Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs

March 4, 2022 , Modified on April 21, 2022 · 4 Min Read

Online family nurse practitioner programs offer working nurses the flexibility to join this in-demand profession. Consider these factors when considering online schools.

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Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs

Did you know there is a primary care physician shortage? According to a 2021 Association of American Medical Colleges report, the shortage may result in up to 124,000 openings by 2034. The majority of nurse practitioners are prepared with a primary care focus. This includes FNPs, which is the most common category of certified nurse practitioners.

Yet, there continues to be a need throughout the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that job growth for NPs will reach 52% from 2020-2030. This rate is much faster than the rate for nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives.

An online FNP program offers working nurses the opportunity to finish an advanced degree. Most programs blend asynchronous and synchronous class sessions. They also have in-person clinical experiences to meet the requirements for accreditation. Candidates benefit from the program's flexibility, many of which allow students to attend part time.

Some online FNP programs enroll candidates from across the U.S. Online programs may also be less costly than in-person programs.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best online family nurse practitioner programs, making it easier to find the 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, or go straight to our list of the best online family nurse practitioner programs.

How Do Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs Work?

The flexible structure of online FNP programs generally allows working students to complete their degrees. Some schools offer the entire program online, and others require students to attend several in-person evaluations on campus.

Online programs may be a disadvantage for students who find it difficult to get motivated to complete the classwork. On-campus programs may suit those who enjoy direct peer or professor interactions. The coursework and curriculum are fairly consistent across accredited programs. Accredited programs offer student support and highly qualified faculty.

Candidates can evaluate the program's academic calendar, admission requirements, and curriculum on the school's website. Some master of science in nursing FNP programs are open to nurses with an associate degree in nursing. But most require candidates to have a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree to apply. FNP programs may also award a doctor of nursing practice.

Most FNP programs post the required coursework and descriptions online. The academic calendar offers students insight into application deadlines and when classes begin. This gives the student a big-picture view of the program and what it might entail.

Students who need more flexibility to maintain outside responsibilities should speak with an admissions counselor. Candidates may find some schools offer additional options for students that are not published on their websites.

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Applying to an Online Family Nurse Practitioner Program

An online FNP program offers candidates the curriculum and clinical experience needed to become certified. Candidates should research their options to choose a program that best meets their needs. This can include support, contact with faculty, and peer engagement.

Candidates should contact an admission counselor with any application-related questions. Schools generally require a combination of the following:

  • Completed application

  • Active and unrestricted RN license

  • Application fee

  • Transcripts from your BSN program

  • Undergraduate statistics course

  • Letters of recommendation

  • Official GRE scores (not common)

  • Resume or curriculum vitae

  • Criminal background check

  • Statement of purpose, goal statement, or letter of intent

  • Interview

  • 1-2 years of RN experience

  • Additional requirements for international students

An online FNP program requires an overall GPA in your BSN education of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Many schools consider your overall application. They will review your application if your GPA is slightly lower. Some schools also have a prerequisite for grade C in statistics and a 3.0 GPA in science classes taken in the BSN program.

Not all online FNP programs can be completed 100% online as students must complete clinicals in their local areas. Some schools require in-person clinical evaluations. This must be considered during the application process.

Why is Online Family Nurse Practitioner Program Accreditation Important?

It is essential that the online FNP program is accredited. Graduates qualify for the certification examination offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Professionals need this to practice as a nurse practitioner. The school must be accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation.

Not all online FNP programs are accredited. It is essential candidates know the school's accreditation before enrolling. Accreditation demonstrates the school meets minimum quality standards. Candidates should be familiar with accreditation and why it's important.

Learn More About the Best Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs & Schools

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs

What type of nurse practitioner makes the most money?

According to a 2019 survey from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the highest-paid nurse practitioners were psychiatric/mental health practitioners. This was followed closely by neonatal and acute care practitioners.

Where do family nurse practitioners make the most money?

A nurse practitioner's salary is dependent on several factors, including geographical location, certification, and experience. The BLS reports that NPs practicing in California, New York, and New Jersey make the most money.

Is NP higher than PA?

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants play similar and equal roles in patient care. Nurse practitioners are educated and certified in a specific area of patient care. PAs have a generalist education and gain specific patient care training after graduation. This allows PAs to move between specialties easily.

Both NPs and PAs play a significant role in primary and specialty care. Both also have prescriptive privileges, and both can operate their own practice in certain states.

Which nurse practitioner specialty is most in demand?

Nurse practitioners in primary care are the most in demand. The BLS estimates the growth in primary care nurse practitioners is fueled in part by the physician shortage, a large baby-boomer population reaching retirement, increasing demand for primary care health services, and changing state laws that expand the scope of practice for nurse practitioners.

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