The Best North Carolina Online Nurse Practitioner Programs 2021

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), North Carolina nurse practitioners (NPs) can expect plentiful career opportunities, including an average annual salary of $105,890.

Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) comprise the most popular certification area nationwide, and North Carolina’s Duke University offers one of the country’s top FNP programs. North Carolina boasts a projected 30.4% employment increase, outpacing the 28.2% national projection. The BLS reports that only 1.2 of every available 1,000 jobs in the state are filled.

This guide to the best online NP programs in NC can start you on the path to an advanced nursing degree.

NP and FNP programs in NC take about two years to complete, including online courses and in-person clinical experiences. Online learners study advanced pathology, pharmacology, physical assessment, and physiology through scheduled synchronous virtual learning or asynchronous class recordings accessed on their own time.

View ranking methodology here.

Best North Carolina Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Rank School Location
1 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
2 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC
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

  1. East Carolina University
    Location

    Greenville, NC

    East Carolina University offers an online nurse practitioner program in North Carolina. The degree includes two different tracks for master's nursing students: the neonatal and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (NP) concentrations. The full program comprises 43 credits, which full-time students can complete in five semesters. Part-time students may take seven semesters to graduate.

    Courses cover advanced topics, such as pharmacology and physical assessment. The online NP program includes one on-campus component each semester: a two-day intensive experience. Distance learners must also fulfill 550 clinical hours onsite at healthcare facilities during three clinical practicum courses. Students can arrange their practicum experiences at a location convenient to them.

    Campus: Greenville, North Carolina

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

    Tuition: $349/credit for North Carolina residents; $994/credit for non-residents

    Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum 2.7 GPA; current nursing license; one year of professional nursing experience; GRE or MAT scores; three recommendation letters; personal statement

    Minimum Time Commitment: 21 months

    On-Campus Requirements: Yes

    Program: MSN - Neonatal or psychiatric-mental health NP

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  2. Western Carolina University
    Location

    Cullowhee, NC

    Located in Cullowhee, Western Carolina University runs a hybrid master's degree in nursing with a family nurse practitioner (NP) track. Students complete much of their coursework online, but they must also attend class on campus every Tuesday. Learners enroll in the 52-credit program full time, and they can graduate in 24 months. Learners can also opt to complete a project or thesis toward the end of the program.

    Students must also complete 640 hours of coursework onsite at a healthcare facility. Clinical hours start during the second semester, and master's candidates generally spend eight hours a week on their clinical obligations.

    Campus: Cullowhee, North Carolina

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

    Tuition: $10,641/ year for North Carolina residents; $21,048/year for nonresidents

    Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; current nursing license; one year of professional nursing experience; three recommendation letters; personal statement

    Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months

    On-Campus Requirements: Yes

    Program: MSN - Family NP

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

Applying to an Online Nurse Practitioner Program in North Carolina

North Carolina FNP programs, along with NP tracks in other specialty areas, may impose different admission requirements but commonly include:

  • A bachelor of science in nursing degree from an accredited program
  • A current, unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license
  • Transcripts showing a 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Completion of an undergraduate statistics course
  • 2-3 letters of recommendation
  • A personal goal statement
  • A resume

Some programs may require GRE scores, clinical RN experience, and/or faculty interviews.

NP program graduates pursue certification in their specialization area and licensure as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Certification requires passing an exam that focuses on areas such as FNP, gerontology, mental health, neonatal, pediatrics, or women’s health. APRNs must maintain their RN licenses and certification and complete 50 contact hours each year for license renewal.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kind of specialties are available to nurse practitioners?

    While more than half of NPs become FNPs, additional NP specialty areas are numerous and include acute care, cardiology, orthopedics, primary and acute adult-gerontology, and psychiatric/mental health, along with neonatal, oncology, pediatric endocrinology, and women’s health. NPs can obtain national certification in these practice areas.

  • What does it mean for a program to be accredited and why is it important?

    Online NP students should look for programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Accreditation ensures high academic quality and professional preparation. Licensing boards, certification organizations, and employers often require NPs to hold degrees from accredited programs.

  • How long does it take to complete a nurse practitioner program?

    On average, full-time students can earn their degrees in two years. Part-time enrollment, accelerated study, specialization area, and clinical requirements can also alter timelines for graduation. Asynchronous online course delivery allows learners to self-pace their studies. Synchronous classes require students to log on at scheduled times and offer less flexibility.

  • Do nurse practitioners need to earn a DNP?

    Currently, the minimum degree required to become an NP is a master of science in nursing (MSN). Doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degrees lead to more opportunities and higher pay, and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing endorses shifting the degree required for NPs from an MSN to a DNP.