What is the Average Age of a Nurse Practitioner?


Written By: Kasee Wiesen DNP, APRN, FNP-C


Are you a nurse considering an advanced degree—specifically, do you want to become a nurse practitioner but have a couple of concerns? Are you wondering if you are too old to advance your education and pursue a new career path? Or are you nervous you are too young and won’t be taken seriously? Fear not—over 235,000 licensed nurse practitioners in the United States are of all ages.

So, what is the average age of a nurse practitioner in the United States? Below I will answer this question and provide more information regarding the average age of a nurse practitioner in the U.S.


WHAT IS THE AVERAGE AGE OF A NURSE PRACTITIONER CURRENTLY WORKING IN THE NATION?


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 235,000 licensed nurse practitioners in the United States. The average age of a nurse practitioner is 43.4 years old, but the nurse practitioner age range starts between 20 and 24 years to 65 years old and over. Most nurse practitioners are between 35 and 44 years old, equaling almost 39% of all nurse practitioners in the United States. This age bracket is followed by NPs between 45 years and 54 years old, making up just over 23% of all nurse practitioners. Roughly 20% of NPs are between 25 and 34 years old, and just under 15% of NPs are between 55 and 64 years old. 4% of NPs are 65 or older, and less than 1% are 20 to 24 years old.

Age Range 16 to 19 years 20 to 24 years 25 to 34 years 35 to 44 years 45 to 54 years 55 to 64 years 65 years and over Average Age
Number of Nurse Practitioners 0 1,077 45,216 91,508 54,905 33,373 9,689 43.4
Percent 0.00% 0.46% 19.27% 38.99% 23.39% 14.22% 4.13%
(Source: U.S.US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


1. What Is The Youngest Age To Be A Nurse Practitioner?


The youngest age to be a nurse practitioner is 22–saying you follow a relatively traditional path. A person would achieve this by applying to an associate's RN program at 17 years, which takes two years on average to complete. Next, apply to an RN to BSN program, which takes 18 to 24 months to complete—totaling 3.5 years to 4 years to get your BSN. Once you have your BSN, you can apply to an MSN NP program which takes two years—totaling 5.5 to 6 years.


2. What Is The Right Age To Become A Nurse Practitioner?


Is there a better age to become a nurse practitioner? Before I answer this question, it is essential to consider how much longer you plan on working. This is important to ask because you want to ensure the cost of obtaining an MSN or DNP will pay off.

The mid to late 20s is a great time to apply to NP school if you know, as a young nurse, this is the career path you want to pursue. I say this because it gives you time to gain experience as a nurse allowing your skills and knowledge to grow before applying to NP school. It also provides many years for you to work as an NP establishing your practice by joining another practice/organization or starting an independently run clinic. Remember, though—it is never too late to become an NP.


3. How Old Is Too Old To Start Working As A Nurse Practitioner?


No age is too old to start working as a nurse practitioner! If you complete the MSN or DNP program, perform the required job duties, and have a passion for healthcare and becoming an NP, go for it!

However, one thing to keep in mind is how long you plan to practice as an NP after graduation to ensure the cost of schooling makes sense for you and your family.


4. At What Age Do Nurse Practitioners Retire?


Nurse practitioners are practicing at all ages. While the average retirement age in the United States is 62 years old—there are no rules as to when the NP needs to retire, and many continue to work well past 62, especially if they love their job and can complete their duties.


MY FINAL THOUGHTS


After reading the above, I hope you can now answer what the average age of a nurse practitioner is in the United States.

The need for excellent nurse practitioners is high in the United States—indicating a high demand for NPs nationwide. While the average age of a nurse practitioner in the U.S. is 43, nurses are becoming NPs at ages ranging from the early 20s to mid-60s—therefore, regardless of your age, if you want to become an NP and plan on working for the next several years, go for it!


Kasee Wiesen DNP, APRN, FNP-C
Kasee Wiesen is a practicing family nurse practitioner. Her nursing background includes emergency medicine, pediatrics and peri-op. Education is a passion of Kasee’s, and she has taught BSN, RN-BSN and DNP students, and has enjoyed every moment of it!