2020 Best Online Nurse Practitioners Degree Programs

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Why Earn a Nurse Practitioner Degree?

Nurse practitioners (NP) are advanced practice nurses who have earned a master’s degree, completed clinical training, and received licensure. Nurse practitioners examine and treat patients. They may work under the supervision of a medical doctor, but many states allow NPs to practice without supervision.

Experienced nurses with a bachelor’s degree are excellent candidates to pursue a nurse practitioner degree online. These programs often require at least one year of nursing experience. Many nurse practitioners specialize in an area of patient care, which can lead to more career opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects nurse practitioner jobs to grow 26% between 2018 and 2028, so students who earn a nurse practitioner master’s degree online enjoy strong job prospects.

Top 10 Best Online Nurse Practitioners Degree Programs in 2020

Rank School Location
1 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Denver, CO
2 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL
3 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
4 Maryville University Saint Louis, MO
5 University of Missouri-Kansas City Kansas City, MO
6 Northern Illinois University Dekalb, IL
7 American International College Springfield, MA
8 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
9 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
10 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
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FAQ

How long does it take to become a nurse practitioner?

Most NP programs take two years of full-time study to complete. Graduates also need to complete licensure requirements, which vary by state.

What are the most common specialities for a nurse practitioner?

Common specialties for nurse practitioners include family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, and psychiatric nurse practitioner.

What is the difference between a nurse practitioner and a physician’s assistant?

Nurse practitioners attend nursing school, while physicians’ assistants (PAs) attend medical school. Both professionals may consult with or work under the supervision of medical doctors. NPs generally take a patient-centered approach to care, while PAs deliver a disease-centered approach.

Are nurse practitioner programs online?

Yes, online nurse practitioner programs exist, including nurse practitioner master’s online programs. Typically, students complete coursework online and practicum hours at an approved local site.

Accreditation for Online Nurse Practitioner Degrees

Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to factors like faculty qualifications, academic rigor, and student learning outcomes. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation typically applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions, while national accreditation applies to for-profit, vocational and technical schools. Regional accreditation is generally considered the more prestigious of the two.

Programs within a school may also receive accreditation. To receive accreditation, programs must undergo a critical review and onsite evaluation by a third-party accrediting body. The program must meet a formal set of standards and procedures. Programs must demonstrate continued compliance with the standards and procedures to maintain accreditation. Accredited programs in good standing are more likely to offer a well-rounded, professionally relevant education than non-accredited programs.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is the primary accreditor of nursing programs. CCNE accredits bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, certificate, and residency programs. The agency is currently developing nurse practitioner residency program accreditation standards.

2020 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

These rankings represent the best online nurse practitioner programs in the country – and the most affordable. Searching for the right program is a daunting process. To make your research easier, we provide information on important factors like tuition, credit hours, and degree specialties.

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Colorado - Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus offers an online master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner concentration. Students learn to manage common chronic and acute illnesses, complete advanced physical assessments, and prevent disease. The program combines online coursework with on-campus intensives and features a cohort model that helps students develop connections with each other.

    The 2.5-year program requires 42 didactic credits, 14 clinical credits, and 630 clinical hours. Classes include advanced pharmacology and therapeutics, foundations of healthcare informatics, and foundational clinical skills for advanced practice nurse practitioners. Students can participate in interprofessional learning and global health opportunities. The program offers two start dates each year.

    The University of Colorado - Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.



  2. University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Location

    Birmingham, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online nurse practitioner MSN from the University of Alabama at Birmingham prepares students for advanced practice nursing roles in hospitals, clinics, private practices, and community agencies. The program combines online coursework with four on-campus intensives. Students can choose from nine specialties, including family nurse practitioner, psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner, and women's healthcare nurse practitioner.

    Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA in their last 60 credits and a valid nursing license. They must also submit official transcripts; three professional letters of recommendation; and GRE, GMAT, or MAT scores. Prospective students with a 3.2 GPA or higher receive a standardized test score waiver. The University of Alabama at Birmingham is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. Stony Brook University
    Location

    Stony Brook, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Stony Brook University boasts one of the best nurse practitioner degree programs. The online MSN - family nurse practitioner combines online coursework with on-site clinical requirements. The 45-credit degree includes classes like statistical methods and scholarly inquiry, healthcare policy and advocacy, and applications in clinical nursing research. Graduates can sit for family nurse practitioner certification exams from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

    Applicants need a BSN with a minimum 3.0 GPA, a current RN license, and one year of relevant experience. They must also submit three letters of recommendation and unofficial college transcripts. Prospective students with a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing must submit a clinical practice portfolio. Stony Brook University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  4. Maryville University
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Maryville University in Saint Louis, Missouri, offers a fully online family nurse practitioner MSN that lets students complete clinical requirements in their local communities. The program offers six start dates per year and includes courses like evidence-based practice in nursing, theoretical foundations of nursing practice, and leadership and quality.

    Students must complete 15 classes and 745 clinical hours over four semesters. Online students gain access to resources like personalized advising, an online library, a writing studio, technical support, and personal counseling.

    Maryville University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The family nurse practitioner MSN is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  5. University of Missouri-Kansas City
    Location

    Kansas City, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Missouri - Kansas City offers one of the best nurse practitioner degree programs in the state. The online MSN - family nurse practitioner program explores topics like health promotion, diagnosis, assessment, and management. The primarily online program includes an on-campus clinical institute each semester. Some online classes require attendance at specific times.

    The 46-credit program requires classes like theoretical foundations in nursing, health promotion across the lifespan, and ethics in advanced practice and research. In addition to coursework, students must complete 660 clinical hours and 90 lab hours.

    Admission requirements include a bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.2 GPA during the last 60 credits and a personal interview. The University of Missouri-Kansas City is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  6. Northern Illinois University
    Location

    Dekalb, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Northern Illinois University offers one of the top online nurse practitioner programs in the state. The online MSN - family nurse practitioner program features fully online courses and in-person clinical requirements. An internship coordinator helps students find appropriate clinical placements.

    Classes include clinical prevention for population health, advanced physical assessment across the lifespan, and primary care for women across the lifespan. Graduates can work as family nurse practitioners and nurse educators.

    The program accepts up to six transfer credits. NIU provides dedicated scholarships to distance learners. Admission requirements include an accredited BSN with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 undergraduate credits and a current RN license. Northern Illinois University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. American International College
    Location

    Springfield, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the online MSN - family nurse practitioner program from American International College takes two years of full-time study to complete. The 46-credit program includes core courses on topics like advanced concepts of pathophysiology, advanced concepts of health assessment, and nursing research and evidence-based practice.

    The program offers rolling admissions, evaluating applications year-round. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited college and an active RN license. The program prefers applicants with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must also submit official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

    American International College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

  8. Drexel University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers an online master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner program that emphasizes wellness care, health promotion, chronic illness management, and current issues in family medicine. Graduates can sit for family nurse practitioner certification exams from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

    Classes feature a synchronous, interactive learning format. The mostly online program requires two two-day on-campus simulated clinical learning experiences. Drexel University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The family nurse practitioner MSN is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  9. University of Rochester
    Location

    Rochester, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Rochester offers an online nurse practitioner program with concentrations in pediatric nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, and adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner.

    Regardless of their concentration, all students complete core courses on topics like advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and research principles for evidence-based practice. In addition to coursework, students must complete 672 clinical hours.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited nursing school with a minimum 3.0 GPA, an RN license, and CPR certification. They must also submit official transcripts, two letters of reference, a professional goal statement, a resume, and a writing sample. The University of Rochester is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  10. East Carolina University
    Location

    Greenville, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    East Carolina University offers an online master of science in nursing with neonatal nurse practitioner and psychiatric nurse practitioner concentrations. Regardless of their concentration, all students take courses like theory for the practice of advanced nursing, health assessment for advanced nursing across the lifespan, and research for the practice of advanced nursing.

    Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the nursing major and a valid RN license. They must also submit GRE scores, a career statement, and three professional references. East Carolina University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  11. University of Cincinnati
    Location

    Cincinnati, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Cincinnati offers one of the best nurse practitioner degree programs in Ohio. The online master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner offers three start dates per year and takes two years to complete.

    Students explore family-focused medicine through courses like the care of well women and children, differential diagnosis for the advanced practice nurse, and pharmacology for advanced nursing practice. The program requires 50 credits and 672 hours of clinical experience.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree in nursing from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA, a valid RN license, and at least one year of nursing experience. The University of Cincinnati is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The MSN family nurse practitioner is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  12. Michigan State University
    Location

    East Lansing, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Michigan State University offers an online MSN - nurse practitioner program that prepares students to deliver primary and acute care. Designed for nurses with clinical expertise and leadership skills, the program offers three specializations: adult-gerontological nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

    The program starts a new cohort each fall and takes two years of full-time study to complete. The curriculum includes fully online courses like statistics for the healthcare professional, health assessment, and primary care management. Students must complete some clinical requirements on campus.

    Admission requirements include an accredited bachelor's in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits and a current RN license. Applicants must also submit a CV, an essay, and three letters of recommendation. Michigan State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  13. Ball State University
    Location

    Muncie, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Ball State University offers an online MSN - family nurse practitioner program that holds designation from the National League for Nursing Center of Excellence and accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing.

    The 47-credit program prepares students for advanced practice nursing roles in community clinics, public health departments, schools and colleges, and private practices. Students complete research, nursing core, and family nurse practitioner care courses. They also complete 690 supervised clinical hours in a primary care setting.

    Graduates can sit for family nurse practitioner certification exams from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Ball State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  14. Villanova University
    Location

    Villanova, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Villanova University offers an online master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner program through the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing. The degree prepares nurses to work with patients across the lifespan in hospitals, schools, private practices, and urgent care centers.

    Graduates can sit for family nurse practitioner certification exams from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. They can also pursue Villanova's doctor of nursing practice program. The program places students with preceptors who provide mentorship and guidance throughout the required clinical experience.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree in nursing and a current RN license. They must also submit GRE or MAT scores, transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a personal goal statement. Applicants with a minimum 3.2 GPA receive a GRE/MAT waiver. Villanova University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  15. Simmons College
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The RN-to-MSN family nurse practitioner program from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, welcomes nurses with a nursing diploma, associate degree, or bachelor's degree. The program combines online coursework with in-person clinical placements in the student's local community.

    Students take nine foundational courses, three research courses, and nine clinical courses. Courses include nursing care of communities, advanced pharmacology across the lifespan, and leadership and management in the clinical setting.

    Simmons College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. The MSN family nurse practitioner degree is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  16. The University of Texas at Arlington
    Location

    Arlington, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Texas at Arlington offers an online master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner that prepares nurses to treat patients across the lifespan. Students can complete the 46-credit degree within three years. The curriculum gives students advanced knowledge and skills in diagnostics, pharmacology, clinical management, research, and health assessment.

    All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. Admission requirements include an accredited BSN, an unencumbered RN license, and a basic undergraduate statistics class with a grade of "C" or better. The University of Texas at Arlington is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  17. Rivier University
    Location

    Nashua, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Rivier University offers a holistic online family nurse practitioner MSN that prepares students to provide primary care to diverse patients across the lifespan. The program requires 36-49 credits and takes 3-5 years to complete.

    Students take classes on topics like advanced health assessment, advanced family nursing theory, and biostatistics for the health sciences. Graduates can sit for family nurse practitioner certification exams from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

    Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and an active RN license. They must also submit a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and a resume. The program also requires students to complete a prerequisite course in undergraduate statistics. Rivier University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

  18. Kent State University at Kent
    Location

    Kent, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Kent State University at Kent offers a women's health nurse practitioner MSN that emphasizes disease prevention, health promotion, and management of common chronic and acute conditions. Learners work with clinical preceptors in specialty clinics and other healthcare settings. Graduates meet the educational requirements for the women's health nurse practitioner credential.

    A new cohort starts each fall and spring. Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited nursing program with a minimum 3.0 GPA and an active RN license in the state where they plan to complete clinical coursework. Applicants must also complete an undergraduate statistics course with a grade of "C" or better.

    Kent State University at Kent is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  19. MCPHS University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    MCPHS University in Boston, Massachusetts, offers a two-year, part-time online family nurse practitioner MSN program. Students take fully online courses and complete clinical experiences in their local community. The program also requires three on-campus residencies that span 1-3 days.

    The curriculum focuses on advanced treatment, management, and diagnosis of patients across the lifespan. Students take classes like scholarship for advanced nursing, professional role development for advanced practice nursing, and family primary care. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.

    Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA in nursing coursework and a current RN license. Applicants must submit official college transcripts, one letter of recommendation, and a resume. MCPHS University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

  20. Valdosta State University
    Location

    Valdosta, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Valdosta State University offers a 50-credit, online MSN - family nurse practitioner degree that emphasizes health promotion, direct patient care, counseling, and disease management for patients of all ages. The program prepares students for advanced practice nursing roles in hospitals, public health departments, and private practices. Students complete online coursework and some required on-campus weekend intensives.

    The program offers three tracks: family primary care nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, and psych-mental health nurse practitioner. Regardless of their track, all students take core courses on topics like advanced health assessment, evidence-based practice and research, advanced pathophysiology, and advanced pharmacology.

    Valdosta State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  21. Ohio State University
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Ohio State University offers an online MSN - family nurse practitioner program that ranks among the best nurse practitioner degree programs in the state. Learners study topics like health promotion, assessment of nursing strategies, and evidence-based practice.

    Courses include advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology in nursing, and pathophysiology of altered health states. The program connects students with preceptors across Ohio to meet clinical requirements. Clinical preceptorships take place in the last three semesters of the program. Graduates can sit for family nurse practitioner certification exams from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

    The Ohio State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  22. Gwynedd Mercy University
    Location

    Gwynedd Valley, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    One of the top online nurse practitioner degree programs in Pennsylvania, the online family nurse practitioner MSN from Gwynedd Mercy University emphasizes assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of patients across the lifespan. Graduates can work in urgent care, private practice, and long-term care.

    The 48-credit degree requires 720 clinical hours and takes two years of full-time study to complete. GMercyU's partnerships with regional healthcare organizations offer many opportunities for hands-on clinical training. Core courses include advanced pharmacology for advanced nursing roles, nursing research methodology and evidence-based practice, and leadership and health policy. The program features small classes, a rigorous curriculum, and high-quality faculty.

    Gwynedd Mercy University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The MSN - family nurse practitioner program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  23. Catholic University of America
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Catholic University of America offers a flexible, online master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner program with part-time and full-time enrollment options. Graduates can work in hospitals, community health centers, and private practices.

    The curriculum includes courses like primary care of adults, the well child, and women's health. In addition to coursework, students must complete over 700 clock hours of supervised clinical practice. Graduates qualify to sit for family nurse practitioner certification exams from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

    Admission requirements include a BSN, a minimum 3.0 GPA (preferred), and an RN license. Applicants must also submit transcripts and three letters of recommendation. Catholic University of America is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  24. East Tennessee State University
    Location

    Johnson City, TN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    East Tennessee State University in Johnson City offers an online family nurse practitioner MSN program that prepares students to provide primary care to patients across the lifespan. Students learn to diagnose, treat, and manage common chronic and acute illnesses. The 51-credit curriculum explores topics like disease management, preventive health services, and patient education.

    Applicants need an unencumbered RN license and a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit college transcripts, an essay, a CV, and three professional letters of recommendation. Students with an undergraduate degree in a subject other than nursing must complete four undergraduate nursing bridge classes prior to enrolling in graduate courses.

    East Tennessee State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  25. Duquesne University
    Location

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Duquesne University offers an online MSN - family nurse practitioner program that prepares students to provide primary care to individuals across the lifespan. The program includes fully online courses and in-person clinical hours. Students can choose from three start dates each year.

    The 42-credit MSN includes concentrations in nursing education and faculty roles, forensic nursing, and transcultural nursing. Regardless of their concentration, all students take core courses like evidence-based nursing practice and policy development, pharmacology for advanced practice nurses, and clinical prevention and population-based health promotion. Graduates can take family nurse practitioner certification exams from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

    Duquesne University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The online family nurse practitioner MSN is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.




10 Best Online DNP Programs for Nurse Practitioners

Career and Salary Outlook for Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners enjoy strong job prospects. The BLS projects a 26% increase in nurse practitioner jobs between 2018 and 2028, amounting to around 16,900 new jobs per year. NPs also earn strong salaries. The median salary for nurse practitioners in May 2019 was $109,820.

However, many factors influence salary, including industry, location, and experience. Hospitals pay the highest average salaries, followed by outpatient care centers. Meanwhile, NPs in California earn approximately $16,000 more per year than their counterparts in Minnesota.

Bottom 10% Annual SalaryMedian Annual SalaryTop 10% Annual Salary
Less than $80,670$107.030More than $182,750

Source: BLS

Specialties for Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners often specialize in an area of patient care. Students generally choose their specialty when applying to a master’s program, so experience in the field is helpful. The most common NP specialty is family nurse practitioner. Family nurse practitioners fill advanced roles in hospitals, clinics, schools, and private practices.

Psychiatric nurse practitioner is another common specialty. These NPs provide case management, therapy, and interventions to people in need of psychiatric care. Psychiatric nurse practitioners earn one of the highest average salaries among NPs. Programs offer various specialties, so students should research the offerings of each prospective program.

Courses in Nurse Practitioner Programs

Nurse practitioner students develop the skills necessary to assess, prevent, and treat acute and chronic illnesses. Students also develop research and analytical skills through projects and theses. Additionally, learners gain hands-on experience through clinical practicums, honing their patient care skills.

All students complete core coursework in nursing, research, and health assessment. Specialized courses may include healthcare delivery models and policy, health promotion at different life stages, and pharmacology. Courses vary by program, but we cover several common courses found in online nurse practitioner programs below.

Research for Advanced Nursing Practice

In this course, students learn to integrate evidence-based approaches into their practice. Coursework focuses on the role of nursing theory and research to identify problems, evaluate studies, and implement evidence-based guidelines. Students learn methods for improving patient outcomes through evidence-based and values-based approaches.

Advanced Pathophysiology

In this course, learners study the various disease processes of the body and their underlying mechanisms, clinical presentations of disease, and evidence-based therapies. Students also develop skills in diagnostic screening and testing. Graduates can apply pathophysiological concepts to patient care and support patients in leading healthy lives.

Health Assessment Across the Lifespan

This course prepares students to conduct health assessments with patients of all ages. Topics include cognitive processes and psychomotor skills, differential diagnoses, and diagnostic procedures. Graduates can perform comprehensive physical, mental, developmental, and nutritional assessments.

Healthcare Delivery Models

In this class, students examine healthcare delivery systems, economics, and policy to understand how healthcare policy is formed and implemented. Students explore nursing practice and healthcare delivery theories in addition to the impact of economics on patients and the role of policy and economics in healthcare reform.

Health Promotion

This specialized course for family nurse practitioners is often offered as a series, with each course focused on a specific age group or demographic. Coursework generally covers the maintenance and management of chronic and acute health conditions. Students learn preventative methods, diagnostic techniques, and treatment options for common diseases.

Certifications and Licensure for Nurse Practitioners

NPs need a license to practice, but licensure requirements vary by state. States also vary in how much they restrict a nurse practitioner’s ability to practice, with some allowing unsupervised practice and others requiring NPs to practice under a medical doctor’s supervision.

Restricted states generally do not hold reciprocity agreements with other states. However, some states are moving toward adopting a common set of requirements, which helps ease restrictions and make reciprocal licensure easier. Typical licensure requirements include a master’s degree from an accredited program, certification from a recognized certification board, and a current RN license.

The three most recognized certification boards for NPs are the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). AANPCB offers family NP, adult-gerontology NP, and emergency NP certifications. ANCC offers family, primary care, acute care, clinical care, adult-gerontology, and psychiatric-mental health NP certifications. PNCB certifies pediatric nurse practitioners in acute and primary care.

Scholarships for Nurse Practitioners

Many private businesses and professional organizations offer scholarships that help nurses offset the costs of tuition. Below, we cover several of many potential scholarships for nurse practitioner students.

AACN Scholarship

Who Can Apply: These scholarships are available to pre-licensure students enrolled at AACN member schools. Two scholarships are awarded twice per year. Deadlines to apply are January 15 and July 15.
Amount: $2,500

Madeline Pickett (Halbert) Cogswell Nursing Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students in an accredited nursing program who are members of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), descendants of a member, or eligible for membership can apply. Applicants are encouraged to contact their local DAR chapter.
Amount: $2,500

NAHN Nursing Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Members of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses who have been in good standing for at least six months prior to the application deadline can apply. Students must be enrolled full time in an accredited program.
Amount: Up to $5,000

Geraldine “Polly” Bednash Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be enrolled in a CastleBranch-affiliated AACN member school with a minimum 3.2 GPA. Two scholarships are awarded four times per year. The application form is available on the website.
Amount: $5,000

Tylenol Future Care Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Current graduate students or college seniors enrolling in a graduate nursing program can apply. Applicants must be U.S. residents seeking a degree to actively treat patients. Candidates must submit an essay and transcripts.
Amount: $5,000 (25), $10,000 (10)

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