Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs for 2021

by NurseJournal Staff

The demand for nurse practitioners is growing, and an affordable online NP program can be a great way to level up in your career. Explore our list of the top online nurse practitioner programs.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Nurse practitioners (NPs) hold advanced training that authorizes them to prescribe medications and provide primary or specialty healthcare. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, urgent care centers, and other healthcare facilities. NPs must hold a registered nurse (RN) license, a master of science in nursing (MSN) or doctoral degree, pass a national certification exam, and earn a state advanced practice registered nurse license.

Salary and job prospects are just a few reasons to consider an NP career. The demand for qualified NPs is projected to grow 45% from 2019 to 2029, with a median annual salary of $115,800. There are approximately 290,000 NPs in the United States.

The best online NP programs typically last approximately two years for students with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Most include courses on the medical, ethical, and management aspects of nursing and nurse leadership, along with field practice hours. Approximately 60% of graduates become family nurse practitioners.

Check out the most affordable online NP programs below.

Applying to an Affordable Online NP Program

In addition to an RN license, most online NP programs require the following:

  • A GPA of at least 3.0
  • Work experience as an RN; typically at least two years
  • Recommendations, transcripts, a resume/CV, and a personal essay
  • Evidence of leadership and adherence to ethical standards

While most schools do not require GRE or other entrance exam scores, students with a GPA below 3.0 may receive conditional admission if they possess strong GRE scores.

Some affordable NP programs require a BSN, but other programs include a "bridge" from RN-to-BSN, so the student essentially earns both a BSN and MSN during the same program.

Featured Online Programs

Explore the Best Affordable Online NP Programs and School Info

The University of West Florida View School Profile $ Pensacola, FL 44% 64% 63% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Established in 1963 and the third-largest campus in the State University System of Florida, UWF enrolls nearly 13,000 students online and on campus per year.

UWF offers an online master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner program that prepares students to care for patients throughout their lifespan. The program leads to national certification and, for most students, a career in primary care. All students must complete 600 clinical practicum hours. Though not required, the department encourages students to participate in a summer immersion before beginning their first clinical practicum, which features an orientation and a one-day virtual workshop in commonly used primary care skills.

  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Pensacola, Florida
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $500 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with a GPA of least 3.0, RN license, curriculum vitae, goals statement
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 27 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: None
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: Not specified
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Tennessee Technological University View School Profile $$$ Cookeville, TN 55% 44% 70% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Established in Cookeville as the University of Dixie in 1909 and then known as Tennessee Polytechnic Institute, Tennessee Tech adopted its current name in 1965. Today, the university serves more than 10,000 online and on-campus students every year.

Tennessee Tech's online master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner program prepares students for national certification. Many graduates go on to careers providing health care to underserved communities in rural or urban locations. Students complete all coursework online and clinical hours in their own community, making it unnecessary to travel to campus during the program.

  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Cookeville, Tennessee
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $690 per credit (in-state) / $963 per credit (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0, current RN license, letter of intent, resume, three references
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 2 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: None
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: Not specified
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Texas A&M University View School Profile $$$ College Station, TX 82% 32% 8% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

With the second-biggest student body in the United States, Texas A&M, founded in 1876, welcomes close to 70,000 students each year.

Texas A&M offers a primarily online master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner program. Students must live in Texas for the duration of the program and will need to make several short campus visits. These include a one-day conference for new students, two overnight visits during their Advanced Health Assessment course, and one or two trips each semester for various course requirements. Students may choose a clinical practice site close to home.

  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: College Station, Texas
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $6,464 per semester (in-state) / $12,818 per semester (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: Active RN license, official transcripts, essay, three professional or academic references, one to two years' baccalaureate RN experience, possible interview
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 6 semesters
  • On-Campus Requirements: Multiple short campus visits
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: Not specified
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
California State University-Dominguez Hills View School Profile Carson, CA 45% 31% 42% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

CSUDH, founded in 1960, enrolls more than 17,700 students annually.

Designed for working nurses, the university's mostly online master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner program requires on-campus attendance no more than three times each semester. Students must complete their 576 clinical hours within the state of California. The department offers the program on a three-year, three-year with summers, or four-year plan.

  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Carson, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $8,485 per semester (full-time) / $5,473 per semester (part-time)
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with a GPA of 3.0 or above, active California RN license, two years of recent RN experience, personal interview
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Three years
  • On-Campus Requirements: 1-3 times per semester
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: Not specified
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
The University of Texas at El Paso View School Profile $ El Paso, TX 39% 41% 39% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

UTEP, originally founded as the State School of Mines and Metallurgy in 1913, became part of the University of Texas system in 1967. Today, the university serves more than 25,000 campus-based and online students per year.

UTEP's mostly online master of science in nursing - nurse practitioner offers five different concentrations: adult-gerontology acute care, family primary care, pediatrics acute care, pediatrics primary care, or psychiatric mental health. Students must visit campus up to three times in each of their last three semesters. Additionally, they must complete 675-775 clinical hours, depending on concentration.

  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: El Paso, Texas
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $496 per credit (in-state) / $1,009 per credit (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with a GPA of at least 3.0, RN license, statement of purpose, resume showing relevant professional experience
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 7-8 semesters, depending on concentration
  • On-Campus Requirements: Minimal
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.64%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of Louisiana at Lafayette View School Profile $$ Lafayette, LA 48% 46% 35% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

With the highest enrollment in the University of Louisiana system and the second-highest enrollment in the state, UL Lafayette welcomes more than 19,000 students every year.

The university offers an online master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner designed for working nurses. The program prepares students for both national certification and an advanced practice license. All students must complete either a thesis or a scholarly project, as well as 600 clinical hours.

  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $480 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with a GPA of 2.75 or above, Louisiana RN license, letter of application, three letters of reference
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 5 semesters
  • On-Campus Requirements: None
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Ohio State University View School Profile $$$ Columbus, OH 84% 38% 33% Higher Learning Commission

Ohio State, often considered a "public Ivy," began as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1870. The university adopted its current name in 1878 and now serves more than 61,000 students per year.

Ohio State offers a distance-enhanced master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner program with minimal campus requirements. Students need only visit campus for two days during their second clinical course. Some online classes utilize synchronous instruction, in which students participate in real time. Online students may complete their clinical hours close to home.

  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Columbus, Ohio
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $52,755 total (in-state) / $53,755 total (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with a GPA of at least 3.0, active RN license, resume, recorded video interview, purpose and goals statement, three letters of recommendation
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 2 years (5 semesters), including one summer
  • On-Campus Requirements: 2 days
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: Not specified
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Western Carolina University View School Profile $$$ Cullowhee, NC 62% 59% 35% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Tracing its roots to an 1891 high school in Cullowhee, WCU became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. Today, the university enrolls more than 12,000 students annually.

WCU offers a hybrid master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner program. Students must attend in-person classes all day once per week at the Asheville campus. All students must complete 640 clinical hours, a comprehensive final exam, and either a thesis or a research project. Students attend full-time and all take the same sequence of courses.

  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Asheville, North Carolina
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $5,315 per semester (in-state) / $10,519 per semester (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0, active RN license or eligibility, three references, professional statement, resume showing at least one year of RN experience
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 2 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: 1 day per week
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
East Tennessee State University View School Profile $$ Johnson City, TN 45% 46% 55% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The fourth biggest university in the state and part of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee, ETSU welcomes more than 14,000 students per year.

ETSU offers an online master of science in nursing with two nurse practitioner options: family or psychiatric mental health. Students in both tracks take the same four core courses, followed by a sequence of courses in their chosen specialization. In addition to clinical hours, all students must complete either a written comprehensive exam or a culminating experience.

  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Johnson City, Tennessee
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $5,280 total per semester (in-state) / $16,627 total per semester (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: BSN (or other bachelor's with bridge courses) with a GPA of at least 3.0, active RN license, resume, three letters of reference, essay
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Not specified
  • On-Campus Requirements: None
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: Not specified
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Georgetown University View School Profile Washington, DC 94% 27% 13% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

A prestigious Jesuit research university founded in 1789 in Washington, D.C., Georgetown now serves approximately 19,000 campus-based and online students each year.

Georgetown offers an online master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner program. With just two mandatory on-campus objective clinical intensives (OCIs), the part-time curriculum allows students to work while obtaining their degree. All students must complete 650 clinical hours.

  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Washington, D.C.
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $2,278 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN (or entry-level MSN clinical nurse leader) with a GPA of 3.0 or above, current RN license, resume, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, recorded video interview
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 27 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: 2 intensives
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Ohio University View School Profile $$$$ Athens, OH 64% 58% 46% Higher Learning Commission

The first university chartered by Congress, Ohio, opened in Athens in 1809. Today, the university enrolls more than 33,000 students annually.

Ohio offers an online master of science in nursing - nurse practitioner program with concentrations in adult-gerontology acute care, family, and psychiatric mental health. In addition to 500-650 clinical hours (depending on the program), all students must also complete a final capstone experience.

  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Athens, Ohio
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $574 per credit (in-state PMHNP) / $593 per credit (out-of-state PMHNP) / $668 per credit (in-state FNP or AGACNP) / $687 per credit (out-of-state FNP or AGACNP)
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with a GPA of at least 3.0, valid RN license, professional goals statement, three letters of recommendation, resume showing at least two years of RN experience
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 6-7 semesters, depending on concentration
  • On-Campus Requirements: None
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: Not specified
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Georgia College & State University View School Profile $$$$ Milledgeville, GA 64% 44% 25% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Founded in Milledgeville as Georgia Normal and Industrial College in 1889, Georgia College received a Board of Regents designation as Georgia's public liberal arts university in 1996. The university now serves nearly 7,000 students each year.

Georgia College offers an online master of science in nursing - nurse practitioner program with three concentration options: family, psychiatric mental health, or women's health. Participants taking advanced assessment must attend the 45-hour hands-on intensive during lab immersion week on campus.

  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Milledgeville, Georgia
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $373 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with a GPA of 2.75 or above, current Georgia RN license, personal interview, resume showing at least one year of RN experience, three letters of reference, statement of professional goals, writing exercise (completed during interview)
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 6 semesters
  • On-Campus Requirements: 1 week
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: Not specified
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
McNeese State University View School Profile $ Lake Charles, LA 45% 36% 57% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Established as Lake Charles Junior College in 1939, McNeese took its current name in 1970. Today, the university welcomes more than 7,600 students per year.

McNeese offers an online master of science in nursing - nurse practitioner with two concentrations: family and psychiatric mental health. Though students are not required to visit campus, they may access the university's advanced clinical simulation lab if desired. All students in both concentrations must complete either a thesis or a scholarly project.

  • Program: Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: Sliding scale based on number of credits, starts at $1,420 for one credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with either a GPA of at least 2.8 or a GRE score of 290, current Louisiana or Texas RN license, two letters of recommendation, 500-word essay, resume
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Not specified
  • On-Campus Requirements: None
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

Frequently Asked Questions


Can you go from RN to NP?

Many NPs attended nursing school and earned their RN credentials with an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing before returning to school full- or part-time to become an NP. An affordable online NP program can make this transition financially and logistically easier.

What is accreditation and why is it important?

Accreditation is a review process used to ensure that a school or program adequately prepares graduates to practice within that field. Virtually all employers exclusively hire candidates from accredited schools. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits both bachelor and graduate level nursing schools and is the primary accrediting organization for NP programs.

How long does it take to become an NP?

That may depend on the student's existing education level and enrollment status. An aspiring NP must earn an RN license, which can take 2-4 years. BSN holders typically take two or three years to earn an MSN and pass the certification examination, while an RN with an associate degree may take four years.

What can I do as an NP?

NPs can serve as primary care providers or specialists in hospitals, residential care programs, urgent care centers, medical practices, and nearly any healthcare setting. They also work in healthcare organizational management, transitioning from a clinical to an administrative role.



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