The Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs in California

March 2, 2022 , Modified on May 11, 2022 · 2 Min Read

With a large population and a high demand for healthcare workers, the Golden State offers many opportunities for nurse practitioners. Find top-ranked NP programs in California in this guide.

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The Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs in California

Registered nurses (RNs) looking to advance their career should consider a nurse practitioner (NP) program. NPs benefit from increased autonomy, higher earning potential, and additional career opportunities.

Enrolling in an online NP program provides flexibility that allows you to continue working while earning your degree. Online NP programs offer the same education as in-person programs, and students complete cliniclal requirements within their community.

With California's need for nurses coupled with one of the highest average salaries in the country, choosing to earn an online NP in the state can be advantageous for current RNs.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best California online nurse practitioner 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 California online nurse practitioner programs, or go straight to our list of the best California online nurse practitioner programs.

How Do California Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Work?

Online NP programs in California vary by specialty, such as family, psychiatric mental health, neonatal, pediatric (acute or primary), adult-gerontology (acute or primary), and women's health. However, most institutions structure core coursework similarly.

Much like students enrolled in traditional programs, online students must complete in-person clinical experiences. Students can choose a medical facility within their community to meet these requirements.

By participating in an online program, students are typically granted much more scheduling flexibility. Students can often choose between asynchronous (available anytime) or synchronous (real-time) courses. While online students can complete their program in the same amount of time as their in-person counterparts, they can also learn on a part-time basis if necessary.

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Applying to an Online Nurse Practitioner Program in California

When applying to a California online NP program, research which programs fit your academic and professional background. While specific prerequisites vary by institution, they all tend to have similar general application requirements.

Admission Materials: Prospective students need to provide a current, unencumbered RN license, a minimum of two academic or professional letters of reference or recommendation, transcripts from previous academic programs, and a personal statement. Applicants also need to pass a criminal background check. GPA Requirement: GPA requirements can range from 3.0-3.25 depending on the program and institution. Other Requirements: Some NP programs in California require applicants to have 1-3 years of clinical experience.

Why is California Online Nurse Practitioner Program Accreditation Important?

Prospective students should focus on selecting anaccredited nursing program. Earning a degree from an accredited institution provides various advantages for graduates and their future employers, as it confirms the quality of the program. Ultimately, attending an accredited program provides the following advantages:

  • Receiving accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) validates that the program meets the highest of standards. Without confirming the quality of the program, the ACEN and CCNE will not provide an institution with accreditation.
  • Exclusive programs typically only accept credits from other accredited programs, making it difficult for students from unaccredited programs to transfer to another academic institution. Institutions are more likely to accept that degree as a prerequisite for admittance into other graduate programs.
  • Students who attend unaccredited programs may not be eligible for federal financial aid.
  • Accredited degrees lead to more lucrative employment positions, along with a higher earning potential.

Learn More About the Best California Online Nurse Practitioner Programs and School

Frequently Asked Questions About California Online Nurse Practitioner Programs


How long does it take to get an NP license in California?

Most NP programs in California require prospective students to have a bachelor of science in nursing, which takes an average of four years to finish. To become an NP, RNs must complete a master's program, which can take a full-time student 15-24 weeks. It can take a part-time student 2-4 years to finish.

Can a nurse practitioner open a clinic in California?

Starting on January 1, 2023, NPs in California will be able to practice independently after completing a transition-to-practice period of at least three years (or 4,600 hours in specific settings). The state also recognizes NPs as primary care providers.

Are nurse practitioners in demand in California?

TheU.S. Department of Labor projects that California could experience an NP growth rate of 31% from 2014-2030, translating to approximately 1,390 job openings per year until 2028. California ranks second in the nation for anticipated job growth.

How much does NP school cost in California?

The average NP program cost in California ranges between $600-800 per credit hour, or approximately $45,000-$55,000 overall. The cost can fluctuate depending on the exclusivity of the program, with some outlying programs ranging from $30,000 on the low end to $150,000 on the high end.


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