The Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.

Nurse practitioner (NP) programs train NPs to provide comprehensive patient care, with 69% of professionals delivering primary care and 65.4% choosing to become certified family nurse practitioners (FNPs). In addition to performing necessary work, NPs gain access to lucrative salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that NPs earn a median base annual salary of $115,800.

As the U.S. healthcare system grows, NPs benefit from the rising demand for their expertise. BLS data indicates a 45% projected job growth rate from 2019-29, pointing to the value of earning a degree through an online NP program.

NPs can pursue a master’s degree or higher through distance learning programs offering synchronous, asynchronous, or hybrid online classes. The necessary clinical experience must be obtained in person.

Students in NP programs can expect to encounter coursework covering topics like advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. Students graduate in 2-4 years, depending on their specialization and enrollment status.

Graduates emerge prepared to perform many of the same job duties as physicians in their specialty areas. The demand for NPs should increase with the aging population and the need for preventive care. To help you select the best NP program for you, we’ve applied our methodology to rank the best online NP programs.

Read about our ranking methodology here.
Advertisement NurseJournal.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.

Featured Online Programs

Advertisement NurseJournal.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.

Best Online Nursing Practitioner (NP) Programs for 2020

Rank School Location
1 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
2 Simmons College Boston, MA
3 Villanova University Villanova, PA
4 George Washington University Washington, DC
5 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
6 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA
7 Gwynedd Mercy University Gwynedd Valley, PA
8 Regis University Denver, CO
9 Maryville University of St. Louis St. Louis, MO
10 Samford University Birmingham, AL

  1. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    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(s): MSN-FNP

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  2. Simmons College
    Location

    Boston, MA

    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(s): RN-to-MSN

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  3. Villanova University
    Location

    Villanova, PA

    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(s): MSN-FNP

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  4. George Washington University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    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

    Program(s): •   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

  5. Drexel University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    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

    Program(s): •   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

  6. Gonzaga University
    Location

    Spokane, WA

    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

    Program(s): •   MSN-NLH
    •   MSN-FNP
    •   MSN-PMHNP

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  7. Gwynedd Mercy University
    Location

    Gwynedd Valley, PA

    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

    Program(s): •   MSN-Clinical Nurse Specialist
    •   MSN-Nurse Education
    •   MSN-Nurse Practitioner (NP)
    •   MSN-FNP

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  8. Regis University
    Location

    Denver, CO

    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 Requirements: RN license

    Minimum Time Commitment: 28 months

    On-Campus Requirements: No

    Program(s): •   MSN-FNP
    •   MSN-Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
    •   MSN-Leadership in Healthcare Systems

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  9. Maryville University of St. Louis
    Location

    St. Louis, MO

    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

    Program(s): •   MSN-FNP
    •   MSN-AGPCNP
    •   MSN-AGACNP
    •   MSN-PNP
    •   MSN-PMHNP
    •   MSN-Nursing Leadership

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  10. Samford University
    Location

    Birmingham, AL

    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

    Program(s): •   RN-to-MSN-NP
    •   MSN-FNP
    •   MSN-FNP with Emergency Specialty
    •   MSN-Family and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  11. Bradley University
    Location

    Peoria, IL

    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 Requirements: RN license

    Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months

    On-Campus Requirements: No

    Program(s): MSN-FNP

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  12. Georgetown University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    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(s): MSN-FNP

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  13. Duquesne University
    Location

    Pittsburgh, PA

    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

    Program(s): •   MSN-Nursing Education and Faculty
    •   MSN-Forensic Nursing
    •   MSN-FNP

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  14. SUNY Polytechnic Institute
    Location

    Albany, NY

    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 Requirements: BSN

    Minimum Time Commitment: 22 Months

    On-Campus Requirements: Yes

    Program(s): •   MSN-Nursing Education
    •   MSN-FNP

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  15. Michigan State University
    Location

    East Lansing, MI

    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

    Program(s): •   MSN-Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
    •   MSN-AGPCNP
    •   MSN-FNP
    •   MSN-PMHNP

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  16. Saint Joseph's College of Maine
    Location

    Standish, ME

    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

    Program(s): •   MSN-AGACNP
    •   MSN-FNP
    •   MSN-Administration
    •   MSN-Education

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  17. Thomas Jefferson University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    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

    Program(s): •   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

  18. Loyola University New Orleans
    Location

    New Orleans, LA

    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

    Program(s): •   RN-MSN
    •   MSN-FNP
    •   MSN-Nursing Leaders and Administrators
    •   MSN-Nurse Educators

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  19. Stony Brook University
    Location

    Stony Brook, NY

    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

    Program(s): •   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

  20. Seton Hall University
    Location

    South Orange, NY

    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

    Program(s): •   MSN-Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)
    •   MSN-Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  21. Regis College
    Location

    Weston, MA

    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

    Program(s): •   MSN-AGNP
    •   MSN-FNP
    •   MSN-PNP, MSN-PMHNP
    •   MSN-Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  22. Misericordia University
    Location

    Dallas, PA

    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

    Program(s): •   MSN-AGPCNP
    •   MSN-FNP

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  23. Catholic University of America
    Location

    Washington, DC

    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

    Program(s): •   MSN-FNP
    •   MSN-Acute Care
    •   MSN-Pediatric Primary Care
    •   MSN-AGPCNPS

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  24. SUNY Upstate Medical University
    Location

    Syracuse, NY

    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

    Program(s): •   MSN-FNP
    •   MSN-Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  25. Wilkes University
    Location

    Wilkes-Barre, PA

    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

    Program(s): •   RN-MSN
    •   MSN-AGPCNP
    •   MSN-FNP
    •   MSN-Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

Applying to an Online Nurse Practitioner Program

Common admission requirements for a master of science in nursing (MSN) include a registered nurse (RN) license and a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree from a regionally accredited school. Bridge programs, such as RN-to-MSN programs, provide options for RNs that hold associate degrees or non-nursing bachelor’s degrees.

Most MSN programs require 1-2 years of clinical experience as a nurse, which applicants usually gain working as RNs prior to applying to graduate school. Some programs require minimum GPAs and/or GRE scores.

Applicants who have worked as RNs may not need to show specific coursework, but admissions committees generally prefer candidates who have taken anatomy and physiology, chemistry, microbiology, nutrition, psychology, and statistics. Programs typically ask for submissions of transcripts, letters of recommendation, and resumes.

In order to work as an FNP, graduates need to obtain state-specific licensure.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a nurse practitioner?

Depending on the educational path, it can take about eight years, including earning a BSN, either on its own or as part of a bridge program, logging 1-2 years of nursing experience, and spending 2-4 years in graduate school. Certain specializations may also add to the timeline, as will part-time versus full-time study.

What is accreditation, and why is it important?

NPs become licensed as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and state boards require degrees from accredited programs. Most receive credentials from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). CCNE and ACEN also confer specialty accreditation for online FNP programs, online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs, and other areas.

Is a nurse practitioner a good job?

NPs perform many of the same job duties as physicians, but spend less time earning their degree. They also earn among the highest pay of those in the nursing profession. Both challenging and rewarding, the job can be stressful, but also fulfilling for those who want to help people.

What can I do as a nurse practitioner?

NPs find employment in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and care centers. They may work with a specific patient population, such as older adults, children and teens, patients with mental health issues, or those fighting cancer. NPs coordinate patient care and provide primary services, including diagnosis and treatments, assessment and testing, and referring patients to other specialists.

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