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Career and Education Opportunities for Nurse Practitioners in Houston, Texas

If you want to be a nurse practitioner, the Houston, Texas area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 3,370 jobs for nurse practitioners in Texas and this is projected to grow 30% to about 4,390 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for nurse practitioners are expected to grow by about 13.0%. In general, nurse practitioners provide advanced nursing care and treatment to patients.

A person working as a nurse practitioner can expect to earn about $30 hourly or $63,760 annually on average in Texas and about $31 per hour or $65,880 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for nurse practitioners are better than earnings in the general category of Nursing in Texas and better than general Nursing category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: family practice certified advanced registered nurse practitioner, surgical nurse practitioner, and family practice nurse practitioner.

There are eighty-one schools of higher education in the Houston area, including three within twenty-five miles of Houston where you can get a degree to start your career as a nurse practitioner. The most common level of education for nurse practitioners is a Master's degree. You can expect to spend about six years training to become a nurse practitioner if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Nurse Practitioner

In general, nurse practitioners provide advanced nursing care and treatment to patients. They also perform physical examinations, order diagnostic tests, develop treatment plans and prescribe drugs or other therapies.

Nurse practitioners prescribe medication dosages and frequencies on the basis of patients' characteristics such as age and gender. They also recommend diagnostic or therapeutic interventions with attention to safety and efficacy. Equally important, nurse practitioners have to read current literature, talk with colleagues, and participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in nursing. They are often called upon to confer with or refer patients to appropriate specialists when conditions exceed the scope of practice or expertise. They are expected to diagnose or treat complex, unstable or emergency conditions in collaboration with other health care providers as needed. Finally, nurse practitioners advocate for accessible health care that minimizes environmental health risks.

Every day, nurse practitioners are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation.

It is important for nurse practitioners to analyze and interpret patients' histories or diagnostic data to evolve appropriate diagnoses. They are often called upon to maintain complete and detailed records of patients' health care plans and prognoses. They also design treatment plans on the basis of scientific rationale, standards of care, and professional practice guidelines. They are sometimes expected to prescribe medications on the basis of efficacy and cost as legally authorized. Somewhat less frequently, nurse practitioners are also expected to perform routine or annual physical examinations.

Nurse practitioners sometimes are asked to diagnose or treat chronic health care problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. They also have to be able to schedule follow-up visits to track patients or evaluate health or illness care and recommend interventions to modify behavior associated with health risks. And finally, they sometimes have to treat or refer patients for primary care conditions such as headaches, hypertension, urinary tract infections, upper respiratory infections, and dermatological conditions.

Like many other jobs, nurse practitioners must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Houston include:

  • Licensed Practical Nurse. Care for ill, injured, or disabled persons in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
  • Physician Assistant. Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.
  • Registered Nurse. Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required. Includes advance practice nurses such as: nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. Advanced practice nursing is practiced by RNs who have specialized formal, post-basic education and who function in highly autonomous and specialized roles.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Nurse Practitioner Training

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston - Houston, TX

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 7000 Fannin, Suite 1200, Houston, TX 77030. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is a small university located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 3,865 students. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has a master's degree program in Family Practice Nurse/Nurse Practitioner which graduated forty-nine students in 2008.

The University of Texas Medical Branch - Galveston, TX

The University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Blvd, Galveston, TX 77555-0129. The University of Texas Medical Branch is a small university located in Galveston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,350 students. The University of Texas Medical Branch has a master's degree program in Family Practice Nurse/Nurse Practitioner which graduated fifty-two students in 2008.

Houston Baptist University - Houston, TX

Houston Baptist University, 7502 Fondren Rd, Houston, TX 77074-3298. Houston Baptist University is a small university located in Houston, Texas. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,564 students and an admission rate of 46%. Houston Baptist University has a master's degree program in Family Practice Nurse/Nurse Practitioner.

CERTIFICATIONS

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: AACN Certification Corporation has launched the ACNPC, an advanced practice certification examination for Acute Care Nurse Practitioners.

For more information, see the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses website.

Certified Health Fitness Specialist: The ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist (HFS) is a degreed health and fitness professional qualified to pursue a career in university, corporate, commercial, hospital, and community settings.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist: Becoming ACSM Certified as an Exercise Specialistsays a lot about you.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Long-Term Care: Long-Term Care certification is comprehensive in that it covers the entire life-span, from cradle to grave, for people that are chronically ill.

For more information, see the National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service, Inc. website.

Orthopaedic Technologist Certified: The Orthopaedic Technologist Certified (OTC) are those individuals that have demonstrated the knowledge and skills needed to work as an Orthopaedic Technologist Certified and who have passed the National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Technologists Certification Examination.

For more information, see the National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Technololgists website.

Diplomate in Acupuncture: The NCCAOM has established three routes of eligibility for certification in Acupuncture.

For more information, see the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine website.

Diplomate in Asian Bodywork Therapy: It is a considerable professional achievement to earn the designation Diplomate (NCCAOM).

For more information, see the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine website.

Diplomate in Oriental Medicine: Earning a credential from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) represents a significant professional achievement.

For more information, see the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine website.

Nuclear Cardiology Technologist: Professional certification is a vital component of a successful career.

For more information, see the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas photo by Hequals2henry

Houston is located in Harris County, Texas. It has a population of over 2,242,193, which has grown by 14.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Houston, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Houston are valued at $173,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 3,684 new homes were constructed in Houston, down from 6,035 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Houston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 27.0% of Houston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Houston is 8.0%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Houston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church, 34th Temple Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Houston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Houston is home to the Champion Rod and Gun Club and the Independence Heights Residential Historic District as well as Hermann Park and Hennessey Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Plaza Shopping Center, Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center and Meyerland Shopping Center. Visitors to Houston can choose from Capital Inn, Bradford Homesuites - Houston Galleria and Best Western Fountainview Inn and Suites for temporary stays in the area.