Most Affordable Online FNP Programs

March 8, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Family nurse practitioners are in high demand. Learn about the best online FNP programs for your budget and career goals.

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Most Affordable Online FNP Programs
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Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are one of the fastest growing healthcare careers. This list of the most affordable online FNP programs can help you find a high-quality program to match your budget. Our guide includes information about less expensive online FNP programs, how to apply to your ideal program, and how to finance your education.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the most affordable online FNP 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.

Keep reading to learn more about online FNP programs, or go straight to our list of the most affordable online FNP programs.

Featured Online MSN Programs

What Can You Do as a Family Nurse Practitioner?

FNPs, like all nurse practitioners (NPs), receive more advanced training and education than registered nurses (RNs). As an FNP, you can be a primary care provider, diagnose conditions, and prescribe medications, including controlled substances.

Depending on the state you work in, you can either practice independently (full practice authority), or you may need to work under a physician's supervision or in partnership with a physician. Some states require a period of physician supervision before NPs can practice independently.

FNPs work in hospitals, private practices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. They also regularly work in other settings, such as military bases, schools, and jails. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), NPs earn a median $111,680 annual salary.

What To Look For in an Online FNP Program

The best online FNP program for you depends on your academic and work experience, career goals, budget, and program quality and logistics. Consider all factors when exploring affordable online FNP programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements tell you what kind of student will likely succeed in the program, as well as how likely you are to be admitted.

Program Curriculum

Core FNP curriculum is generally the same at each school, but you can still choose from elective offerings. The way a school describes its curriculum also tells you about the school's culture and values.

Clinical Experience

If you have to travel for clinical experiences, a seemingly affordable online FNP program might exceed your budget. Can you get clinical placement in your community? If you plan to work while studying, will you need to take time off during the clinical?

Accreditation

You must attend an accredited program to receive board certification. Most accredited schools do not accept transfer credits from an unaccredited program. Because of the weight placed on accreditation, we only include accredited programs in our list. Read more about accreditation.

Program Length

How long does the program take to complete? Will you want to attend on a full-time or part-time basis?

School NCLEX Pass Rate

The NCLEX-RN pass rate and board certification pass rates are excellent measures of program quality. However, consider these factors in the context of the graduation rate. If the graduation rate is low, it means that students may have dropped out or transferred prior to program completion.

School Graduation Rate

The best online FNP programs have high graduation and board pass rates. The combination of graduation rate and board or NCLEX-RN pass rates is the strongest indicator of how successful students are in the program.

Online Learning Format and Requirements

The cheapest online FNP program is not a bargain if the format doesn't work for you. Consider the logistics of attending classes, interacting with faculty and staff, and your learning style.

Applying to an Online FNP Program

Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to apply. The best online FNP programs are highly competitive. Ask a trusted mentor or colleague to review your application to ensure it reflects your potential.

Admission Materials

Applications require an undergraduate transcript, at least two references, verification of your current and unencumbered RN license (some nursing schools have options for non-nurses), and an application.

GPA Requirement

Most FNP programs require at least a 3.0 GPA. More competitive options require a GPA of 3.2 or higher. However, if your GPA does not meet expectations, but you have other exceptional qualifications or experience, talk with the admissions staff.

Other Requirements

Most FNP programs require at least two years of experience as an RN.

Why Is Online FNP Program Accreditation Important?

The cheapest FNP program should still help you meet your career goals. This is why accreditation is so important. Attending an unaccredited program is an unnecessary risk of your time and money.

Paying for Online FNP Programs

Your home state's public schools are likely to be your cheapest online FNP program option because you're eligible for in-state tuition rates. However, some affordable online FNP programs charge the same rates to all students.

Paying for nursing school is one of the biggest investments you can make. Fortunately, there are a variety of financial aid options available.

You may be eligible for financial aid from your school, but there are also foundation, association, government, and other grants, loans, and scholarships. Because demand is so high for FNPs, if you commit to serving in an area with a shortage of healthcare providers, you may be able to get full loan forgiveness or a full scholarship.

Learn More About the Most Affordable Online FNP Programs and Schools

#1

The University of West Florida

School Information
Location Pensacola, Florida
Admission Rate 31%
Graduation Rate 46%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of West Florida offers a master of science in nursing (MSN) program that prepares nurses for the national certification exam either through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). The program can be completed entirely online with courses taught by nurse educators with years of clinical experience. Students are required to complete 45 credit hours along with 600 clinical hours.

The program is geared toward working nurses with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) interested in advancing into a family practitioner role with a higher level of responsibility.

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#2

University of Southern California

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 92%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of South California's MSN curriculum is designed for nurses with a BSN and at least one year of clinical experience as a licensed registered nurse (RN). A nurse can complete the program either as a part-time (33 months) or a full-time (21 months) student. 

While the majority of the program is online, the university does require students to attend workshops, clinicals, and other hands-on components in the Los Angeles area.

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#3

Samford University

School Information
Location Birmingham, Alabama
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 76%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Completing the family nurse practitioner (FNP) program at Samford University qualifies students to sit for the national certification exam with the ANCC or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANPCB). 

While the program necessitates three campus visits, students can complete the required 45 credit hours entirely online while fulfilling 660 clinicals close to their homes.

Samford University provides MSN graduates with the opportunity to enroll in their doctor of nursing practice without needing to reapply.

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#4

George Washington University

School Information
Location Washington, District of Columbia
Admission Rate 41%
Graduation Rate 82%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

George Washington University offers an MSN FNP program to RNs interested in providing care for children and adults of all ages. The program consists of 48 credit hours and 700 clinical hours. Students can enroll in the fall or spring on either a part-time or full-time basis.

While the school offers courses online, there are two on-campus components students need to complete – one that prepares them to perform a complete history and physical examination, while the other is to take a series of exams.

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#5

Maryville University of Saint Louis

School Information
Location Saint Louis, Missouri
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 71%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 76% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Maryville University of St. Louis' MSN FNP program consists of 15 online courses with multiple enrollment dates throughout the year (January, March, May, July, August, and October), providing flexibility for prospective students. The university also offers a 74-credit hour BSN to DNP program. DNP programs start in the fall, spring, or summer.

The coursework for both programs can be completed entirely online and includes 745 hours of clinical work close to the students' locations.

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#6

University of the Cumberlands

School Information
Location Williamsburg, Kentucky
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 91% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of the Cumberlands FNP program consists of 48 credit hours: 24 direct instruction hours; 18 blended learning hours consisting of direct instruction and clinical experience; and 6 clinical practice internship hours. Students must also complete 720 clinical hours, half of which consist of a clinical internship.

The university places emphasis on teaching skills related to informatics, data management, and healthcare technologies in addition to advanced nursing practices

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#7

Northern Arizona University

School Information
Location Flagstaff, Arizona
Admission Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 57%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Northern Arizona University (NAU) offers a master's FNP program that consists of 30 credits in graduate coursework. Students must complete all graduate work with a GPA of 3.0 or higher within a six-year timeframe. After completing the program, graduates become eligible for national and state certification as an FNP.

Before admission, NAU requires incoming graduate students to have completed an undergraduate statistics course with a C or better, a graduate-level statistics course with a B or better, and undergraduate courses in nursing research and public health nursing with a B or better.

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#8

The University of Texas at El Paso

School Information
Location El Paso, Texas
Admission Rate 100%
Graduation Rate 37%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The MSN program at The University of Texas at El Paso consists of 46-49 credit hours and 675-775 clinical hours over two years. The curriculum is aligned to best practices as developed by the AACN and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.

Students may be required to visit the campus three times during their last semester for specialty courses and travel 200 miles or more to fulfill clinical requirements.

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#9

The University of Texas at Arlington

School Information
Location Arlington, Texas
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 51%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Texas at Arlington offers a master's FNP program entirely online, allowing students to access their courses 24/7. The university's online courses are shorter than their on-campus counterparts, allowing students to complete the program faster.

Students must complete 720 clinical hours in facilities close to their location and 46 credits hours with courses that range from 5-13 weeks in length.

The curriculum focuses on three main areas of study: evidenced-based primary care, advanced practice, and experiential learning.

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#10

Georgia College & State University

School Information
Location Milledgeville, Georgia
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 64%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Georgia College & State University offers an online MSN program that requires 40 credit hours and 630 clinical hours. While the majority of the FNP program takes place online, there are approximately five required on-campus activities such as guest lectures and specific skills labs. 

Online courses are synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (student's time). Students can complete their clinical experience in their home community, but still take place in the state of Georgia.

Full-time students can complete the program in six semesters, whereas part-time students finish within nine semesters.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Online FNP Programs


Are FNPs in demand?

FNPs are in high demand. The BLS projects 52% job growth for NPrs between 2020 and 2030. This is due to a general shortage of primary care providers, as fewer physicians go into primary care, the population ages, and schools struggle to find nursing faculty.

How do I prepare for FNP school?

Whether you're preparing for an online, hybrid, or on-campus FNP program, begin gathering application materials early. If you plan to work while studying, discuss your needs ahead of time with your employer, including extra time off or flexibility during exams and clinical experiences. Talk with recent graduates about what worked best for them.

Is the NP market saturated?

Program admissions are becoming more competitive for the best online FNP programs, as more RNs are drawn to the higher salary and increased professional autonomy. Nationally, demand is still high for NPs, especially in rural areas.

Which nurse practitioner is most in demand?

Demand is high for all NPs, though this figure varies by state. Because of a shortage of primary care providers in many parts of the country, FNPs are most in demand, followed closely by psychiatric NPs, with the COVID-19 pandemic further driving demand.

Related Family Nurse Practitioner Resources

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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