Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2022

March 4, 2022 , Modified on April 26, 2022 · 4 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
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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 are a valuable indicator of how likely you are to be admitted and succeed in the program. The program curriculum should offer classes in your preferred specialty and emphasize the topics that most interest you. 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? 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

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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