's program but I bet you any school would let you enroll later to complete the course requirements for another NP track...it will just depend on the time frame required to finish those courses.
University of Michigan certainly is one of those schools with a well laid out website that shows the exact curriculum for each of the NP tracks. In fact, their ACNP and FNP program share the same core courses (i.e., nursing theories, research, statistics, health policy) as well as Pathophysiology and Advanced Health Assessment. However, between the two programs, FNP requires more credits - 59 vs 46 in the ACNP.
That said, if I were torn between FNP and ACNP, I would probably opt for FNP first unless your mind is set on just doing acute care from the get go. I finished an acute care program because that's what I knew I wanted to do. If you are flexible (i.e., like work in primary care settings, don't mind some hospital rounding, have a desire for urgent care, don't really care for critical care), FNP is perfectly acceptable. And it is true, no doubt, that there are more opportunities for FNP.
Another thing to bear in mind is whether your future situation could accommodate the kind of time commitment required to do a post-master's NP certificate program while working as a nurse practitioner. The good news is that we've had a few post-master's ACNP students in our ICU, some are previously trained as CNS, some FNP, some ANP and working in those roles. They are saying it's hard to juggle a full time NP position and going to school again but definitely doable.