Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

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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.

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.

The Top Affordable Online NP Programs

Rank School Location
1 Georgetown University Washington, DC
2 Ball State University Muncie, IN
3 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
4 Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN
5 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
6 St. Joseph's College Standish, ME
7 Clarkson College Omaha, NE
8 Walden University Minneapolis, MN
Advertisement 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.

Featured Online Programs

The Best Affordable Online NP Programs

  1. Georgetown University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Georgetown’s affordable 44-credit online nurse practitioner program prepares future FNPs to deliver holistic primary care. Its graduates pass the Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam at high rates.

    The full-time program covers five terms and takes 19 months to complete, while the part-time option covers seven terms and takes 27 months to complete. Both require 650 clinical hours and two in-person intensive classes at the school’s Washington, D.C. campus. During these classes, students work directly with Georgetown faculty and standardized patients, who are healthy people trained to act as though they exhibit a variety of symptoms and health problems.

    Eligible students must hold a BSN or MSN from an ACEN-accredited institution, with a minimum 3.3 cumulative GPA. They also must hold an unencumbered state RN license, have at least one year of clinical experience, and have achieved a B or better in a statistics course in the past three years.

  2. Ball State University
    Location

    Muncie, IN

    Located in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State offers an online MSN degree with a family nurse practitioner concentration. While the 47-credit program’s classes are all online, students must arrange at least 690 hours of in-person clinical experiences. Upon graduation, students can apply for the FNP certification exam.

    Students work with a graduate advisor who helps them plan their degrees and ensures they remain on track. The program is flexible; students can take courses in a sequence that meets their needs. The asynchronous format allows students to review lectures, complete assignments, and take part in discussions on their own time.

    Eligible applicants must hold a BSN from an accredited postsecondary institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA and hold an active RN license. The National League for Nursing Center of Excellence has recognized Ball State’s affordable online nurse practitioner program for the quality it delivers to students preparing for nursing careers.

  3. Old Dominion University
    Location

    Norfolk, VA

    As one of the most affordable online nurse practitioner programs in the nation, ODU provides a comprehensive blend of academic courses and clinical experiences to prepare future FNPs. The 49-credit program features a mix of live classes, with scheduled online meetings, and asynchronous courses that allow students to access course materials and complete assignments on their own time. Select courses require students to attend class at ODU’s campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

    In the health promotion and maintenance course, students develop health promotion strategies, working with their peers seeking degrees outside nursing and incorporating technology and best practices. Distance learners benefit from technical support, a digital library, online tutoring, and the ODU Writing Center.

    To apply, prospective students submit an essay of 500-700 words, three letters of recommendation, and GRE or GMAT scores. They must hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 GPA, along with an unencumbered RN license.

  4. Indiana State University
    Location

    Terre Haute, IN

    Indiana State’s MSN family nurse practitioner degree emphasizes innovation and evidence-based techniques as it prepares students to deliver safe and effective patient care. The 50-credit online program takes 2.5-3 years to graduate, with terms starting in January, May, and August. All online learning takes place via Blackboard, where students access course lectures, materials, assignments, and discussions. FNP students must complete 675 clinical hours. While the program offers some assistance, students must secure these experiences at a qualifying clinic or hospital near them.

    The program’s admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited postsecondary institution, with a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Applicants must submit a current resume, three professional or academic references, and a personal goals statement. They must also hold an unencumbered state RN license. Indiana State’s affordable online nurse practitioner program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

  5. West Virginia University
    Location

    Morgantown, WV

    With WVU’s BSN-to-DNP program, students receive their family nurse practitioner degree in three years when attending full time. Students can graduate from the part-time program in five years. This affordable online nurse practitioner program’s format enables students to first receive an MSN before proceeding to the DNP. They may exit the program upon receiving their MSN if they so choose. Graduates qualify for the FNP national certification exam.

    Students take classes like healthcare informatics, which examines various tools and technologies that help improve patient care and outcomes. They also take evidence-based practice methods courses, which explore research methods and epidemiological techniques and how they lead to effective healthcare interventions.

    Faculty from the WVU Health Sciences Center teach all distance courses, which come in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. All online learners must take part in up to five on-campus sessions and two in-person practicums. WVU’s online students can access a digital library, accessibility services, and financial aid assistance.

  6. St. Joseph's College
    Location

    Standish, ME

    St. Joseph’s, located in Standish, Maine, offers an online MS in nursing degree that allows students to complete their degrees in two years of full-time study. It features fully online coursework and no in-person residencies, and students will earn credit for their professional experience. Students in 42 states and the District of Columbia can enroll in the distance MSN program. It features 12-week terms that start in February, May, August, and November.

    Eligible applicants must hold a BSN degree from an ACEN- or CCEN-accredited program with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also hold an unencumbered RN license and submit a personal statement, resume, and references. The program does not require GRE or GMAT scores. The program offers a competitive per-credit tuition rate, placing it among the nation’s most affordable online nurse practitioner programs. It is also accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  7. Clarkson College
    Location

    Omaha, NE

    Clarkson College, located in Omaha, Nebraska, features an online MS in nursing program with a family nurse practitioner specialization. The 47-credit program includes courses in nursing law and ethics, research design, and theories in advancing nursing practice. Students learn how to provide the best possible care to patients facing a variety of health conditions.

    Students may attend this affordable online nurse practitioner program full or part time. The full-time option can be finished in eight semesters, while the part-time program may take 12 or more semesters to graduate. Students must also complete at least 810 hours of approved clinical work.

    FNP students may begin the program at three different points of the year: July, November, or April. Eligible applicants must hold a BSN degree from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited nursing program with at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Additional requirements include an unencumbered state RN license and a minimum two years of professional experience.

  8. Walden University
    Location

    Minneapolis, MN

    Walden University’s MSN degree features a family nurse practitioner specialization focusing primarily on health promotion and maintenance, restorative care, and chronic disease prevention. The entire faculty holds doctorate degrees and students can collaborate with innovative nursing professionals from across the U.S. Walden’s straightforward, per-credit tuition schedule makes it one of the most affordable online nurse practitioner programs nationwide. It includes 56 quarter credits and many graduate within three years. Students must also complete 640 clinical hours.

    Admission requirements include a BSN degree from an accredited nursing program, along with at least two years of RN experience. Applicants must also submit a recent resume. Walden offers an RN-to-MSN track for RNs who do not hold a bachelor’s degree as well. This program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Distance learners can access a variety of resources, including peer mentors, research and library databases, and an academic advising team.

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.

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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