What Are the Different Types of APRNs?

What Are the Different Types of APRNs?

An advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) pursues a fulfilling career due to their ability to influence the lives of patients and their families positively. There are several types of APRNs that are crucial to the systemic functioning of the healthcare system. Many nurses are necessary due to great demand, but they also help improve emergency care and affordability, provide greater options, and reduce waiting time.

APRNs help patients by diagnosing illnesses, diseases, and conditions which they support through proper treatment and wellness plans. The best part is that it has become possible to get a nursing degree online just like you can get a master of education online, which means you can study from the comfort of your home and even work alongside. Wish to know more about APRNs and their various types? You are in the right spot. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)?

An APRN has the right education and skills to provide similar patient care as a physician. There are various types of APRNs, but the main role of each is to diagnose ailments, prescribe medication, create treatment plans, provide education, conduct follow-ups, and perform research.

Based on their specialization, an APRN can treat patients from all ethnicities, backgrounds, gender, and age groups, including newborns and the elderly. An APRN can work at a hospital or specialty clinic.

How to Become an APRN

A registered nurse (RN) has a bachelor’s degree. To become an APRN, they must get a graduate-level or advanced education like a doctorate or master’s degree. Additionally,  they may need certain licenses and certifications to pursue a career as an APRN based on the state they wish to practice in.


Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are similar to APRNs, but both are separate healthcare professions. Some even use the two terms in place of each other. NPs and APRNs are highly valued in the healthcare sector and have multiple responsibilities apart from patient care. Both an APRN and NP will need licensing and certifications to pursue their careers legally. Some differences include:

  • An NP is a type of APRN, and they are primary care providers that often work in clinics
  • An APRN can pick one out of four specializations. They are also primary care providers but can work in a hospital

What Are the Different Types of APRNs?

There are four types of APRNs. Each specialization differs due to job responsibilities, but base job roles include knowing basic technical and soft nursing skills. Technical skills include knowledge of equipment, tools, education, and certification. Soft skills refer to critical thinking, decision-making, and clear communication.

All APRNs require multiple years of schooling and education. Obtaining an MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) or DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) is necessary. Once students graduate, they must move on to certification exams for specialization and obtain licensure before practicing. Let's look at the four types of APRNs in more detail below:

1) NP (Nurse Practitioner)

NPs can treat and diagnose patients independently without the supervision of a physician in most states. NPs can specialize in one of the following:

NNP (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner)

NNPs or Neonatal Nurse Practitioners treat premature infants or complications like heart issues or other conditions. NNPs work in outpatient clinics and hospitals due to the high-risk conditions they treat. They also support parents so they can care for the child even after discharge.

PNP (Pediatric Nurse Practitioner)

PNPs treat both young adults and infants. They conduct physical examinations, treat illnesses, diagnose conditions, and monitor child development. They also ensure a child meets all growth and age milestones. They play a critical role in parental education and how they can provide care for basic illnesses and injuries at home.

FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner)

FNPs treat patients from all age groups, including children, adults, and the elderly. Their role is similar to physicians, who perform routine checkups to diagnose illnesses and injuries. They have full authority to diagnose, offer prescriptions, and treat ailments without the supervision of a physician in most states. FNPs may work in a doctor's office, emergency room, or healthcare center/clinic.

ENP (Emergency Nurse Practitioner)

ENPs work in urgent care or emergency rooms to treat traumatic and minor injuries or illnesses. They often work in stressful environments alongside other staff and have the ability to multitask.

PMHNP (Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner)

These nurses treat patients with mental illnesses, addiction, and other mental disorders, including eating disorders, depression, schizophrenia, PTSD, and anxiety.

AGNP (Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner)

An AGNP often caters to geriatric patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and outpatient clinics. They educate and treat chronic conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. These nurses work long-term with their patients and may even assist them in daily tasks like walking and bathing.

2) CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist)

Clinical Nurse Specialists diagnose and treat patients through process improvements. They use analytical, consultation, and training skills to provide indirect patient care. These specialists also contribute to research, reduce costs, and increase patient satisfaction in hospital stays and treatment. A CNS can further specialize to become a:

  • PCNS (Pediatric clinical nurse specialist)
  • NCNS (Neonatal clinical nurse specialist)
  • AGCNS (Adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist)

3) CNM (Certified Nurse-Midwives)

CNMs help improve women's healthcare access and quality during pregnancy and childbirth. They educate women on nutrition, pregnancy care, and family planning. Midwives perform routine checkups, offer support during labor and delivery, and provide prenatal care.

4) CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist)

CRNAs are advanced nursing specialists that are in great demand in rural areas within the United States. They administer anesthesia to patients undergoing surgery or traumatic conditions. CRNAs advise and create separate anesthesia plans for all patients.


If you wish to become a nurse, the good news is that there are quite a few specialties you can choose from based on your interest. The best part is that not only are APRNs in great demand, but they also pursue promising careers with immense job satisfaction and hefty salaries.