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Registered nurses can advance their careers through an online nurse practitioner program.

The best online nurse practitioner programs offer a comprehensive education focused on a particular population or practice area, such as acute care, gerontology, or pediatrics.

Graduates enjoy in-demand, lucrative careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for nurse practitioners to grow 26% between 2018 and 2020. During 2018, nurse practitioners earned a median annual salary of $113,930.

Top Ten Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Table of Contents

This guide ranks the best online nurse practitioner programs to help prospective students find the right program for their needs.

Online programs give students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Distance learners can also attend the top programs in the country without relocating.

The Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

1
University of Southern California
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4

Georgetown University 

Washington, DC

About this school

Founded in 1789, Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic Jesuit university in the country. Georgetown hosts 10 schools and colleges that offer a variety of on-campus and online programs, including an online nurse practitioner program.

Prospective nurse practitioners can choose from several specializations, including family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, nurse-midwifery/women's health nurse practitioner, and women's health nurse practitioner.

The 44-credit, online family nurse practitioner program prepares students to work in primary care settings, helping patients across the lifespan. The hybrid program features asynchronous and synchronous classes and two on-campus intensives. Students also complete a 650-hour practicum at an approved local site.

During the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner program, learners complete 40 credits of coursework along with 600-700 clinical hours and three on-campus intensives.

The nurse-midwifery/women's health nurse practitioner program includes 49 credits of coursework, at least 1,000 clinical hours, and three on-campus intensives. The 44-credit women's health nurse practitioner program includes 784 clinical hours and two required on-campus intensives.

Applicants need an active RN license and a bachelor's degree in nursing. They must also submit three letters of recommendation, a resume, a personal statement, and official transcripts.

Graduation Rate
94%
5

Michigan State University 

East Lansing, MI

About this school

Founded in 1855, Michigan State University is a public research university and one of the largest universities in the nation. MSU offers a variety of online and on-campus programs, including one of the best online nurse practitioner programs.

The hybrid master of science in nursing includes clinical simulations, online classes, some on-campus coursework, and community-based clinical practicums. Aspiring nurse practitioners can choose from specializations in family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontological nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

Regardless of their concentration, all students take classes on topics like health assessment, research for practice nurses, and clinical decision-making. Graduates can sit for certification exams in their specialties.

Applicants need an active RN license and a bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and official transcripts and complete an admission interview.

Graduation Rate
80%
6

University of Rochester 

Rochester, NY

About this school

The University of Rochester is a private research university that offers over 200 majors. Graduate students can choose from a variety of online programs, including one of the top online nurse practitioner programs in the country.

Prospective nurse practitioners in Rochester's program can choose from concentrations like adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and pediatric nurse practitioner.

Most concentrations feature a hybrid learning format, combining on-campus and online coursework. Learners interested in fully online study can pursue the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner concentration. The 54-credit program teaches students how to care for patients across the lifespan.

Students explore topics such as psychopathology and psychiatric assessment and diagnosis across the lifespan, theoretical frameworks for advanced psychiatric nursing practice, and group and family psychotherapy across the lifespan. In addition to online courses, students complete 616 hours of clinical requirements at an approved local site.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in nursing and a current RN license. They must also submit official transcripts, two letters of reference, a professional goal statement, a writing sample, and a resume.

Graduation Rate
86%
7

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus 

Cincinnati, OH

About this school

Established in 1819, the University of Cincinnati is a public research university and part of the University System of Ohio. The university hosts nearly 45,000 students annually through diverse undergraduate and graduate programs, including one of the best online nurse practitioner programs. Prospective nurse practitioners at UC can choose from concentrations in adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, or women's health nurse practitioner.

The online family nurse practitioner program gives nurses the skills they need to diagnose, treat, and manage medical conditions in patients across the lifespan. These learners must complete 50 credits of coursework along with 672 clinical hours. The program prepares students to take family nurse practitioner certification exams.

Adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner students complete 44 credits and 504 clinical hours, preparing them to provide care for aging populations. Women's health nurse practitioner students complete 49 credits of coursework and 672 clinical hours, exploring topics like advanced reproductive dynamics and theoretical basis for clinical reasoning.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in nursing and an active RN license. They must also submit official undergraduate transcripts demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA, three letters of reference, a current resume, and a personal statement.

Graduation Rate
68%
8

Texas A & M University-College Station 

College Station, TX

About this school

Founded in 1876, Texas A&M University is a public research university that offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. The university has the largest student body in Texas and one of the largest in the nation. Distance learners can pursue one of the best online nurse practitioner programs in the country.

The 48-credit, hybrid master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner specialization trains students to provide care for patients across the lifespan. Learners take courses on topics like advanced pharmacology, prevention and population health, and advanced pathophysiology. Students also complete 646 hours of clinical rotations that focus on areas like diagnostics and procedures, advanced health assessment, and primary care of families.

Applicants need a bachelor's in nursing and a current Texas RN license. The school prefers applicants with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students must submit official transcripts, a personal statement, three professional reference evaluations, and a resume. Some applicants may need to complete an admissions interview.

Graduation Rate
82%
9

Catholic University of America 

Washington, DC

About this school

The Catholic University of America is a private, Catholic university founded by the U.S. Catholic bishops. Its programs emphasize personal development, liberal arts, and professional education. Students can choose from a variety of online programs, including one of the best online nurse practitioner programs in the country.

Prospective nurse practitioners can choose from specializations in adult-gerontological primary care nurse practitioner, acute care primary nurse practitioner, pediatric primary care, or family nurse practitioner.

Regardless of their specialization, all students take 27 credits of core courses and 17-25 credits in their specializations. Family nurse practitioner students take classes on topics like women's health, primary care of adults, and primary care of the youth. Learners pursuing the adult-gerontological track take classes such as geriatric considerations in pharmacology and non-pharmacological approaches to geriatric behavior concerns.

Courses in the acute care specialization include advanced diagnostics and primary care of the newborn, while pediatric primary care students examine topics like children and adolescents with special needs and complex, acute, and critical problems in pediatrics. In addition to coursework, all students complete 700 hours of supervised clinical rotations, gaining practical experience in the field.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a current RN license. They must also submit transcripts and three letters of recommendation.

Graduation Rate
76%
10

The University of Alabama 

Tuscaloosa, AL

About this school

The University of Alabama is the largest public research university in the state. The flagship institution of the University of Alabama System, UA offers undergraduate and graduate programs across 13 academic divisions, including one of the best online nurse practitioner programs in the country.

The online master of science in nursing with a nurse practitioner concentration comprises 45-51 credits, depending on a student's specialization. The program offers specializations in mental health and primary care. Students can also pursue a dual specialization, exploring both topics in detail. Regardless of their specialization, all students complete 540 hours of clinical rotations at an approved local site. Graduates can pursue certification in their specialties.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university, a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits of undergraduate coursework, and an active RN license.

Graduation Rate
72%
11

University of Mississippi 

University, MS

About this school

A public research institution, the University of Mississippi is the largest university in the state. Learners at Ole Miss can pursue a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including an online nurse practitioner program.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center's School of Nursing offers an online master of science in nursing with a variety of nurse practitioner specializations, including acute care adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, acute primary care pediatric nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner.

Regardless of specialization, all learners complete core courses in topics like advanced health assessment, finance and leadership in healthcare systems, and health policy and population health. Learners also complete 630 clinical hours, gaining experience in the field. Students can complete most courses online, though some courses may have on-campus requirements.

Applicants need a bachelor's in nursing from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA, a current RN license, and one year of clinical experience. They must also submit official transcripts and GRE scores.

Graduation Rate
64%
12

University of South Carolina-Columbia 

Columbia, SC

About this school

The University of South Carolina is a public research university classified as a doctoral university with the highest research activity. UofSC is the flagship institution of the University of South Carolina System and offers over 350 undergraduate and graduate degrees. Distance learners can choose from a variety of programs, including one of the best online nurse practitioner programs in the nation.

This online master of science in nursing offers nurse practitioner specializations in adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

The 47-credit program has fully online coursework, though there are also on-campus immersions and 672 hours of clinical practicum requirements. Regardless of specialization, all students take core courses in theoretical and conceptual foundation for nursing, research methods for nursing, and advanced health assessment and diagnostic reasoning. Graduates can sit for certification exams in their specialties.

Applicants need a regionally accredited bachelor's degree and a current RN license. They must also submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement.

Graduation Rate
77%
13

Drexel University 

Philadelphia, PA

About this school

Founded in 1936, Drexel University is a private research institution that offers more than 70 undergraduate and over 100 graduate programs, including several online nurse practitioner programs.

Prospective nurse practitioners at Drexel can pursue specializations like adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, pediatric acute care nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. All master's in nursing students take core courses in quality and safety in healthcare, research methods and biostatistics, and evaluation and translation of health research. In addition to online courses, students must complete on-campus intensives and clinical rotations to gain experience in the field.

Applicants need an accredited bachelor's in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA, a current RN license, and two years of nursing experience. They must also submit official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a resume.

Graduation Rate
74%
14

Kent State University at Kent 

Kent, OH

About this school

Established in 1910, Kent State University is a public research university that offers diverse undergraduate and graduate programs. The school offers many of its programs online, including one of the best online nurse practitioner programs in the country.

Nurse practitioner students at KSU can pursue a fully online master of science in nursing with a women's health nurse practitioner specialization. They can also pursue hybrid programs in adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, pediatric primary care nurse practitioner, or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

All nurse practitioner students take core courses in advanced assessment, pharmacology for advanced practice nursing, and theoretical basis for nursing practice. Students also complete 675 hours of clinical rotations to gain experience in their specializations. Most online courses use asynchronous formats, giving students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.

Applicants need a bachelor's in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a current RN license. They must also submit transcripts, a resume, an essay, and three letters of reference.

Graduation Rate
60%
15

West Virginia University 

Morgantown, WV

About this school

West Virginia University is a public land-grant institution that offers over 350 undergraduate and graduate programs through 15 schools and colleges. Classified as a research university with very high research activity, WVU offers programs in education and human services, physical activity and sports sciences, and nursing. Prospective nurse practitioners can pursue one of the top online nurse practitioner programs in the country at WVU.

WVU's 46-credit online master of science in nursing offeres concentrations in family nurse practitioner and pediatric nurse practitioner. All master's in nursing students take core courses in theory and disciplined reasoning, lifespan health promotion, healthcare informatics, and advanced pathophysiology. Students also complete practicums in their focus areas to gain experience in the field. Graduates qualify to sit for certification exams in their specializations.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a current RN license. They must also submit transcripts, a resume, and a professional goals statement.

Graduation Rate
60%
16

Villanova University 

Villanova, PA

About this school

Founded in 1942, Villanova University is the oldest Catholic University in Pennsylvania. The school maintains a strong Catholic foundation, with most of its student population following the Catholic religion. Villanova offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including one of the nation's best online nurse practitioner programs.

Prospective nurse practitioners at Villanova can pursue an online master's in nursing with a specialization in adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, or pediatric nurse practitioner. Depending on specialization, students complete 39-55 credits, including core, clinical, elective, and role development requirements. All students complete core courses on topics like clinical ethics, nursing research, development of nursing science, and leadership strategies in nursing.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in nursing and an active RN license. They must also submit a goal statement, transcripts, GRE or GMAT scores, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants with a 3.2 GPA or higher do not need to provide GRE or MAT scores.

Graduation Rate
91%
17

Duquesne University 

Pittsburgh, PA

About this school

Established in 1878, Duquesne University is a private Catholic university and the only Spiritan higher learning institution in the world. Students can choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including an online nurse practitioner program.

The online master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner concentration comprises 42 credits and qualifies graduates to sit for the national family nurse practitioner licensure exam. The primarily online program requires two on-campus visits. Online courses follow an asynchronous format, giving students the flexibility to balance their studies with professional and personal obligations.

Learners take courses like historical and contemporary foundations for advanced nursing practice, healthcare ethics in practice and policy, and pharmacology for advanced practice nursing. Learners also complete clinical rotations to gain experience in the field.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, one year of full-time work experience as an RN, and a current RN license. They must also submit transcripts, a resume, a goal statement, and two references.

Graduation Rate
80%
18

Gonzaga University 

Spokane, WA

About this school

Gonzaga University is a private, Roman Catholic university that grants undergraduate and graduate degrees across seven colleges. The school offers an online master of science in nursing with two nurse practitioner concentration options: family nurse practitioner or psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner.

Both tracks comprise 47 credits and include 660 hours of clinical rotations. Students complete core courses on topics like information technology and data management, contemporary healthcare environment, and advanced pathophysiology. Graduates can pursue careers in urgent care centers, private practices, and health clinics.

The family nurse practitioner track prepares students to provide primary care for families and individuals across the lifespan and includes six on-campus immersions. The psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner track trains students to provide mental health services for diverse populations and includes five on-campus immersions.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in nursing and a current RN license. They must also submit transcripts, a resume, a goal statement, and letters of recommendation.

Graduation Rate
86%
19

Cox College 

Springfield, MO

About this school

Founded in 1907, Cox College is a private institution that offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, including one of the top online nurse practitioner programs in the country.

Designed for working nurses, this online master of science in nursing offers two tracks: family nurse practitioner or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. The 42-credit family nurse practitioner track prepares students to provide care for individuals and families across the lifespan, while the 36-42-credit mental health track trains students to provide mental health services to diverse populations. Both tracks qualify graduates to take certification exams in the specialty.

All students take core courses on topics like advanced assessment, project design and implementation, and advanced pharmacology. Students must also complete 540 clinical hours to gain experience in the field.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a current RN license. They must also submit transcripts, a resume, an essay, and two references.

Graduation Rate
60%
20

East Carolina University 

Greenville, NC

About this school

Founded as a teacher training school in 1907, East Carolina University is now a public research institution that offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Distance learners can pursue an online master's in nursing that offers two nurse practitioner tracks: neonatal nurse practitioner and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner.

All master's in nursing students take core courses in clinical pharmacology for advanced nursing practice, research for the practice of advanced nursing, and human physiology and pathophysiology for advanced nursing practice. Students also complete clinical requirements to gain experience in the field. Graduates qualify to sit for certification exams in their specialties.

Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a current RN license. They must also submit transcripts, GRE or MAT scores earned within the last five years, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation. During the admission process, learners must complete an interview with a member of the graduate faculty.

Graduation Rate
65%
21

Loyola University New Orleans 

New Orleans, LA

About this school

Established in 1904, Loyola University New Orleans is a private, Jesuit university founded by the Society of Jesus. Degree-seekers at Loyno can explore a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including an online nurse practitioner program.

The 48-credit, online master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner track prepares students to treat individuals and families across the lifespan. Students complete courses like primary care pediatrics, advanced pathophysiology, and primary care of adults and women's health. Learners also complete 720 hours of supervised practicum requirements to gain experience in the field.

Students can customize the degree to their interests and goals through optional electives in topics like advanced statistics and data management or scientific writing.

Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree in nursing and a current RN license. They must also submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume.

Graduation Rate
61%
22

Seton Hall University 

South Orange, NJ

About this school

Comprising 11 colleges and schools, Seton Hall University is a private Roman Catholic institution and the oldest diocesan university in the nation. Degree-seekers can explore a variety of flexible undergraduate and graduate programs at Seton Hall, including one of the best online nurse practitioner programs.

The school's online master of science in nursing offers concentrations in adult-gerontology nurse practitioner and pediatric nurse practitioner. Students in both tracks take core courses on topics like forces in healthcare, nursing research, and theoretical basis of nursing.

In addition to coursework, pediatric nurse practitioner students must complete 540 clinical practice hours to gain experience in the field. Adult-gerontology nurse practitioner students can choose from primary care and acute care tracks. Students on the primary care track must complete 600 clinical hours while acute care students must complete 675 clinical hours.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program along with a current, active RN license. They must also submit transcripts, a statement of professional goals, and two letters of recommendation. Applicants interested in the acute care track need a minimum 3.2 undergraduate GPA and two years of professional experience while primary care applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA and one year of professional experience.

Graduation Rate
70%
23

University of Alabama at Birmingham 

Birmingham, AL

About this school

Established in 1936, the University of Alabama at Birmingham joined the University of Alabama System in 1969. UAB's health system is one of the largest academic medical centers in the nation. The school offers a variety of rigorous nursing programs, including an online master's in nursing with several nurse practitioner concentrations.

Available nursing concentrations at UAB include family nurse practitioner, women's healthcare nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner.

Regardless of concentration, all students complete fully online courses and clinical practicum requirements. Students take core courses like translating evidence into practice, pharmacology and therapeutics, and healthcare systems for advanced nursing practice. Graduates can sit for certification exams in their specialties.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a current, active RN license. They must also submit three letters of recommendation; GRE, MAT, or GMAT scores; and official undergraduate transcripts.

Graduation Rate
58%
24

Samford University 

Birmingham, AL

About this school

Samford University is a private, Christian university that enrolls nearly 6,000 students from 28 countries and 46 states. Learners can explore a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including one of the best online nurse practitioner programs.

Samford's online master's in nursing offers nurse practitioner specializations in family nurse practitioner, emergency nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. All students take core courses on topics like statistics for advanced practice, pharmacotherapeutics for advanced nursing practice, and advanced physiology and pathophysiology. Students learn from experienced instructors with extensive backgrounds in teaching and clinical practice.

Students can enroll in the program in January or August of each year. Applicants need an active RN license and a bachelor's in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit a video and official transcripts.

Graduation Rate
76%
25

Wilkes University 

Wilkes-Barre, PA

About this school

Established in 1933, Wilkes University is a private institution that offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Registered nurses who want to advance their careers can pursue one of the top online nurse practitioner programs at Wilkes.

The online master's in nursing offers nurse practitioner concentrations in adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner. All master's in nursing students complete fully online courses and 500 hours of clinical requirements. Core courses cover topics like advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, advanced role development in nursing, and advanced nursing research. Graduates can sit for certification exams in their specialties.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a current, active RN license. They must also submit a resume and official transcripts.

Graduation Rate
60%
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology

Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

What is a Nurse Practitioner Degree?

Nurse practitioners act as advanced practice nurses, and in many states, provide primary care without a physician’s supervision. They conduct physical assessments, diagnose medical conditions, and — depending on the state — prescribe medication for their patients. Within the field, nurse practitioners usually specialize in areas like pediatrics, family practice, or mental health. They work with patients of all ages, from newborns to elderly patients who need palliative care.

During an online nurse practitioner program, students train in advanced health assessment, evidence-based practice, and primary care.

During an online nurse practitioner program, students train in advanced health assessment, evidence-based practice, and primary care. They also complete courses in their specialization, which can include coursework on common medical conditions affecting premature newborns or psychiatric healthcare, depending on the concentration. Online programs also incorporate clinical hours to build practical experience during the master’s degree.

Nurse practitioners must hold a master’s degree to earn state licensure and qualify for board certification, but only accredited online nurse practitioner programs meet the licensure and certification requirements. Earning a master’s degree from a nurse practitioner program prepares graduates for a lucrative and rewarding healthcare career.

Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

In addition to nurse practitioner programs, registered nurses pursue many other graduate-level degrees to advance their careers. Nurses who want a master’s degree can also consider programs in healthcare administration, nursing administration, healthcare management, or healthcare informatics. These degrees prepare nurses for leadership roles throughout the healthcare industry.

Attending an online nurse practitioner program helps registered nurses advance their careers with a flexible, accessible format. During an online program, nursing students use a virtual classroom experience, discussion groups, and other online learning technologies to complete their coursework. They also take exams online and gain medical experience through physical assessment simulations.

Since online students can arrange their coursework around work responsibilities, they are especially attractive to nursing professionals who intend to continue their career while they earn a degree.

Depending on the program, students may either meet for classes at a set time, or complete coursework at their own pace and according to their own schedule. Regardless of the format, however, online programs offer greater flexibility than most on-campus programs. Since online students can arrange their coursework around work responsibilities, they are especially attractive to nursing professionals who intend to continue their career while they earn a degree.

Students in an online nurse practitioner program also gain valuable clinical experience as part of their training. Most programs incorporate a minimum number of clinical hours, which students often arrange in their local area. Online nurse practitioner students may also complete on-campus residencies during their degree to test their clinical skills.

An online learning format may also appeal to nurses looking to specialize in a high demand concentration that local universities may not offer, such as neonatal nurse practitioner or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Despite the flexibility and opportunities that online learning offers, prospective students should note that an online degree requires nurses to be highly self-motivated and disciplined.

What Can You Do with a Nurse Practitioner Degree?

Students pursuing nurse practitioner programs online must already be working as registered nurses. This advanced degree prepares nurses for careers with greater patient responsibilities and leadership demands. The most successful graduates demonstrate a dedication to individual patient needs, attention to detail, and strong decision-making and communication skills.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who act as primary care providers for patients. They diagnose conditions, create treatment plans, and prescribe medication.

Entry Level

$89,000

Mid-Career

$98,000

Experienced

$102,000

Late Career

$104,000

Family Nurse Practitioner

Family nurse practitioners provide primary care for patients of all ages, including treating and diagnosing diseases. They prescribe medication, monitor medical conditions, and perform wellness exams.

Entry Level

$90,000

Mid-Career

$99,000

Experienced

$100,000

Late Career

$101,000

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners treat patients with mental health disorders, including anxiety and mood disorders. They evaluate patients, prescribe medication, and work with patients to manage mental health problems.

Entry Level

$98,000

Mid-Career

$108,000

Experienced

$115,000

Late Career

$112,000

Pediatrics Nurse Practitioner

Pediatrics nurse practitioners act as primary care providers for children from birth through adolescence. They provide wellness exams, diagnose medical conditions, and create treatment plans for their patients.

Entry Level

$84,000

Mid-Career

$91,000

Experienced

$96,000

Late Career

$98,000

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Neonatal nurse practitioners care for newborns who require medical attention. They often work in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), treating premature infants and newborns with illnesses or medical conditions. Neonatal nurse practitioners coordinate with a medical team to provide high quality care.

Entry Level

$94,000

Mid-Career

$101,000

Experienced

$108,000

Late Career

$123,000

Choosing an Online Nurse Practitioner Graduate Degree Program

Nurses enrolling in advanced practice nursing graduate programs benefit from more online options than ever before. However, prospective students need to choose the right online nurse practitioner program for their career goals and interests. Researching factors such as concentrations, cost, and program length can help nurses find the best online nurse practitioner programs. For instance, in-state programs usually offer the most affordable option, but some may not offer certain concentrations. Prospective students can research the best online colleges by state to identify top programs and narrow their list of prospective schools.

Program Cost

Many students start by researching a program’s cost. Nurse practitioner programs often list the cost per credit, so prospective students can determine the total cost for their degree. In addition to tuition costs, students should check for other associated expenses, such as technology fees, online student fees, and books.

Transfer Policies

Nurses with some graduate credits can save time and money on their nurse practitioner program by transferring previous college credits. However, not all programs accept transfer credits, so research transfer policies and work with a transfer advisor to make the most of your previous credits. Note that most programs only accept credits earned from an accredited nursing master’s program.

School Size and Type

Large public institutions and small private schools both offer online programs for nurse practitioners. Some students may prefer a larger class size with more nurses in their cohort. Others prefer a smaller program with a lower student-to-faculty ratio. Prospective students should also consider specialized nursing institutions that only grant healthcare degrees.

Program Length

The length of a nurse practitioner program can vary from one year to four or more years, depending on the program and the incoming student’s prior degree. Some programs accept nurses without a nursing bachelor’s degree, while others require it. Prospective students can also research full-time versus part-time options, depending on their preferred schedule.

On-Campus Requirements

Many online programs include on-campus residencies, often to measure a nursing student’s clinical abilities. Be certain to check for on-campus requirements, as an in-state online program with on-campus requirements may be more suitable than a program with four required residencies in another state.

Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements

Prospective students should research the clinical hour requirement for any nurse practitioner program. Some require nurse practitioner students to complete 600 clinical hours, while others require more than 1,000 hours. Prospective students can also research possible local sites to complete their clinical hours.

Accreditation for Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Prospective students should prioritize accredited online nurse practitioner programs, especially those that hold regional or national accreditation. An accredited college or university has undergone a regular, systematic review of its student learning outcomes, graduation requirements, and faculty qualifications. Both the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation maintain current lists of accredited institutions.

An accredited college or university has undergone a regular, systematic review of its student learning outcomes, graduation requirements, and faculty qualifications.

Some schools may also hold program-specific accreditation from leading organizations in the field. For example, nursing programs that follow the best practices for educating nurse practitioners are usually accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Nurse practitioners must attend an accredited program to earn their license, qualify for board certification, and receive federal financial assistance. Similarly, many employers only hire nurses with accredited degrees. Prospective students should check for ACEN or CCNE accreditation when researching potential nurse practitioner master’s programs.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Nurse Practitioner Program?

Earning a master’s degree from a nurse practitioner program typically takes two to three years for full-time students. Incoming students without a bachelor’s degree in nursing may take an additional one or two years of coursework before beginning graduate-level classes. While many programs expect students to work while enrolled in their nurse practitioner degree, schools may offer part-time schedules for students who prefer additional flexibility.

While many programs expect students to work while enrolled in their nurse practitioner degree, schools may offer part-time schedules for students who prefer additional flexibility.

Prospective students seeking an accelerated option can also research one year online nurse practitioner programs. In these programs, students complete coursework at a faster pace and earn their nurse practitioner master’s degree as quickly as possible. Students can also earn their degree faster by applying transfer credits toward their master’s degree.

In addition to coursework, nurse practitioner students must complete clinical hours. The number of hours vary between program, but most require students to complete 600–700 hours. Before applying to online nurse practitioner programs, prospective students should research the average length of the program to ensure if fits their professional goals and timeline.

Nurse Practitioner Concentrations

Within online nurse practitioner programs, students often choose a concentration to specialize their degree. Concentrations such as family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner prepare advanced practice nurses for a specific career path after graduation. Nursing students must also complete clinical hours in the concentration area.

Family Nurse Practitioner

One of the most popular nurse practitioner concentrations, family nurse practitioners provide primary care for families. Coursework in pediatrics and adult care focuses on health maintenance, preventative care, and acute care. Family nurse practitioners commonly work in a family practice and may also work independently, depending on the state.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

A neonatal nurse practitioner concentration prepares students to care for newborn babies, often in a NICU. Nursing students learn common medical conditions, illnesses, and challenges that affect premature newborns, including low birth weight and heart abnormalities. They also study conditions that require a NICU stay after birth.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner concentration trains students to assess a patient’s mental health needs. Coursework focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders, including the use of medication or psychotherapy. Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners can also train to work with groups or communities.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric nurse practitioners work with children from birth through young adulthood. Their training covers health assessment for young patients, well-child exams, and developmental screenings. Coursework also covers treating acute illnesses, disease prevention, health promotion, and educating families on health and wellness.

Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

An adult-gerontology nurse practitioner concentration prepares learners to care for patients from young adulthood through old age. Students complete coursework on health assessment for adult and elderly patients, common illnesses and diseases, and palliative care. Adult-gerontology nurse practitioner students may also gain specialized training in a subfield like diabetes care, HIV/AIDS, or cancer.

Courses in an Online Nurse Practitioner Program

The specific courses required to complete a nurse practitioner online program varies by program and specialization. For instance, the curriculum for a pediatric nurse practitioner program differs from the courses required for a concentration in women’s health. However, most programs offer similar courses in anatomy, approach to care, and medication, as outlined by the sample courses below.

Primary Care of Adults

This course prepares students to assess adult patients and diagnose common health conditions and diseases. Students learn about medications and treatments, and develop critical thinking skills.

Pathophysiology

This advanced course combines the study of genetics, physiology, and pathology. Students learn about the body’s various organs and systems, how disease affects them, and how to manage symptoms.

Pharmacology

To prescribe medications, nurse practitioners must understand the risks and benefits of each drug. This course explores the role of prescription drugs in disease management, specifically focusing on the functions, ingredients, and side effects of commonly prescribed medications.

Informatics

Students gain an understanding of the communication and information technology solutions patients and providers use today. Many of these advances, such as electronic medical records, streamline patient care. This course may interest students specializing in information technology roles for nurse practitioners.

Advanced Health Assessment

Regardless of specialization, all nurse practitioner students complete a course in advanced health assessment. Nurses develop their ability to conduct health assessments for patients of all ages and may learn through clinical experiences, simulations, or human models.

Nurse Practitioner Membership Associations

American Association of Nurse Practitioners

AANP offers scholarship opportunities for nurse practitioner students and a career center to locate job openings. The association also organizes conferences and events, publishes advanced practice nursing research, and provides continuing education opportunities.

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

Pediatric nurse practitioners rely on NAPNAP for publications, networking events, and educational resources. The association also hosts a job center and patient education resources. NAPNAP offers a student discount for its membership.

American Academy of Emergency Nurse Practitioners

AAENP represents emergency nurse practitioners, and offers member discounts on its certifications. Members also receive professional development resources, access to events, and the academy’s Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal.

Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health

Women’s health nurse practitioners can participate in events and attend courses through NPWH. The organization also offers clinical resources and resources for patients, along with professional guidelines and programs. Members can access continuing education activities and earn continuing education certificates.

American Nurses Association

The largest professional association for registered nurses, ANA dates to 1896. The association also represents APRNs, including nurse practitioners. ANA offers certification in nursing specialties, hosts conferences and events with networking opportunities, and publishes research and professional resources.

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