Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2022

Updated April 26, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Nurse practitioners are in demand and enjoy high salaries. Find the best online nurse practitioner program for your budget and career goals.

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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2022
Credit: SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

If you enjoy nursing but want more autonomy, a higher salary, and authority to diagnose conditions and prescribe treatments, becoming a nurse practitioner (NP) could be the perfect career move. NPs are in demand in every specialty.

This guide to online NP programs provides information on what to look for and how to apply to the right NP program for your needs and goals.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best online NP programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics we believe matter most to students, including: academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about online NP programs, or go straight to our list of the best online NP programs.

What Can You Do as a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners are nurses with additional training and licensing. NPs act as primary care providers and can diagnose health conditions, order tests, and prescribe treatment, including medications.

They work in hospitals and health systems, private practice, clinics, residential care facilities, and other healthcare settings.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), NPs earn a median $111,680 annually, and jobs are projected to grow 52% between 2020 and 2030.

While most NPs specialize in family medicine as a family nurse practitioner, they can also specialize as an adult-gerontology NP, a pediatric care NP, or a psychiatric mental health NP. To become an NP, you can complete an on-campus or online NP program in approximately two years.

What to Look For in an Online Nurse Practitioner Program

The right online NP program for you depends on your experience and background and your career goals. Your preferred specialty, program quality, and the logistics of attending online are also factors.

If you do not have a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), you can enroll in a registered nurse to master of science in nursing (RN-to-MSN) bridge program.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements are a valuable indicator of how likely you are to be admitted and succeed in the program.

Program Curriculum

The program curriculum should offer classes in your preferred specialty and emphasize the topics that most interest you.

Clinical Experience

Make sure the logistics for clinical experience in your online NP program work for you. Does the school have a record of placing students in your community? Does the clinical schedule work with your other responsibilities?

Accreditation

To become a licensed NP, you must graduate from an accredited program. In addition, most employers won't consider hiring graduates of an unaccredited program. Read more about accreditation.

Program Length

Most programs take approximately two years to complete for full-time students with a BSN and longer for RN-to-MSN bridge programs or part-time students.

School NCLEX Pass Rate

The National Council Licensure Examination for RNs and the NP board exam pass rate indicate a nursing program's quality. A high pass rate and low graduation rate may indicate students likely drop out or transfer.

School Graduation Rate

The graduation rate, combined with the board exam pass rate, indicate how successful students are and how satisfied they are with the program. A high graduation rate combined with a high pass rate can demonstrate a quality program.

Online Learning Format and Requirements

Attending an online NP program makes some logistics easier, but other aspects are more challenging. Do the logistics of attending classes and interacting with staff, faculty, and other students work for you? Does the library offer online access to the resources you need?

Featured Online MSN Programs

Applying to an Online Nurse Practitioner Program

Give yourself plenty of time to apply to online NP programs. Ask somebody who knows you to review your application, especially your personal statement or essay to be an NP. Personalize your essay to the school's program and culture. Materials for graduate applications for nurses include the following.

Admission Materials

Requested materials may include undergraduate transcripts, a current and unencumbered RN license, a resume/CV, at least two references, and an application that includes an essay or personal statement.

GPA Requirement

Many schools require a minimum 3.0 GPA. If your GPA doesn't reflect your abilities, talk to an admissions counselor about your background, as you may have other qualifications that can offset a marginal GPA.

Other Requirements

Most on-campus and online NP programs require or strongly prefer at least two years of experience as an RN.

Why Is Online Nurse Practitioner Program Accreditation Important?

This guide only lists accredited online NP programs. This is because states require you to graduate from an accredited program to earn your NP license. Accreditation is important because:

  • The most valuable nursing certifications also require graduating from an accredited program.
  • Very few employers consider hiring graduates of unaccredited programs.
  • It means independent experts have confirmed the program meets quality standards.
  • Accredited schools almost never accept transfer credits from unaccredited programs.
  • Many grants and loans, including federal loans, are only available to students attending accredited programs.

Paying for Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Financial factors for attending an online NP program include tuition (in-state versus out-of-state), program length, and books and equipment. You should also consider any travel for required on-campus components or clinicals and how many hours you can work while studying.

There are many financial aid resources for nurses available, both from your school and outside sources. Foundations, associations, corporations, and government programs offer nursing grants and scholarships.

Because the need for NPs is so high, some government programs pay the entire cost of your NP nursing degree, plus a stipend, if you commit to working in an underserved area once you graduate. You may also be eligible for student loan forgiveness for nurses. Similarly, your current employer may help pay tuition costs, especially if you remain with them after graduation.

Learn More About the Top Online Nurse Practitioner 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.

Founded in 1963 as part of the State University System of Florida, UWF provides one of the most affordable online family nurse practitioner programs for RNs. The 45-credit MSN requires 600 clinical hours. MSN degree-seekers can participate in an on-campus summer immersion orientation prior to beginning the clinical practicum.

  • Program: MSN family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Pensacola, Florida
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $500 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN, minimum 3.0 GPA, current RN license, resume, goal statement
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 27 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.5% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $58,454 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#2

Georgetown University

School Information
Location Washington, District of Columbia
Admission Rate 14%
Graduation Rate 95%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A highly regarded Jesuit university, Georgetown has offered online graduate nursing programs since 2011. The university delivers a part-time family nurse practitioner MSN program. Degree-seekers complete 44 credits and 650 clinical hours. Enrollees attend two on-campus clinical intensives. Clinical placement advisors help distance learners secure clinical sites and preceptors near their home.

  • Program: MSN family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Washington, District of Columbia
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $2,278 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN, minimum 3.0 GPA, current RN license, resume, three letters of recommendation, personal statement, video interview
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 27 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $100,876 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#3

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 MSN family nurse practitioner program at USC emphasizes social factors related to healthcare. The evidence-based curriculum comprises 49 credits. The university delivers most coursework online. The program requires 784 clinical hours and two intensives at the Los Angeles campus. Students complete four clinical rotations in or near their home communities.

  • Program: MSN family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Los Angeles, California
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $2,035 per credit 
  • Admission Requirements: BSN, minimum 3.0 GPA, current RN license, one year of clinical experience
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 21 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes 
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#4

Texas A & M University-College Station

School Information
Location College Station, Texas
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 82%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students in the family nurse practitioner program at Texas A&M take most courses online and attend short residencies at the College Station campus. ​​The advanced health assessment component requires two in-person visits. Distance learners return to campus one or two more times to take primary care classes and a diagnostics and procedures course.

  • Program: MSN-family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: College Station, Texas
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $805 per credit (in-state), $1,335 per credit (out-of-state) 
  • Admission Requirements: BSN, minimum 3.0 GPA, current RN license, at least one year of RN experience, essay
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes 
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#5

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.

A Christian university founded in 1841, Samford offers on-campus and online nurse practitioner programs. The 42-credit family nurse practitioner MSN offers start dates in August and January. Distance learners take all courses online and can complete clinical placements in approved settings near their home. The program requires three on-campus intensives.

  • Program: MSN family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Birmingham, Alabama
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $906 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN, minimum 3.0 GPA, current RN license, video submission
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.1% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $99,380 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#6

Cedarville University

School Information
Location Cedarville, Ohio
Admission Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 75%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

An independent Baptist institution, Cedarville delivers one of the state's top online family nurse practitioner programs. The MSN curriculum explores core nursing topics from a Christian perspective. The online MSN requires 41-44 credits, with 600 clinical hours spread over three semesters. During clinical specialty coursework, distance learners attend four on-campus experiences lasting 2-3 days each.

  • Program: MSN family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Cedarville, Ohio
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $623 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN, minimum 3.0 GPA, current RN license
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes 
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 83.2% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $56,532 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#7

Cox College

School Information
Location Springfield, Missouri
Admission Rate 39%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Cox College is a special focus health professions school delivering an MSN with a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner concentration. Degree-seekers prepare to obtain national certification. Designed for working RNs, the 42-credit program admits students year round. Distance learners take all coursework online and can complete clinical placements locally.

  • Program: MSN psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Springfield, Missouri
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $600 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN, minimum 3.0 GPA, current RN license
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.4% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $97,959 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#8

The University of Texas at Tyler

School Information
Location Tyler, Texas
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 42%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

One of the fastest-growing schools in the University of Texas System, UT Tyler offers a convenient online MSN degree with a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner track. The 49-credit MSN program features fully online coursework, except one advanced health assessment hybrid course. Distance learners attend one or two on-campus clinicals at the start of each semester.

  • Program: MSN psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Tyler, Texas
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $958 per credit (in-state), $1,440 per credit (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: BSN, minimum 3.0 GPA, current RN license, essay or video, at least one year of RN experience
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.9% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $98,213 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#9

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.

GW has educated nurses for 100 years. The university delivers several online nurse practitioner programs, including an MSN with an in-demand adult-gerontology acute care track. The part-time MSN program requires 48 credits and 650 clinical hours. Participants complete some testing and training experiences at the university's Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, Virginia.

  • Program: MSN adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Washington, District of Columbia
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,395 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN, minimum 3.0 GPA, current RN license, resume, statement of purpose
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $101,254 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#10

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.

NAU's family nurse practitioner MSN program trains nurses to deliver primary care to underserved rural populations. Designed for RNs with broad nursing experience, the program prepares graduates to earn Arizona certification. The hybrid program requires 48 credits, including clinical experiences and an evidence-based capstone project.

  • Program: MSN family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $13,800 per year
  • Admission Requirements: BSN, minimum 3.0 GPA, current RN license, essay
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.9% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $92,632 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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Frequently Asked Questions About Online Nurse Practitioner Programs


Can you become a nurse practitioner online?

Many schools offer online NP programs. These offer the same courses as on-campus programs, and you receive the same diploma. However, you must complete your clinical hours in person, but you may do so in your own community.

What is the fastest way to become a nurse practitioner?

The fastest way to become an NP depends on your existing degree. If you have a BSN, it takes approximately two years of full-time study to complete an on-campus or online NP program. If you have an associate nursing degree, it takes approximately three years.

Does it matter where you go to NP school?

Just like any other major, some schools are more prestigious than others. The NP board exam pass rate is an important quality indicator. Another critical consideration is how well the curriculum matches your interests and career goals.

Are nurse practitioners in high demand?

NPs are in very high demand in every part of the country. The BLS projects a 52% job growth rate between 2020 and 2030 for NPs and a 45% growth rate for all advanced practice nurses.

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