Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Programs Online

April 11, 2022 , Modified on April 13, 2022 · 3 Min Read

Are you an RN considering an NP career in women's health? Find out about the best women's health nurse practitioner programs and how to apply.

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Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Programs Online
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The Best Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Programs

Do you want to help women lead healthier lives and bring about better health outcomes? Women's health nurse practitioners (WHNPs) provide vital care for women and can earn a six-figure salary while doing so. This guide identifies the best WHNP programs, explains how to apply, and answers questions about the career.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best women's health nurse NP programs, making it easier for you to find a 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 about WHNP programs, or go straight to our list of the best WHNP programs.

How do Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Programs Work?

You can enroll in either a master's-level or doctoral-level WHNP program. However, most WHNP programs are at the master of science in nursing (MSN) level. The curriculum includes advanced courses in nursing topics covered in your registered nurse (RN) program, such as physiology, and new topics, such as assessment and diagnosis.

WHNP programs typically take two years to complete for full-time students with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Many schools offer bridge programs for students with an associate degree in nursing (ADN), though these take longer (generally three years).

The curriculum includes clinical hours. If you enroll in an online WHNP program, make sure you can get clinical placement in your community.

Applying to a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Program

To apply to a WHNP program, you need a current and unencumbered RN license, either an ADN or a BSN, and a clear criminal background check. Most schools require at least 1-2 years of experience as RN.

BSN (some schools have bridge programs for students with an ADN or accelerated programs for students with a bachelor's in another field), resume or CV, at least two references, an application that includes an essay or personal statement, a current and unencumbered RN license, and a criminal background check with fingerprinting

Most programs require at least a 3.0 GPA. Some require at least a 3.2 GPA.

Most schools require or strongly prefer at least 1-2 years of experience as an RN.

Why is Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Program Accreditation Important?

During program accreditation, an independent body of examiners, including both professional nurses and nurse educators, reviews every aspect of a school's nursing program. The review includes the curriculum, staff and faculty background and qualifications, student outcomes (grades and national examination scores), teaching methods, school facilities (labs, technology services, and libraries), and school policies and procedures.

While not a guarantee, it is an objective assessment that indicates a program's overall quality. This is why state boards of nursing require a degree from an accredited program for an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license.

Because accreditation is so valuable, this guide only lists accredited programs. Accredited schools only accept transfer credits from accredited programs, so there is no reason to risk your time and money on an unaccredited WHNP program.

Learn More About the Best Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Programs and Schools

Frequently Asked Questions About Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Programs


Are women's health nurse practitioners in demand?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 52% job growth between 2020 and 2030 for all NPs. A 2021 study from the Department of Health and Human Services projects a potential surplus of WHNPs between 2014 and 2030, but this projection does not fully account for the impact of COVID-19 on the nursing workforce.

What is the difference between a nurse midwife and a WHNP?

The primary difference is that WHNPs care for women's general health, while nurse midwives focus on pregnancy and childbirth. Nurse midwives are licensed to oversee births, while WHNPs are not. Both hold MSN degrees and board certification in their specialty.

What makes a successful women's health nurse practitioner?

Women's health nurse practitioner programs look for students who show responsibility, commitment to women's health, and the ability to communicate sensitive issues with women of all ages and backgrounds with empathy and tact. They must also be observant, detail-oriented, and excellent collaborators.

What certification is needed to become a women's health nurse practitioner?

WHNPs must earn board certification. Candidates must have graduated from an accredited WHNP program and passed the national board examination. The examination covers obstetrics and gynecology, primary care and assessment, pharmacology, and legal and ethical issues.


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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.

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