Is Becoming a WHNP Worth it – (Pros VS. Cons)

Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Are you a registered nurse weighing your options for an advanced career path? Do you enjoy caring for women and find issues related to women’s health interesting? If so, have you considered a career as a women’s health nurse practitioner?

Perhaps you thought of this career but wondered, "Is becoming a WHNP worth it?" That is a normal question and one among many you may ask as you consider options for your career. In this article, I will share information about women's health nurse practitioners, including what it takes to become one, your potential income, and ideas for jobs you may find after earning the degree. As you read on, I will give insight into 25 reasons why becoming a WHNP is worth it and also 7 reasons why it may not be the right career for you. By the time you finish this article, you will have enough information to decide if becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner is the path you want to pursue.


A women's health nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse with a master's or doctorate in nursing who specializes in women's healthcare. WHNPs provide care focused on all aspects of women’s health, including routine and abnormal gynecologic issues, maternal/child nursing, fertility, and other reproductive issues. Women’s health nurse practitioners may work independently or in collaboration with other practitioners or physicians to assess, diagnose and treat women.


Prospective students desiring to become a women’s health nurse practitioner can choose from three degree options, a master's or doctorate in nursing or a post-graduate certificate. If you have an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing, you can decide whether to become a Master of Science in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice specializing in women's health. If you have already earned a master’s or doctorate in nursing, a post-graduate WHNP certificate program may be a good fit for you.


Most WHNP programs take two to five years to complete. This time frame depends on whether you choose an online or on-site program and whether you study full or part-time. For example, Thomas Jefferson University offers an online MSN degree that can be completed in two years. The University of Missouri-Kansas City offers an online doctoral WHNP program that can be completed in three years when studying full-time or five years when studying part-time.


Program costs for WHNPs vary widely. Based on the schools I researched, costs can range from $30,000 to $90,000. For example, The University of Cincinnati’s MSN women’s health nurse practitioner program costs $746 per credit for in-state students and $761 for out-of-state students. The program features a 49-credit curriculum, which means tuition costs between $36,554 and $37,289. Tuition at Duke University School of Nursing is $1,984 per credit hour. Since the WHNP program curriculum is 45 credit hours, the total tuition cost would be about $89,280.


WHNP programs typically require the following admission requirements.

• A bachelor's degree in nursing
• Possess an active, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse
• A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
• Completion of all prerequisite coursework
• Provide a Statement of Intent
• Prepare an Admissions Essay
• Submit 2 or 4 Letters of Professional Recommendation
• Provide a Professional Resume or Curriculum Vitae
• Submit copies of official transcripts from any college or university where credits were earned

While these are the typical requirements for admission into a WHNP program, every program is different. For example, some programs offer exceptions to students without a bachelor's in nursing or provide pathways to obtain a BSN degree before beginning the program.


(The following are the 25 reasons why becoming a WHNP is worth it in 2023.)

REASON #1: You can elevate your career without switching fields.

One of the top reasons why becoming a WHNP is worth it is because you can advance your nursing career without switching fields. If you love nursing but want to elevate your career and increase your wages, becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner is a great way to do so. You can continue using the foundations of nursing in your work while getting increased job satisfaction and respect.

REASON #2: You can continue to work as you earn your degree.

The process of becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner does not mean you must put your life on hold. Many WHNP programs offer asynchronous, online classes or part-time study so that you can continue to work as you earn your degree.

REASON #3: You will have higher levels of autonomy in your work.

Despite the importance of nurses in the healthcare system, nurses often have little agency in their positions and follow the orders of the lead doctors. Becoming a women's health nurse practitioner is an excellent way to create opportunities for increased independence in your practice. As a WHNP, you can give yourself the autonomy to make your own medical decisions and build your own schedule.

REASON #4: Working as a WHNP is a fulfilling career.

Between having a good work-life balance, a respectable position title, high wages, and job security, there are many things that make becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner worth it. Most women’s health nurse practitioners report feeling a great sense of fulfillment in what they do, with the profession having a high satisfaction rate overall.

REASON #5: You will provide patient-centered care.

As a women’s health nurse practitioner, you will address the individual needs of patients, offering patient-centered care to promote health and wellness. In addition to general nurse practitioner tasks such as performing assessments and prescribing medicine, you will spend valuable time with patients. As you get to know your patients, you can take what you learn about them to develop and implement individualized care plans aimed at meeting their needs. The level of personal attention you can provide to patients is one reason many feel becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner is worth it.

REASON #6: You can work with a wide variety of patients.

As a women's health nurse practitioner, you will work with a wide variety of patients. Your practice will involve the care of women of all ages across the lifespan. Some of your patients may seek routine care for women's health-related issues. Others may need treatment for illness or disorders. Because of the diversity among patients, your job will always be exciting!

REASON #7: You will gain the respect of patients and peers.

Becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner takes time and dedication. Your peers in the healthcare industry understand the hard work it takes to accomplish this goal and will respect you. Patients appreciate having care providers who apply themselves to their specialty and seek knowledgeable providers. Becoming a WHNP will earn you the respect of clients.

REASON #8: You will have a broader scope of practice.

One of the great things about becoming a women's health nurse practitioner is that your scope of practice becomes broader, meaning you can do more with less oversight from supervisors or physicians. You can order tests, prescribe medications, create a medical care plan, and write referrals for your clients to see other professionals if needed.

REASON #9: You can open an independent practice and become your own boss.

One of the biggest reasons why becoming a WHNP is worth it is the potential to open your own practice. Becoming an independent women's health nurse practitioner allows you to be your own boss and run your practice as you see fit. Not only can this be a fulfilling path to take, but it can also be a successful and lucrative one.

REASON #10: You can prescribe medicines to your patients.

As a nurse, it can be frustrating to know how to help someone but not be able to because of your job title. One reason becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner is worth it is that you can prescribe medications. The ability to order medications for patients means you can get patients started on a path to wellness faster than if you had to wait for a physician to review your notes and authorize medication orders.

REASON #11: Your job will look a bit different every day.

As a women’s health nurse practitioner, your job may be different each day. Since you will treat a wide range of female patients across their lifespans, each brings different faces, challenges, health concerns, and rewards. With each new day, you will become engaged and learn, which is one of the top reasons becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner is worth it.

REASON #12: You can take a holistic approach to medicine.

Women’s health nurse practitioners take a holistic approach to patient care. By keeping your patient’s unique needs at the forefront of what you do and addressing their health and wellness as it relates to all aspects of their lives, you can provide personalized care that positively impacts their outcomes.

REASON #13: You will have job security as a WHNP.

One of the biggest reasons why becoming a WHNP is worth it is because of the job security. Healthcare is an industry that will never go away, and the demand for nurse practitioners is increasingly growing. This is especially the case for women's health nurse practitioners, as women are seeking personalized care for their unique health concerns and needs. Graduates of WHNP programs will find plenty of jobs when entering the workforce.

REASON #14: You can make a positive impact on women’s lives.

Many people enter the healthcare field to make a difference in people’s lives. As a women’s health nurse practitioner, you will have the knowledge and skills needed to educate patients, provide individualized care, and offer support as your clients deal with their health issues. The ability to do these things means you can positively impact their healthcare outcomes. The impact you have on your patients’ lives is one of the biggest reasons becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner is worth it.

REASON #15: You can focus on a specialty you are passionate about.

One of the top reasons why becoming a WHNP is worth it is because you get to work in the specialty you love. When your job is focused on something you genuinely care about, it makes work so much easier. Choosing to specialize as a women’s health nurse practitioner takes dedication and hard work, but it also requires a true passion for the work.

REASON #16: Women's health is an engaging and challenging career.

If you are someone who likes to be continually challenged, a career as a women's health nurse practitioner will not disappoint you! As a women's health nurse practitioner, you can take your nursing knowledge to the next level, taking on new responsibilities, caring for and educating patients, and leading teams of healthcare providers. The healthcare field is ever-changing, which means you will have endless opportunities to be challenged and actively engaged in women's healthcare services.

REASON #17: Creating a healthy work/life balance becomes easier.

One of the biggest reasons why becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner is worth it is your new schedule could make it easier to create a good balance between work and personal time. A healthy work/life balance is important to maintain your own physical and mental health. Many WHNPs work in positions that offer typical office hours, which means more time to do things that are important to you without disrupting your personal time.

REASON #18: You can become a traveling women’s health nurse practitioner.

If you want to provide women’s healthcare services and enjoy going to new places and meeting new people, you could become a traveling WHNP. Travel nursing jobs have grown in popularity in recent years, and even more since the COVID-19 pandemic. As a traveling women's health nurse practitioner, you can choose the assignments you want and decline the ones you do not. The biggest benefit, though, is the income! Not only is the pay great, but companies also offer stipends to compensate for your travel and lodging expenses while on assignment. So, if you enjoy traveling and providing care to women, becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner is worth it!

REASON #19: There are many program options, which means you can earn your degree on your terms.

If you want to become a women's health nurse practitioner but also have other responsibilities, such as a job or family, it is still possible to earn your degree. You may choose a part-time WHNP program, which could free more of your time to handle personal obligations. Also, with advances in technology, students are no longer restricted to learning in a brick-and-mortar setting. Instead of moving to another state or across the country, you can choose an online program and earn your degree at a school of your choosing.

REASON #20: You will earn a great income!

One of the biggest reasons why becoming a WHNP is worth it is its earning potential. According to PayScale, the average income for women's health nurse practitioners is more than $98,000 per year. Although that is an excellent income, your earning potential is not capped at $98,000. With continued experience, you can earn a salary that is significantly higher. Additionally, with a degree as a WHNP, you are likely to find jobs that offer excellent benefits packages, which could be worth tens of thousands of dollars! The income and benefits potential with this degree are just a few reasons why pursuing a WHNP career is worth it.

REASON #21: You can teach future nurses!

As a women's health nurse practitioner, you can take your love of nursing and impart some knowledge to future generations of nurses. Whether you earn an MSN or doctorate in nursing as a WHNP, you will have the credentials needed to work as a nursing instructor in graduate and undergraduate nursing programs. As an instructor, you can instill positive values in students and help mold the future of women's healthcare.

REASON #22: You can have more opportunities for job advancement.

Career advancement does not have to stop once you become a women's health nurse practitioner. Your advanced degree in nursing and women's health can create opportunities for you to move into management or administrative positions in various healthcare settings. For example, you may become the director of a women's health facility, Chief Nursing Officer, Director of Nursing, or program director for a college or university nursing program. The opportunities are diverse and endless, which makes becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner worth it.

REASON #23: You can use your knowledge and experience to work in telehealth.

Telehealth is another avenue for giving and receiving healthcare services that has grown tremendously in the last several years. With a degree as a women’s health nurse practitioner, you can provide services to clients remotely. In this role, you will obtain the history of clients, review their current symptoms or complaints and determine if an in-person visit with a practitioner is necessary. The telehealth role is especially appealing to professionals who need to work from home.

REASON #24: Job opportunities are virtually endless!

When it comes to where women's health nurse practitioners work, the opportunities are endless. WHNPs work in traditional settings, such as private practice and offices of other healthcare practitioners or hospitals. Additionally, you may find work in community health centers, fertility clinics, academia, or research, to name a few.

REASON #25: You can use your voice to advocate for patients, staff, and the profession.

One of the top reasons why becoming a WHNP is worth it is because your knowledge, skills, and experience will make you an excellent advocate for clients and the profession. You can use your voice to speak up about important healthcare issues related to women’s health, including health disparities, work conditions, and policies affecting healthcare delivery.


(Now that we have discussed the 25 reasons why becoming a WHNP is worth it, I want to share a few reasons why you could feel becoming a WHNP may not be worth it.)

REASON #1: It can be challenging not to get too emotionally involved.

One of the biggest challenges of being a women’s health nurse practitioner is knowing how to reign in your emotions and not become too involved in your patient’s issues. As a WHNP, you will care for women of all ages who deal with all types of women's health issues. Because the nature of some women's health issues is so sensitive, it is easy to feel emotionally involved or attached to your patients. It is crucial to understand where the lines of professional and personal relationships lie and to be careful not to cross them. If you find it difficult to remain objective and separate personal and professional feelings, you may feel becoming a WHNP is not worth it.

REASON #2: Being a women’s health nurse practitioner can be stressful.

Women's health nurse practitioners deal with a broad range of illnesses, diseases, and other health-related issues. No two clients or disease processes are identical. Many situations you face as a WHNP can be intense. You must find ways to manage stress effectively daily. If you find it difficult to cope with high-stress situations, becoming a women's health nurse practitioner may not be worth it for you.

REASON #3: You cannot fix everyone.

Nurses naturally want to help and heal, which is why most of us choose the profession. As a WHNP, there will be times when, despite your best efforts, you cannot fix your patient’s problems. The disappointment that comes with knowing there is no perfect solution to your patient’s health issues can leave you questioning if becoming a WHNP is worth it.

REASON #4: A WHNP program is time-consuming.

Depending on whether you currently have an associate's degree or bachelor's degree, becoming a women's health nurse practitioner could take two to five years or longer. Attending school full-time could shorten the time it takes you to graduate. However, you must still dedicate significant time to studying, completing assignments and tests, and clinical practicum experiences. If you work full-time or have other obligations, the time required to earn your degree may make you feel a WHNP degree is not worth it.

REASON #5: You will have increased liability.

As a women’s health nurse practitioner, you will be responsible for making major medical decisions in your patients’ care. With this privilege comes increased liability. You will be responsible for mistakes you make personally and could be held responsible for mistakes made with your private practice or those made by the team you supervise. The increased risk of liability is enough to make some people say becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner is not worth it.

REASON #6: You may feel stretched thin.

As rewarding as being a women's health nurse practitioner can be, it is also a demanding job. Depending on where you work, the number of staff, and the patient load, you may have days when it seems like the work is never done. Remember, caring for others requires you to be healthy and well-rested. Know your limits and ask for help when you need it.

REASON #7: Having to break bad news to patients never gets easier.

As a women's health nurse practitioner, you will address all issues of women's health, including routine care, tests, and matters of reproductive health. Despite your best efforts, there will be times when you must break shocking news to clients. No matter how professional your approach is or how much you try to separate personal feelings from professional ones, it can be difficult to bear sad news to patients. The heartache that comes from breaking bad medical news can make you question if being a WHNP is worth it.


One of the most key factors to consider when choosing a career is whether there is a need for the service or product you plan to provide. There is a demand for women’s health nurse practitioners. The following are the three main reasons behind the demand for WHNP degree holders.

1. There is a demand for women-focused healthcare:

Women’s health has been historically underrepresented and under-researched. Women are turning to healthcare providers who specialize in women’s issues to receive the care they deserve. As the demand for women-focused patient care increases, so does the demand for women’s health nurse practitioners.

2. There is an increasing desire for patient-centered care:

In recent years, people have become more interested in taking a holistic approach to their health. This is especially true among the female population. Rather than receiving a diagnosis and medications to treat symptoms, patients want to heal the root of their illness. Because more women are aware of the impact of a patient-centered, holistic approach to care on their overall health, many seek care from practitioners specializing in women’s care. As more women seek care from practitioners specializing in women’s health, the demand for WHNP grows.

3. There is an increased need for fertility experts:

Many people are trying for families later in life. Due to this, there is an increased need for fertility experts who can help older couples prepare for a healthy pregnancy. Fertility clinics across the nation are looking for women’s health nurse practitioners to fill these roles.


The starting salary of new WHNP graduates is $66,050 per year. This salary is equal to a rate of $31.75 per hour, $1,270 weekly, or $5,500 monthly.



The average salary for WHNP graduates is $47.17 per hour, $1,887 weekly, or $8,180 monthly. This pay equals $98,112 per year.



Earning a degree as a women’s health nurse practitioner can cost between $30,000 and $100,000, depending on your current degree level and whether you pursue a master’s or doctoral degree path. When you graduate, you can earn an average income of more than $98,000 annually. The comparison of the cost of the degree to your earning potential is a strong indicator that the cost of a women’s health nurse practitioner degree is worth the return on your investment.


Completing a WHNP program can open the door to many exciting job opportunities. Here are the three best jobs you can get as a women’s health nurse practitioner.

1. Outpatient Care WHNP:

Many women’s health nurse practitioners go on to work in outpatient care because of the work-life balance and low-stress environment. In these settings, you will provide care to women of all ages in a clinic-type setting. Your role may include performing physical exams, ordering routine tests and screenings, providing reproductive health services and health counseling.

2. Fertility WHNP:

Another popular job for women’s health nurse practitioners is a Fertility WHNP. As a fertility WHNP, you will work with women to address issues related to reproduction and fertility. You will assess patients to determine any issues related to fertility and childbearing, offer options for fertility assistance, and educate clients. Some women's health nurse practitioners work in fertility clinics. Others work in general practitioners' offices and provide fertility management and counseling to clients seeking help.

3. Travel Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner:

Travel nurse jobs are growing in popularity. If you enjoy working in different settings, meeting new people and are easily adaptable, a job as a travel WHNP may be a great fit for you. As a travel WHNP, you can choose the settings and locations where you wish to work. This job is quite lucrative as the salary is excellent, plus you will receive a stipend to cover travel and lodging expenses.


Women's health nurse practitioners earn generous incomes. However, you are not limited to one job or role. As a WHNP, there are several ways to add to your earning potential. The following are three tips to help you make more money in this field.

1. Consider opening your own private practice.

One great way to increase your income as a women's health nurse practitioner is by opening your own private practice. Not only is the income potential good when you own your practice, but you can also enjoy other benefits like setting your own hours and choosing your own staff.

2. Become a freelance writer.

An excellent option for increasing your income with a WHNP degree is to do some freelance writing. You may write articles for a popular nursing website, become a contributing author for a nursing magazine or write for a women’s health advice column. One of the awesome things about this option is you can choose the type of content you wish to write and find a niche that aligns with your interests.

3. You can work as a traveling women’s health nurse practitioner.

In a climate of constant healthcare staff shortages, the need for nurse practitioners, like WHNPs, is very high. This is why travel nursing jobs, also known as Locum Tenens, are readily available and pay extremely well. If you do not mind frequently moving and jumping into new situations, you can easily earn six figures as a travel women’s health nurse practitioner.


If an advanced degree specializing in women's healthcare interests you and you want to become a nurse practitioner, you may wonder if becoming a WHNP worth your time and money. With a positive return on investment, excellent job opportunities, and a positive job outlook, I believe pursuing a degree as a WHNP is an excellent choice. If you want to become a women's health nurse practitioner, I encourage you to carefully consider the 25 reasons why becoming a WHNP is worth it and also 7 reasons why it may not be the right career for you featured in this article. Then, take the next steps to find a program that aligns with your goals and go accomplish your goals!


1. What Is The Best Age To Pursue A WHNP Degree?

There is no best age to pursue a WHNP degree. However, most programs require prospective students to have a minimum associate degree in nursing and at least one year of work experience.

2. How Hard Is It To Get Into A WHNP Degree Program?

Admission to WHNP degree programs can be competitive. You can increase your chances of acceptance by having the desired qualifications of a WHNP program applicant, like a bachelor's in nursing, an active nursing license, a minimum GPA Of 3.0, and completed prerequisite work.

3. Do I Need Work Experience To Get Into A WHNP Degree Program?

The work requirements of each program vary. Most WHNP degree programs require applicants to have at least one year of relevant work experience as a registered nurse.

4. What Is The Minimum GPA To Get Into A WHNP Degree Program?

The minimum admission GPA requirement of each WHNP program varies, with most WHNP degree programs requiring applicants to have a cumulative college GPA of 3.0 or higher.

5. Are Online WHNP Degree Programs Worth It?

Online WHNP programs are an excellent option for nurses desiring to earn their degrees but who are unable to commit to on-campus learning. Accredited online women’s health nurse practitioner programs offer the same curriculum as programs offered on campus, which means they are worth the time and financial investment.

6. Are Scholarships And Grants Available For WHNP Degree Programs?

There is a wide range of scholarships and grants available for WHNP degree programs. Many universities with WHNP programs offer need-based financial aid and merit-based scholarships. There is also a variety of third-party scholarships that you can apply for online.

7. Is It Hard To Complete A WHNP Degree?

Completing a WHNP degree program can be challenging. However, your nursing background provides a good foundation for a WHNP program. With a solid commitment to your studies and a good support system, you can overcome the challenges of the programs and succeed.

8. Can WHNP Students Have A Life?

A WHNP degree program can be time-consuming. However, with good time management, WHNP students can still have a social life. Scheduling downtime into your schedule can actually benefit your studies by preventing burnout.

9. Can I Work Part-Time And Successfully Complete The WHNP Degree Program?

It is possible to work part-time and successfully complete a WHNP degree program. Many programs allow students to enroll in classes part-time to accommodate their busy schedules.

10. Can I Work Full-Time And Successfully Complete The WHNP Degree Program?

It is possible to work full-time and successfully complete the WHNP degree program. Depending on the demands of your job and your personal obligation, you may find enrolling in school part-time while working full-time is a good option.

11. Do Students Fail In WHNP Degree Programs?

WHNP degree programs can be challenging, and sometimes students fail. However, failing a WHNP program can be avoided. Keep an open line of communication with your instructors and academic advisors to address any issues before they become problematic. Also, create a schedule with plenty of time for studying and completing assignments, as it is easier to stay on track than to catch up once you fall behind.

12. Will I Ever Regret Getting A WHNP Degree?

If you have dreams of becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner, you will likely not regret pursuing a WHNP degree.

13. How Much Does A WHNP Graduate Make Per Hour?

On average, WHNP graduates make $47.17 per hour. Pay can vary based on location and experience.


14. How Much Does A WHNP Graduate Make Per Year?

On average, WHNP graduates make $98,112 per year.


15. Will WHNP Graduates Be Paid Less In The Future?

Employment opportunities for nurse practitioners are expected to grow by 40% from 2021 to 2031. The projected job outlook suggests WHNP will be more likely to make more money in the future instead of being paid less.

16. Are All WHNPs Successful In Their Careers?

As with any career, not all WHNPs are successful in their careers. Success or lack thereof is subjective and determined by individual effort. Therefore, do not estimate your likelihood of success based on someone else’s performance. If you truly want to become a WHNP and work to apply yourself, you can succeed in this career.

17. Are WHNPs Happy With Their Jobs?

Women’s health nurse practitioners generally report high job satisfaction. According to PayScale, the role of women’s health nurse practitioner scored 4 out of 5 in the job satisfaction category.

18. Can A WHNP Become Rich?

It is possible for women’s health nurse practitioners to have a lucrative career and create substantial financial wealth. Some career paths pay more, including WHNPs in private practice or travel WHNPs. Careful financial planning and investing are excellent ways to boost your earning and establish long-term financial well-being.

19. What Are Some Of The Best WHNP Degree Alternatives?

There are several alternatives to a women's health nurse practitioner degree. A few popular choices include Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, and Family Nurse Practitioner.

Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).