In order for a nurse to get a doctoral degree, three options are available. The first is the Ph.D., the second the Doctorate of Science in Nursing (DSN) and, finally, the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP). The DSN and Ph.D. are interesting for those people who want to pursue a career in clinical, scientific and academic research. The DNP is a new type of degree and is different because the focus is on clinical work.
It is a lot of work to obtain a doctoral degree. You will have to conduct a lot of research, do course work and have excellent skills in writing and analytical and critical thinking. Generally, only those who know exactly what they want from their career will choose this educational pathway. As technology develops, however, these types of options also exist online. By studying online, the need to commute has been removed, allowing you more time to learn and to have a life outside of your academic studies. Furthermore, classrooms have become more diverse, allowing for a true global perspective in studies. See also Top 5 Online DNP Programs
Those who pursue a DNP degree generally will find that they get deeper into student debt. However, it has been reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the average weekly earnings of a DNP is at least $200 above that of someone who has an RN, be that at BSN or MSN level. Furthermore, more opportunities for work are available for people with a DNP, as well as further career advancement, which all leads to higher earnings. Indeed, it seems those with a DNP degree do have higher levels of student debt, but pay it off sooner than those with a lower level of education.
In order to achieve an MSN to DNP degree, you must choose a school that offers high quality education. Furthermore, they must meet your personal educational needs as well.
Let’s take a look, therefore, at the 7 of what we think are the best online MSN to DNP programs for busy professionals.
1. Maryville University
Highly Recommended and 100% 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.
2. Capella University
Highly Recommended and 100% Online! Prepare yourself to be a leader in the field of nursing by earning an online Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP). Because a DNP focuses on practical contributions to the nursing field, it can be completed more quickly than a research-focused PhD. Unlike many DNP programs, Capella’s CCNE-accredited DNP is all online and focuses on administrative, organizational, and systems leadership competencies to prepare you for a variety of nursing leadership positions. Topics covered in this program include leadership and ethics, health care management, policy and advocacy, health care information systems, and health promotion and disease prevention for global populations. Capella’s curriculum also incorporates The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Ideal for RN’s!
- Campus: 100% Online
- Type: Private, For-Profit
- Accreditation: CCNE
- Tuition: Inquire
- Minimum Time Commitment: 52 credits over 10 weeks, flexible schedule
- Degree Requirements: Transcripts, GPA, MSN, licensure information, letters of recommendation, resume, goal statement, writing sample and inteview
- Programs: MSN to DNP Nursing Practice, BSN to DNP
3. University of Florida
At the University of Florida, students can enjoy top ranked education. The focus is on making a positive contribution to the lives of members of the community, and to your own life as well. Programs are fully supported, very diverse and affordable. The DNP program is offered fully online and does not require a dissertation. Furthermore, the practicum element is flexible.
Campus: Gainesville, Florida
Tuition: $12,680 per year
Minimum Time Commitment:
Degree Requirements: MSN, GPA of 3.3, GRE, essay, letters of recommendation, active license, portfolio
Programs: DNP – adult gerontology (acute or primary), DNP – Family Nurse Practitioner, DNP – Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, DNP – Nurse Midwife, DNP – Pediatric Care (acute or primary) and DNP – Psychiatric/Mental Health
School Website: University of Florida
4. Walden University
Walden is a highly esteemed educational institution with one of the most experienced faculties in the country. Their curriculum is rigorous and high demands are placed on their students. When taking part in the online DNP program, the goal is not just to increase your quality of life, but also that of anyone you encounter in your personal and professional life. As a student, your life will be enriched and you will be enabled to advance your career significantly.
Campus: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Accreditation: NCAHLC, CCNE
Tuition: $41,735 for the full program
Minimum Time Commitment: 30 months
Degree Requirements: Goal statement, MSN, 3 years experience
Programs: Doctor of Nursing Practice – General
School Website: Walden University
5. American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University offers two types of DNP programs. The first, the Educational Leadership, is designed for those who wish to work in nursing education. The program is focused specifically on nursing practice, which is what sets it apart. Six key competencies are developed, being finance, leadership, new models of developing and delivering curriculum, finance and fund development, education research, education policy and strategic planning.
The second program is in executive leadership. This focuses on five key areas of competencies, being business intelligence, leadership, health policy, finance and health services research. This program immerses students in economics and policy issues. They will learn how to have true critical thinking skills, in preparation for becoming leaders in the future.
Campus: Aurora, Colorado
Minimum Time Commitment: 42 credits (two years)
Degree Requirements: Work experience, MSN, nursing license
Programs: DNP – Executive Leadership and DNP – Educational Leadership
School Website: American Sentinel University
6. Ball State University
At Ball State University, students can take part in an MSN to DNP program that is suitable for clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives. The degree prepares students to take up positions of leadership in nursing practice. This means they can make a true meaningful impact on nurses at organizational and clinical levels. The focus is mainly on scholarly practice, which means students will not only learn how to translate their research into practice but also how to evaluate practice and how to improve healthcare in general. This means that they can create better outcomes both for the population as a whole and for individual patients.
Campus: Muncie, Indiana
Tuition: $315 per credit hour for in state students and $530 per credit hour for out of state students
Minimum Time Commitment:
Degree Requirements: GPA of 3.0, MSN, transcripts, letter of recommendation, Advanced Practice Nurse license, statistics course, nursing research course, health assessment course, registered nurse, clinical nursing experience and health/criminal background checks
Programs: Doctor of Nursing Practice
School Website: Ball State University