Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Becoming a nurse practitioner can lead to a rewarding career. Here, we outline the top online programs for nurse practitioners.

February 15, 2022 , Updated on June 9, 2022

Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

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The growing nursing shortage makes now an ideal time to pursue a nursing career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners to increase 45% from 2020-2030. The BLS projects an 8% growth for all occupations during the same time.

Busy students can earn their nurse practitioner degree online. This guide explores the benefits of becoming a nurse practitioner. The following sections also cover the requirements for online nurse practitioner programs.

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Questions About Nurse Practitioner Programs

What is the fastest way to become a nurse practitioner?

Students who choose an accelerated program can become a nurse practitioners in as few as six years. RN-to-MSN programs provide a quick route to a master's degree.

Can you go from RN to NP?

RN-to-MSN programs help registered nurses qualify for nurse practitioner roles. These programs typically require 30-36 months to finish. Many schools deliver coursework online.

Can you become an NP without being an RN?

Some employers prefer nurse practitioners to have RN experience. However, people without a bachelor of science in nursing can become nurse practitioners.

Why Get a Nurse Practitioner Degree?

Online nurse practitioner programs prepare graduates for rewarding positions with high pay. According to BLS data, registered nurses earn a median annual salary of $75,330. Nurse practitioners earn a median of $117,670 per year.

Nurse practitioners also have more autonomy than registered nurses. For example, nurse practitioners can prescribe medications in many states.

Current RNs may choose online nurse practitioner programs to continue working while earning their degree. Many online programs use an asynchronous format. Registered nurses can watch lectures and complete assignments between shifts.

How Much Does a Nurse Practitioner Degree Cost?

The cost of an online nurse practitioner degree depends on several factors, including school type. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of tuition and fees at public institutions was $12,410 for the 2019-20 academic year. For the same year, private schools charged an average of $26,597 in tuition and fees.

Online programs often cost less than in-person programs. However, the cost of earning a nurse practitioner degree online varies significantly by institution. According to the Education Data Initiative, in-state students pay an average of $38,496 for an online bachelor's degree.

In addition, some employers may provide tuition reimbursement programs for their employees. For example, employers, such as hospitals or medical centers, with advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) shortages may offer these programs to encourage RNs to become ARNPs.

Additional Online Student Fees

Along with tuition, online students should budget for fees. Many schools do not waive campus fees for distance learners. Online students also often pay a technology fee, which may cover tech support, online databases, and virtual classroom platforms.

Additional expenses may include internet access, textbooks, a new computer, and required software. To save money, learners may rent textbooks or buy digital versions. Some nursing labs require tools, such as stethoscopes. Nurse practitioner students must also typically pay malpractice fees to protect themselves during clinicals.

How Much Do Nurse Practitioners Make?

A nurse practitioner's earning potential depends on many factors, including experience level. According to Payscale data from Jan. 2022, nurse practitioners with more than 20 years of experience earn an average of $111,010 per year. Professionals with less than one year of experience earn an average annual salary of $92,490.

Salary potential also varies by location. According to BLS data, nurse practitioners in California earn an average annual salary of $145,970. Those in Massachusetts earn an average of $126,050 per year.

Position and employer type also influence salary. For example, nurse practitioners who work night shifts at hospitals may earn higher salaries than nurse practitioners at family clinics.

Courses in a Nurse Practitioner Program

Learners should verify the accreditation status of each prospective school and online nurse practitioner program. The U.S. Department of Education provides an online database of accredited schools and programs. Nurse practitioner programs can hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

A typical RN-to-MSN program requires about 40 credits. Most students graduate in about two years. Some online nurse practitioner programs offer concentrations in areas such as pediatrics, family nursing, and cardiac nursing.

The courses below are common to many online nurse practitioner programs. Course availability varies by school. Learners should contact their prospective institution for curriculum details.

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

Each learner's educational background and lifestyle impacts their path to becoming a nurse practitioner. For example, current registered nurses often choose RN-to-MSN programs, which take about two years to complete. Degree-seekers often maintain full-time or part-time employment. Licensed nurses without a bachelor's degree can enroll in LPN-to-RN programs.

People can become nurse practitioners without a bachelor of science in nursing. Aspiring nurse practitioners must complete clinical hours and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org 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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Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Licensure for Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners typically need a state license and an MSN degree. They also need certification from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Most nurse practitioners specialize in a certain patient population and earn a certification in that specialty. For example, aspiring pediatric nurse practitioners can take the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board certification exam. Nurse practitioners renew their certification every five years.

Aspiring nurse practitioners must pass the NCLEX-RN exam from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The exam costs $200 and takes up to five hours to complete. The test covers topics including client rights, pharmacology, and care management.

Nurse practitioners must hold a state license in each state they practice. So, if a nurse practitioner moves to a different state, they must obtain a new state license to practice there. Some states may require nurse practitioners to have a supervising physician to earn state licensure.

Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs 2022

#1

University of Southern California

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 92%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

University of Southern California leads in online learning, and offers a master of science in nursing online. Experts in nursing teach courses in the accredited program. Degree-seekers can use entrance scores to bolster their application. Distance learners work with academic advisors, IT support professionals, and other administrative support staff at the school. In online courses, students interact with faculty and peers in a virtual learning environment.

Learners can reduce out-of-pocket costs by applying for grants and scholarships. The institution reports that 69% of students receive financial aid and 26% take out loans. The admission rate is 11% for prospective students across all programs.

University of Southern California Numbers:

Online Student Enrollment: 8,203

Total Online Master's Programs: 55

Tuition for Grad Students: $46,272 in-state

Average Cost With Aid: NA

University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

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#2

The University of West Florida

School Information
Location Pensacola, Florida
Admission Rate 31%
Graduation Rate 46%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The graduate programs at The University of West Florida help professionals move into new careers or advance in their current field. This school offers online and on-campus graduate degree options, including a master of science in nursing. The curriculum includes video lectures, assignments, and class discussions. Institutional aid may help qualified students lower the cost of their degrees.

The school’s affordability is a key factor in student enrollment. Since the school is accredited, it can distribute federal financial aid. Master's programs in any field help learners gain the transferable knowledge and skills that employers value.

The University of West Florida Facts:

Number of Students Enrolled Online: 8,296

Online Master's Offered: 15

Graduate School Tuition: $7,088 in-state; $22,166 out-of-state

Average Aid Amount Per Student: $8,789

Average Price After Financial Aid: $7,515

The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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#3

The University of Texas at Arlington

School Information
Location Arlington, Texas
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 51%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The master's programs at The University of Texas at Arlington prepare graduates for new job opportunities and career advancement. The MSN -family nurse practitioner program offers a rigorous, accredited curriculum taught by experts. The curriculum consists of video lectures and class discussions. Students enrolled full-time earn their master's degree within two years. Graduate students may also choose a part-time enrollment option.

The school reports that students pay 257 per credit on average across all programs. Master's students use financial aid such as loans and scholarships to help cover tuition expenses. In addition to this online MSN program, the University of Texas at Arlington offers 12 other master's degrees.

The University of Texas at Arlington Fast Facts:

Number of Online Students: 26,081

Online Master's Programs: 13

Graduate Tuition Rate: $8,474 in-state; $21,206 out-of-state

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $8,603

Average Net Price: $14,445

The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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#4

Purdue University Global-Indianapolis

School Information
Location West Lafayette, Indiana
Graduation Rate 27%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Purdue University Global-Indianapolis offers graduate programs that prepare students for new job opportunities. Graduate students in the accredited online master's degree in nursing build advanced knowledge through a rigorous curriculum and expert faculty. The program educates learners through video lectures, online assignments, clinicals, and class discussions. Full-time students earn their degree in about two years. The program may also offer part-time enrollment options.

Degree-seekers can reduce out-of-pocket costs by applying for grants and scholarships. Grad students use financial aid such as loans and scholarships to cover their tuition expenses. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate.

Purdue University Global-Indianapolis Facts:

Total Online Enrollment: 37,913

Online Master's Degrees: 29

Graduate Tuition Rate: $8,791 in-state; $9,768 out-of-state

Average Price With Aid: Not Known

The school has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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#5

University of the Cumberlands

School Information
Location Williamsburg, Kentucky
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 91% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

University of the Cumberlands leads in online learning programs. In the online master's in nursing - family nurse practitioner program, graduate students learn through a rigorous curriculum taught by experts. Students also save on transportation, childcare, and related expenses by choosing an online program. The program's curriculum incorporates video lectures, subject-specific assignments, and peer discussion.

Grad students use financial aid such as loans and scholarships to cover their tuition expenses. In addition to this online English program, the University of the Cumberlands offers 24 other master's degrees.

University of the Cumberlands Fast Facts:

Total Online Student Enrollment: 15,449

Number of Master's Programs Online: 25

Tuition for Grad Students: $5,670 in state and out of state

Average Net Price: Not Known

University of the Cumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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#6

Texas A & M University-College Station

School Information
Location College Station, Texas
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 82%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Texas A & M University-College Station is a leader in distance learning. This institution offers online and on-campus graduate degree options, including a master of science in nursing in family nurse practitioner. Distance learners work with career and academic advisors, IT pros, and other support at the school. The online program incorporates video assignments and class discussions throughout the curriculum.

To fund their degree, 76% of students at the school obtain financial aid and 31% take out loans. The admission rate is 58% for prospective students across all programs.

Texas A & M University-College Station At a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 9,451

Number of Online Master’s Programs: 38

Graduate School Tuition Rate: $6,677 in-state; $18,700 out-of-state

Average Aid Per Student: $10,115

Average Annual Cost: $19,237

The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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#7

Northern Arizona University

School Information
Location Flagstaff, Arizona
Admission Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 57%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A public school, Northern Arizona University is located in Flagstaff, Arizona. Students learn from experts during the nursing program, which uses a rigorous curriculum. Graduate students learn through virtual classrooms and clinicals. The program may also enroll students on a part-time basis.

The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. To fund their degree, 95% of students at the school obtain financial aid and 42% take out loans. In addition to this online family nurse practitioner program, Northern Arizona University offers 24 other master's degrees.

Northern Arizona University Fast Facts:

Number of Learners Enrolled Online: 14,098

Online Master's Program Offerings: 25

Graduate School Tuition Rate: $10,305 in-state; $19,522 out-of-state

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $12,831

Average Price With Aid: $14,236

Northern Arizona University holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting agency.

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#8

The University of Texas at Tyler

School Information
Location Tyler, Texas
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 42%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Texas at Tyler, a leader in online learning, offers a comprehensive catalog of programs. The rigorous MS in nursing curriculum and expert faculty make the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner MS degree a top program in the field. Learners interact through class discussions, and the program also uses video lectures and clinicals. Full-time students earn their degree in about two years. The program may also enroll students on a part-time basis.

To fund their degree, 85% of the school's students obtain financial aid and 34% take out loans. The admission rate for all incoming students is 83%.

The University of Texas at Tyler At a Glance:

Enrolled Online Learners: 5,951

Distance Learning Master's Programs: 9

Graduate Tuition Rate: $5,850 in-state; $14,328 out-of-state

Average Aid Awarded Per Student: $13,126

Average Price After Financial Aid: $7,389

The University of Texas at Tyler has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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#9

Georgetown University

School Information
Location Washington, District of Columbia
Admission Rate 14%
Graduation Rate 95%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Georgetown University offers master's programs that prepare students for new careers. The school's options include online and on-campus options. The learners receive academic and financial support. The virtual classroom setting lets learners interact with faculty and peers through a distance-learning format.

Students can apply for grants and scholarships to minimize student debt. Degree-seekers may receive federal financial aid from the accredited school. The admission rate across all programs is 14% for new students.

Georgetown University Facts:

Total Online Student Enrollment: 2,899

Number of Master's Programs Online: 7

Tuition for Graduate Students: $51,336 in-state; $51,336 out-of-state

Average Price After Financial Aid: NA

Georgetown University holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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#10

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

School Information
Location Cincinnati, Ohio
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 71%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus is a leader in providing online and high-quality learning. With a rigorous curriculum and faculty experts, the MSN family nurse practitioner program ranks among the top in the country. The program educates learners through lectures, online assignments, peer-to-peer engagement, and clinicals. The program may offer part-time enrollment for students who require additional time.

Since the school holds accreditation, it can distribute federal financial aid. In addition to this online program, University of Cincinnati-Main Campus offers 20 other master's degrees.

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Fast Facts:

Total Online Student Enrollment: 19,270

Total Online Master's Programs: 21

Graduate Tuition Rate: $12,790 in-state; $24,532 out-of-state

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $6,981

Average Cost With Aid: $19,219

The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

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AffordableCollegesOnline.org 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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