How To Become A Pain Management Nurse Practitioner icon

How To Become A Pain Management Nurse Practitioner

| NurseJournal Staff

There are multiple routes to take for certification as a Pain Management Nurse, and although you can acquire this position through a college or hospital training diploma program, most nursing students will complete either an Associate Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in order to meet the qualifying guidelines for this career path.

The Different Education Pathways

You can become a pain management nurse using the following educational methods:
  • Undergraduate. A one to three year diploma program in nursing can be sought through either a hospital training program or a community college. This is not an acceptable level of education in some states, but many will consider it for eligibility into an RN related field.
  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). An Associate Degree in Nursing takes approximately 2 years to complete, and can be earned through a college or university setting. Associate degree nursing students can also choose to continue into an accelerated Bachelor of Science if they wish to upgrade their academic standing.
  • Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Nursing (BSN). A Bachelor of Science in nursing is a 4-year university level program consisting of a variety of coursework. This program also includes a hands-on portion of training in which nurses are required to complete time in a real hospital or other medical facility.
To successfully complete this program, students must gain:
  • A basic knowledge of nursing practices.
  • Two years of foundation courses such as biology, microbiology, anatomy, chemistry, human growth, human development, psychology, nutrition, and organic chemistry.
  • Two years of medically inclined credit courses such as geriatrics care, infectious disease, mental and psychiatric health, infant care, and community health
  • A cultural, economic, and social understanding of the health of a community.
Graduate level. There are three graduate level options for those who are interested in working as a pain management nurse. These options are:
  • Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN); a Master of Science in nursing degree is not an educational requirement of a pain management nurse, but taking additional coursework at a graduate level can lead to advancements in salary and more responsibility in a medical facility. This program usually takes 2-3 years after the completion of an undergraduate degree, and includes a project, which often includes partnership with a colleague or member of the nursing staff.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD); A PhD provides further advancement in the area of pain management nursing and leads to more educational roles in the medical system.
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP); Taking 1-3 years to complete after additional training and completion of the NCLEX national licensure examination, a Doctor of Nursing Practice can lead pain management nurses into more research oriented roles with an increased chance at greater pay.

Online Options

Online learning is usually possible at the graduate degree level, although many online colleges and universities have been making changes so that online learning can be used as a tool for undergraduate courses as well.

Getting Licensed

According to Discover Nursing, to work as a pain management nurse in the United States, or in any other field of nursing, all students must complete the NCLEX national licensure examination after their initial undergraduate education is complete. This certification allows nurses to work in their chosen field of practice. In the case of a pain management nurse, additional training is required in the form of 2,000 hours or 3 years of experience as a registered nurse, and the passing of the RN-BC certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The credentialing center and other nursing certification corporations govern the rules revolving around the certification and licensure of nurses. Some of the things they do include:
  • Choosing the specifics on requirements nursing students must meet to become licensed in a state or the country. Making these decisions often comes down to a student’s educational background and experience.
  • Selecting parameters of nursing practices as governed by state Nurse Practice Acts.
  • Inflicting disciplinary action on nurses who do not abide by the regulations of their certification.

Prerequisites Toward Studying

Pain management nurses begin their education with the same requirements as those attained by all registered nurses, with additional training, experience, and certification depending on state. There are also requirements to gaining access to this form of education. These include:
  • Approved SAT and ACT scores.
  • A GPA rating between 2.0 and 3.25 as a minimum.
  • Math subjects earned at particular levels depending on the level of education being entered into.
  • Science subjects earned at particular levels depending on the level of education being entered into.
  • At least four years of English related courses.
  • Two years of language related courses.

Program Accreditation

To work as a pain management nurse in the United States, all degrees and diplomas earned must be gained through an accredited educational facility, such as those listed in The United States Department of Education, The Accreditation Commission for the Education of Nurses, or The American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Getting Certified As A Pain Management Nurse

To begin working as a pain management nurse, you must apply for your certification and licensure, the regulations for this application may vary by state. These regulations usually come in 4 categories. These categories have been established nationally and are the following:
  1. An environment that is safe and effective for patient care.
  2. Psychological integrity found through management and coping methods.
  3. A focus on prevention medicine as seen in health maintenance and promotion.
  4. Physiological integrity covered through physical comfort and care of a patient.
For more information, visit: The National Council For State Boards Of Nursing The American Nurses Credentialing Center

The Cost of Becoming a Pain Management Nurse

Tuition for pain management nursing will vary depending on which avenue of education you choose to go down. Associate degrees and diplomas tend to cost less per credit hour than a baccalaureate degree, but this can also change depending on state and academic institution. For more specific answers regarding fees and finances, contact an admissions officer or view the university web page.

Scholarships for Pain Management Nurses

Pain Management Nurses can gain financial assistance through a number of methods, one of which being scholarships.

Working as a Pain Management Nurse

This advanced practice nurse cares for patients experiencing acute or chronic pain. After Pain Management Nurses assess the source of pain, they work with other nurses and doctors to coordinate treatment and care. Pain Management Nurses are also teachers, showing patients how to help manage their own pain, their medications and alternative ways to relieve their pain. Pain management nurses specialize in pain relief through medication and other therapeutic techniques. According to, the average salary for pain management nurses falls in the area of 46,818 to $67,106 per year. This number can change depending on experience, education level, and state of practice. As a specialized field of registered nursing, pain management nurses are likely to see an increase of growth averaging 19% by the year 2022. This may be due to many reasons, including:
  • The aging population of the country and a need for more staff in nursing homes, private-in-home care, and geriatric nurses.
  • Rising rates of obesity have cause more diseases and illness which require care, such as diabetes.
  • More Americans are taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act, which means more citizens accessing medical care.
  • Acute care practices are becoming limited in hospitals, making in-home-care and nursing home staff indispensable.
This outlook for pain management nurses is higher than the average predicted job growth rate for many other industries and other professions in the medical world as well. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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