FIND PROGRAMS NEAR YOU

Inside the Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Ready to take your nursing career to the next level? Review top schools, compare program cost, and learn how you can start your journey to an advanced career as a nurse practitioner.

Last Updated: 08/28/2020
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Online nurse practitioner programs give practical nurses and registered nurses the chance to advance their careers with flexible higher education. Many of these programs combine online learning with face-to-face clinicals to develop the knowledge and skills needed to become primary healthcare providers in one of many NP specialties. Nurse practitioner programs online begin at the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) level, but many future and practicing NPs decide to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Online NP programs offer a convenient way to continue your nursing education. That said, no one should spend their time, money, and energy on an online program without learning how they work and, more importantly, how they can take your nursing career exactly where you want to go. The following page gives you the inside scoop on the best programs, the different specialties available, and what you’ll face when you apply, enroll, and graduate.

Top 10 Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

  1. Stony Brook University – Stony Brook, NY
  2. University of Arizona – Tucson, AZ
  3. Angelo State University – San Angelo, TX
  4. University of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT
  5. The University of Texas at Tyler – Tyler, TX
  6. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center – Lubbock, TX
  7. Northern Arizona University – Flagstaff, AZ
  8. University of Cincinnati – Cincinnati, OH
  9. University of Missouri – St. Louis – Saint Louis, MO
  10. The University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston, TX

To see the details of each online program and review the rest of this year’s top schools, skip down to the full list of 2020’s Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs.

Profiling Online NP Programs

With dozens of online nurse practitioner programs out there, it can be hard to find the right one for you. How much can you afford? Will the ones in your price range have quality instruction and online flexibility? What about career placement? The best way to get answers is to dive into the details of some of today’s most popular nurse practitioner programs online. We’ve researched and reviewed a pair of solid programs to get you started.

Simmons University

Simmons-University

From its home base in Boston, Simmons University provides women-centered degrees that prepare graduates to make meaningful contributions in their field. The online family nurse practitioner program maintains accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and allows learners to choose from part- and full-time plans of study.

Simmons focuses on providing individualized education and does that by ensuring class sizes stay small so professors can interact with each student separately. Most classes have 15 or fewer learners. The program requires 48 credits and at least 672 clinical hours to graduate. Some of the topics covered include advanced pharmacology across the lifespan, clinical decision-making, global perspectives in health promotion, and scholarly inquiry.

Simmons’ program uses a cohort model, meaning learners enter as a group and progress through coursework together. The school offers four different start dates each academic year. Regardless of where they live, all students pay the same tuition rate of $1,385 per credit. The department offers several scholarships to help offset these costs. Students can rest assured knowing Simmons adequately prepares learners for careers after graduating. In 2017, the school maintained a board pass rate of 94.2%, as compared to the national pass rate of 81.5%.

Georgetown University

Georgetown-University

Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies provides a family nurse practitioner program for individuals who want to offer primary care services across the lifespan. Designed for registered nurses who already possess a bachelor of science in nursing, this program consists of 44 credits and requires at least 650 clinical hours to graduate.

Full-time graduates finish in 19 months while part-time students spend 27 months moving from start to finish. Regardless of chosen path, both require two on-campus intensives. Upon completing all requirements, newly minted graduates qualify to seek board certification and credentialing through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). They can also sit for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners’ Certification Program (AACNP). As of 2017, the school maintained a 100% pass rate for the ANCC and a 97.8% pass rate for the AACNP.

After completing all curricular requirements, NPs in training move on to clinical requirements. Program administrators are on hand to help students find approved sites in their area. Georgetown’s program maintains accreditation via the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Online NP Program Specializations

Interested in a more specialized online nurse practitioner program? Nurse practitioners have a wide range of education and career tracks from which to choose. Get the details on these popular specializations, or read on to learn how today’s online nurse practitioner programs work.

Program Levels for Nurse Practitioners

Because nurse practitioners must perform many advanced medical services, it’s important they possess the knowledge and skills to discern how to handle a wide range of medical issues. Most registered nurses begin their careers by completing either an associate or bachelor’s degree. Because online NP programs require applicants to possess a bachelor’s degree when applying, those who pursued an associate degree may need to complete a bridge program before enrolling. The following section takes a look at the different levels of nursing degrees and how each contributes to becoming a nurse practitioner.  

Undergraduate Nursing Degrees

  • ASN/ADN:
    The Associate of Science in Nursing allows you to begin work as RNs after graduating and passing all licensing exams. Because this degree only requires two years of full-time study, it appeals to individuals who think they want to pursue this field but do not feel fully confident embarking on a full bachelor’s program until they test the waters. Since this program exists as an introductory degree, most schools do not require prerequisites. While an ASN does allow people to work as RNs, they’ll need to complete a bridge program before they can start an online NP program. Read more about campus and online associate degrees in nursing.
  • BSN:
    Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees appeal to those who know they want to work in the nursing field and already possess aspirations to progress their careers in years to come. These four-year programs, like an ASN, allow individuals to work as RNs, but also allow them to move immediately into MSN programs. Common prerequisites include chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, biology, and statistics.
  • LPN-to-BSN:
    Licensed Practical Nurses gain their qualifications after completing a year-long educational program. While this allows them to work in a supervised support role, salaries tend to be far lower than those commanded by RNs. After working as an LPN for a while, some decide they want to take their careers to the next level by completing an LPN-to-BSN bridge program. These programs typically take four semesters of full-time study. Applicants must possess an unencumbered LPN license, have at least one year of employment history, and credits in statistics, chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, and physiology. Check out campus, hybrid, and online LPN to BSN programs.
  • RN-to-BSN:
    RN-to-BSN programs serve as the most common option for individuals who completed an ASN but now want to upgrade their degree. These programs admit registered nurses and typically take 18-24 months to complete. Applicants must already possess an ASN degree with courses in chemistry, English, biology, anatomy, and microbiology.

Graduate NP Degrees

  • MSN: 
    To become a nurse practitioner (or nurse anesthetist, or nurse midwife), individuals must possess at minimum a Master of Science in Nursing. These programs take approximately three years to complete and require students to undertake coursework alongside an extensive clinical internship (usually totaling between 600-800 hours, depending on the state). Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree at minimum, although it does not always need to be in nursing. Students should have multiple credits in areas of human anatomy and physiology, chemistry, microbiology, biology, behavioral sciences, and statistics. These programs tend to cost more per credit than undergraduate degrees, but also lead to higher annual wages.
  • DNP:
    Completing a Doctor of Nursing Practice takes between three and four years of full-time study, including approximately 80 credits and 1,000 clinical practicum hours. These programs allow nurse practitioners to move into the upper echelons of the field and prepare them for clinical, research, and teaching roles. Learners who decide to undertake DNPs usually want to specialize their knowledge in a particular area or move into an academic position. Options exist for those with BSNs or MSNs, with prerequisites depending on the highest level of education already completed.

Best Online NP Programs in 2020

Colleges and universities across the U.S. continue to develop online nurse practitioner programs that cater to working professionals and students who just need flexibility. While many aren’t 100% online, they combine extensive online coursework with the right amount of hands-on elements and patient work. These online NP programs have given thousands of nurses the chance to advance their career in an affordable and convenient learning environment. But which schools have the accreditation, cost structure, and online learning you need to get your degree and advance your career?

Using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and from the colleges themselves, EduMed.org has researched and analyzed dozens of online nurse practitioner programs to see which ones stand out in 2020. Review and compare the top schools below.

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About the ranking

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Methodology for EduMed’s 2020 Rankings

To be considered for this ranking, each school must have the following:

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Program(s) offered at least partially online.

School Metrics Explained

EduMed.org data scientists analyzed government higher education data and created a proprietary algorithm to rank each U.S. postsecondary institution and its online programs using 5 primary factors:

  • Cost: Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Online Program Availability: Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to Department of Education.
  • Academic Counseling: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid: Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Most recent data pull: February 2020

#School NameTypeCostOnline ProgramsMore DetailsSchool InformationOnline StudentsAcademic CounselingCareer PlacementStudents w/Institutional AidMedian Earnings 10yrs After EntryAccreditation
1Stony Brook UniversityStony Brook, NYPublic$$6

Stony Brook University offers an extensive range of nurse practitioner degree and certificate options for current nursing professionals seeking specialized practice in Adult-Gerontology Acute NP, Family NP, Neonatal NP, Pediatric Primary Care NP, or Psychiatric Mental Health NP. Prospective students with an active RN license baccalaureate nursing degree are eligible for Stony Brook’s 45-credit hour MSN program. Applicants with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree may be admitted with submission of clinical-practice portfolio. Nursing professionals with a previously-earned MSN can opt for either the Doctor of Nursing Practice program or Post-Master’s Advanced Certificate. All programs include online and on-site course requirements, as well as extensive in-person clinical hours at a program-approved practice facility.

Program Overviews:

Master of Science (five NP specializations)

  • Credits: 45
  • Length: Varies
  • Cost: $602.83/credit (tuition and fees, in-state); 1,094.83/credit (tuition and fees, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school); CCNE (program)

Doctor of Nursing Practice (five NP specializations)

  • Credits: 42
  • Length: Varies
  • Cost: $1,178.83/credit (tuition and fees, in-state); $1,471.83/credit (tuition and fees, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school); CCNE (program)

Advanced Certificate (five NP specializations)

  • Credits: Varies by specialization (19-22 for core course requirements) (Additional coursework may be required, per gap analysis.)
  • Length: Varies
  • Cost: $602.83/credit (tuition and fees, in-state); 1,094.83/credit (tuition and fees, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
70%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
2University of ArizonaTucson, AZPublic$$$2

MSN degree holders interested in specialized nurse practitioner practice have several online academic options through the University of Arizona. UA’s Doctor of Nursing Practice is designed for nursing professionals interested in top-tier NP clinical and leadership positions. DNP concentrations include Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Family NP, Pediatric NP, and Psychiatric Mental Health NP. Both full-time and part-time study options are available for the pre-clinical portions of these DNP programs, with part-time study adding a year to the total program length. Individuals seeking to specialize in a particular area of NP practice without earning a full DNP degree can opt for a Post-Graduate Nurse Practitioner Certificate in any one of the same specializations offered to DNP students. Admission to DNP and Certificate programs includes, along with a MSN degree, active RN licensure and advanced practice national certification.

Program Overviews:

Doctor of Nursing Practice (two NP specializations)

  • Credits: Varies by specialization.
  • Length: Varies by specialization and full-time or part-time study)
  • Cost: $975/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)

Graduate Certificate (five NP specializations)

  • Credits: Varies by specialization (27-31)
  • Length: 16 months
  • Cost: $975/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
83%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
3Angelo State UniversitySan Angelo, TXPublic$$3

Angelo State University offers both master’s degree and post-master’s certificate programs that feature online study for nursing professionals seeking to become nationally-certified Family Nurse Practitioners. ASU’s FNP Master’s of Science program is open to applicants with a nursing baccalaureate degree earned from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited program, a current active Texas RN license, and a minimum of one year of recent RN work experience. Students with a previously-earned MSN degree interested in the FNP specialization can opt for the Post-Master’s Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate. Both the MSN and Certificate programs are offered in full-time and part-time formats, and require some visits to ASU’s San Angelo, Texas campus, as well as in-person clinical hours at that must be completed at a program-approved site within the State of Texas.

Program Overviews:

Family Nurse Practitioner MSN

  • Credits: 49
  • Length: 24 months (full-time); 36 months (part-time)
  • Cost: $183.85/credit (tuition only, in-state); $597.85/credit (tuition online, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)

Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate

  • Credits: 25
  • Length: 12 months (full-time); 24 months (part-time)
  • Cost: $183.85/credit (tuition only, in-state); $597.85/credit (tuition online, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
60%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
4University of UtahSalt Lake City, UTPublic$$1

The University of Utah offers six partially-online DNP nurse practitioner specialty options for current nursing professionals: Neonatal NP, Psychiatric/Mental Health NP, Women’s Health NP, and three Primary Care NPs (Adult-Gerontology, Family, and Pediatric). These programs are designed to be completed with three-years of full-time (including two summer sessions) study featuring online coursework and in-person clinical-hour participation. Students must additionally make occasional visits to the school’s Salt Lake City campus for orientation sessions, intensive educational experiences, exams, and more. Courses are delivered in a combination of synchronous and asynchronous formats, with a fully-synchronous option available to students living 60 or more miles from campus. All specialization curriculums culminate in the creation and presentation of an original doctoral scholarly project.

Program Overviews:

  • Credits: Varies by specialization (77-87)
  • Length: 36 months
  • Cost: Varies by specialization (approx. $50,000 to $65,000 total program cost, in-state; approx. $120,000 to $150,000 total program cost out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: NWCCU (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
71%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
5The University of Texas at TylerTyler, TXPublic$$2

There are two online options available from the University of Texas at Tyler for current RN’s seeking to become family nurse practitioners. The 47-credit hour Master of Science Family Nurse Practitioner program is designed for BSN degree holders with active RN licensure and a minimum of one year of full-time nursing work experience. UTT’s Post-MSN Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate is for current MSN degree holders and requires completion of 29 credit hours of coursework. Both the MSN and Certificate programs are offered in two-year full-time or three-year part-time formats that feature online didactic coursework, on-campus clinical experiences, and 675 in-person clinical hours completed at an approved practice site. Graduates of both programs are prepared to sit for the exams for ANCC and AANP national FNP certifications.

Program Overviews:

MSN Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Credits: 47
  • Length: 24 months (full-time); 36 months (part-time)
  • Cost: $325/credit (tuition only, in-state); $796/credit (tuition online, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)

Post-MSN Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate

  • Credits: 29
  • Length: 24 months (full-time); 36 months (part-time)
  • Cost: $325/credit (tuition only, in-state); $796/credit (tuition online, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
48%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
6Texas Tech University Health Sciences CenterLubbock, TXPublic$$2

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center offers online study options for both its MSN and Post-Master’s Certificate nurse practitioner programs in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Family NP, and Pediatric Primary Care NP. All MSN and Certificate programs feature online coursework along with extensive in-person clinical hour requirements (including practicums for MSN students) and occasional attendance on the school’s Lubbock campus for skills labs. Program lengths vary by specialization, full-time or part-time study, and number of previously-earned credits transferred in. Graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification exams for their areas of specialization. Programs are not available to students residing in Arizona, Louisiana, New York, Oregon, or Washington State.

Program Overviews:

Master of Science in Nursing (three NP specializations)

  • Credits: 48 (AGACNP, FNP); 49 (PNP-PC)
  • Length: Varies by specialization and full-time or part-time study.
  • Cost: $257/credit (tuition only, in-state); $589/credit (tuition only, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)

Post-Master’s Nurse Practitioner Certificate (three specializations)

  • Credits: 36 (AGACNP, FNP); 37 (PNP)
  • Length: Varies by specialization and full-time or part-time study.
  • Cost: $257/credit (tuition only, in-state); $589/credit (tuition only, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
7Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaff, AZPublic$$$2

Northern Arizona University offers two distance learning academic programs leading to national certification and careers as family nurse practitioners. NAU’s MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program is for current RNs with both a baccalaureate degree and extensive practice experience. Students complete 48 credit hours of online didactic coursework along with three in-person clinical experiences, the last including the creation and dissemination of an evidence-based capstone project. NAU’s Post-Master’s Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate prepares nursing professionals with a previously-earned MSN degree for certification as FNPs both within Arizona and throughout the U.S. Students complete 38 credit hours of specialized coursework, including substantial clinical hours. Both the MSN and Certificate programs feature full-time or part-time study options.

Program Overviews:

MSN Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Credits: 48
  • Length: 24 months (full-time); 36 months (part-time)
  • Cost: $609/credit (tuition and fees)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)

Post-Master’s Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate

  • Credits: 38
  • Length: 18 to 30 months
  • Cost: $609/credit (tuition and fees)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
83%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
8University of Cincinnati-Main CampusCincinnati, OHPublic$$$2

The Masters of Science in Nursing program through the University of Cincinnati’s Online division offers nurse practitioner options for Adult-Gerontology Primary Care and Family NP, as well as one of the few online Women’s Health NP degrees currently available. All three MSN options are designed to be completed in as little as two years, but students may extend their program lengths. Post-Master’s Certificates for Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner are also available. With the exception of one short campus visit for PMHNP students, all coursework for these MSN and Certificate programs is accessed and completed entirely online with no required campus visits. However, students must complete substantial in-person clinical hours requirements at a program-approved practice site.

Program Overviews:

Master of Science in Nursing (three NP specializations)

  • Credits: 44-50 (Varies by specialization)
  • Length: 24 months
  • Cost: $724/credit (tuition and fees, in-state); $739/credit (tuition and fees, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)

Post-Master’s Certificate (two NP specializations)

  • Credits: 19 (PMHNP); 38 (FNP)
  • Length: 15 months
  • Cost: $724/credit (tuition and fees, in-state); $739/credit (tuition and fees, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
54%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
9University of Missouri-St LouisSaint Louis, MOPublic$$$2

A wide range of online graduate-level academic options are available from the University of Missouri – St. Louis for current nursing professionals interested in becoming nurse practitioners. UM’s Doctor of Nursing Practice offers BSN-to-MSN concentrations in Adult/Geriatric NP, Family NP, Pediatric Acute and Primary Care NP, Psychiatric-Mental Health NP, and Women's Health NP. Students with a previously-earned MSN can opt for a Post-Graduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing Practice in one of six NP specialization areas. UM additionally offers an MSN-to-DNP program with no specialization foci, but students can elect to add an NP Certificate to their DNP program. All programs are primarily online, but include brief on-campus intensives and in-person clinical hours performed in program-approved practice settings.

Program Overviews:

Doctor of Nursing Practice (six NP specializations)

  • Credits: 70
  • Length: 36 months (full-time); 48 months (part-time)
  • Cost: $500.30/credit (tuition only, in-state); $1,228.20/credit (tuition only, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation:

Post-Graduate Certificate (six NP specializations)

  • Credits: 18
  • Length: 12 to 24 months (depending on individual’s previous academic transcripts)
  • Cost: $500.30/credit (tuition only, in-state); $1,228.20/credit (tuition only, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
83%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
10The University of Texas Medical BranchGalveston, TXPublic$$2

The University of Texas Medical Branch offers Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Family Nurse Practitioner MSN degree programs that feature primarily-online coursework. Students in all three programs are required to come to the school’s Galveston campus for an initial orientation session, as well as two-to three days each semester for in-person intensives. Students must additionally complete 780 hours of in-person clinical practice at a program-approved site normally in the student’s local area. Admission into TUMB’s MSN program requires a previously-earned BSN degree, active and unencumbered RN licensure in the state or states in which the student will complete his/her clinical experiences, and a minimum of one year of recent RN experience in an acute care, ED, or ICU environment. Applicants holding an MSN degree are also eligible for admission and may transfer in up to 12 credit hours for coursework completed in their previous MSN program.

Program Overview:

Master of Science in Nursing (three NP specializations)

  • Credits: 49 (AGACNP, FNP); 51 (AGPCNP)
  • Length: 28 months
  • Cost: Total tuition and fees: $22,884 (AGACNP); $23,445 (AGPCNP); $22,171 (FNP)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
11The University of Texas at ArlingtonArlington, TXPublic$$1

The University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation offers Master of Science in Nursing and Post-Master’s Certificate programs featuring online study in the following five nurse practitioner specializations: Adult-Gerontology Acute and Primary NP, Pediatric Acute and Primary Care NP, and Family NP. MSN program admission requires a previously-earned BSN degree and current unencumbered RN licensure. Certificate applicants must possess an MSN degree, active RN licensure, and substantial advanced practice experience. All programs feature fully-online didactic coursework along with some on-campus components and in-person clinical experiences typically at a program-approved practice setting in the student’s local area.

Program Overviews:

Master of Science in Nursing (five NP specializations)

  • Credits: Varies by specialization (41-46)
  • Length: Varies by specialization (29-35 months)
  • Cost: $26, 814 (total tuition, AGACNP, AGPCNP, PPCNP); $29,430 (total tuition, PACNP); $30,084 (total tuition, FNP)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)

Nurse Practitioner Post-Master’s Certificate (five specializations)

  • Credits: 20 (AGACNP, AGAPNP, PPANP, PPCNP) 43 (FNP)
  • Length: Varies by specialization
  • Cost: $654/credit (tuition only)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
54%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
12Upstate Medical UniversitySyracuse, NYPublic$$4

Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York offers MSN and Post-Master’s Certificate programs for both the Family Nurse Practitioner and Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specializations. The nurse practitioner MSN curriculums include both online and on-campus courses, as well as clinical hour requirements at participating hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and other agencies. Two-year full-time and three-year part-time study options are available, although students are allowed up to five years to complete their studies. The Certificate programs also feature a combination of online/on-campus coursework (with in-person classes meeting one evening per week) and extensive clinical hours. Both MSN and Certificate programs qualify graduates to sit for national certification in their chosen specializations.

Program Overviews:

Master of Science in Nursing (two NP specializations)

  • Credits: 50 (FNP); 53 (FPMHNP)
  • Length: 24 months (full-time); 36 months (part-time)
  • Cost: $471/credit (tuition only, in-state); $963/credit (tuition online, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school); CCNE (program)

Post-Master’s Advanced Certificate (two NP specializations)

  • Credits: 32 (FNP); 35 (FPMHNP)
  • Length: 24 months
  • Cost: $471/credit (tuition only, in-state); $963/credit (tuition online, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
13East Tennessee State UniversityJohnson City, TNPublic$$3

East Tennessee State University offers two nurse practitioner tracks for Master of Science in Nursing degree students: Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Both full-time and part-time study plans are available. All tracks feature fully-online didactic coursework, although students may be required to visit the school’s Johnson City campus for assessments such as clinical proficiencies and competencies. FNP and PMHNP options are also available for Doctor of Nursing Practice students, as well as an Adult-Gerontological Care Nurse Practitioner concentration. DNP programs include online courses with one required on-campus intensive session each semester. Both BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP options are available, as well as full-time and part-time study formats. ETSU additionally offers FNP and PMHNP Post-Graduate Certificates for current MSN degree holders seeking to specialize in one of the two NP practices. All programs require completion of in-person clinical hours.

Program Overviews:

Master of Science in Nursing (two NP specializations)

  • Credits: 48 (PMHNP); 51 (FNP)
  • Length: 20 months (full-time); 32 months (part-time)
  • Cost: $601/credit (tuition and fees, in-state); $841/credit (tuition and fees, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)

Doctor of Nursing Practice (three NP specializations)

  • Credits: Varies by specialization (80-83)
  • Length: BSN-DNP: 36 months (full-time), 60 (part-time); MSN-DNP: 15 months (full-time); 27 months (part-time)
  • Cost: $601/credit (tuition and fees, in-state); $841/credit (tuition and fees, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)

Post-Graduate Certificate (two NP specializations)

  • Credits: 24
  • Length: 15 months
  • Cost: $601/credit (tuition and fees, in-state); $841/credit (tuition and fees, out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
37%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
14Winona State UniversityWinona, MNPublic$$3

There are three online DNP options for students seeking an NP degree from Winona State University: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Both BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP curriculums are available in full-time and part-time formats. NP Graduate Certificates in AGACNP and FNP are also available to MSN degree holders with substantial clinical experience seeking specialized NP practice. All programs feature online asynchronous coursework with some face-to-face components on the school’s Winona, Minnesota campus, as well as substantial clinical hours normally completed at a program-approved practice setting in the student’s local area. Graduates of all programs qualify to sit for national certification exams for their chosen area of NP specialization.

Program Overviews:

Doctor of Nursing Practice (two NP specializations)

  • Credits: 73 (FNP); 74 (AGACNP, PMHNP)
  • Length: 36 months (full-time); 48 months (part-time)
  • Cost: $794.46/credit (tuition and fees)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)

Graduate Certificate (two NP specializations)

  • Credits: 18 (AGACNP); 24 (PMHNP)
  • Length: 12 months (AGACNP); 15 months (PMHNP)
  • Cost: $794.46/credit (tuition and fees)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
49%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
15Texas A & M University-College StationCollege Station, TXPublic$$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
48%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
16University of MaryBismarck, NDPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
17Regis UniversityDenver, COPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$4Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
97%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
18Southeastern Louisiana UniversityHammond, LAPublic$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
56%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
19Eastern Kentucky UniversityRichmond, KYPublic$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
60%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
20Indiana University-Purdue University-IndianapolisIndianapolis, INPublic$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
57%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
21George Washington UniversityWashington, DCPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$6Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
75%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
22University of Central MissouriWarrensburg, MOPublic$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
70%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
23New Mexico State University-Main CampusLas Cruces, NMPublic$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
65%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
24Minnesota State University-MankatoMankato, MNPublic$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
27%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
25Ball State UniversityMuncie, INPublic$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
51%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
26Chamberlain University-IllinoisAddison, ILPrivate, For-Profit$$$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
50%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
27University of the Incarnate WordSan Antonio, TXPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
28Maryville University of Saint LouisSaint Louis, MOPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$3Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
62%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
29University of St FrancisJoliet, ILPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
98%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
30Purdue University GlobalDavenport, IAPublic$$$5Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
31Clarkson CollegeOmaha, NEPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
61%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
32Duquesne UniversityPittsburgh, PAPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
33Washburn UniversityTopeka, KSPublic$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
62%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
34Texas A & M University-Corpus ChristiCorpus Christi, TXPublic$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
4%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
35University of Oklahoma-Health Sciences CenterOklahoma City, OKPublic$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
36Texas State UniversitySan Marcos, TXPublic$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
12%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
37University of Alabama in HuntsvilleHuntsville, ALPublic$$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
75%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
38Concordia University-WisconsinMequon, WIPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
98%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
39Morningside CollegeSioux City, IAPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
40MCPHS UniversityBoston, MAPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
41McNeese State UniversityLake Charles, LAPublic$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
42%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
42The University of Tennessee-ChattanoogaChattanooga, TNPublic$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
43%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
43University of MemphisMemphis, TNPublic$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
39%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
44Columbus State UniversityColumbus, GAPublic$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
21%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
45Jacksonville UniversityJacksonville, FLPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$3Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
94%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
46Georgia College & State UniversityMilledgeville, GAPublic$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
10%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
47Brandman UniversityIrvine, CAPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$4Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges
48Saint Xavier UniversityChicago, ILPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
49Graceland University-LamoniLamoni, IAPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$2Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
50Simmons CollegeBoston, MAPrivate, Not-for-Profit$$$$1Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education

How Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Work

As online learning continues to expand and options become more sophisticated, potential virtual learners can choose from several different learning styles and find one that best suits their individual needs. Given that nurse practitioner programs require time spent in clinical rotations, it’s impossible for all learning to take place from the comfort of home. Many online NP programs also require learners to visit campus to take part in intensives lasting a few days to a week. But degree seekers do have some control over how and when the learning takes place, making it important for them to understand the differences of each option.

Online NP Program Options

Synchronous programs

Nurse practitioner classes taught through synchronous learning most closely mimic brick-and-mortar classrooms. Nursing students must log-in at specific times to take part in live, face-to-face learning sessions. Most use videoconferences, telephones, and webcasts to connect peers and professors in real time. This method can increase student engagement and make it easier for learners who need more of a hands-on approach to feel involved and connected. They also make it easier to stay on track with learning, as classes happen at the same time each week.

Asynchronous programs

Asynchronous learning appeals to nursing students with busy schedules who possess the discipline needed to complete readings, assignments, and responses on their own timeline. While professors in your online NP program still set overarching deadlines for when work must be turned in, NP students can watch lectures, respond to peers, and study for exams at times that fit their schedule. Students who choose this option must know how to remain focused and on task without the weekly requirement of face-to-face interactions.

Hybrid programs

Hybrid learning includes both classroom and online learning, making it possible for nurse practitioner students to enjoy the benefits of both over the course of their degree. This appeals to those enrolled in schools near their home who feel they might miss out on a traditional experience if they do online only, but also do not possess the time or resources to visit campus multiple times per week. On the flip side, students may feel too stretched or have trouble switching their brains between the two learning styles.

Signs of a Strong Online NP Program

Even with so many online nurse practitioner programs available, potential students can easily narrow their options when considering program components. For starters, only apply to programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, as this better ensures your chance of receiving licensure and competing for jobs. Also make sure the program offers a concentration in your area of focus, such as gerontology, family, or pediatric care. Program delivery also matters, so check whether the program exists in a synchronous or asynchronous format. Lastly, look for faculty with experience.

Nurse Practitioner Courses Online

While many nurse practitioner online programs offer similar courses, it’s important to remember that all are not created equally. Students should carefully examine curricula, look for alumni reviews, and ask probing questions about the level of rigor involved. They should also make sure that a program covers both basic and advanced topics, with electives that help them build population-specific skills. Check out a few popular courses below.

Population-Health

Population Health: Students in this course examine population-specific health issues across the lifespan and how evidence-based practice informs treatment decisions. Learners also cover topics related to epidemiology, statistics, and the use of biostatistics when caring for patients.

Roles-of-APNs

Roles of APNs: This class familiarizes advanced practice nurses with common responsibilities, legal and regulatory requirements, and ethical standards. The course introduces case studies to help students understand how to respond to myriad scenarios throughout the course of their careers.

Advanced-Pharmacology

Advanced Pharmacology: In this course, learners cover various therapeutic modalities, the diagnosis and ongoing management of health issues, common treatment plans, and the role of clinical pharmacology within primary healthcare.

Health-and-Illness-Across-the-Lifespan

Health and Illness Across the Lifespan: Primarily designed for individuals pursuing family nurse practitioner positions, this class takes a look at each developmental stage of human life and how to both assess and provide care at each level. Learners also discover how things like genetics affect treatment plans.

Informatics

Informatics: This class helps learners better understand existing and emerging health information technologies and how they can inform patient care. Students pay close attention to the use of technologies in evidence-based practice and how these can be used to create safe care environments.

How Much Do Online NP Programs Cost?

Online nurse practitioner programs, like any other degree, range in cost depending on the institution, number of credits required, and whether the student plans to transfer any existing hours when they matriculate. The following list gives prospective degree seekers a sense of what to expect, but they should check with individual schools to get exact numbers. In general, online degrees tend to cost less, both in terms of per-credit fees and savings on transportation, housing, and other costs related to studying on campus.

11. Mount Carmel College of Nursing,
Family Nurse Practitioner
$27,340 total
22. Duke University,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$1,769 per credit
33. Simmons University,
Family Nurse Practitioner
$1,385 per credit

Tackling the Tuition of Your Online NP Program

The costs of online nurse practitioner programs vary. While some tuitions may seem initially prohibitive, it’s important to remember that plenty of funding options exist to help offset costs and help learners avoid student loan debt. Check out the options below, but also speak with admissions personnel at potential schools to learn if any other options exist, such as fellowships or teaching assistantships. Our guide to financial aid can help get you on the right path, too.

  1. Scholarships
    Scholarships have the broadest appeal as this type of funding does not need repayment so long as students meet all requirements. Learners should research scholarships originating from schools, academic departments, private foundations, nonprofits, and all levels of government. Explore over 15 of the top scholarships for nurse practitioner students and see if you qualify.
  2. Loans
    These can be both subsidized and unsubsidized. The federal government offers a number of subsidized (meaning interest does not accrue while enrolled) and unsubsidized loans at the graduate level. Students should exhaust all other funding options before taking out loans, and only take exactly what they need to pay for tuition and fees.
  3. Veterans benefits
    Students previously enrolled in a branch of the military can take advantage of educational assistance programs to cut costs. The Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill, and the Yellow Ribbon Program all provide financial support to qualified veterans.
  4. Employer tuition assistance
    Employers who choose to participate in these programs can provide learners with up to $5,250 in tax-free educational benefits per year. In exchange, most require the employee to study a particular topic and/or commit to working at the organization for a certain number of years.
  5. Payment plans
    Some schools allow students to make payments on their education while enrolled rather than taking out a loan. This option is usually open to those who don’t need a loan, but can’t pay the full balance up front. Schools usually charge a small administrative fee or low interest rate.

Nurse Practitioner Certification & Licensure

After finishing an online NP program, graduates are eligible to sit for exams from two nursing certification agencies. While not necessarily required, certifications can help newly minted nurse practitioners stand out from the competition and provide more options for individuals to network and continue building their specialized skills. Students looking to understand more about their options can read about the two credentialing agencies below.

  • The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) Exam:

    The AANPCP offers certifications in areas of family NP, adult-gerontology NP, and emergency NP for individuals who want to demonstrate their competencies and clinical knowledge within each specialty area. Graduates must successfully pass the exam to receive certification and apply for recertification every five years to maintain good standing. To be eligible to sit for the AANPCP exam, applicants must have the following:

    • MSN, post-master’s certificate, or doctorate
    • Active RN license
    • At least 500 clinical hours supervised by a faculty member
    • Final transcript
  • The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Exam:

    The ANCC provides certifications in several nurse practitioner focus areas, including family, psychiatric-mental health, adult-gerontology acute care, and adult-gerontology primary care. These cost $395 for non-members and $295 for members. After passing the initial exam, NPs must renew their certification every five years and demonstrate a history of continuing education from the time of their first certification. To sit for the ANCC examination, applicants must demonstrate the following:

    • Current RN license
    • A master’s degree, post-graduate, or doctoral degree in their specialization
    • At least 500 clinical hours supervised by a faculty member
    • Graduate courses in physiology, pathophysiology, advanced health assessment, and advanced pharmacology
    • Graduate-level content in health promotion and maintenance, disease management, and differential diagnosis

Licensure

Given the importance of this profession and its position within medical support professions, all states require licensure. In order to obtain licensure as an advance practice registered nurse, you must first pass all RN licensure requirements. To gain this next level of licensure, individuals must successfully complete an MSN program or post-graduate nursing degree. If you are unsure about the specific mandates of your state, check with the state licensing board.

Career Advancement & Outlook

Before taking the plunge and enrolling in an online nurse practitioner program, potential students want to ensure an ample return on investment and job security for the future. For nurse practitioners in training, the future looks extremely bright. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that roles for these professionals will grow by 31% (as compared to the national average of 8% for all occupations) by 2026. In total, approximately 65,000 new jobs will be added to the existing 204,000. This growth is due to a higher demand for medical services in general, but also more emphasis on gerontology services and preventative care.

While many jobs within medical support show higher than average growth, numbers for nurse practitioners are particularly strong. The majority (46%) find work in physicians’ offices, but they can also seek employment in hospitals, outpatient care centers, nursing education services, and offices of other health practitioners.

How Much Do Nurse Practitioners Make?

Given their advanced education and credentialing, nurse practitioners typically earn salaries far above the national average. While those receiving median wages earn approximately $110,000 each year, individuals in the highest echelons can make close to $200,000 annually. In terms of location, those working in hospitals earned the highest median wage at $117,850. Individuals working in educational services, conversely, earned the lowest at $101,600. Check out the table below to get a better sense of what to expect while remembering that factors like experience, location, and type of facility can all impact the final number.

Lowest 10%MedianHighest 10%
$76,830$110,930$180,460

What Are the Career Advancement Opportunities for Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners who want to continue moving up the career ladder can elect to focus their skills in particular areas of the field, thereby increasing their specialized knowledge and positioning themselves to be in high demand. Some may decide to work in psychiatrics while others may feel more drawn to pediatric care.

Another option to for increasing income and career advancement opportunities is to move to a state seeing the most growth in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Ohio possess the highest employment levels. California, Alaska, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York currently pay the highest annual mean wages.