The Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

By NurseJournal.org staff



Table of Contents


This page introduces some of the country's best online nurse practitioner programs. Prospective nurse practitioners (NPs) can review information about the discipline, including what to look for when searching for a degree program, the best online nursing practitioner programs for 2020, and accreditation for nurse practitioner programs. We also look at job and salary data, financing options like field-specific scholarship opportunities, and professional organizations for nurse practitioners in the United States.


Best Online Nursing Practitioner (NP) Programs for 2020

Rank University Degree Programs
1 University of Southern California - CA MSN - (NP)
2 Simmons College - MA RN to MSN - (NP)
3 Villanova University - PA MSN - (NP)
4 The George Washington University - DC RN to MSN - (NP)
5 Drexel University - PA MSN - (NP)
6 Gonzaga University - WA MSN - (NP)
7 Gwynedd Mercy University - PA MSN - (NP)
8 Regis University - CO MSN - (NP)
9 Maryville University of St. Louis - MO MSN - (NP)
10 Lewis University - IL RN to MSN - (NP)
11 See More Top Nurse Practitioner Programs (NP)

University of Southern California

Located in the bustling city of Los Angeles, University of Southern California (USC) ranks among one of the country's top public schools. USC's online master of science in nursing (MSN) with a focus as a family nurse practitioner (FNP) requires 49 credits and 784 clinical hours.

Required MSN-FNP courses include pharmacology, pathophysiology, and quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Some students may need to take a two-credit bridge course to prepare for the program. USC offers the program through the School of Social Work, which is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Campus Los Angeles, California
Type Public
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $1,928/credit
Admission Requirements •   Registered nurse (RN) licensure
•   3.0 GPA
•   Bachelor of science in nursing (BSN)
•   One year of clinical experience
Minimum Time Commitment 21 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Program MSN-FNP
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Simmons College

Simmons College teaches roughly 6,500 students, most of whom are enrolled in graduate programs, such as the online RN-to-MSN program. This innovative online degree does not require a BSN, though applicants need an RN license. Graduates earn an MSN with a focus as an FNP.

Despite its online format, the RN-to-MSN program ensures all online courses have fewer than 20 students. Simmons College also works with degree-seekers to find an onsite clinical location that works well with students' needs. Learners can pursue the degree part time or full time.

Campus Boston, Massachusetts
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $1,410/credit hour
Admission Requirement RN license
Minimum Time Commitment 32 months
On-Campus Requirements No
Program RN-to-MSN
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Villanova University

Founded by the Order of Saint Augustine, Villanova University blends Catholic tradition with liberal arts, offering students a holistic education. These educational values extend to the online campus and the MSN-FNP online degree. In this program, students complete core courses online and clinical courses at regional healthcare facilities. Many learners continue working while completing the degree, though clinical hours may disrupt some students' work schedules.

Villanova does not require previous nursing experience for the MSN-FNP. After finishing the degree, graduates may immediately continue their education toward a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) through Villanova.

Campus Villanova, Pennsylvania
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $960/credit
Admission Requirements •   BSN
•   RN license
•   3.2 GPA
Minimum Time Commitment 24 months
On-Campus Requirements No
Program MSN-FNP
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

The George Washington University

Based in the nation's capital, The George Washington University (GW) offers a prime location near some of the East Coast's largest cities. GW also offers one of the nation's top online MSN programs. This hybrid program blends online and on-campus courses.

MSN students can choose from six specialties and an RN-to-MSN program with CCNE accreditation for every option. The RN-to-MSN program leads to a BSN after 15 months, followed by an MSN at the end of the program.

Campus Washington, D.C.
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $1,395/hour
Admission Requirements •   BSN
•   3.0 GPA
Minimum Time Commitment 24 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Programs •   MSN-Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
•   MSN-Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)
•   MSN-FNP
•   MSN-Nursing Leadership and Management
•   MSN-Nurse-Midwifery
•   MSN-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
•   RN-to-MSN
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Drexel University

Drexel University emphasizes experiential learning, evidenced by the size of the online school and the many online MSN specialties available. Students choose from four fully online options. However, MSN students may opt into hybrid courses.

Drexel eschews the traditional semester system, instead using a quarter system with 10-week courses. This accelerated format allows degree-seekers to complete courses faster. Some part-time students complete the MSN in as little as two years. Specialty options include clinical nurse leader; leadership in health systems management; nursing education; and quality, safety, and risk management in healthcare.

Campus Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $997/credit
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   3.0 GPA
Minimum Time Commitment 22 months
On-Campus Requirements No
Programs •   MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader
•   MSN-Leadership in Health Systems Management
•   MSN-Nursing Education
•   MSN-Quality; Safety; Risk Management in Healthcare
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University's Jesuit background stresses the importance of educating the entire person. Students enrolled in the online MSN program have minimal on-campus requirements and take curriculum that emphasizes theory, ethical treatment, and the improvement of healthcare practices.

Online MSN students can pursue three track options: nursing leadership in healthcare (NLH), FNP, and PMHNP. Each track features different course requirements and tuition rates. The FNP track requires 47 credits and takes nine semesters to complete, while the NLH track takes just 30 credits and six semesters to complete.

Campus Spokane, Washington
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $955-$1,030/credit
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   3.0 GPA
Minimum Time Commitment 24 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Programs •   MSN-NLH
•   MSN-FNP
•   MSN-PMHNP
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Gwynedd Mercy University

Located a short drive from Philadelphia, Gwynedd Mercy University educates students in the Catholic tradition. Learners must complete some of their education on campus, though they can complete most of the school's four online MSN options online.

Depending on the track, degree-seekers may need to complete an in-person clinical experience. The online FNP requires 720 hours of clinical experience. Students may complete these CCNE-accredited programs either full time or part time. Admission requirements vary depending on the specialty.

Campus Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $850/credit
Admission Requirement RN license
Minimum Time Commitment 24 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Programs •   MSN-Clinical Nurse Specialist
•   MSN-Nurse Education
•   MSN-Nurse Practitioner (NP)
•   MSN-FNP
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Regis University

A Denver-based Jesuit institution, Regis University runs four campuses across Colorado along with a growing online campus. The online MSN program offers every course entirely online, though some specialties require onsite clinical experience. In the MSN program, students learn to provide healthcare counseling, conduct exams, and prescribe medication.

The online format allows nursing students to continue working while earning their degree, though onsite clinicals may disrupt work schedules. Upon finishing the CCNE-accredited degree, nurses gain eligibility to sit for national certification exams. Regis University does not require learners to visit campus, though the school encourages graduates to walk for graduation.

Campus Denver, Colorado
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $700-$865/credit
Admission Requirement RN license
Minimum Time Commitment 28 months
On-Campus Requirements No
Programs •   MSN-FNP
•   MSN-Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
•   MSN-Leadership in Healthcare Systems
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Maryville University of St. Louis

Founded in 1872, Maryville University of St. Louis has steadily increased its online programs, including an online MSN. Accredited by the CCNE, the online MSN lets students choose from six different specializations, none of which require campus visits.

Maryville University offers online courses in a semester format with six different start dates throughout the year. Aside from clinical hours that learners must earn onsite at healthcare facilities, students complete the MSN entirely online with courses available 24/7. Programs take as little as two years to complete, depending on the specialty.

Campus St. Louis, Missouri
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $797/credit
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   BSN
Minimum Time Commitment 24 months
On-Campus Requirements No
Programs •   MSN-FNP
•   MSN-AGPCNP
•   MSN-AGACNP
•   MSN-PNP
•   MSN-PMHNP
•   MSN-Nursing Leadership
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Samford University

Samford University is among the nation's oldest universities and offers courses with an average class size of just 18 students. Online MSN students can take advantage of the small class sizes to get a more personalized education while studying online.

Samford offers four online MSN options, one of which does not require a BSN. Students enter the program in the fall or spring semester, though the spring option typically requires one more semester to complete the MSN. Learners must complete onsite clinicals. Samford connects degree-seekers to clinical sites across the nation.

Campus Birmingham, Alabama
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $862/credit
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   BSN
•   3.0 GPA
Minimum Time Commitment 21 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Programs •   RN-to-MSN-NP
•   MSN-FNP
•   MSN-FNP with Emergency Specialty
•   MSN-Family and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Bradley University

The mid-sized Bradley University sits near St. Louis, Chicago, and Indianapolis, all potential landing points for graduates of the online MSN-FNP. This program allows students to complete courses entirely online and earn clinical experience locally.

While many degree-seekers enroll directly into the MSN-FNP, those without a BSN can enroll through the RN-MSN-FNP option. This choice requires additional courses and clinical hours. Admission requirements vary by degree. Both degrees require courses, such as advanced pathophysiology, health informatics, and legal and ethical issues in healthcare.

Campus Peoria, Illinois
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $910/credit
Admission Requirement RN license
Minimum Time Commitment 36 months
On-Campus Requirements No
Program MSN-FNP
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Georgetown University

As the country's oldest Catholic university, Georgetown University has established itself as a premier institution of higher education. Since opening in 1789, Georgetown has expanded its offerings to include online degrees, including an online MSN-FNP. Graduates of the online program routinely pass national certification exams.

Georgetown designed a part-time and full-time format for the program. The part-time option requires the same number of courses and clinical hours but takes roughly eight more months to complete than the full-time option. The full-time program follows an accelerated format, which means students cannot maintain a full-time nursing job while earning the degree.

Campus Washington, D.C.
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $2,139/credit
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   BSN
Minimum Time Commitment 19 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Program MSN-FNP
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Duquesne University

Duquesne University provides degree-seekers with a low student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1, and many classes contain fewer than 20 students. Depending on the online MSN option learners choose, they may be required to travel to Duquesne's Pittsburgh campus.

Online MSN students choose a CCNE-accredited specialization in forensic nursing, FNP, or nursing education and faculty role. In addition to the three nursing specialties, degree-seekers may choose from one of three concentrations: nursing education, forensic nursing, and transcultural nursing. Each concentration requires nine additional credits. Duquesne does not require GRE scores or an application fee.

Campus Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition 1,509/credit
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   3.0 GPA
•   One year RN work experience
Minimum Time Commitment 12 months
On-Campus Requirements No
Programs •   MSN-Nursing Education and Faculty
•   MSN-Forensic Nursing
•   MSN-FNP
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Focused primarily on scientific education, SUNY Polytechnic Institute teaches roughly 2,200 students at its Albany, Utica, and online campuses. SUNY Polytechnic Institute offers two online MSN programs: FNP and nursing education. Both CCNE-accredited programs offer courses online, though FNP students must earn 800 clinical hours onsite and nursing education students must complete an internship.

SUNY Polytechnic offers both MSN options in full-time and part-time formats which take roughly 4-8 semesters to complete, depending on the program. MSN-FNP students must travel to campus once per week during their first semester.

Campus Albany, New York
Type Public
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $13,570/year
Admission Requirement BSN
Minimum Time Commitment 22 Months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Programs •   MSN-Nursing Education
•   MSN-FNP
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Michigan State University

One of the nation's premier public research institutions, Michigan State University (MSU) offers many of its graduate programs online, including multiple MSN specialties. Online MSN students choose one of four clinical areas, and the degree leads to NP certification.

MSU's program requires students to complete most coursework online with limited on-campus requirements. Each specialty also requires onsite clinical experience. Degree-seekers can choose between full-time or part-time options, which take three or four years to complete, respectively. Nurses may immediately begin their DNP through MSU after completing the MSN.

Campus East Lansing, Michigan
Type Public
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $755/credit
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   BSN
•   3.0 GPA
Minimum Time Commitment 28 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Programs •   MSN-Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
•   MSN-AGPCNP
•   MSN-FNP
•   MSN-PMHNP
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Saint Joseph's College of Maine

Saint Joseph's College of Maine is a Catholic, liberal arts school based just outside of Portland, Maine. The college emphasizes education outside the classroom, which is especially relevant for students earning an online MSN. In addition to completing courses online, MSN students must also gain clinical experience at healthcare facilities.

MSN learners can choose from four tracks which require 42-48 credits to complete. The school offers four terms during the year and teaches MSN courses in a 12-week cohort format. Each specialty is entirely online, though adult gerontology specialists must complete some on-campus coursework.

Campus Standish, Maine
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $664/credit
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   BSN
Minimum Time Commitment 24 months
On-Campus Requirements No
Programs •   MSN-AGACNP
•   MSN-FNP
•   MSN-Administration
•   MSN-Education
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Thomas Jefferson University

The new Thomas Jefferson University began when then old Thomas Jefferson University merged with Philadelphia University in 2017. The combined strength of the two universities resulted in more education options, including an online MSN.

With courses available in a hybrid format or entirely online, the MSN lets degree-seekers study at their own pace. Onsite clinical courses comprise the only in-person requirements. Each clinical course requires 16 onsite hours per week. Jefferson also offers 10 specialties for the online MSN, some of which occur fully online.

Campus Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Type Private
Accreditation American Nurses Credentialing Center
Tuition $1,194
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   BSN
•   3.0 GPA
Minimum Time Commitment 15 months
On-Campus Requirements No
Programs •   MSN-AGACNP, MSN-AGPCNP
•   MSN-Community Systems Administration
•   MSN-Community Systems Administration Family-Individual Lifespan
•   MSN-Community Systems Administration-Nursing Informatics
•   MSN-Family-Individual Nurse Practitioner
•   MSN-Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
•   MSN-Nursing Informatics
•   MSN-Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
•   MSN-Women's Health
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola University New Orleans offers students an unbeatable location in New Orleans and maintains strong ties with the community. However, learners interested in the online MSN can complete every course entirely online.

The online MSN offers three specialty options and a special track for non-BSN RNs. Every option requires at least some in-person practice, just not at the university's campus. The MSN offers multiple start dates throughout the year, and some programs take less than two years to complete.

Campus New Orleans, Louisiana
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $818/hour
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   ADN or BSN
Minimum Time Commitment 20 months
On-Campus Requirements No
Programs •   RN-MSN
•   MSN-FNP
•   MSN-Nursing Leaders and Administrators
•   MSN-Nurse Educators
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University (SBU) is a nationally recognized public research facility that offers various online MSN degrees. Of the eight online MSN specialties, five lead to NP certification. The length of the MSN varies depending on the specialty, and while SBU offers most courses online, students must complete some studies on Stony Brook's New York campus.

In addition to on-campus studies, the CCNE-accredited programs require clinical or practicum hours which learners must complete in person. As a public school, New York residents who study online earn the lowest tuition rates available.

Campus Stony Brook, New York
Type Public
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $471/hour
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   BSN
•   3.0 GPA
Minimum Time Commitment 20 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Programs •   MSN-AGPCNP
•   MSN-Family Health
•   MSN-Women's Health
•   MSN-Neonatal Health
•   MSN-Pediatric Primary Care
•   MSN-Psychiatric Mental Health
•   MSN-Nurse MIdwifery
•   MSN-Nursing Education
•   MSN-Nursing Leadership
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Seton Hall University

A private school in South Orange, New Jersey, Seton Hall University offers two CCNE-accredited online MSN options: pediatric primary care and adult gerontology. The adult gerontology MSN offers two tracks in acute care and primary care. No matter which option students choose, Seton Hall requires multiple on-campus immersions.

Online students must earn in-person clinical experience at one of Seton Hall's affiliate healthcare facilities in New Jersey. Seton Hall estimates that students take 3-4 years to finish the online MSN. Upon completing either program, learners gain eligibility to sit for related national certification exams.

Campus South Orange, New Jersey
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $1,310
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   BSN
•   3.0 GPA
Minimum Time Commitment 36 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Programs •   MSN-Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)
•   MSN-Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Regis College

For nearly 100 years, Regis College has pushed to become a global school, expanding its online campus to reflect this goal. Regis College offers five online MSN specializations. Students complete all required coursework entirely online.

The online MSN is an extension of one of the state's largest NP programs and is taught by the same faculty as on-campus programs. Because the online MSN degree leads to NP licensure, each program also requires onsite clinical hours. Regis College graduates pass NP exams at a higher rate than the national average.

Campus Weston, Massachusetts
Type Private
Accreditation Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
Tuition $980
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   BSN
Minimum Time Commitment 28 months
On-Campus Requirements No
Programs •   MSN-AGNP
•   MSN-FNP
•   MSN-PNP, MSN-PMHNP
•   MSN-Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Misericordia University

Misericordia University is a small Catholic university in Dallas, Pennsylvania. Misericordia offers small class sizes, even for the online MSN. MSN students choose between an AGPCNP or FNP specialty, both of which take three years to complete.

The CCNE-accredited MSN leads to NP licensure, so students complete clinical hours related to their specialty. Misericordia lets learners easily begin a DNP after the MSN. Up to six MSN credits count toward the DNP. Applicants do not pay application fees or submit entrance exams.

Campus Dallas, Pennsylvania
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $775/credit
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   BSN
•   3.0 GPA
Minimum Time Commitment 36 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Programs •   MSN-AGPCNP
•   MSN-FNP
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

The Catholic University of America

Founded by Catholic bishops, The Catholic University of America (CUA) is a private research school in Washington, D.C. CUA boasts a strong nursing program, and students living outside of the Washington, D.C. area can earn an online MSN. The online MSN has four tracks, and learners must select at least one option.

Degree-seekers visit campus on two occasions during the fifth and eighth semester to demonstrate learned skills. Applicants should live at least 35 miles away from campus and possess some nursing experience.

Campus Washington, D.C.
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $48,000/year
Admission Requirements •   RN license
•   BSN
•   3.0 GPA
Minimum Time Commitment 36 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Programs •   MSN-FNP
•   MSN-Acute Care
•   MSN-Pediatric Primary Care
•   MSN-AGPCNPS
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

SUNY Upstate Medical University

SUNY Upstate Medical University is a public school, meaning online MSN students based in New York receive in-state tuition. MSN students select either the FNP or family mental health NP track, both of which come in full-time and part-time options. Neither option is entirely online, so students must complete some courses on campus in Syracuse. Degree-seekers complete clinicals through Upstate University Hospital and the university's extensive healthcare facility network.

Full-time students complete the MSN degree in 2-3 years, and part-time students take 3-5 years. While not required, Upstate Medical University gives preference to applicants with at least one year of professional nursing experience.

Campus Syracuse, New York
Type Public
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition $47/credit
Admission Requirements •   New York RN license
•   BSN
•   3.0 GPA
Minimum Time Commitment 24 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Programs •   MSN-FNP
•   MSN-Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Wilkes University

Wilkes University is a small, private school focused on teaching degrees that lead to high-employment fields. Current nurses interested in advancing their career may choose one of three online MSN concentrations. Aside from required on-campus residency for an advanced health assessment course, students complete all courses online.

Each concentration leads to NP certification, so learners must earn clinical hours. Wilkes University works with students to find a healthcare facility in learners' local communities. While not a public school, Wilkes University charges tuition rates comparable to in-state tuition to all students.

Campus Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Type Private
Accreditation CCNE
Tuition 517/credit
Admission Requirements •   Associate degree or BSN
•   RN license
•   3.0 GPA
•   one year of clinical experience
Minimum Time Commitment 32 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Programs •   RN-MSN
•   MSN-AGPCNP
•   MSN-FNP
•   MSN-Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
School Site Tuition | Financial aid

Online Nurse Practitioner Programs: An Overview

While each program maintains slightly different admission guidelines, most use a similar application process. In addition, some schools offer different specializations, including women's health, pediatrics, psychiatry, gerontology, and anesthesiology. Consider the following criteria as you search for the right program.

Admission Requirements for an Online Nurse Practitioner Program

Most online nurse practitioner programs expect applicants to hold either an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing and a state RN license in good standing. While some NP programs accept nonspecialist applicants, these students may need to complete prerequisite courses, such as statistics and biology. Standard application requirements include transcripts with a minimum 3.0 GPA, a professional resume demonstrating clinical experience, and a personal statement. Some schools also request GRE or GMAT scores.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Nurse Practitioner Program?

The length of an online nurse practitioner program depends on multiple factors. Most candidates with a bachelor's degree in nursing and an RN license typically complete their NP degree in one to two years, depending on the program's format. Individuals with an associate degree and RN experience usually spend three years on a program, and nonspecialist programs typically require four or five years total.

A program's duration depends largely on its format and pacing, along with the student's enrollment status. Ideal for candidates with work or family obligations, asynchronous or self-paced programs feature flexible schedules that allow learners to access and submit assignments and coursework outside of set class times. In contrast, cohort programs offer classes with set deadlines and degree benchmarks, which can help keep students on track.


Concentrations Offered for an Online Nurse Practitioner Degree

Family Nurse Practitioner

Family NPs provide care for families and communities. While independent practicing restrictions depend largely on state legislation, 24 states in the U.S. allow nurse practitioners to work independently, assessing patients, writing prescriptions, and monitoring patient progress. Practitioners must sit for the family NP board certification administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Careers this concentration prepares for: Independent practice in your local community, pediatric clinic nurse, general practice medicine

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

These professionals provide psychiatric and physiological analysis and care for those suffering from mental disorders. Taking a multidisciplinary approach to healthcare, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners keep up to date with the latest statistical analyses, cutting-edge investigations, and current pharmacotherapeutics to improve patient quality of life.

Careers this concentration prepares for: Nurse in hospital psychiatric wards, psychiatric clinics, or physiological/psychiatric research labs

Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Women often require complex medical assistance at various phases of their lives. These NPs help young patients transition through puberty, assist women with family planning, help with maternity and postpartum issues, and aid women going through menopause.

Careers this concentration prepares for: Women's clinic nurse, hospital maternity ward nurse, ambulatory care nurse.


Example Courses for Online Nurse Practitioner Students

Information Technology and Data Management
In this class, candidates examine the intricate technological systems that organize modern medicine. Students explore technological data gathering systems, such as MRI, PET, and CT scanners as they learn to compile electronic health records. These systems help professionals maintain the documentation necessary to provide quality healthcare.
Health Politics and Policy
This course explores the ethical and legal issues associated with healthcare. Students discuss disparities in healthcare and ethical administration, the scope of independent versus community care, and the challenges of financing modern treatment programs. Course participants may brainstorm government, private, and corporate policy improvements.
Advanced Pharmacology
Coursework prepares candidates to obtain prescriptive authority by studying pharmacological therapies. Lectures present medications across various therapeutic categories and drug classes, honing students' skills in patient monitoring and assessment. Typically, this course covers primary care medications and long-term therapeutic strategies.
Advanced Psychology
Founded in the principles of psychological distress and mental imbalance, this course delves into behavioral, biological, cognitive, and social influences on mental imbalance. Coursework surveys psychiatric medications and long-term therapeutic dosage and maintenance, along with appropriate interpersonal patient interactions and risk assessment.
Adult and Geriatric Primary Care
This course explores the complex issues related to adult and aging patients with primary care needs. Learners study chronic illness and psychosocial limitations as they train in health assessment, diagnostic reasoning, and prescriptions and non-medicinal therapies. Candidates also build skills in patient education, referrals, and follow-up care.

Internship Component

Most NP programs require students to complete an internship or series of internships before graduation. While some online nurse practitioner programs provide clinical liaisons to connect students with healthcare facilities, most distance learners must arrange their own internship opportunities. You may be able to fulfill this requirement in your current work environment or find hospitals or clinics in your local community.

Internships translate online coursework into practical experience. For example, students may work with the elderly in retirement communities, assist expectant mothers in maternity wards, or help adolescents struggling with mental health challenges.

Certifications and Licenses This Program Prepares For

American Nursing Credentialing Certification

The American Nurses Association (ANA) sanctions all nurses in the U.S., including professionals specializing in adult gerontology and acute care, family nursing, and psychiatric mental health. Practitioners must recertify every five years to remain in good professional standing.

State Licensure

All states maintain slightly different licensing standards and requirements. However, each state requires licensure candidates to complete a minimum number of clinical hours logged as an RN. Typically, applicants must complete between 200-300 hours. Certain NP specialty positions, such as anesthesiology NP or geriatric specialist, require logged hours with a trained professional.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners Certification

Like the ANA, the AANP offers certification for nursing practitioners of gerontology, geriatric care, and family care. Regular recertification is required, and the AANP provides a variety of continuing education opportunities to keep NPs up to date on relevant issues.

Accreditation for Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

A quality school should hold full accreditation. The U.S. Education Department awards accreditation through six regional governing bodies, including the Higher Learning Commission and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Specialized nursing fields typically require additional accreditation. For example, nurse practitioners focusing on anesthesiology must attend a school accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs (COA). Graduates whose degrees do not hold proper accreditation will not qualify the holder to sit for the ANA and AANP certification exams. To learn more about a school's accreditation status, check its website for voluntary disclosures or search for the school directly in the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website.


Job and Salary Outlook

Job Opportunities for Nurse Practitioners

According to BLS data, job growth rates for NPs, including nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives, are projected to grow over the next decade by 26% -- nearly four times higher than the national average. This figure demonstrates a strong demand for advanced nursing degrees and high overall earning potential across the profession. The following table describes some career options for graduates with an online NP degree.

  • Nurse Practitioner

    Median Annual Salary: $164,030

    NPs physically examine patients, document medical histories, and determine appropriate medications and therapies to address acute, chronic, and episodic medical issues.

  • Nurse Anesthetist

    Median Annual Salary: $174,790

    Working with physicians, surgeons, dentists, and orthodontists, nurse anesthetists formulate anesthetic programs and administer treatment during and after surgical or medical procedures.

  • Nurse Midwife

    Median Annual Salary: $106,910

    Nurse midwives support expectant mothers through childbirth and provide neonatal care. They maintain medical treatments, assist during childbirth, and help new mothers adjust to postpartum hormonal fluctuations.

  • Medical And Health Services Manager

    Median Annual Salary: $99,730

    These managers organize and maintain productivity within hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They manage medical teams, monitor financial and facility use, and communicate with medical professionals, patients, and families.

  • Post-Secondary Nurse Instructor

    Median Annual Salary: $81,350

    Postsecondary instructors take on the responsibility of translating patient care to future generations of NPs. They prepare graduate students for ANCC or AANP certifications.

Source: BLS

How Much Do Nurse Practitioners Make?

The following table displays the states with the highest paying salary opportunities for NPs. Prospective NPs may want to consider this salary information when deciding where they want to begin their careers.

Top Paying States for Nurse Practitioners
State State Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
California 13,420 $64.32 $133,780
Alaska 440 $59.08 $122,880
Massachusetts 6,200 $59.01 $122,740
New Jersey 5,900 $58.70 $122,100
New York 13,710 $58.16 $120,970

Source: BLS

Financing Your Online Nurse Practitioner Program

Deciding to go back to school requires a great deal of thought, especially given the cost of higher education. Once you commit to continuing your education, you should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to learn about available financial assistance. The following list describes some additional funding sources, including scholarships. Local, regional, and national funding opportunities can also help defray educational costs.


10 Scholarships for Nurse Practitioner Students

AANP Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Intended for AANP members, these scholarships support RNs pursuing higher education across the country.

Amount: Up to $5,000

NURSE Corps Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The NURSE Corps helps new professionals while simultaneously serving underrepresented areas. Applicants must claim U.S. citizenship, enroll in an accredited NP program, and possess a clean criminal record without outstanding fees. Once accepted to the program, candidates must work in underserved communities for a minimum of two years after graduation.

Amount: Varies; covers tuition, external fees, and provides a student stipend

Army Health Professions Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The U.S. Army> helps young professionals achieve higher educational aspirations while gaining practical and military leadership experience. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and maintain full-time enrollment throughout their schooling.

Amount: Full tuition, $20,000 sign-on bonus, and $2,300+ monthly stipend

Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The NPHF provides multiple scholarships for RNs, including one in gastroenterology and another in community service. These awards support NPs in their final internship year. Applications must include personal statements and references attesting to the applicant's devotion to the field.

Amount: $1,000-$4,000

National Black Nurses Association Annual Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The NBNA strives to increase minority representation in the medical field. Applicants must maintain NBNA membership, be enrolled in an accredited nursing program, and have one year of school remaining before graduation. Strong applicants participate in student nursing organizations and volunteer work and involve themselves in the African American community.

Amount: $1,000-$6,000

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: NAPNAP assists future pediatric NPs on the path to certification. Applicants must belong to NAPNAP and must provide clear information about one's academic and professional background, along with reasons for pursuing a degree in pediatrics.

Amount: Varies

March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Intended for future NPs interested in working with mothers and newborn children, this scholarship provides funding for maternal-child nursing. Eligible applicants must hold RN certification, be enrolled in a graduate program focused on maternity and/or neonatal care, and maintain membership in the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, or the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.

Amount: $5,000

Tylenol Future Care Scholarship

The Tylenol Future Care Scholarship offers various awards to students pursuing degrees in health education and nursing. Each year, the organization awards 10 scholarships at the $10,000 level and 30 each year at the $5,000 level.

Amount: $5,000-$10,000

Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship

The Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship provides assistance for current and future nursing students who demonstrate financial need.

Amount: $2,500

AfterCollege-AACN Scholarship Fund

This scholarship supports students pursuing an undergraduate, master's, and doctoral nursing degree at AACN-member institutions.

Amount: $2,500


Professional Organizations

Professional organizations facilitate professional connections and sponsor networking opportunities. Many offer continuing education programs that allow NPs to pursue certifications and maintain licensure. NPs can present research or professional reflections at annual regional and national conferences, fight for healthcare priorities by serving in advocacy groups, and improve their careers through job search assistance and specialized certifications.