If you’re interested in reproductive, obstetric, or gynecological health and have a passion for preventive care, a career as a women’s health nurse practitioner could be the perfect fit. WHNPs practice directly or in collaboration with other healthcare professionals to provide continued care in a number of complex issues including pregnancy, childbirth, postnatal care, family planning, and much more. Because of their advanced skillset and education, WHNPs can also expect high salaries, with a median salary of well above $100,000 in 2019.
With such a diverse range of career possibilities and the potential for high earning, becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner can be a smart, rewarding, and lucrative career move for both current nurses and those new to healthcare. If this sounds like the career for you, keep reading to learn how to get started and find the online WHNP programs that can help you make your healthcare dreams into reality.
Top Online Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2020
With more and more online women’s health nurse practitioner programs popping up, finding the one that speaks to your academic interests and career goals can take some time. Rather than slogging through dozens of potential programs, we’re here to highlight two of the best options for 2020. We’ve vetted the top WHNP programs across the U.S. with the accreditation employers demand and the affordable price tag you need. As you review these, consider how the components of each work with your unique desires for a degree.
FAQs About Online Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Programs
All online women’s health nurse practitioner programs are not created equally, making it important for you to ask the right questions about degree options and find the program that best matches your academic, financial, and career needs. The following sections take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions, along with the answers you need to succeed.
Paying for Your Online Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Degree
It’s no secret that degrees financially weigh on you for years, making it important to exhaust all financial aid options before starting school but also while enrolled. Whether you find an amazing state-level grant, a generous professional organization scholarship, or secure a federal student aid loan, know that several options exist. Here’s what you need to know about your different funding options.
Scholarships & Grants
These types of funding are perennially popular with students given that they do not need to be repaid so long as all terms are met. Scholarships and grants are offered by government agencies, professional associations, for-profit businesses, private foundations, and colleges. To learn more about funding your online WHNP program, check out our scholarships page.
Student loans help close the gap between other types of funding secured and the remaining cost of your WHNP program. The U.S. Department of Education offers several different types of student loans based on degree level and student status. You can learn more about paying for your online WHNP program with student loans in our student loan handbook.
Aside from the options listed above, several other paths exist for securing financial support – especially at the graduate level. Fellowships and assistantships allow students to act as a teaching fellow or research assistant in exchange for funding and/or tuition remission. Internships can help you earn funding and experience, while work-study funding exists for students who qualify through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Accreditation Standards for Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs
Attending both an accredited university and an accredited WHNP program is one of the most important things you can do. Aside from making it possible for you to easily transfer credits and hold licensure, this step also ensures you can find work after graduating.
When considering nursing-specific accreditation, there are two names you need to know. Both the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) are considered reputable in the field and are names to look for. The CCNE currently accredits bachelor’s and master’s programs while the ACEN accredits nursing degrees at every academic level.
If you can’t easily find accreditation information on a school’s website, the U.S. Department of Education provides the searchable Database of Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.
Getting Your Professional License & Certification After Your Online WHNP Program
As you continue learning about women’s health nurse practitioner programs online, you will likely have questions about licensure and certification requirements. While an additional license isn’t required for those who already possess an active and unencumbered RN license, nurse practitioners must meet certain requirements (including continuing education programming) to renew their state-issued licenses.
While not mandated across the board, some employers may require job candidates to seek certification from the National Certification Corporation (NCC). This nonprofit provides WHNP-specific certification and requires completion of at least a master’s level qualification and an active RN license.
Careers & Salary Outlook for Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners
If you’re wondering about job stability or salary outlook before pursuing an online WHNP program, you need not worry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that roles for nurse practitioners will grow by an astounding 45% between 2019-2029 – leading to the creation of more than 117,000 jobs over that period.
This growth is due to both increased access and demand for advanced healthcare services, with many NPs now performing a lot of the same services as doctors. It also accounts for the retirement of existing NPs alongside a larger than usual baby-boomer population.
How much do WHNP make?
After beginning work as a WHNP, you can also expect to earn a substantial salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently reports that these professionals bring home average salaries of $115,800 as of 2019. Individuals in the lowest 10% of earners brought home salaries of $82,460 in 2019 while those in the top 10% commanded salaries in excess of $184,180 during the same timeframe.
Continuing Education & Related Degrees
Even after you finish your WHNP degree, remember that continuing education is a big part of keeping and renewing your license. This is also true of other related nursing degrees and the healthcare profession in general. We look at a few below.
Because the healthcare industry generally – and nursing specifically – continue to evolve based on new studies and findings, staying up to date on groundbreaking treatment options and best practices is a critical component of being a top tier nurse practitioner in women’s health. While individual states set continuing education requirements for licensure renewal, all 50 require NPs to meet certain standards. If you’re unsure of how many hours you must complete each renewal cycle, reach out to your state board of nursing.
Related Degrees to Consider
- MSN/DNP in Nurse-Midwifery If you enjoy working with women but want to focus specifically on childbearing, pre- and postnatal care, and infant care, pursuing an MSN or DNP in nurse-midwifery may best support your interests. These programs take between 2-5 years depending on existing education and experience.
- MPH in Women’s & Reproductive Health If women’s health – specifically as it relates to reproductive functions – interests you but you want to work more on the research and/or education side rather than the clinical side, a master’s in public health could support your interests. These programs usually take two years to complete and allow you to research reproductive health issues and educate the public.
- MS in Medical Sciences with a specialization in Women’s Health More of these programs have emerged in recent years for individuals interested in gender-specific health outcomes. Frequently pursued by nurses, doctors, and other health professionals, students may choose to focus their efforts on research, social-health outcomes, or education.
Resources for WHNP Students & Professionals
American Association of Nurse Practitioners
The AANP provides a special section on its website devoted to women’s health, including information on continuing education courses.
American College of Nurse-Midwives
This professional member association offers student services awards, advocacy and political action, and state resources to its members.
American Sexual Health Association
This group brings together leaders in the field to provide educational materials, tools, and resources to help practitioners better support and educate their patients on sexual health.
Day in the Life: Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Want to know more about what your typical day may include as a WHNP? This article helps shed light.
Family Planning National Training Center
The FPNTC serves as an excellent resource for women’s health practitioners looking for information and training on reproductive health, fertility services, and contraception options.
Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
The NWPH was established 40 years ago to support nursing professionals working specifically in women’s health. The group provides an annual conference and online programming among other offerings.
Reproductive Health Access Project
Clinicians looking to make reproductive healthcare accessible to everyone (including contraception, abortions, and miscarriage support) can access resources from the RHAP.
This YouTube video by an NP takes a look at common job responsibilities and education requirements for working as a WHNP.