Doctor of Nursing Practice


Career exploration guide

This guide provides tools to help you explore careers related to this specialization. Use this information to start researching this field and the opportunities in it. This research can help you make a transition into positions related to this field. Start by gaining an overview of this program and learning about the field, jobs, and employment settings that are related.

About this Program

The accredited Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program is designed for master’s-prepared nurses who want to move into administrative positions, nurse administrators who want to expand their leadership responsibilities, or nurse leaders who want to design and implement health care delivery programs. The curriculum emphasizes effective health care delivery; patient advocacy; and health care policy development, implementation, and reform. Throughout the program, learners gain competency in assessing and applying theory, building therapeutic relationships, designing and implementing therapeutic interventions, and leading and managing in the health care environment. Upon successful completion of this degree program, learners are prepared to apply the knowledge and skills needed to meet diverse patient needs and improve health care delivery. The DNP degree program is not designed to prepare advanced practice registered nurses for roles as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, or certified nurse anesthetists. Registered nurses who have a master’s degree in nursing or those who have a master’s degree in a field other than nursing may pursue Capella’s DNP.

Skills gained through this program:

This program was designed to help you gain the following skills related to this field:

  • Employ a science-based theoretical foundation to develop and evaluate new practices and approaches to health care delivery
  • Lead and create health and care delivery models for quality improvement
  • Evaluate and analyze theory and research-based methods to improve the reliability of health care practices and outcomes
  • Lead planning and implementation of health care technologies for quality improvement appropriate for specialized areas of practice
  • Develop, implement, and advocate for health care policy that meets the needs of specific populations
  • Employ interprofessional collaboration skills to improve patient and population health
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate evidence-based health promotion, prevention, and intervention service delivery models for individuals, aggregates, and populations
  • Apply the advanced communication skills needed to create scholarly products and lead in professional and academic endeavors

Explore this Field

Professional associations, social networks, and other industry-specific resources can provide a wealth of information about a specific field or industry, including best practices, career overviews, trends, and access to industry professionals. By reviewing website information, attending events, and connecting with people in the field, you can deepen your knowledge about the field. 

Professional Associations

Industry Information

Explore Jobs and Employers

In addition to exploring the field, take some time to research specific jobs and employment settings related to this program. Consider how these jobs and settings fit with your experience, skills, interests, and values. This is a sample list of job titles and employment settings related to this field. To learn more, review job postings and talk with people who have these roles or work in these settings. You can find these professionals through LinkedIn, family, friends, schools, employers, and community groups. Spend time researching your industry and prospective employers to decide whether this type of degree will help advance your career.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Nurse manager
  • Full-time nursing faculty
  • Adjunct or part-time nursing faculty
  • Director of nursing
  • Chief nursing officer

Employment settings to explore

  • Ambulatory care office
  • Hospital
  • College or university
  • Health insurance company
  • Government - local, state, federal

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Job Boards

This is a sample of jobs boards with positions related to this field. Use them in your research to identify additional job titles, common hiring requirements, and local employers. 

Further Exploration

There are a lot of factors that influence whether a career is a fit or not. These can include monetary compensation, benefits, work environment, organization culture, work/life balance, etc. As you consider your career, think about what is important to you in your employer, role, and setting. These resources can help you perform this additional exploration.

For a more detailed guide on career exploration, review Capella’s Career Exploration YouTube series that helps you identify what is important to you in your career and how that aligns with the world of work. 


Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.