The Best Alabama Online Nurse Practitioner Programs and Requirements

By NurseJournal.org staff



Table of Contents


The Alabama Board of Nursing oversees nursing licensure in the state. Higher credentials, such as the certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP), require advanced criteria, including national certifications and a graduate degree. These criteria verify that individuals understand healthcare concepts and can deliver expert care.

CRNP candidates should graduate from master's nurse practitioner programs in Alabama. These programs train learners to assess, diagnose, and treat patients for different issues and may also include clinical experiences. Candidates can also earn a doctorate in nursing. While not required for certification, these degrees may increase career opportunities by indicating more in-depth knowledge.

Nurse practitioners (NPs) can deliver more advanced services than registered nurses (RNs), but cannot act as independent physicians. In fact, Alabama NPs enter collaborative agreements with physicians which outline the services they can perform. Common responsibilities for NPs include examining patients, requesting lab tests, and referring patients to specialists. NPs often work within a specialization, such as geriatrics or pediatrics.

Keep reading to explore CRNP criteria, salary and employment trends, and the best nurse practitioner programs in Alabama.

Best Alabama Online Nurse Practitioner (NP) Programs

Rank University Degree Programs
1 Samford University - Birmingham, AL NP
2 University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa, AL NP
3 University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL NP
4 University of Mobile - Mobile, AL NP

Samford University

Founded in Birmingham in 1841, Samford embraces Christian traditions. Today, the school educates over 5,600 learners and holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The university's master of science in nursing for family nurse practitioners consists of 42 credits. Coursework deals with ethical care for adults and children by highlighting assessment and diagnosis strategies. Degree-seekers must complete practicum experiences assisting children, women, and adults for a total 660 hours.

Graduates may take certification exams through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses' Credentialing Center. The certification test pass rate for the university's MSN graduates approaches 100%.

Campus Birmingham, Alabama
Type Private
Accreditations Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Tuition $862 per credit for in-state and out-of-state students
Admission Requirements RN license; bachelor of science in nursing; minimum 3.0 GPA; prerequisite coursework in research and health assessment
Minimum Time Commitment Five semesters
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Program Master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner
School site Tuition | Financial aid

University of Alabama

Located in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama welcomed its first students in 1831. As of Fall 2019, the institution boasted more than 38,000 students. The school ranks among U.S. News & World Report's top 100 public schools and holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Candidates can earn a master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner concentration by completing 45-51 credits of nursing courses and practicums. Students may also declare a dual concentration by adding a psychiatric mental health focus and completing 66-72 credits and 1,080 hours of clinical experience. The U.S. News & World Report ranks this program at #9 among family nurse practitioner programs in the nation.

Campus Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Type Public
Accreditations Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Tuition $420 per credit for in-state and out-of-state students
Admission Requirements Bachelor's in nursing; minimum 3.0 GPA; RN license
Minimum Time Commitment Two years
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Program Master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner concentration
School site Tuition | Financial aid

University of Alabama at Birmingham

While UAB's history reaches back to 1859, the university earned independent status in 1969. As of fall 2017, more than 20,000 students attended UAB, and the institution conferred nearly 5,000 degrees during the 2016-2017 school year. UAB holds accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The university offers a part-time master of science in nursing for family nurse practitioners. Consisting of 45 credit hours, the program combines clinical experiences with synchronous classes that address topics like pharmacology, pathophysiology, and health assessment. The curriculum also includes several on-campus components, such as simulations and laboratories.

Campus Birmingham, Alabama
Type Public
Accreditations Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Tuition $656 per credit for in-state and out-of state students
Admission Requirements Bachelor of science in nursing; nursing license; minimum 3.0 GPA; three references
Minimum Time Commitment Two years
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Program Master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner
School site Tuition | Financial aid

University of Mobile

The University of Mobile was chartered in 1961. Known for a low, 13-to-1 student-faculty ratio, this private institution prioritizes Christian values and serves more than 1,800 learners. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school at #4 for best colleges for veterans, #11 for regional colleges in the South, and #25 for best value schools. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits this university.

The institution's master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner focus requires 46 credits. Coursework surveys topics such as health policy, ethics, nursing statistics, and pharmacology. Students must also complete 560 hours of clinical experience. Learners from New York, Louisiana, and Colorado are not eligible for admission.

Campus Mobile, Alabama
Type Private
Accreditations Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Tuition $555 per credit for in-state and out-of-state students
Admission Requirements Bachelor of science in nursing; minimum 3.0 GPA; RN license; background check; delivery of health records; American Heart Association BLS Healthcare Provider Certification; health insurance; references; resume or CV; personal statement
Minimum Time Commitment Four semesters
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Program Master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner
School site Tuition | Financial aid

Requirements to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Alabama

Aspiring NPs in Alabama can fulfill the requirements to become an NP in the state by completing the steps below.

  • Before becoming an NP, candidates must earn an RN license. This process requires an application and a $100 fee, along with a $3.50 transaction fee. Temporary permits cost $50.
  • RN applicants must complete a nursing program that reflects the state's nursing standards. The Alabama Board of Nursing must receive final transcripts from the school through the mail.
  • Other requirements for an RN license include evidence of citizenship or status as a legal resident. This evidence may include a driver's license, birth certificate, re-entry permit, or permanent resident card. Applicants also need a social security number.
  • Candidates must register for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The board determines each applicant's exam eligibility. Eligible applicants receive an authorization to test. Ineligible applicants must re-register after one year. Test-takers must pay a $200 registration fee.
  • Individuals should prepare for the NCLEX by reviewing site information and completing practice exams. Test-takers must complete the NCLEX at the testing site on the scheduled exam day. Depending on the exam's structure, candidates may complete more than 200 questions in no more than six hours. Individuals receive exam scores within six weeks of the testing date.
  • Applicants who meet Alabama's RN criteria receive an RN license. Recipients must renew this credential every two years by completing 24 continuing education (CE) hours.
  • To earn the CRNP, candidates must pursue at least a master's degree that deals with nursing. Nurse practitioner schools in Alabama insist on minimum admission criteria, which may include recommendation letters, standardized test scores, and personal statements.
  • When choosing nurse practitioner programs in Alabama, applicants should consider specializations that may impact career options. For instance, someone who wants to work in pediatrics should select a program that addresses child health more than gerontology. High-demand specializations in the state include primary care, geriatrics, and neonatal care.
  • The CRNP calls for national certification through organizations like the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Each certification involves unique criteria, which may include fieldwork, exams, degrees, and fees.
  • Candidates must complete the CRNP application and pay the $175 fee. Alabama also requires submission of two documents for the CRNP: the Quality Assurance Plan and the Standard Protocol. These documents outline the NP's specialization and responsibilities. The documents also list the physician with whom the NP will work.
  • Candidates enter a professional agreement with a physician and submit the Collaborative Practice Commencement Form. This form gives details about the partnered physician and the expected hours that the practitioner and physician will work together. Establishing this agreement requires a $200 fee.
  • Individuals with advanced nursing credentials must earn six CE hours every two years that address pharmacology for renewal.

In-Demand Nursing Specialty Eligibility Requirements in Alabama

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (AGPCNP-BC)

Years of Experience: Candidates need an RN license.

Clinical Hours Required: The AGPCNP-BC requires 500 clinical hours. Faculty must supervise this experience.

Continuing Education: Renewal occurs after five years and calls for 75 CE hours. For NPs, one-third of these hours must relate to pharmacotherapeutics.

Other: Applicants must complete an exam, earn an advanced degree, and complete courses in pharmacology and assessment.

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (ACNPC-AG)

Years of Experience: Certification calls for an RN license.

Clinical Hours Required: Qualifying educational programs require at least 500 clinical, supervised hours of fieldwork.

Continuing Education: Individuals can renew their certifications through a combination of fieldwork, CE points, or examination. All options, however, require at least 25 CE points.

Other: Candidates must take a 175-question exam.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP-BC)

Years of Experience: The NNP-BC mandates an RN license.

Clinical Hours Required: During academic programs, candidates must complete didactic and clinical fieldwork. Clinical hours must total a minimum of 600.

Continuing Education: Candidates must renew these certifications after three years by earning CE hours.

Other: Individuals have eight years after earning their degrees to obtain this certification.


Salary and Career Information

RNs in Alabama earn more than $36,000 less, on average, than NPs in the state. This difference reflects national salaries as well, with NPs throughout the U.S. averaging over $34,000 more than RNs. Growth projections are also higher for NPs in the state and nation. In fact, jobs for Alabama NPs are projected to grow 17.5% more than jobs for RNs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Alabama averages for RN and NP salaries remain lower than national averages. In particular, NPs average $95,970. The national average surpasses this amount by around $14,000. However, candidates can increase their earning potential by pursuing jobs in high-paying metropolitan areas, such as Montgomery and Jacksonville. They can also specialize in areas that generally offer higher pay, such as mental health. Candidates should consider these specializations before enrolling in NP programs in Alabama.

RN vs. NP Salary and Projected Job Growth in Alabama
  Registered Nurse Nurse Practitioner
Alabama Mean Salary $59,470 $95,970
U.S. Mean Salary $75,510 $110,030
Alabama Job Growth 12.9% 30.4%
U.S. Job Growth 14.8% 36.1%

Source: BLS, Projections Central


Alabama Metropolitan Areas With the Highest Mean NP Wages
  Salary Employment
Columbus, Georgia - Alabama $111,400 100
Montgomery, Alabama $105,140 200
Anniston - Oxford - Jacksonville, Alabama $103,870 120
Decatur, Alabama $103,000 80
Gadsden, Alabama $101,180 60

Source: BLS