7+ Best Online NP Programs + CCNE Accredited

As the demand for health care services increases, and as more health care moves out of hospitals and into other health centers, there is more demand for nurse practitioners (NPs) to meet the needs of patients. A nurse practitioner is one of the most common types of advanced practice registered nurses, which requires the nurse to have a Master of Science in Nursing, or MSN.

Government agencies at all levels are trying to balance both health care quality with costs, so more nurse practitioners are being used to provide primary and preventive care, as well as to manage many chronic health problems. This is due to the fact that the quality of care that nurse practitioners provide usually is roughly equal to that of full doctors, at a lower cost.

Nurse practitioners serve as the primary and specialty care providers for many Americans. Some of their duties include:

  • Assessing patients

  • Order medical tests

  • Diagnose health problems

  • Determine best ways to manage patient health

  • Order medications for patients

  • Talk about how to integrate healthy habits into patients’ lives

Educational Options and Requirements

To become a nurse practitioner, you have to earn your Master of Science in Nursing, or MSN. To do so, the most common path is to first earn a  bachelor’s degree in nursing, which requires about four years to complete. There are both campus-based and online MSN programs available, which you can find on this website.

*If you’re an RN interested in entering advanced practice and becoming a nurse practitioner, earning a Master of Science in Nursing is your best option.

Nursing@USC — the Master of Science in Nursing program from the University of Southern California School of Social Work — is preparing a new kind of family nurse practitioner (FNP) who will address both the biomedical and social factors affecting patient health. Through a first-of-its-kind integration of nursing and social work education, the program trains FNPs to deliver care across the life span in a variety of primary care settings.

Eligible applicants are registered nurses who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and at least one year of clinical experience.

If you choose an online program, remember that you still will be required to complete your clinical hours for your degree. You will need to work with your program coordinator to set up your clinical schedule in your local area with a nearby healthcare provider.

For a look at 7 of the top online programs for this career path, read on below.


#1 Georgetown University

georgetown logoNursing@Georgetown is an online graduate program from Georgetown University that prepares nurses who have their BSN with the advanced knowledge and specialty skills they need to make an even greater impact in their field.

Advance your career with one of the following programs:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

requestinfo


#2 Simmons School of Nursing and Health

SimmonsSHHS-2u (1)Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

 

Explore Nursing@Simmons’ online degree programs:

  • RN to MSN: This Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program enables RNs who do not hold a bachelor’s degree to earn their graduate nursing degree. The rigorous curriculum focuses on developing the primary care and leadership skills RNs need to pursue a career as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
  • MSN: Designed for RNs who already hold a bachelor’s degree, this Master of Science in Nursing program features the same curriculum and faculty that have prepared Simmons’s graduates to pass the Family Nurse Practitioner exam on their first attempt.

requestinfo


#3 Maryville University

200x100_maryvilleuniversityHighly Recommended & 100% Fully Online! Study for your degree online with Maryville University. They offer Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs that can be completed 100% online. Online learning gives you flexibility to fit your studies into your busy life. You’ll be able to access classes anytime and from anywhere with internet access. Class sizes are small to enhance learning and ensure personal attention is given to the students. Designed for active nurses, the program teaches advanced skills and provides opportunities for clinical research focused on helping to improve your practice’s quality of care and patient outcomes.

  • Campus: St. Louis, Missouri or 100% Online
  • Type: Private, Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: CCNE/NLNAC
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 18 months (30 credits)
  • Degree Requirements: MSN, Advanced Practice Nurse certification, GPA of 3.5, letters of recommendation, essay and interview
  • Programs: DNP – Family Nurse Practitioner, DNP – Adult-Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and DNP
  • Rankings: Online Graduate Nursing Programs were named to the roster of U.S. News & World Report Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.’Forbes and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazines consistently rank Maryville as a top private school. Kiplinger’s has named Maryville to its list of 100 best values in private colleges and universities for the past two years. Forbes has named Maryville to its “Best Colleges” list for the past three years.

requestinfo


#5 Clarkson College

Clarkson College offers a variety of online learning experiences for nurses, including two nurse practitioner programs at the graduate level. These programs allow for a majority of online learning which is convenient and flexible for students who are working while attending school.

  • Campus: Omaha, NE
  • Type: Online
  • Accreditation: the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $497 per credit hour
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 2-3 years
  • Degree Requirements: 38-73 semester hours
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

#6 Albany State University

Albany State provides education to a multitude of industries, including online nursing courses for nurse practitioners. The academics provided through this institution includes a majority of online learning, although some practical applications may be required.

  • Campus: Albany, GA
  • Type: Online
  • Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $4,512 for in state students and $16,416 for out of state students
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 2-3 years
  • Degree Requirements: 80 credits with a B grade average or higher
  • Programs: Master of Science in Nursing
  • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

#7 Angelo State University

Angelo State University provides a Master of Science nursing track through online learning resources. This program allows for minimal attendance requirements, with some additional clinical training completed through the city of residence for each student within the state of Texas.

  • Campus: San Angelo, TX
  • Type: Online
  • Accreditation: The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition: $5,464.60 per year
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 2-3 years
  • Degree Requirements: 39 credit hours and a 3.0 GPA
  • Programs: Master of Science in Nursing
  • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

#8 Ball State University

Ball State University has been offering online graduate study programs in nursing since 1999 and is recognized as a front runner in online education. The majority of the coursework throughout the MSN program is online, with a small practical portion to complete as well.

  • Campus: Muncie, IN
  • Type: Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Tuition: $17,220 for in state students and $29,136 for out of state students.
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 3-6 years with 1-2 courses per semester, making a full-time program 9 semester hours.
  • Degree Requirements: 50 credits plus additional clinical hours
  • Programs: Master of Science in Nursing with a focus on Gerontology and FPN
  • School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

Continued…

Bridge Programs

However, note that there are several paths to getting your MSN, which are detailed on this website. For example, you can find an educational program on this website that is referred to as a Direct Entry MSN program. This type of master’s program is for you if you have a bachelor’s degree in another field besides nursing. You can earn your MSN without first earning a BSN.

Another option is an RN to MSN program, which is designed for the active nurse who has an associate’s degree. You can earn your MSN straight from your associate’s degree without earning the BSN first.

Both the Direct Entry MSN and RN to MSN are referred to as bridge programs, and are excellent paths to earning an MSN. Both will take longer than simply earning an MSN if you already have a BSN, but you will save a lot of time over earning a BSN and MSN separately.

MSN Program Details

There usually are several nurse practitioner specialties available at most universities. You should check to see if your desired speciality is available at your university. Some universities may help you to custom design your speciality depending upon your interests. Common NP specialties include:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

  • Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

Whatever program and specialty you choose, you will need to complete the required number of clinical hours to graduate. You should ensure that the clinical experience requirements for your degree program meet or exceed the requirements of major national credentialing organizations such as the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP), American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), National Certification Corporation (NCC) and Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).

MSN Curriculum

You will need to take these classes or ones similar to them to graduate from most accredited MSN programs in the US:

  • Advanced Health Assessment

  • Physiology and Pathophysiology

  • Research and Biostatistics

  • Health Care Ethics

  • Primary Health Care

  • Professional Development and Leadership

  • Research Evidence and Best Practices

  • Health Systems and Policy Foundations

  • Advanced Practice Nursing

Also, students are usually required to complete 40-80 hours of clinical placements per year of the program.

Admission Requirements

Typical requirements for admission into most MSN programs include the following:

  • Current RN licensure (not the case if you are in a Direct Entry MSN program)

  • Bachelor’s degree (not the case if you are in an RN to MSN program)

  • Minimum bachelor’s degree GPA of 2.5+, generally.

  • Minimum of 2.7 GPA may be required in science prerequisites.

  • GRE may or may not be required.

  • Two or three professional or academic recommendations.

  • Official college transcripts from all universities you attended.

Common Prerequisites

To be admitted into most MSN programs, you will need to have most of the following classes completed from your bachelor’s program. If you do not have most of these classes, you may have to complete them before you can enroll:

  • Human anatomy with lab

  • Human physiology with lab

  • Chemistry with lab

  • Microbiology with lab

  • Algebra, statistics or calculus

  • English composition

  • Psychology or sociology

Start a Conversation