Abstract The practice of nurse practitioners (NPs) may change as a result of the perceived oversupply of physicians. Examination of current NP practice is essential to understand how best to manage the future of the profession. This study examined differences in activities and consultation patterns between master's-prepared and certificate-prepared NPs. The 1S79 NP students who responded to a nationally mailed questionnaire were surveyed again six months to one year after graduation. A total of 50 activities spanning as many as four client types (adults, infants/children, maternal, family planning) were included in the questionnaire. Participation in general activities for well and ill clients was high for NPs with both types of education. Nurse practitioner activity related to specific health problems decreased as the severity of the problems increased. This was accompanied by increased consultation. In ten activities the difference was significant between the two levels of NP preparation: more master's-prepared NPs performed six holistic-oriented activities and more certificate-prepared NPs performed four technically oriented activities. A significant difference in the numbers of NPs needing heavy consultation was noted for 15 activities; in every case, fewer master's-prepared NPs required heavy consultation. These results support the emphasis of NP master's degree programs on practice autonomy, especially with well clients. In terms of curriculum, more emphasis should be placed on the care of newborns and mothers.