How to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Alaska - AK

The remote nature of Alaska's geography also plays a role in the availability of jobs. There is increased need for medical professionals who bring their services to patients in remote outlying areas. In these instances getting to work may involve a ferry ride or even a plane trip!

To become a nurse practitioner (NP) in Alaska, both a nursing license and an Advanced Nurse Practitioner License (ANP) from the Alaska Board of Nursing is required.  An ANP is defined by Alaska statute as “a registered nurse authorized to practice in the state who, because of specialized education and experience, is certified to perform acts of medical diagnosis and the prescription and dispensing of medical, therapeutic, or corrective measures under regulations adopted by the board.” In addition, a DEA permit to prescribe controlled substances will allow access to more jobs and more comprehensive patient care. Many employers are interested in NPs with clinical experience.

There are variety of settings in which Alaska’s NPs can find work.  Nurse practitioner jobs are available in big city hospitals including the 310-bed Providence Alaska Medical Center or the Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage, or even the smaller 46-bed Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldatna. There are 32 hospitals and medical centers in Alaska, including one that’s located above the Arctic Circle. Fairbanks, north of Denali, has the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, which provides critical support to a wide geographic area.  For NPs looking for work with a military population there is a hospital at Elmendorf Air Force Base caring for soldiers and their families, as well as the Alaska VA Healthcare Hospital for veterans in Anchorage.

Ther are also options for two-week on/ two-week off jobs working near the oil rigs, which would allow ample time to explore this majestic area. Other’s may choose to work in small Native American tribal health clinics., or in the rain forest of Sitka about 60 miles south of the capital of Juneau and surrounded by national parks.

Private practice is also an option with generous financial incentives including help with housing when working in under served areas. Home health care, hospice care and nursing homes also offer possibilities for employment.  

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2010-11 predicts that the outlook for jobs in nursing will continue be excellent due to an aging population, technological advances and emphasis on preventative care.  Nationally, they predict a need for 581,000 new jobs in the nursing profession in addition to hundreds of thousands needed to replace retirees between 2008 and 2018.  Hospital jobs will not see as much growth as  clinics as more work is being done on an outpatient basis. Nurses, including NPs, who can provide this more advanced care, will be at an advantage.

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