The Best Accelerated Online NP Programs of 2023

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Updated February 28, 2023

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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Credit: Maskot / Maskot / Getty Images

If you want to switch careers in nursing and boost your salary in a single year, consider an accelerated online nurse practitioner program. Nurse practitioners (NPs) have greater professional freedoms with specialized nursing training, and they earn higher salaries than registered nurses (RNs).

Our guide features the best online NP programs that take 24 months — or less. Find out how to enroll in an accelerated NP program online, how they function, and what they cost.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best ADN-to-MSN (RN to NP) bridge programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: Academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Featured Online NP Programs

Using Our Rankings: What to Look For in an Accelerated Online NP Program

When shopping for an online accelerated NP program, keep in mind the metrics listed below — factors that also shape our rankings.

Admission Requirements

There is no point considering a program unless you meet the admission requirements. The admission requirements give you an idea about the average student accepted into a nursing program, including their academic background, work history, and clinical experience.


Specializations

Taking an accelerated NP program online gives you specialized training in areas of healthcare, such as family nursing NP, pediatrics NP, psychiatric mental health NP, or women's health NP. The selection of specializations varies by school.


Program Curriculum

Most accelerated online NP programs offer similar advanced theoretical and clinical nursing curricula, but electives and specializations vary. For instance, one accelerated online NP program may focus on primary care management, while another emphasizes leadership in nursing.


Clinical Experience

Clinical hours are a core element of every accelerated online NP program. You can expect to complete in-person clinical hours. Some programs offer free clinical placement services and advisors, a process that can be otherwise time consuming.


Accreditation

You want your accelerated online NP program to have accreditation because it offers a distinction recognized by your peers and future employers. Accreditation also ensures that an accelerated online NP program meets the clinical and educational requirements needed to pass a national certification exam and get licensed.


Program Length

Consider how much time you have available to devote to earning a higher degree. Completing the average accelerated NP program online takes about 24 months, but some programs only take 18 months. Alternately, nurses can study part time and graduate in about 28 months.


School Graduation Rate

A school's graduation rate provides clues about how well a program and its faculty prepare students to achieve their career goals. You can get an idea about how long it takes the average student to earn a degree by looking at the graduation rate.


Online Learning Format and Requirements

Accelerated online NP programs operate virtually but how students access lectures and materials differs. This matters because students may prefer mostly asynchronous courses with no set class times or live courses that offer face-to-face interaction.

Why Is Accelerated Online NP Program Accreditation Important?

The accelerated online NP programs featured in our rankings hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Accelerated online NP program accreditation gives students the assurance that their education meets quality standards, but it also ensures that they can advance in nursing. State boards of nursing and certification agencies require prospective NPs to have graduated from accredited programs.

Employers also look favorably on nurses from accredited accelerated online NP programs.

Benefits of accreditation include:

  • Continual improvements to curriculum, student outcomes, and faculty
  • Ability to transfer credits to other accredited programs
  • Eligibility for national certification and licensure
  • Preference for candidates from accredited nursing programs in the job market

Learn More About the Best Accelerated Online NP Programs and Schools

See our methodology to learn more about how we create our rankings.

#1 The Best Accelerated Online NP Programs of 2023

University of Southern California

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, the University of Southern California boasts an international reputation for academic excellence, counting several Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and MacArthur "Genius" grant recipients among its staff.

The online master of science family nurse practitioner program, designed for working RNs, offers both full- and part-time tracks. The fully online master of science in nursing requires two on-campus intensives and a total of 784 clinical hours. The program helps students find clinical placements near their communities.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing – family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Los Angeles, California
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $31,734 (15-18 units) 
  • Admission Requirements: BSN; valid RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; undergraduate statistics course with a "C" grade or above; minimum one year of clinical experience
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 21 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $163,230 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$59,260
Out-of-state
$59,260
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$47,880
Out-of-state
$47,880
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
16%
Students Enrolled
46,287
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
89% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#2 The Best Accelerated Online NP Programs of 2023

Stony Brook University

  • Stony Brook, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Established in 1957, Stony Brook University has grown into one of the largest schools in the State University of New York System. The university currently serves over 25,000 students in more than 200 undergraduate, 100 master's, and 50 doctoral programs. 

The school of nursing offers several accelerated nurse practitioner programs. In addition to online coursework, all distance learners must complete on-site requirements. The office of clinical placements works collaboratively with faculty to secure appropriate placements for online students.

  • Program: Master of science – advanced practice nursing
  • Campus: Stony Brook, New York
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $471 per credit for New York residents; $963 per credit for out-of-state residents
  • Admission Requirements: BSN; current RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; minimum one year of clinical practice
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 95.5% first-time pass rate 
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $105,660 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,070
Out-of-state
$24,740
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,310
Out-of-state
$23,100
Retention Rate
90%
Admission Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
26,782
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 The Best Accelerated Online NP Programs of 2023

George Washington University

  • Washington, DC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

George Washington University, established in 1821 through an Act of Congress, administers 10 academic schools and over 35 cross-disciplinary research institutes.

The GW school of nursing offers a master of science in nursing with several nurse practitioner tracks in a flexible format. The hybrid approach incorporates a combination of online courses, with some in-person testing and training in simulated clinical experiences. The program uses a clinical placement model that helps distance learners find placements in their preferred clinical sites.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing – psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Washington, D.C.
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $1,395 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN; valid RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; undergraduate statistics course with a grade of "C" or above
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 27 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 96.9% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $100,880 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$55,961
Out-of-state
$55,961
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$31,770
Out-of-state
$31,770
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
43%
Students Enrolled
27,017
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 The Best Accelerated Online NP Programs of 2023

Cedarville University

  • Cedarville, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A Baptist-affiliated institution located in southwestern Ohio, Cedarville University enrolls over 5,000 students in more than 150 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Cedarville's master of science in nursing integrates a Christian orientation into all coursework while emphasizing evidence-based practice. The mostly online format also requires four on-campus clinical experiences. While the program helps distant learners find clinical sites near their place of residence, some placements may require students to commute 1-3 hours a day to complete their clinical hours. 

  • Program: Master of science in nursing – family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Cedarville, Ohio
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $648 per credit 
  • Admission Requirements: BSN; valid RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; undergraduate statistics and research courses
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 91.6% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $56,530 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$32,364
Out-of-state
$32,364
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,065
Out-of-state
$9,065
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
4,461
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 The Best Accelerated Online NP Programs of 2023

Texas A & M International University

  • Laredo, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Since 1970, Texas A & M International University has developed undergraduate and graduate programs that provide a progressive international focus for global and multicultural study across all disciplines. The university currently enrolls over 8,400 students in five academic colleges. 

TAMIU's fully online family nurse practitioner master's program prepares graduates for advanced practice nursing roles with a focus on the promotion of health and well-being to diverse populations. The 48-credit degree offers starting dates in both the fall and spring semesters.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing – family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Laredo, Texas
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $4,489 per semester for Florida residents; $10,254 for out-of-state residents
  • Admission Requirements: BSN; valid RN license; minimum overall 2.7 GPA and upper level 3.0 GPA; minimum one year clinical experience
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 97.06% first-time pass rate 
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: 64,990 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$3,818
Out-of-state
$13,634
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$3,350
Out-of-state
$10,712
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
8,525
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 The Best Accelerated Online NP Programs of 2023

Samford University

  • Birmingham, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Founded by the Alabama Baptist Convention in 1841, Samford University has become a nationally-recognized Christian university, serving over 5,600 students. The university administers undergraduate and graduate programs at its suburban Birmingham campus and online.

The 42-credit online family nurse practitioner program, designed to fit the needs of working nurses, offers two start dates and a flexible study plan. In addition to online course modules, the curriculum includes 1-2 synchronous Zoom sessions each semester and three on-campus visits.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing – family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Birmingham, Alabama
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $924 per credit 
  • Admission Requirements: BSN: valid RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; undergraduate nursing research course with a grade of "C" or above, undergraduate nursing research course with a grade of "B" or above
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 95% first-time pass rate 
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $ 99,380 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$33,248
Out-of-state
$33,248
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$20,587
Out-of-state
$20,587
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
5,729
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 The Best Accelerated Online NP Programs of 2023

Frontier Nursing University

  • Versailles, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online

From its beginnings in 1939 as the Frontier Graduate School of Midwifery, Frontier Nursing University has become one of the largest not-for-profit universities in the U.S. for advanced nursing and midwifery education. 

The family nurse practitioner program emphasizes the needs of rural and underserved populations. The curriculum accommodates working RNs by offering full- or part-time study plans and by scheduling every course each. Distance learners may complete their clinical placements in their own communities. The program requires two on-campus immersion experiences.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing – family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Versailles, Kentucky
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $646 per credit 
  • Admission Requirements: BSN; valid RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; minimum one year clinical experience
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 95% first-time pass rate 
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $93,450 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$18,617
Out-of-state
$18,617
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,436
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 The Best Accelerated Online NP Programs of 2023

SUNY Brockport

  • Brockport, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in a small community near the city of Rochester, SUNY Brockport enrolls over 6,400 students in 100 undergraduate majors and minors and 50 graduate programs.

Brockport's master of science in nursing features a 42-credit family nurse practitioner specialty. The program combines online coursework with three hybrid clinical sessions that take place on Fridays or Saturdays each semester. The program offers full- or part-time study plans. Distance learners may arrange clinical placements at several primary care sites throughout New York.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing – family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Brockport, New York
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $5,655 per semester for New York residents; $11,550 per semester for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: BSN: valid RN license; GRE exam; recent clinical experience
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 83.8% first-time pass rate 
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $63,390 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,070
Out-of-state
$16,980
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,310
Out-of-state
$23,100
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
7,592
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
86% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#9 The Best Accelerated Online NP Programs of 2023

Maryville University of Saint Louis

  • Saint Louis, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Established over 150 years ago by the Society of the Sacred Heart Catholic religious order, Maryville University of Saint Louis currently offers over 90 degree programs, including over 50 online options. 

Maryville's advanced family practitioner program comprises 15 courses offered completely online, with no required on-campus components. The degree admits students in six entry points throughout the year. 

Designed for experienced nurses, the curriculum emphasizes holistic care across the lifespan, nursing leadership, and evidence-based decision-making. The program works with distance learners to secure clinical placements at their preferred local settings.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing
  • Campus: Saint Louis, Missouri
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $813 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN: valid RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 20 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 93.08% first-time pass rate 
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $93,720 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$24,766
Out-of-state
$24,766
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,346
Out-of-state
$14,346
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
95%
Students Enrolled
10,979
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
83% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 The Best Accelerated Online NP Programs of 2023

Sacred Heart University

  • Fairfield, CT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Sacred Heart University, the second largest Catholic university in New England, administers over 90 undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees, including 12 fully online programs. 

The mostly online 42-credit family practitioner program requires in-person attendance at three sessions in Fairfield, Connecticut: a two-day orientation at the start of their degree and one-day clinical workshops at the middle and end of the program. Distance learners may have to travel outside their own communities to access clinical sites and fulfill the necessary clinical placement hours.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing
  • Campus: Fairfield, Connecticut
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $995 per credit 
  • Admission Requirements: BSN: valid RN license; minimum 3.02 GPA; undergraduate courses in research, statistics, and health assessment
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 30 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 95% first-time pass rate 
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $92,830 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$44,080
Out-of-state
$44,080
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$34,806
Out-of-state
$34,806
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
66%
Students Enrolled
9,313
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

How Online Accelerated Online NP Programs Work

Accelerated online NP programs offer a quick path to a career as an NP. Instead of the usual 15-week courses, online accelerated NP programs often offer courses that last 4-6 weeks. Because of the accelerated format, online nursing students generally cannot work, at least full time, while they attend courses. In some cases, NP nursing students can opt for part-time tracks.

While online accelerated NP programs are mostly online, students must complete clinical placements in person. Additionally, nursing schools may require in-person orientation or labs.

Learn more about online nursing programs, such as how online nursing students get clinical experience, and how online differs from in-person nursing programs.

Applying to an Accelerated Online NP Program

You can expect admission requirements to vary by program, but generally every prospective student needs to have the same academic achievements and work history. They also submit similar supplemental materials.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's in nursing degree from an accredited college
  • 1-2 years of nursing experience
  • Unencumbered RN license

Admission Materials

  • Criminal background check, before clinical placement
  • Official college transcripts
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Personal essay

GPA Requirement

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA for undergraduate studies

Paying for Accelerated Online NP Programs

Accelerated online NP programs often discourage students from working full time because of the fast-paced format. As a result, students may not be able to count on their income to pay for nursing school. Additionally, if you plan to attend a college out of state, you must factor in the increased expense of nonresident tuition.

Luckily, nursing students have financial aid resources to help them pay for college expenses. Loans —both private and federal —provide financial aid to nursing students to pay for tuition and books. Federal loans generally have lower interest rates and lenient repayment plans than private loans.

Students can also apply for nursing scholarships and grants, which they do not need to repay.

What Can You Do as a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners have an advanced education to perform assessments, make diagnoses, and prescribe medications in clinics, emergency rooms, hospitals, private physicians' offices, and nursing homes. In their role, some NPs may work in collaboration with, or independently of, physicians. Each state regulates NP practice authority and determines whether they work in full practice, reduced practice, or restricted practice.

The pay for NPs exceeds what RNs earn. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs make a median annual salary of $77,600, while NPs earn a median wage of $120,680. NPs also have the flexibility of working in a specialized area such as family nursing, neonatal nursing, or women's health.


Frequently Asked Questions About Accelerated Online NP Programs

Are online nurse practitioner programs respected?

Yes. Accelerated online NP programs have the same rigorous coursework and reputation in nursing as in-person programs, often with the same faculty.

How quickly can I become a nurse practitioner?

Typically, it takes 2-3 years to complete an NP program. Completing an accelerated NP program online can take as few as 18 months or up to 24 months. It takes additional time to earn NP certification, which requires passing a national exam.

Can I work during an accelerated nursing program?

The fast-paced format of an accelerated online NP program often makes it difficult to work full time. Programs may also recommend that nursing students not work. There are accelerated online NP programs for working students, which offer part-time options that take up to two years.

Are nurse practitioners in high demand?

Yes. According to the BLS, the demand for NPs exceeds all other occupations at a projected growth rate of 46% from 2021-2031. Roughly 30,200 jobs for advanced practice registered nurses will be added to the workforce during that decade.


Related Pages


Page last reviewed October 24, 2022. Note: The ranking list and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by our Rankings Team.

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.

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