Most Affordable Online FNP Programs of 2022

Updated November 17, 2022

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

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Credit: FatCamera / E+ / Getty Images

Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) support patients and physicians. Their insight and individualized approach support patients of all ages. If you want to become an FNP, there are flexible program options to meet your needs.

Continue reading to discover the benefits of completing an online FNP program. This guide covers the best online FNP programs, including searching, applying, and paying for your degree.

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.


10 Affordable Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs

  • 1. The University of West Florida
  • 2. University of Southern California
  • 3. Samford University
  • 4. George Washington University
  • 5. Maryville University of Saint Louis
  • 6. University of the Cumberlands
  • 7. Northern Arizona University
  • 8. The University of Texas at El Paso
  • 9. The University of Texas at Arlington
  • 10. Georgia College & State University


Keep reading to learn more about the key factors to consider when choosing a program or go straight to our ranking of the best FNP Programs.

Featured Online FNP Programs

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

It's crucial to pay attention to key factors when choosing an online FNP program. These elements can affect your eligibility and satisfaction with the program. The following data points contributed to the overall rankings and should be evaluated based on your unique needs.

1. Admission Requirements

Most programs have similar requirements, such as graduation from an accredited nursing program. However, there may also be requirements unique to the program you are considering. Checking admission requirements ensures you are qualified to apply.

2. Specializations

Achieving an FNP certification requires graduating from a program with an FNP specialization. Although nearly 70% of all nurse practitioners are FNPs, not all graduate nursing programs offer an FNP specialization.

3. Program Curriculum

The program's curriculum should prepare you for your national certification examination and cultivate advanced clinical skills. FNPs must be proficient educators, advocates, counselors, and clinicians. An FNP curriculum should address how to evaluate research, promote critical thinking skills, and help students assume leadership positions.

4. Clinical Experience

Information about how clinicals are structured may influence your program choice. Does the school help with placement? Are you limited to certain practices for clinical experiences? How is the time spent in clinical rotations broken up? Each of these factors may impact your decision.

5. Accreditation

Accreditation is a voluntary process that demonstrates a school's dedication to quality academics, industry best practices, and continuous improvement. You must graduate from an accredited program to qualify for the FNP certification examination.

6. Program Length

The number of credits you need depends on the program, your educational attainment, and your degree. An MSN FNP program may require 37-50 credits and 500-672 clinical hours.

7. School Graduation Rate

When selecting a school, look for the FNP program's graduation rate. A high graduation rate can indicate student satisfaction and your likelihood of completing the degree. It may also reveal the level of support available to students in the program.

8. Online Learning Format and Requirements

Online programs became more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the popularity has continued as students and schools recognize the benefits. It is critical to understand the learning format used by the program you are considering, as it may not meet your learning needs.

Why Is FNP Program Accreditation Important?

Accreditation is vital for the online FNP program you consider. Each program listed in our ranking is accredited.

Accreditation is a third-party peer review to ensure the program meets educational standards and prepares students for the field. Reasons to attend an accredited program include:

  • Accreditation ensures quality education that meets national standards
  • Credits from an unaccredited program do not transfer
  • Is required to take the NCLEX in states that require accreditation to practice
  • Without accreditation, you may not qualify for federal aid
  • Many states and employers require RNs to graduate from an accredited program
  • Without accreditation, your license may not transfer through reciprocity
  • Accredited programs receive more educational funding
  • Graduates of accredited programs have better job prospects

Learn More About the Most Affordable Online FNP Programs & Schools

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

#1 Most Affordable Online FNP Programs of 2022

The University of West Florida

  • Pensacola, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

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.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,735
Out-of-state
$16,004
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
31%
Students Enrolled
12,557
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Most Affordable Online FNP Programs of 2022

University of Southern California

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

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.

Average Tuition
In-state
$57,256
Out-of-state
$57,256
Retention Rate
96%
Admission Rate
11%
Students Enrolled
48,321
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#3 Most Affordable Online FNP Programs of 2022

Samford University

  • Birmingham, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

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.

Average Tuition
In-state
$32,000
Out-of-state
$32,000
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
5,692
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Most Affordable Online FNP Programs of 2022

George Washington University

  • Washington, DC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

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.

Average Tuition
In-state
$54,453
Out-of-state
$54,453
Retention Rate
92%
Admission Rate
41%
Students Enrolled
27,814
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#5 Most Affordable Online FNP Programs of 2022

Maryville University of Saint Louis

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

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.

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,070
Out-of-state
$26,070
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
10,013
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
76% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 Most Affordable Online FNP Programs of 2022

University of the Cumberlands

  • Williamsburg, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

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

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,875
Out-of-state
$9,875
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
16,966
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
91% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Most Affordable Online FNP Programs of 2022

Northern Arizona University

  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

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.

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,018
Out-of-state
$16,613
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
30,733
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Most Affordable Online FNP Programs of 2022

The University of Texas at El Paso

  • El Paso, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

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.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,193
Out-of-state
$22,556
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
100%
Students Enrolled
25,177
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Most Affordable Online FNP Programs of 2022

The University of Texas at Arlington

  • Arlington, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

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.

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,624
Out-of-state
$25,713
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
48,635
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Most Affordable Online FNP Programs of 2022

Georgia College & State University

  • Milledgeville, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

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.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,508
Out-of-state
$26,688
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
7,031
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

How Online FNP Programs Work

It is helpful to understand how an online FNP program works as you search for a qualified option. The online versus in-person requirements vary depending on the program. Some schools allow students to complete all coursework online, while others require in-person labs or seminars.

All programs require at least 500 hours of clinical experience. Some online FNP programs help students find clinical placements and others do not. It is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of both in-person or online options.

Applying to an Online Family Nurse Practitioner Program

There are several steps to the application process, including ensuring you meet admission and GPA requirements and gathering the necessary documentation. The application process can be demanding. But with preparation, you can become the ideal program candidate.

1. Admission Requirements

  • Regionally accredited BSN
  • Verified, valid, unrestricted RN license
  • Two years of full-time experience in the past five years
  • Schools consider volunteer work, time shadowing an NP, and certifications favorably

2. Admission Materials

  • Completed application
  • College transcripts
  • Personal statement, goal statement, or letter of intent
  • Resume
  • Interview
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Direct entry or accelerated programs require a passing NCLEX score to finish the program
  • Before starting clinicals students must provide:
    • Health status
    • State and federal background check
    • Malpractice insurance
  • Prerequisite classes may include:
    • Anatomy and physiology
    • Biomedical statistics
    • Microbiology
    • Chemistry
    • Nutrition

3. GPA Requirement

  • GPA requirement varies and may range from 2.7 to 3.2

Paying for FNP Programs

Several factors influence your ability to pay for your online FNP program out of pocket. These include the length of the program, cost per credit, whether you are paying in-state or out-of-state tuition and fees, and whether you can work while taking classes.

Many nursing students entering graduate school may still be paying for their undergraduate degrees if their loans are not yet eligible for federal loan forgiveness. You can also defer loans until you complete your FNP program. Some financial aid options for students include scholarships, grants, and student loans.

Additionally, some hospital benefits include tuition reimbursement. It is important to understand the reimbursement terms before accepting the aid. You may need to work at the hospital for a certain number of years after graduation.

What Can You Do as an FNP?

FNPs enjoy a broad scope of practice, but many specialize by earning certifications in areas like pain, obesity management, or diabetes. These certifications are not required, but they may increase an FNP's employment opportunities and salary potential while meeting the needs of patients.

According to Payscale, the average annual salary for an FNP in the U.S. is $98,563 as of August 2022. Years of experience, location, additional certifications, and practice setting can affect salary.

FNP APRNs can work in:

  • Hospitals
  • Urgent care centers
  • Doctor's offices or private clinics
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Hospice centers
  • Correctional facilities
  • College campuses
  • Health departments
  • Occupational sites

Private practice in states with full practice authority


Frequently Asked Questions About Online FNP Programs


Can you become a family nurse practitioner online?

Yes, you can earn an MSN or DNP through an online FNP program. However, some programs may require students to attend in-person labs or seminars throughout the program. All FNP candidates must complete at least 500 hours of clinical experience.

What is the fastest way to become a family nurse practitioner?

FNPs need an RN license, certification from one of two national organizations, and at least an MSN. One of the fastest ways to earn FNP credentials is by enrolling in a two-year MSN program with a BSN and RN license. But, becoming an FNP can take 2-7 years, depending on your current education level, whether you have an RN license, and if you enroll in a program part or full time.

Some options include RN-to-MSN programs, which can take 3-4 years. A student could also become an FNP within 6-7 years by completing a two-year ADN, getting two years of experience, and then enrolling in an RN-to-MSN program.

Does it matter where you go to FNP school?

Yes, it does. Graduates from prestigious schools will have an easier time getting their first job. Afterward, employers value experience more than your educational background. However, if you aspire to work in research, teach at the university level, or become a school nurse, you'll want to seek out an online FNP program with strengths in those areas.

Are family nurse practitioners in high demand?

Of the more than 355,000 NPs licensed in the U.S., 69.7% are family nurse practitioners. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, there's an expected shortfall of 48,000 family medicine physicians by 2034. This shortage opens greater opportunities and demand for FNPs to work in family medicine.


Page Last Reviewed: October 15, 2022

Note: The ranking list and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by our Rankings Team.


Related FNP 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.

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.

Popular Resources

Resources and articles written by professionals and other nurses like you.