Exploring Non-Clinical Career Paths for Nurse Practitioners

Last Updated/Verified: May 8, 2024

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice registered nurses who are crucial to healthcare delivery. While many NPs work in clinical settings, such as hospitals and clinics, numerous non-clinical career paths are available to them. These non-clinical roles can offer NPs opportunities to utilize their skills and knowledge in different ways, often with the potential for career advancement and higher earning potential. Here are some of the top non-clinical career options for those with nurse practitioner degrees, along with the education levels typically required for these roles.

1. Nursing Education

NPs interested in teaching and academia can pursue a career in nursing education. This role involves teaching nursing students in academic settings, developing curriculum, and conducting research. A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is typically required to become a nursing educator. Some positions may also require certification as a nurse educator.

2. Healthcare Administration

NPs with strong leadership and organizational skills may find a rewarding career in healthcare administration. Healthcare administrators oversee the operations of healthcare facilities, manage staff, develop and implement policies, and ensure regulatory compliance. A Master of Health Administration (MHA) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a healthcare concentration is often required for these roles.

RELATED: Find out about other Nurse Practitioner Careers.

3. Health Informatics

Health informatics is a rapidly growing field that focuses on using technology to manage and analyze healthcare data. NPs interested in health informatics can work as clinical informaticists, helping to design and implement electronic health record (EHR) systems, analyze data to improve patient outcomes, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. A Master’s degree in Health Informatics or a related field is typically required for these positions.

4. Pharmaceutical Industry

NPs can also pursue careers in the pharmaceutical industry, working for pharmaceutical companies in roles such as medical affairs, clinical research, and drug safety. These roles involve collaborating with healthcare providers, conducting clinical trials, and ensuring the safety and efficacy of medications. A Master’s degree in Nursing or a related field is often required, along with relevant certifications and experience.

5. Public Health

NPs interested in population health and disease prevention may find a career in public health rewarding. Public health NPs work to improve the health of communities through initiatives such as health education, disease surveillance, and policy development. A Master of Public Health (MPH) or a similar degree is typically required for these roles.

6. Health Policy

NPs can also pursue careers in health policy, working for government agencies, non-profit organizations, or healthcare advocacy groups. These roles involve advocating for healthcare policy changes, analyzing healthcare legislation, and working to improve access to care for underserved populations. A Master’s degree in Public Health, Public Policy, or a related field is often required.

7. Consulting

NPs with strong analytical and problem-solving skills may find a career in healthcare consulting fulfilling. Healthcare consultants work with healthcare organizations to improve efficiency, quality of care, and financial performance. A Master’s degree in Nursing, Business Administration, or a related field is typically required, along with relevant certifications and experience.

Nurse practitioners have various non-clinical career options, ranging from nursing education to healthcare administration to public health. By pursuing advanced degrees and certifications in these fields, NPs can expand their career opportunities and positively impact the healthcare industry.

Judy Daniels, MSN, RN, AGPCNP-BC