7+ Best Online NP Programs + CCNE Accredited

As the demand for health care services continues to grow, and as more of these services are offered outside of hospitals in private practices and freestanding clinics, more and more people are getting the care they need from nurse practitioners. This is especially true in medically underserved inner city and rural areas.

As the healthcare system struggles with a shortage of physicians, nurse practitioners are stepping in to fill the gap and serve as primary care providers. As the largest contingent of advanced practice nursing professionals in the U.S., nurse practitioners are in a unique position to make a real difference in meeting the primary care needs of the American public. And their advanced qualifications make them uniquely qualified to so:

Nurse practitioners hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) at minimum, national certification specific to a particular patient population focus, and state licensure as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN).

Nursejournal.org made this video going over tips for finding the best NP program for you. Watch now!



Both government agencies and private healthcare providers are working hard to balance high-quality healthcare with the need to control costs, and nurse practitioners are being seen as the answer. Not only can NPs provide preventive care and manage many chronic health problems with outcomes similar to physician-led care, they can do so at a much 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
  • Advise patients on how they can integrate healthy habits into their lives

Educational Options and Requirements

To become a nurse practitioner, you must earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) at minimum. The most common path is to enter practice with a pre-licensure BSN before transitioning to an MSN program. However RN-MSN programs are now very common, allowing RNs that hold an ADN or diploma to earn both a BSN and MSN in one accelerated program.


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Online and campus-based MSN programs are widely available.

If you choose an online program, you’ll complete clinical hours where you currently work or with another hospital or clinic that partners with your school. You will need to work with your program coordinator to schedule clinical hours with a local healthcare provider.

Here you’ll find our pick for the top 7 online MSN programs for nurse practitioners.

#1 Georgetown University

georgetown logoGeorgetown University’s online MS in Nursing program will prepare you to lead change in your community as a nurse practitioner. Complete your degree in as few as 19 months to pursue certification in an advanced practice specialty area. RN and BSN required.

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

#2 Simmons School of Nursing and Health

SimmonsSHHS-2u (1)Designed for licensed registered nurses (RNs), [email protected] delivers the renowned nursing degree programs of the Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences (SNHS) in an innovative, online format.

[email protected]’s online program include:

  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) — Family Nurse Practitioner (for bachelor’s degree holders)
  • RN to MSN — Family Nurse Practitioner (for non-bachelor’s degree holders)
  • Post-BS/BA to DNP (for bachelor’s degree holders)
  • Post-MSN to DNP (for MSN degree holders)


#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.

#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


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