What if I told you there was a health profession that allowed you to practice independently, diagnose illness, order tests, treat diseases, and earn between $100,000-$200,000 a year. Also, what if it did not require a massive amount of debt, 8-10 years of medical school + residency, and the crippling stress associated with becoming a physician? Sound too good to be true? Well, the profession I have just described is that of a nurse practitioner (NP).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, NP’s are part of the 7th fastest growing profession in the United States—and of the top twenty of these most in demand of occupations, NP’s are second only to optometrists in their median pay. NPs are not doctors-lite. Though they do not have the education and clinical scope of full-fledged physicians, studies like this one have consistently shown that concerning primary care and patient outcomes; NPs perform just as well as doctors!
But how much does it cost to become an NP? According to a study done by American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, fulfilling the education requirements for licensure as an NP costs as much as one year of medical school! And thanks to our diligent research here at College Choice, you have access to the most affordable online NP degree programs in the country. No, you are not having a heart attack- you are just dying of excitement for a new career as an NP!
So how do you get started? Step one is getting the education required to become a registered nurse (RN). College Choice can help you with that! After gaining valuable clinical experience, nurses can either get their Bachelor of Science in Nursing or join an accelerated program that allows them immediately to start work on an MS in Nursing or even a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Those who have earned an MS in Nursing without an NP focus can take a certificate program to get the education and experience they need to fulfill the last step in becoming an NP: sitting for licensure examinations. Voilà! You are on your way to a fulfilling and financially secure career. Now sit back and let College Choice guide you through the most affordable online NP degrees in the country. Just make sure that these professionally accredited programs meet the NP requirements for your state.
Delta State University
Total Tuition: $10,500
The most affordable online degree programs for those hoping to become nurse practitioners are at Delta State University- a small, public university in Cleveland, Mississippi. It offers three different options for those intending to sit for examinations as nurse practitioners. The first is a Master’s of Science program for RNs who have already completed their Bachelor of Nursing. Among its three specializations is a family nurse practitioner concentration.
For students who have completed a Master’s of Science without a nursing practice specialization, Delta State offers a Post-Master’s Certificate that will prepare them for national certification as a family nurse practitioner. Finally, Delta State provides a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree that allows registered nurses without any undergraduate degree to attain their doctorate in as little as four years. Delta State has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Alabama
Total Tuition: $10,800
The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa is a large, public, research university and flagship member of the University of Alabama system. It has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. UA has two different degree programs aimed at those hoping to become nurse practitioners.
The first is a blended Master’s in Nursing- Nurse Practitioner Concentration degree. With only RN licensure required for admission, this degree program moves students through requirements for a bachelor and terminates with a Master’s of Science degree that will allow graduates to sit for examinations as both family nurse practitioners or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners. It also focuses on the unique needs of rural communities, making it an attractive option for those hoping to practice in smaller towns. They also offer a traditional Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.
Columbus State University
Total Tuition: $11,550
Columbus State University is a medium sized public university and member school of the University System of Georgia. It has two campuses in the city of Columbus. CSU’s College of Education and Nursing Professions has combined their resources with Georgia Southwestern University to offer a Master’s in Nursing with a family nurse practitioner emphasis.
Columbus State also offers an innovative Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program for RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Its asynchronous content and the option to pursue the degree on a full or part-time basis makes it an attractive choice for those who want flexibility and a fast track to becoming an NP. Columbus State University has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Southern Mississippi
Total Tuition: $12,060
The University of Southern Mississippi is a large, public, research university in Hattiesburg. Southern Miss has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It has two different Masters of Science tracks for aspiring nurse practitioners- a family nurse practitioner track and a family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner track.
It also has a certificate program for those with a Master’s degree in nursing and a desire to be a mental health nurse practitioner but without the requisite coursework in nursing practice. Lastly, their Doctor of Nursing Practice offers the highest and best level of education for those hoping to become an NP.
Georgia Southern University
Total Tuition: $13,860
Georgia Southern University is a large, public, doctoral/research university located in Statesboro, Georgia. Their college of nursing offers three different degree and certificate programs for aspiring NPs. The first is a BSN to DNP with MSN opt out program. Intended for those who have completed a bachelor’s level degree in nursing and want to earn their DNP, this program gives students the opportunity to leave the program early with a Master’s in Nursing if the demands of continued education get to be too much. The two tracks offered are family nurse practitioner and psychiatric health nurse practitioner.
For those who have completed their MS in nursing but without a nurse practitioner focus, GSU offers a Post-Master’s Certificate with the same two tracks as offered in the BSN to DNP. Online students who have already been awarded a Master’s in Nursing can also enroll in Georgia Southern’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree. Georgia Southern has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Indiana State University
Total Tuition: $14,970
Indiana State University is a medium sized, public, doctoral/research university in Terre Haute. It has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. They offer three different online degree options for those wanting to become nurse practitioners.
Their Master’s of Science in Nursing degree has a specialization option for those hoping to become nurse practitioners. Those who already possess an MS in Nursing but do not have all the coursework required to meet the requirements for certification as a nurse practitioner can complete ISU’s Post-Master’s Nurse Practitioner program. Finally, those wanting the highest degree of graduate education in nursing can complete the Doctorate in Nursing Practice Program. Online graduate nursing programs at ISU are not available to students in the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, or to international students.
Grand Canyon University
Total Tuition: $15,000
Grand Canyon University is a for-profit Christian university headquartered in Pheonix, Arizona. GCU has many different online degree programs for those hoping to become nurse practitioners. The first program- their Master’s of Nursing Bridge degree- is designed for students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree who are wanting to pursue a Master’s of Science in Nursing. Among the specializations in the degree are acute care nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner focused programs.
Grand Canyon also has a traditional Master’s of Science in Nursing intended for students who have already completed a Bachelor’s in Nursing. This degree also has specializations in acute care nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner. For those who have completed a Master’s in Nursing without a nursing practitioner focus, GCU also has a Post-Master’s Certificate program that gives students the added skills they need to become licensed as nurse practitioners. Lastly, GCU offers on online Doctor in Nursing Practice. These and all of GCU’s programs have been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Old Dominion University
Total Tuition: $15,480
Old Dominion University is a large public research university located in Norfolk, Virginia. They offer many online nursing programs, one of which is their Master’s of Science in Nursing degree. Their MSN has three nurse practitioner tracks: pediatric nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, and family nurse practitioner. It should be noted that the family nurse practitioner track is currently being upgraded to a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, but is still awaiting approval from the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia. It the meantime, it is still being offered as an MSN degree.
A testament to the quality of OD’s graduate nursing degrees is their student’s exceptional rates for successfully passing the Family Practice Nursing Practitioner Program National Exam. 100% of OD students passed the exam in 2014 and 2015. They also boast high rates of employment after completion of the degree, with 89% of the class of 2014 finding a job within the year. Old Dominion University has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
University of Wyoming
Total Tuition: $15,598
The University of Wyoming is a public university in high plains city of Laramie, Wyoming. UW’s Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice program for RNs who have previously attained a Bachelor of Nursing. The program offers two different specializations: one family nurse practitioner option and one family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner option.
UW’s doctoral program focuses on two separate learning outcomes. It seeks to promote innovation in the field of nursing through scholarly research and clinical expertise and also the ability to articulate a vision for health care. It should be noted that the program has a few on-campus intensive requirements. The University of Wyoming has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Total Tuition: $15,750
Northwestern State University is a member campus of the University of Louisiana System and is located in Natchitoches. Historically the school has had a strong emphasis on educating nurses. This focus is reflected in their online Master’s of Science in Nursing, a degree that offers three different nurse practitioner specializations: family nurse practitioner, women’s health nurse practitioner, and primary care pediatric nurse practitioner.
NSU’s Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited curriculum is intended for working RN’s who have previously attained their BSN. The degree can be completed on a full or part-time basis. In addition to nursing practitioner courses, students will also take classes in nursing administration and nursing education, rounding out their teaching and opening up new employment opportunities. Northwestern State University has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.