Nurse Practitioner Online Programs

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The Pinnacle of
Nursing Education

Nurse practitioner degrees are one of the top academic credentials in nursing. These graduate programs prepare registered nurses to assume leadership positions not only within nursing but in their communities as well. Many nursing schools now offer their non-clinical coursework online, allowing current RNs to advance toward a nurse practitioner career while continuing to work. Learn more about online nurse practitioner programs, including specialization tracks, course details and advice on choosing a nursing school.

Nurse Practitioner Programs: The Online Experience

Online nurse practitioner programs are designed to complement on-campus options, following the same curriculum and clinical experiences. Below is an overview of the online learning experience for nurse practitioner students.

Virtual Learning

Nursing education lends itself well to online learning as students can complete conceptual and theoretical curriculum online before moving to clinical rotations. Online students use web-based learning management systems to access course materials, participate in discussions and group collaborations, and communicate with peers and instructors. Programs may either delivered in real-time (synchronous) or asynchronous (self-paced) formats, but either allows students to access their instructional materials at any time.

Local Preceptors

Students are traditionally required to identify and select a preceptor in their local community, an individual who can manage the student’s clinical experience. Many colleges have clinical placement coordinators who can assist students find and establish local site agreements.

Local Clinical Rotations

After receiving approval for a local preceptor, students may participate in local clinical rotations. Some institutions require a faculty site visit to review and evaluate student progress.

Learning Intensives

Some programs, especially Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs, require students to attend on-campus learning intensives throughout the program. Students may spend a few days to a week or more on-campus, participating in clinical skills development sessions.

Technology Requirements

Online programs can be accessed via the Internet, but typically require students to have minimum technology systems including up-to-date web browsers and Microsoft Office, and other programs such as QuickTime, Windows Media Player and Adobe Acrobat.

Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs: 2016-2017

Those interested in studying a career that enhances their leadership, logical, and interpersonal skillset may consider enrolling in an online nurse practitioner program. Online nurse practitioner programs allow students to work towards their academic goals in a way that works with their busy schedules. However, the search for the best fitting program can be trying at times, which is why we have found the top online nurse practitioner programs for 2016-2017 based on our criteria. See who made this list below.

Rank School Name Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
1 Stony Brook University 99.81 67% 6 16:1 70%

Through the School of Nursing at Stoney Brook University, nurse practitioner students can earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or post-master’s certificate in the areas of midwifery, pediatrics, family health, women’s health, psychiatric/mental health or adult-gerontological health. For the MSN program, students must have a bachelor's degree in nursing or submit a clinical practice portfolio. The MSN program combines distance learning with clinical experience, and prepares the graduate to take the necessary national certification exams to practice as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. Other programs here include Doctor of Nursing Practice, MSN in Nursing Education and MSN in Nursing Leadership.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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2 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus 97.90 54% 5 18:1 62%

For those interested in becoming a nurse practitioner (NP), the University of Cincinnati offers a distance learning Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. During the three-part curriculum of Core, Specialty Didactic and Specialty Practicum, students will choose an area of specialization in family practice, midwifery, women’s health or adult-gerontology primary care. No campus visits are required and a MSN student gets clinical experience through practicum, and may continue to work as an RN throughout the program. For support and guidance, students are assigned a program manager and a personal enrollment advisor. A graduate can work as a NP, or continue on to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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3 Ball State University 97.81 47% 4 15:1 57%

Ball State University has several program options for those planning to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, including a family nurse practitioner (FNP) concentration. The FNP program is part-time, with two classes per semester, for a total of eight semesters. There are 690 required clinical hours, with coursework completed online, and upon completion the students will be prepared to take the FNP certification exam. The university recently added two new programs: the MSN nurse educator concentration with a FNP post-master’s certificate, and a MSN nurse administrator concentration with a FNP post-master’s certificate. Also offered here is the RN (Registered Nurse) to MSN program.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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4 University of St Francis 97.79 100% 6 11:1 56%

University of St. Francis Leach School of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree, with enrollment limited to those residing in specific states. Coursework is offered online, with required clinical hours during practicum and residency. Students focus on a specific study track, which include family nurse practitioner, psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner, nurse educator or nurse administrator. Students can also pursue certificates in teaching in nursing, psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner or a post-master’s in family nurse practitioner. Graduates are prepared to take certification exams to work as nurse practitioners, educators or administrators, or can go on to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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5 Northern Arizona University 97.72 66% 5 18:1 49%

Nurse practitioner students at the Northern Arizona University School of Nursing can pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, with either a family nurse practitioner (FNP) or nurse-generalist study track. The FNP curriculum, which is a mix of core and specialty courses, is mostly online, with possible campus visits or live sessions required, in addition to clinical time. The nurse-generalist program is designed for registered nurses holding a bachelor's degree interested in working in several areas, with no specific certification, and the family nurse practitioner program focuses on family medicine in rural areas, with certification required. Post-master’s family nurse practitioner certificates are also available.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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6 Southern Adventist University 97.52 97% 5 14:1 58%

Nurse practitioner (NP) students at Southern Adventist University School of Nursing can earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with emphasis in the following areas: non-acute or acute adult/gerontology, family, psychiatric/mental health NP or nurse educator, which is offered fully online. The NP programs prepare graduates to take the national certification exam and to obtain advanced practice licensure to work as a nurse practitioner. Other related programs include accelerated RN to MSN, a post-master’s certificate and a dual master’s degree (MSN/MBA), which is a collaboration between the School of Nursing and the School of Business and Management.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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7 Concordia University-Wisconsin 97.37 98% 4 13:1 59%

Concordia University Wisconsin is a Lutheran college offering a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with nurse practitioner or nurse educator concentrations. The courses are offered online, with part-time and full-time options. Progression plans are available and are based on a student’s individual needs. MSN students are trained as nurse practitioners (NPs) in the areas of primary care/adult-gerontology NP or nurse education, and upon graduation, will be qualified to take the national certification exam and to obtain all necessary credentials. Admission to the program is limited, and the applicant must be actively working as an RN holding a BSN degree from an accredited nursing school.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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8 University of Arizona 97.10 77% 5 20:1 61%

The University of Arizona School of Nursing is an accredited, top ranking school with master’s, post-master’s and doctorate degrees in nursing. Those planning a career as a nurse practitioner (NP) have several educational opportunities here, including post-MS degree NP certificates in the areas of family, adult-gerontology acute care, psychiatric mental health and pediatric. These certificate programs take four semesters to complete, and are not offered every year. The courses are offered online, with a required campus visit at the beginning and the end of the programs. Admission requires a master’s degree in nursing, and depending on the certificate program chosen, may require work experience in the specialty area.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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9 Georgia College and State University 96.95 8% 4 18:1 57%

Georgia College School of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and post-master’s certificates in family and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner concentrations and nurse education. A student of the MSN nurse practitioner program must first earn a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing), while those in the certificate programs must first have a MSN degree. The curriculum mixes online courses with clinical experiences, with individualized programs of study created for certificate program students. Graduates are prepared to take examinations to obtain necessary credentials in order to work as nurse practitioners, and may go on to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice at Georgia College.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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10 Graceland University-Lamoni 96.92 100% 4 13:1 50%

Graceland University School of Nursing has several distance learning opportunities for nursing graduate students. For nurse practitioner students, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program offers a family nurse practitioner (FNP) and a nurse educator option online, with focus sessions required on the Independence campus. The FNP curriculum combines research and theory with guided, hands-on clinical practice, and includes part-time and full-time schedules, taking into consideration the student’s work and personal obligations. Upon completion, a graduate can obtain necessary credentials to work as a nurse practitioner in a variety of settings. An MSN student can also pursue a post-master’s certificate and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree via distance learning.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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11 Loyola University New Orleans 96.80 98% 5 11:1 59%

Loyola University is a non-profit Catholic college offering an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program with a family nurse practitioner concentration. The curriculum includes theory, research and practicum, with a focus on primary care of patients of all ages. Students can choose part-time or full-time enrollment, with full-time enrollment taking about two years to complete. A graduate of this program is qualified to take the national certification exam to obtain the credentials of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) to work as a nurse practitioner. Other MSN concentrations at Loyola include nurse educator and health care systems management tracks of study.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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12 East Tennessee State University 96.70 15% 4 18:1 41%

East Tennessee State University College of Nursing is part of the Tennessee Board of Regents consortium, made up of six universities that take part in offering the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program online. The online curriculum may be taught by faculty at any one of the universities, with the required clinical hours done as close to the student’s home base as possible. The MSN program has family nurse practitioner, nursing administration and nursing education tracks. Post-master’s certificates are also offered in these areas of specialization. The nurse practitioner program focuses on primary care and preventative medicine through the lifespan, with preparation for the national certification exam.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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13 Wright State University-Main Campus 96.65 67% 5 22:1 40%

Wright State University College of Nursing and Health offers several advanced nursing degrees, including the Master of Science (MS) degree for nurse practitioners. Areas of specialization for nurse practitioners in the program include adult-gerontology, family, neonatal, psychiatric/mental health and pediatrics-both primary and acute. Post-master’s certification is also available for nurse practitioners in family and pediatrics. The program is somewhat flexible, with part-time options and individual plans based on students’ needs. The MS programs with nurse practitioner concentrations prepare students to sit for the national certification exam, and once credentials are earned, graduates can work as nurse practitioners in their chosen specialty area.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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14 University of Louisiana at Lafayette 96.53 38% 3 23:1 44%

The University of Louisiana Lafayette is the second-largest university in the state, with several educational opportunities for advanced nursing students through the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions. Aspiring nurse practitioners can earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with either a family nurse practitioner or psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner concentration. Students will take several courses specific to their chosen concentration, along with 600 hours of required clinical time. In addition, students must complete either a focused scholarly project or a thesis prior to graduation. Graduates can sit for the national certification examination and apply for advanced practice licensing to work in their area of specialization.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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15 University of Central Florida 96.21 44% 3 31:1 65%

Those planning a career as a nurse practitioner can earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree through the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Nursing. Students can choose nurse practitioner tracks in either family or adult-gerontology-both primary and acute. The hybrid curriculum includes online courses, lab work and clinical time, with part-time and full-time enrollment options. In addition to UCF general requirements, the nurse practitioner programs have specific admission requirements, which include a resume, an essay, a BSN, an active RN license and an interview. Upon graduation, students are qualified to take the certification exam and obtain state licensure to work as a nurse practitioner.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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16 Maryville University of Saint Louis 96.19 97% 3 13:1 70%

Maryville University has several online learning options for students pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program for nurse practitioners has concentrations in family, psychiatric mental health, pediatric primary care and adult-gerontology acute or primary care. The curriculum is a mix of core and specialty classes with required clinical hours. Upon completion, students can test for certification in their chosen concentration to obtain credentials to work as a nurse practitioner. Depending on academic and career goals, students may decide to earn a post-master’s certificate or Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at Maryville University.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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17 West Virginia University 96.14 57% 3 21:1 56%

Students at West Virginia University (WVU) School of Nursing can pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree through the Post-BSN to DNP program. Students in this program can stop after earning a MSN degree, or continue on to earn a Doctor in Nursing Practice degree for an additional 14 credit hours. Specialty tracks for nurse practitioners at WVU are pediatric and family. The curriculum is offered part-time or full-time, and presented via distance learning technology, with possible campus visits required and monthly online meetings during practice hours. Graduates are prepared for the advanced practice certification exam required to work as a nurse practitioner.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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18 The University of Texas Medical Branch 96.14 N/A 4 24:1 N/A

The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) School of Nursing has several specialty tracks within the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program, including nurse practitioner. Primary adult-gerontology, family and neonatal nurse practitioner are areas nurse practitioner students can choose to specialize in. This is an online curriculum, with occasional campus visits required, along with practicum in their areas of study, which prepares students for the national certification exam. Some theory classes from accredited schools may be acceptable for transfer. Admission to the UTMB MSN program has specific requirements, such as recent experience as an RN and an active RN license.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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19 University of Detroit Mercy 96.08 98% 6 13:1 57%

The University of Detroit Mercy is a Catholic university with several graduate programs in nursing. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree for family nurse practitioners is a two to three-year program, depending on part-time or full-time enrollment. The program places emphasis on providing medical care to the medically underserved population of all ages. A post-master’s certificate option is available for those students already holding a master’s degree in nursing. Upon completion of these programs, graduates are prepared to sit for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) certification exams to earn the necessary credentials to practice as a nurse practitioner.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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20 University of Memphis 96.03 40% 3 14:1 40%

The University of Memphis, a major research institution, houses the Loewenberg College of Nursing (LCON). LCON offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with several concentrations, including a family nurse practitioner (FNP) track. The FNP curriculum is offered online, with part-time or full-time options, with the majority of classes being specialty courses along with practicum and residency. A FNP post-master’s certificate is also available, for those already holding a MSN degree. Graduates of the nurse practitioner program are considered advanced practice nurse practitioners, and must take the national certification exam for certification to work as a family nurse practitioner, providing primary care to patients of all ages.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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21 University of North Dakota 95.98 30% 4 19:1 52%

Through the College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines, the University of North Dakota (UND) offers adult-gerontological primary care, psychiatric/mental health and family nurse practitioner study tracks in the Master of Science in Nursing degree program. The program is offered online, with a required one-week intensive on campus each semester, with full-or part-time non-thesis options available. Upon completion, graduates can take the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) certification exam to obtain certification to work as advanced practice nurse practitioners. The UND College of Nursing provides support for American Indian nursing students through the RAIN program (Recruitment-Retention of American Indians into Nursing).

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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22 McNeese State University 95.97 36% 3 21:1 38%

Aspiring nurse practitioners can earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree through the College of Nursing and Health Professions at McNeese State University, with concentration in the areas of family or psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner. The full-time program takes two to three years, and the part-time program can take between three and six years, depending on chosen study track and students’ needs. Along with coursework and clinical time, students must complete a thesis or scholarly project to graduate. Graduates of the program are qualified to take the national certification exam required to work as a nurse practitioner.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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23 University of Southern Indiana 95.95 41% 3 17:1 36%

The College of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of Southern Indiana (USI) has several concentration options for nurse practitioner students, which include adult-gerontology primary, adult-gerontology acute, family and psychiatric mental. Courses for these programs are online, with required clinical hours obtained through a clinic and preceptor chosen by the student, with program approval. Upon completion, students will have earned a Master of Science in Nursing degree, and can take the national certification exam. Post-master’s certificates are also available in these concentrations. There are several nursing organizations through USI that students can participate in, including the USI Association of Nursing students.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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24 Samford University 95.77 97% 3 12:1 71%

For those planning a career as a family nurse practitioner, the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing at Samford University offers both a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and a post-master’s certificate family nurse practitioner program, with both preparing students for the national certification exam. The MSN program currently has a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) continuation option, but starting in 2017 the school will have two programs, allowing students to become a nurse practitioner through either the MSN or DNP program. The MSN degree has a web-based learning curriculum, with three required visits to the campus during the program, with clinical time situated near the student’s community.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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25 New Mexico State University-Main Campus 95.65 39% 2 17:1 44%

New Mexico State University (NMSU) School of Nursing offers several study tracks for those planning a career as a nurse practitioner. At NMSU, the nurse practitioner specialties are offered through the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, rather than an MSN degree. In addition, post-master’s to DNP, BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP degree pathways are available to accommodate nursing students at various levels, which all prepare graduates for the national certification exam in their specialty areas. For nurse practitioners, the specialty areas of study include family, psychiatric/mental health and adult-gerontology. The curriculum is completely web-based, although students will be required to visit the campus for clinical immersions once a year.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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26 Indiana State University 95.59 75% 4 20:1 43%

Nursing students can earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a family nurse practitioner concentration offered through the College of Health and Human Services at Indiana State University (ISU). A post-master’s certificate is also available for MS nursing degree holders planning to work as nurse practitioners. These programs prepare students to sit for the national certification exam required to work as a family nurse practitioner. The curriculum is online and is a combination of core and specialty coursework and clinical experience, with a thesis or non-thesis option. ISU nursing students can gain clinical experience at the Sycamore Nursing Center, an on-campus clinic.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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27 University of Arkansas 95.52 38% 3 19:1 60%

At the University of Arkansas, nursing students holding a BSN or MSN degree from accredited programs can become nurse practitioners through the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program at the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing. Nurse practitioner students choose either an adult-geriatric acute care or family concentration. Part-time and full-time schedules are available, with a BSN-DNP degree taking about three to five years, and a MSN-DNP degree taking two to three years. The online curriculum consists of core and specialty courses, a capstone project and practical experience. Graduates are prepared for the national certification examination required to work in their specialty areas as nurse practitioners.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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28 Clarkson College 95.16 59% 4 11:1 N/A

Clarkson College, which began as the first nursing school in Nebraska, is an allied health care college offering a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or post master’s certificate in either adult-gerontology primary care or family nurse practitioner. The online MSN degree for nurse practitioners takes an average of three years to complete, with three required campus sessions and 650 clinical hours, which can be obtained through the student’s place of work, with program approval. Two years of RN work experience is required prior to starting the specialty coursework, and students must complete an evidence-based project towards the end of the program.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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29 University of Alabama in Huntsville 94.99 66% 3 16:1 47%

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with concentrations in family and adult-gerontology acute care, and a family nurse practitioner post-master’s certificate. Graduates are prepared to pass the national certification exam, which is required to work as an advanced practice nurse, in a variety of settings. Schedules are flexible in the nurse practitioner programs to allow students to continue working as RNs while completing their degrees. The curriculum consists of web-based classes, specialty coursework and offers a thesis or non-thesis option, with clinical time focused on giving students experience working with patients across the lifespan.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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30 University of South Alabama 94.96 59% 3 20:1 37%

The University of South Alabama School of Nursing has several career pathways for aspiring nurse practitioners through both the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree programs. Nurse practitioner students choose a specialty program of study in the areas of adult-gerontological- acute or primary, family, family psychiatric, neonatal, pediatric-acute or primary, women’s health or a dual role program, which combines adult-gerontological with family nurse practitioner. Classes are offered online, with occasional campus visits required. Each pathway has slightly different admission requirements. For example, the dual program requires that students have had at least one year of ER or ICU nursing experience.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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31 Indiana Wesleyan University 94.51 50% 3 16:1 70%

Indiana Wesleyan University School of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, with a primary care family nurse practitioner specialization. The curriculum is based on The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing, from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), and takes about two and a half years to complete. The first year of classes is online, with one required on-campus class, along with occasional on-campus workshops, and for required clinical hours, students are required to arrange their own clinical site. Graduates are qualified to take the national certification exam and can pursue other licensing credentials, which vary from state to state.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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32 Michigan State University 94.44 44% 3 17:1 79%

Michigan State University (MSU) College of Nursing has an adult-gerontological and a family nurse practitioner concentration through the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program. This is a hybrid program, with part-time and full-time options available. Graduates of these programs are prepared to take the national certification exam and to work in primary care settings with a focus on community health. Students have several educational opportunities through MSU, including the on-campus MSU Clinical Center, which is staffed by faculty and students. MSU College of Nursing students have access to resources such as academic advising, the MSU librarian liaison and the Office of Student Support Services.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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33 University of Massachusetts-Amherst 94.40 60% 3 17:1 70%

The University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing has three areas of concentration for nurse practitioner students, through the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program: family, adult-gerontological primary care and psychiatric mental health. The program curriculum is designed to provide advanced nursing practice training through advanced coursework, capstone and practicum. The DNP program is offered online, with some campus class options available. The practicum portion of the program provides required clinical experience, and is arranged by the individual student, with placement assistance available. Graduates are prepared to practice nursing at the highest level and are qualified for national certification exams in their chosen specialty area.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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34 Seton Hall University 94.38 97% 3 14:1 67%

Seton Hall University (SHU) is a Catholic university with many educational opportunities for nursing students, offered through the SHU College of Nursing, including graduate level degrees. Those planning a career as a nurse practitioner can choose from primary or acute adult-gerontological care or primary or acute pediatric care study tracks, offered through the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program, or as post-master’s certificates. The MSN programs are online, with pre-clinical and specialty courses combined with hands-on experience in the chosen area of study during the practicum courses. Nursing students can stay connected through the College of Nursing’s Facebook page, PirateNet and the annually published Outcomes magazine.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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35 Winona State University 94.27 43% 3 20:1 53%

Winona State University (WSU), founded in 1858, is the oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. WSU offers several advanced nursing programs through the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, including graduate level specialty tracks for nurse practitioners. Students planning to become nurse practitioners (NPs) can earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree in adult-gerontology acute care NP, or a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in the areas of adult-gerontology primary care or family NP. The curriculum is delivered through classroom time, distance learning and interactive television, with a mix of lecture and lab courses with clinical experience.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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36 University of Central Missouri 94.23 60% 2 18:1 49%

Students planning a career as a family nurse practitioner can earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree from The University of Central Missouri (UCM). This is an online degree, with clinical time done in the State of Missouri. Classes include advanced nursing courses along with courses specifically designed for family nurse practitioners. Part-time enrollment is encouraged for this program, although full-time coursework can be done with department approval. Nurse practitioner students must fill specific requirements, such as one year of post-bachelor’s degree experience as an RN and an active RN license. Nurse practitioner students have several opportunities for involvement through SNO, the Student Nursing Organization at UCM.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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37 The University of Alabama 94.17 53% 3 21:1 67%

At the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing, aspiring nurse practitioners can earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, with dual concentration in primary care and mental health nurse practitioner (NP), with a focus on rural populations. Admission to the MSN dual concentration NP program is currently limited to Alabama and Mississippi residents. Most of the courses for this degree are offered online, with required campus visits during each semester, and completion with full-time enrollment takes about two years. Graduates of this program will be eligible to take both the psychiatric mental health and family nurse practitioner national certification exams.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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38 Duquesne University 93.91 100% 3 13:1 74%

Duquesne University School of Nursing offers both an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a post-master’s certificate with a family nurse practitioner concentration, preparing graduates to take the national certification exam and to work in primary care with patients of all ages. At the beginning, students are assigned a Program Plan and to a faculty mentor/advisor. Clinical time can be done near the student’s home base, and two campus visits will be required throughout the program for Campus Residency Week. If a nurse practitioner is employed as an RN with a Duquesne University partner, he or she may be eligible for a 30 percent discount on tuition.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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39 University of Colorado Colorado Springs 93.80 28% 3 15:1 47%

The Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences, a school of the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (UCCS), provides nurse practitioner study tracks in the areas of adult-gerontology primary care and psychiatric/mental health. The Master of Science in Nursing degree nurse practitioner program is fully online, with students completing clinical hours near the student’s place of residence. During the program, students will prepare to take the national certification exam and receive necessary training to work in a primary care or behavioral/mental health environment. While at UCCS, nursing students interested in community service can join the Beth-El Student Nursing Association (BSNA).

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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40 Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis 93.79 41% 3 19:1 38%

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), a partnership between Indiana University and Purdue University, offers nurse practitioner study tracks in primary or acute adult-gerontology, family and primary pediatric care through the Master of Science in Nursing degree program. The Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner track is considered distance learning accessible, with no campus visits required, however students must take part in real time videoconferencing nursing courses. Upon graduation from an IUPUI nurse practitioner program, a student can sit for the national certification exam in the chosen specialty area. Nursing students have several resources at the IUIPUI School of Nursing, including the Office of Research Support and the Center for Academic Affairs.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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41 Saint Joseph's College of Maine 93.54 97% 3 11:1 51%

At Saint Joseph’s College, a student planning a career as a nurse practitioner can earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or post-master’s certificate with a family nurse practitioner concentration. The MSN program is an online program that consists of core classes and capstone, the nurse practitioner specialty track coursework, along with online seminars and clinical experience during practicum. Upon completion, graduates are prepared to obtain certification through a national certification exam and can work as a family nurse practitioner. Nursing students can join the SNA (Student Nurses Association) or become involved in a number of community service activities.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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42 Fitchburg State University 93.41 43% 2 15:1 51%

The nursing department at Fitchburg State University provides students with valuable information to gain the required skills to enter a career in the nursing field. Both the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is fully approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing which ensures program compliance and quality of instruction. The nursing programs have a faculty comprised of professionals who are knowledgeable in their specific fields. Graduates of the program may be eligible for national examinations or academic advancement.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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43 University of Northern Colorado 93.39 79% 2 17:1 45%

The University of Colorado (UNC) has several different pathways to become a nurse practitioner. Students can earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or post-master’s certificate in the areas of either adult-gerontology acute care or family nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner post-master’s certificate to Doctor of Nursing Practice is another option. The MSN degrees are fairly flexible with the majority of coursework being asynchronous and offered online, with part-time schedules available in most programs, to allow for post-BSN students to continue working while enrolled. Upon completion, these programs prepare graduates to become certified through a national exam and to obtain state licensure.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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44 Western Carolina University 93.22 67% 2 16:1 48%

Western Carolina University College of Health and Human Sciences offers a full-time hybrid family nurse practitioner study track through the Master of Science in Nursing degree program. The majority of coursework is online, with one day a week on campus. In addition to nurse practitioner coursework, students must complete a project or thesis and 640 clinical hours, preparing students for the national certification exam. Graduates are qualified to work as family nurse practitioners in primary care settings with patients across the lifespan, after passing the national certification exam. Several graduates also go on to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree through WCU.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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45 Gardner-Webb University 93.04 96% 5 13:1 45%

Gardner-Webb University is a private Christian university offering family nurse practitioner training through the Hunt School of Nursing. Students can study to be family nurse practitioners through the Master of Science in Nursing degree or post-master’s certificate programs. The curriculum has online or hybrid options, with core nursing classes first, followed by courses specific to family nurse practitioners, along with clinical time, capstone and preparation for national certification. The family nurse practitioner track focuses on treatment and preventative care of patients of all ages. Graduates typically work as family nurse practitioners in primary care settings, although many continue on to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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46 University of Indianapolis 92.95 97% 2 11:1 54%

Through the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program, The University of Indianapolis School of Nursing offers several nurse practitioner (NP) concentrations, including the only neonatal nurse practitioner program in the state. Other concentrations in the MSN program for nurse practitioners include women’s health, primary care family and primary care adult-gerontological. The neonatal program is offered as a part-time program, while the others can be part-time or full-time. The NP curriculum is presented in hybrid format, and combines classes, which typically meet in the evenings, and clinical time, along with a faculty mentor-guided scholarly project. Graduates are prepared to sit for the national certification exam.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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47 Columbus State University 92.92 13% 2 17:1 34%

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree nurse practitioner program at Columbus State University College of Education and Health Professions is a collaboration with Georgia Southwestern University, allowing students access to resources from both schools. This is an online program that can be completed in two years with full-time enrollment, and includes clinical time and preparation for the national certification exam. Admission to the program includes acceptance to the Columbus State graduate program, letters of recommendation, a BSN degree and an active RN license. Nursing students can take advantage of career resources through the Center for Career Development, such as advisement, resume assistance and several job search options.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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48 University of Hawaii at Manoa 92.82 61% 3 13:1 56%

Nurse practitioner students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene (SONDH) receive their training through the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, in either adult-gerontology or family nurse practitioner. The DNP degree is the highest level of degree for practicing advanced nurses, along with the research-focused PhD degree, also offered at SONDH. The full-time, hybrid DNP curriculum combines core and specialty classes with clinical time. Students work with advisors to create study plans in their chosen area. DNP students can take advantage of NEXus, a group of Western colleges offering course exchanges at a common price.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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49 Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville 92.67 47% 2 18:1 52%

Those planning a career as a family nurse practitioner can earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree through the School of Nursing at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. This is an advanced nursing practice program that prepares students for national certification and for work in a primary care setting, focusing on patient care through the lifespan. The hybrid curriculum offers full-time or part-time enrollment options, with campus visits on Thursdays, and provides over 1,000 hours of advanced specialty clinical experience during practicum. Nursing students may be able to obtain an Assistantship during the program, and may also qualify for nursing scholarships and grants offered through the School of Nursing.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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50 Western Kentucky University 92.65 37% 3 18:1 50%

The Western Kentucky University School of Nursing (WKUSON) has several educational pathways for nursing students planning to work as nurse practitioners (NPs). WKUSON offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with psychiatric-mental health NP concentration, and a Doctor of Nursing Science (DNP) degree with a family NP concentration. Post-master’s certificates in family and psychiatric-mental health NP are also available, along with an Emergency Room/Urgent Care NP fast track certificate program for students who already have family or adult care NP status. The NP programs are in hybrid format, with part-time and full-time enrollment options, providing flexibility for working nurses.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Career and Academic Milestone Map

Nursing is a dynamic and varied profession, offering multiple opportunities for career development and advancement. Below is a map of example milestones for individuals interested in becoming nurse practitioners.

Undergrad
Studies

Earns a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and passes NCLEX-RN exam

Neonatal Nurse

Gets position as an RN in neonatal intensive care unit, providing care to newborn infants

Professional Certification

Earns CCRN certification for adult, pediatric and neonatal critical nurses

Career
Advancement

Moves into director role for pediatric unit at a major hospital

Online Doctorate

Completes neonatal-focused Doctor of Nursing Practice

New
Opportunities

Opens private pediatric care office to provide care in the local community

Nurse Practitioner Online Degree Options

Becoming a nurse practitioner requires completion of a graduate educational program of study, either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The MSN is the minimum entry-level educational requirement. However, in 2004 the American Association of Colleges of Nursing recommended moving advanced nursing practice to the Doctor of Nursing Practice by 2015. However, that change has not been fully enacted to date. Through evidence-based instruction and mentored patient care experiences, graduates of online nurse practitioner programs are prepared to practice as independent healthcare providers in 21 states, with other states limiting the scope of practice under the oversight of a supervising physician.

  • Master of Science in Nursing
    (18 to 24 months)
  • RN-MSN Bridge Program
    (24 to 36 months)
  • Post-Master’s Certificate
    (12 to 24 months)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
    (24 to 48 months)

The Master of Science in Nursing is designed to prepare registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree for entry-level entry into the advanced nursing field. Curriculum is divided between theoretical foundations of nursing and experiential, clinical practice. During the first year of study, students complete core nursing coursework (e.g. nursing leadership, research methods, healthcare policy) prior to moving into a specialized track of study. These academic tracks align with professional areas of practice, with examples including nursing administration, family nursing, adult-geronotological primary care, mental health care, and forensic nursing. Although the credit load varies by program, students can typically finish their MSN in 18 to 24 months, completing between 36 and 48 credit hours of full-time study along with a set number of clinical hours of practice. Upon graduation, MSN students are prepared to sit for national certification examinations.

The RN-to-MSN program is designed for registered nurses with an associate degree who wish to pursue a graduate degree in nursing. As accelerated programs of study, the RN-MSN bypasses BSN study by including “bridge” coursework—typically 5-8 undergraduate courses—that take students from associate- to master’s-level study. Credit requirements vary by university, but typically require between 48 and 55 credit hours of study to complete the RN-MSN. Some departments also offer options to BSN students, requiring approximately 36 credit hours to earn the MSN. Curriculum blends theoretical, nursing practice instruction and hands-on clinical practicums, allowing students to apply their classroom-based knowledge in practical healthcare settings. Depending on the specific RN-MSN bridge program, students may pursue specialized academic tracks, such as healthcare administration, nurse educator, and nursing leadership.

Post-master’s certificates are short programs of study that allow RNs with master’s degree to complete specialized academic tracks to sit for national certification examinations not part of their original master’s degree. Example concentrations span the spectrum of nursing specializations, from family nursing to adult-gerontology acute care, nurse education to pediatric nursing. Curriculum varies by program but generally requires between 18 and 27 credit hours of study, including clinical practicums. Graduates may leverage a post-master’s certificate to pursue a career or role change, as well as prepare for entrance into a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program.

The Doctor of Nursing practice is a terminal degree, the highest academic program for nurses. The goal of the DNP is to prepare graduates to pursue careers as researchers in academic, government and private healthcare settings. Through their studies, DNP students leverage evidence-based knowledge to improve clinical practice—making advances in health care systems, nursing education, and patient care management. For individuals with an MSN, DNP programs typically require 72 to 76 credit hours of study to complete, including 36 to 39 credit hours transferrable from the MSN degree. Curriculum is generally offered online with on-campus intensive sessions held throughout the program. Each DNP program includes clinical and classroom-based coursework and either a dissertation or final capstone project.

Nurse Practitioner Program Concentrations

Students may choose to concentrate their studies in specialized areas of nursing practice. There are numerous academic specializations available. Below is a list of four commonly pursued educational tracks:

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care

In the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care track, nurses develop clinical skills in physical assessment, treatment, and care of health problems in adult and elderly patients.

Family Nurse Practitioner

The Family Nurse Practitioner track trains nurses to provide primary care to patients across the lifespan (from infancy to adulthood) in a range of medical settings, from hospitals to medical offices.

Pediatric Primary Care

The Pediatric Primary Care concentration prepares nurses to work as primary care providers to children and their families, conducting health examinations, ordering laboratory tests, and prescribing medications.

Mental Health/Psychiatric Nursing

Through the Mental Health track, nurses develop skills to asses, diagnose and treat mental health issues in patients, providing care in individual, group, and family settings.

Nurse Practitioner Course Information

Curriculum in online nurse practitioner programs is built upon two pillars: theoretical and evidence-based clinical knowledge. The goal of these programs is to equip students with the clinical and professional skills required to provide both primary and specialized care to a variety of patients across healthcare settings. Students enhance their knowledge of nursing practice, developing an advanced understanding of patient assessment, diagnosis, and care. Below is a list of courses commonly found in nurse practitioner programs.

Course Description
Healthcare Policy In this class, students learn about the fundamentals of healthcare policy, study the dynamic processes of policy creation, develop analytical skills, and gain an understanding of the political and historical context and impact of healthcare policy at the local and national levels.
Physiology and Pathophysiology This course covers advanced topics in physiology and pathophysiology, designed to elevate the student’s knowledge of how physiological processes and systems impact diagnosis and subsequent patient care treatment plans.
Advanced Health Assessment This class concentrates on advanced concepts in assessment, including evidenced-based practice within the context of the advanced nursing role. Students gain an understanding of how to gather and leverage a range of patient data to develop focused patient assessments.
Healthcare Ethics Students are introduced to the ethical principles of nursing practice, critically reflecting on the modern nursing and its inherent challenges (e.g. social justice, compassion, and professional care).
Advanced Pharmacology In this course, students study advanced pharmacological concepts (e.g. drug metabolism and pharmacodynamics), drug classes, and how they apply to making decisions for therapeutic use in treating diseases in patients.

Selecting an Online Nurse Practitioner Program

A master’s or doctorate degree can help advance a nurse’s career. However, the decision to complete a graduate program of study should not be made lightly and without research. Prospective students should ensure their learning style meshes with online learning, the program offers the right mix of research and clinical experience, and faculty members support student success. Below is a checklist of items prospective students can use to select the right online nurse practitioner program.

  • How long is the program and are full- or part-time study options available?Prior to enrolling, students should understand the program requirements and structure. Some MSN programs do not allow students to attend part-time.
  • Do faculty actively practice? Faculty members who are working professionals are typically up-to-date in the latest nursing practices.
  • Does the faculty have the proper expertise?  Make sure faculty members have clinical and research experience in the concentration or area of practice in which the student wishes to practice.
  • Does the program offer local clinical and leadership opportunities?Relevant, hands-on clinical experience is critical to the professional development of students.
  • Is the program accredited? Master’s programs should be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
  • Does the program offer student support? Does the program support online students? Are faculty members required to respond to student questions in a certain time period? Are they available by phone? By email? By the online course management system?
  • Are programs offered online and/or in a hybrid format? Make sure the learning format of the program fits the student’s learning preferences and style.
  • What percentage of graduates have job offers in their area of practice after graduation? Job placement and career success are indicators of the program’s quality and indicate the likelihood of employment after finishing the master’s program in nursing.

Accreditation for Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

In the US, accreditation is a voluntary review process by a third-party, non-governmental organization that safeguards program quality and integrity. The primary accrediting body for nursing programs is the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Other accrediting bodies include the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA). Accreditation is a critical factor for students to consider when reviewing and choosing an online master of nursing program. Completing a program of study at an accredited institution is required both by national certifying bodies and state boards of nursing licensure.

Find out more about nurse practitioner program accreditation and the overall accrediting process.

Master of Science in Nursing: Pre-Enrollment Plan

Preparation and planning is important when it comes to applying to and completing a graduate program of study in nursing. Below is a sample timeline for preparing to enroll in an online nurse practitioner program at the master’s level.

Time to Complete
Step 1

Earn Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

3 to 4 years
Step 2

Pass NCLEX Examination and Earn Nursing License

3 years
Step 3

Gain professional clinical experience as a registered nurse

1 to 2 years
Step 4

Study for and take Graduate Record Examination (if required)

10 to 12 months

Step 5

Apply for admission to programs of choice

8 to 10 months

Admission to online nurse practitioner programs is a competitive process, with pools of candidates that typically outsize the number of positions available. Gaining admission to a graduate program is not based on a single criterion but a collective of information that is used when it comes to accepting candidates. Below is a list of five ways prospective nurse practitioner students can make their applications more competitive.

  • Gain professional experience Past clinical experience is important and many nurse practitioner programs require candidates to have at least one year of professional experience as a nurse.
  • Participate in job shadowingCandidates can demonstrate their interest in the field by shadowing a licensed nurse practitioner in their area of interest, such as mental health or family nursing.
  • Keep those grades upIn addition to overall GPA, admissions committees also review the candidate’s grades in nursing and nursing-related courses.
  • Join nursing organizations Membership in nursing organizations and associations (such as the National Student Nurses Association or American Nurses Association) can help a candidate’s application stand out.
  • Gain certificationEarning professional certifications indicates the candidate’s commitment to continuing education and advanced nursing potential.

Nurse Practitioner Career Outlook

Employment data from multiple sources all arrive at the same conclusion: the practice of advanced nursing is a well-paying and rapidly growing profession. Multiple factors are contributing to this growth—a shortage of primary care health care providers, health care reform, and the aging of the Baby Boomer generation. What’s emerged is a new model of health care delivery, with nurse practitioners serving as primary care providers across areas of practice, from pediatrics to family health. In turn, nurse practitioners are expected to see employment gains greater than 30 percent between 2014 and 2024, well above the national average for all occupations. Below is an overview of the career and salary outlook for nurse practitioners compared to other advanced practice registered nurses.

Career National Job Growth (2014 – 2024) National Median Salary (May 2014)
Nurse Practitioners 31% $95,350
Nurse Midwives 31% $96,970
Clinical Nurse Specialists 16% $66,640
Nurse Anesthetists 31% $153,780

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook; Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

*NOTE: The Bureau of Labor Statistics groups Clinical Nurse Specialists data into the larger career category of Registered Nurses. Job projection data for Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Anesthetists is grouped into a single category by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Becoming Certified and Licensed as an NP

In the U.S., nurse practitioners are licensed by the state in which they practice. Prior to licensure, prospective nurse practitioners must gain national certification, available from several organizations, including the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), National Certification Corporation (NCC), and Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). Certification indicates the nurse practitioner possesses the professional knowledge and skills to practice in their specialty area of practice.

Eligibility requirements vary by certifying organization. Below is a snapshot of several of the major certifications available for nurse practitioners.

Certification Options

  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

    The AANPCP Examinations are entry-level, pass/no-pass, computer-based examinations that test candidate’s knowledge and expertise in specific areas of nursing practice. Knowledge domains include assessment, diagnosis, care planning and patient evaluation.

    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center

    ANCC examinations are competency-based that measure the candidate’s entry-level clinical skills and knowledge of working as a nurse practitioner. Each examination includes 175 questions that vary by specialty area of practice.

    • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
    • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
    • School Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

    PNCB examinations are designed to test candidate’s knowledge of pediatric health issues in primary care and acute and urgent settings. Tests include 175 multiple-choice questions with content based on the specific area of practice.

    • Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
    • Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Path to Licensure as an NP

State Boards of Nursing regulate the licensing process for nurse practitioners, a process of granting nurses permission to practice legally in their respective state. Requirements vary by state and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing maintains a list of the contact information for each state board of nursing. While individual state requirements vary, common licensing elements include the following:

    • Verification of graduation from an accredited NP education program
    • Official transcripts
    • An active nursing license in the state where the nurse practitioner wishes to practice
    • National certification from recognized national certifying body
    • Criminal background check
    • Application
    • Application Fees

Related Online Nursing Programs

Nursing is a broad, diverse field, one that offers an assortment of professional opportunities in different specialties and work environments. The breadth and depth of the practice affords interested individuals educational paths not only at the master’s level, but certificate, diploma, associate, and bachelor’s level as well.

Online CNA Programs

For individuals interested in nursing, an online CAN program can help them prepare for an entry-level position as a Certified Nursing Aide or Certified Nursing Assistant. These programs can be completed in as little as six weeks and teach students the fundamentals of basic nursing skills, allowing graduates to serve in assistant positions under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians.

Online RN Programs

Prospective students can select from a variety of online RN programs at varying educational levels, such as associate in nursing and RN-to-BSN completion programs. These degrees are designed to prepare graduates to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination and pursue entry-level employment as registered nurses.

Online LPN Programs

Online LPN programs are designed to prepare graduates to care for patients under the supervision of a registered nurse. Students gain an understanding of the nursing process, develop practical nursing skills, and fundamental knowledge of key nursing concepts, such as medical terminology, pharmacology, and anatomy and physiology.

Online Resources for Nurse Practitioner Students