Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Degrees 2021

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Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Degrees badge

Nurse practitioners (NP) provide primary care to patients of all ages. They may also specialize in areas like pediatrics, gerontology, and psychiatric mental health. RNs can increase their earning potential and move into a high-demand field by earning a nurse practitioner degree.

While RNs earn a median pay of $73,000 per year, advanced practice RNs like nurse practitioners make nearly $116,000 per year. Nurse practitioners also benefit from high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ranks nurse practitioners as one of the fastest-growing professions in the country.

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An online nurse practitioner degree appeals to working nurses seeking a flexible schedule. Nurses can often complete clinical requirements at their current place of employment while in an online program.

Keep reading to learn more about the most affordable online NP programs, common courses, and scholarships for nurse practitioner students.

Top 10 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Rank School Location
1 Colorado State University Global Campus College Station, TX
2 Penn State World Campus Milledgeville, GA
3 Maryville University Los Angeles, CA
4 Point Park University Washington, DC
5 Liberty University Winona, MN
6 Kennesaw State University Birmingham, AL
7 University of Illinois Springfield San Angelo, TX
8 California Baptist University Flagstaff, AZ
9 Campbell University Saint Louis, MO
10 Baker College Bourbonnais, IL

FAQ


  • What is the difference between doctor and nurse practitioner?

    Doctors and nurse practitioners both provide primary care to patients. However, doctors attend medical school, while nurse practitioners train in graduate nursing programs.


  • How many years does it take to be a nurse practitioner?

    Earning a nurse practitioner degree generally takes 2-4 years, depending on the program. Learners complete coursework and clinical requirements. After earning a degree, NPs must pass a national certification exam.


  • What does a nursing practitioner do?

    Nurse practitioners offer primary and specialty care. They assess patients, diagnose illnesses, and prescribe medication. Nurse practitioners also create treatment plans.


  • Is a nurse practitioner higher than an RN?

    Yes, nurse practitioners are APRNs, or advanced practice RNs. They take on more responsibilities than RNs, including prescribing medication, and they earn a higher salary.


Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Degrees 2021



  1. Colorado State University Global Campus
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Launched in 2007, CSU-Global is the nation's first nonprofit, online state university. CSU-Global enrolls roughly 18,000 students in programs offered through its School of Professional Studies and School of Management and Innovation.

    Bachelor's Degree in Cybersecurity

    CSU-Global's bachelor's in cybersecurity prepares students for careers in digital security management and network security. The 120-credit program comprises general education, core, and elective coursework. Learners can choose from 25 optional specializations, including organizational leadership, project management, and healthcare management.

    The program culminates in a cybersecurity capstone project. Enrollees prepare for popular professional certifications, including CompTIA Security+ and certified cloud security professional. Students with experience can transfer up to 90 university or 64 community college credits toward their degrees. Enrollees enjoy monthly start dates, accelerated courses, and asynchronous learning online.

    Applying to CSU-Global

    CSU-Global does not require applicants to possess technical experience for the bachelor's in cybersecurity. Each first-year undergraduate candidate must possess a high school diploma or GED certificate, plus a resume demonstrating two years of work experience. Applicants must submit official academic transcripts for general, conditional, or provisional admission consideration.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: HLC
    Tuition: $350/credit
    Required Credits: 120 credits
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  2. Penn State World Campus
    Location

    Milledgeville, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Penn State World Campus is the second-largest entity in the 24-campus Penn State University System. Launched in 1998, the online segment of Penn State now enrolls more than 20,000 students and offers roughly 200 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate distance programs.

    BS in Security and Risk Analysis - Information and Cybersecurity Option

    Penn State World Campus offers its online bachelor's in information systems security through the College of Information Sciences and Technology (CIST). The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security recognize Penn State as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity. CIST employs faculty with expertise in computer science, engineering, and artificial intelligence.

    The BS in security risk analysis features an information and cybersecurity option. An enrollee must complete an internship, general education classes, and electives. The degree culminates in an information sciences and technology integration course or a capstone in security and risk analysis.

    Applying to Penn State World Campus

    Each applicant must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate and complete at least 3.5 units in any combination of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, or other college-level math courses. Students must submit high school and college transcripts.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: MSCHE
    Tuition: $6,994/program (59 or fewer credits); $7,549/program (60 or more credits)
    Required Credits: 120 credits
    Delivery Format: Online with in-person requirements

  3. Maryville University
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1972, Maryville is one of the oldest private universities in the Midwest. The university enrolls nearly 11,000 students in more than 120 graduate and undergraduate programs, with more than 7,000 degree-seekers learning online.

    BS in Cybersecurity

    Maryville offers its bachelor's in cybersecurity through the John E. Simon School of Business with accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Students can choose from three tracks: general cybersecurity, offensive cybersecurity, or defensive cybersecurity. Each enrollee must complete a business policies capstone.

    The online BS in cybersecurity cites real-world case studies in topics like cyberlaw, database design, and digital forensics. Learners can test software and run ethical hacking experiments in Maryville's own Virtual Lab. Through Maryville's Early Access program, students can start earning credits toward master's degrees in cybersecurity while completing their bachelor's degrees.

    Applying to Maryville

    Each candidate must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate and submit official high school transcripts. Students with cumulative GPAs below 2.5 may qualify for provisional admission. Maryville does not require SAT or ACT scores.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: HLC
    Tuition: $622/credit
    Required Credits: 128 credits
    Program Length: As little as 2.5 years

  4. Point Park University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Point Park, the only university in downtown Pittsburgh, enrolls approximately 3,600 students on campus and online. Learners can choose from more than 100 graduate and undergraduate programs across five academic schools.

    BS in Applied Computer Science - Networking and Security Concentration

    Point Park's BS in applied computer science features an optional concentration in networking and security. Courses specific to this concentration include networking, digital security, and supplemental IT electives. The program also requires courses in university life, business success, and understanding people.

    The bachelor's in information systems security offers multiple start dates each year. Online courses take eight weeks to complete. Students with experience can transfer up to 90 credits toward the BS. Point Park participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements and belongs to the Online Learning Consortium.

    Applying to Point Park

    Applicants must submit high school or college transcripts deemed satisfactory by Point Park admissions staff. A transfer student must complete at least 12 college credits or six months of training and hold a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Point Park may request supplemental materials or a personal interview.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: MSCHE
    Tuition: $499/credit
    Required Credits: 121 credits
    Program Length: 2-4 years

  5. Liberty University
    Location

    Winona, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1971, Liberty occupies a 7,000-acre campus in Lynchburg, Virginia, and a substantial online division. The university enrolls more than 100,000 students and offers over 700 programs — all in the Christian tradition.

    BS in Information Systems - Information Assurance

    Liberty's unique BS in information systems (IS) and information assurance (IA) explores the management of people and business processes, as well as technology. IS course topics include programming, IS project management, and web architecture. IA explores topics like digital forensics, cybersecurity, and network security.

    Additional requirements include courses in instructional technology for online learning, Christian life and biblical worldview, and survey of Old and New Testaments. The information systems security degree culminates in an information systems capstone. Liberty delivers courses asynchronously online, with each course lasting eight weeks. Students can choose from eight start dates per year.

    Applying to Liberty

    Candidates must hold cumulative GPAs of at least 2.0. Each applicant submits college transcripts, a high school self-certification form, an application fee, and proof of English proficiency.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: SACSCOC; ACBSP
    Tuition: $390/credit
    Required Credits: 120 credits
    Program Length: 4 years

  6. Kennesaw State University
    Location

    Birmingham, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    KSU occupies two campuses near metro Atlanta. The university enrolls more than 41,000 on-campus and online students in over 170 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs.

    BBA in Information Security and Assurance

    KSU offers its bachelor of business administration in information security and assurance (BBA-ISA) through the Coles College of Business and the Department of Information Systems. The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security recognize KSU as a National Center of Excellence in Information Assurance.

    The program emphasizes business core and ISA course modules. Coursework covers operations management, principles of information security, and network security, culminating in a strategic management capstone project. The BBA-ISA includes embedded certificates in security policy development and compliance and systems security administration.

    Applying to KSU

    KSU accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the year. Each applicant must submit high school and college transcripts and demonstrate a minimum 2.5 GPA. KSU currently does not require SAT or ACT scores for undergraduate admissions.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: SACSCOC
    Tuition: $185/credit
    Required Credits: 120 credits
    Delivery Format: Online

  7. University of Illinois Springfield
    Location

    San Angelo, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Established in 1969, UIS occupies a 746-acre campus between St. Louis and Chicago, Illinois. The university enrolls nearly 4,300 students in more than 50 programs and 1,400 online majors.

    BS in Information Systems Security

    This bachelor's in information systems security stresses core computer science skills. The program trains students to apply problem-solving skills in business, science, and public service careers. Fundamental courses cover security assessment, design and implementation of secure systems, and computer security ethics.

    The information systems security degree culminates in a systems security and information assurance capstone course. UIS requires all undergraduate students to complete its signature Engaged Citizenship Common Experience. Prerequisites include computer programming, discrete math, and applied statistics coursework.

    Applying to UIS

    Each applicant must demonstrate a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.0 and submit a statement of purpose. UIS also requires two semesters of Java programming experience and one semester each of discrete or finite math, calculus, and statistics. Students may complete prerequisites at UIS.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: HLC
    Tuition: $362/credit
    Required Credits: 120 credits
    Delivery Format: Online

  8. California Baptist University
    Location

    Flagstaff, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded by the California Southern Baptist Convention, CBU enrolls more than 11,000 students online and at campuses in San Bernardino and Riverside. Learners can choose from more than 100 graduate and undergraduate programs.

    BS in Cybersecurity

    CBU's bachelor's in cybersecurity follows the curricular standards set by the Joint Task Force on Cybersecurity Education, a conglomeration of professional computing societies. The program emphasizes high-demand career skills, including security design, defensive and offensive security, and computer forensics.

    All coursework incorporates a Christian worldview. The degree culminates in a cybersecurity capstone. CBU offers eight-week classes online or through hybrid study. Students can enroll in accelerated classes offered year-round over three semesters.

    Applying to CBU

    CBU prefers applicants with a minimum of 24 transferable college credits. However, a candidate with high school diplomas or GED certificates may still receive admission. Additionally, CBU requires a minimum 2.0 GPA.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: WSCUC
    Tuition: $613/credit
    Required Credits: 48 credits
    Program Length: 16 months

  9. Campbell University
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Established in 1887, Campbell enrolls approximately 6,000 students online and at four campuses across North Carolina. The university offers dozens of graduate and undergraduate programs in the Christian tradition across eight colleges and schools.

    Bachelor's in Cybersecurity; Bachelor's in IT Security

    Campbell offers 100% online bachelor's degrees in cybersecurity and IT security. Both offer multiple start dates throughout the year and eight-week courses. The cybersecurity program requires core, concentration, and elective courses, culminating in an internship and a senior project.

    IT security majors must also complete general education, concentration, and elective coursework, in subjects like programming, internet applications, and database management. The IT security concentration does not include an internship and concludes with a senior project.

    A student with experience can transfer up to 64 credits from a regionally accredited institution, but they must complete at least 31 credits, including 12 in the major, at Campbell.

    Applying to Campbell

    Applicants must hold minimum cumulative GPAs of 2.0 and submit official high school and college transcripts. Campbell evaluates students holistically based on standardized test results, high school performance, and work experience.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: SACSCOC
    Tuition: $450/credit
    Required Credits: 124 credits
    Program Length: 4 years

  10. Baker College
    Location

    Bourbonnais, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    As Michigan's largest nonprofit college, Baker enrolls more than 43,000 students. Learners can choose from dozens of graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs, with more than 40 available online.

    BS in IT and Security with a Concentration in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity

    Baker's BS in IT and security offers a concentration in information assurance and cybersecurity. The curriculum emphasizes network, platform, and operating system security theory and practices. The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security recognize Baker as a Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity Education.

    The information systems security degree combines general education, core, and concentration course requirements. Topics include ethical hacking, computer forensics, and network defense. Each enrollee must complete a 150-hour work experience and a senior project in information security.

    Applying to Baker

    Applicants must arrange to submit official high school or college transcripts directly from their previous school to Baker. The college upholds a test-optional admission policy regarding SAT and ACT scores.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: HLC
    Tuition: $415/credit
    Required Credits: 120 credits
    Program Length: 4 years

What Are the Goals of a Nurse Practitioner Degree?

A nurse practitioner degree builds advanced clinical skills. Students learn how to conduct advanced health assessments, diagnose conditions in a clinical setting, and educate patients on health promotion. In addition to classroom training, NP students strengthen hands-on skills through clinical practicum requirements. Students in an online nurse practitioner degree program can often complete clinical requirements in their local area.

Nurse practitioners provide primary and specialty healthcare. Within a nurse practitioner program, degree-seekers can specialize their skills by choosing a focus area. Many programs offer specializations in areas like family medicine, pediatric health, and adult and geriatric health.

Why Get a Nurse Practitioner Degree?



High earning potential and strong job demand are just a couple of the many benefits of working as a nurse practitioner. The following list outlines five benefits of becoming a nurse practitioner.

Increased Responsibilities
Nurse practitioners provide primary and specialty care. As advanced practice RNs, they take on leadership roles and greater responsibilities than registered nurses.
Higher Earning Potential
APRNs like nurse practitioners earn among the highest salaries in nursing. According to 2019 data, APRNs earn a median salary of nearly $116,000 per year.
Specializations
Nurse practitioners can specialize their training by working in roles like family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, or adult/gerontology nurse practitioner. These specializations prepare graduates for focused career paths.
Strong Demand
Nurse practitioners benefit from strong demand. Between 2019-2029, the BLS projects a 45% increase in jobs for APRNs, including nurse practitioners.
Primary Care Training
Nurses gain primary care skills through an NP degree program. During their program, students learn how to provide primary care to patients across the lifespan.

What Are the Requirements for a Nurse Practitioner Degree?

Most nurse practitioner programs require a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a current RN license. Some programs may offer an RN-to-MSN option for nurses without a BSN. Applicants may also need to submit recommendation letters and transcripts. Some programs recommend or require a minimum number of years working as an RN before entering an NP program.

During a nurse practitioner program, learners complete coursework and clinical requirements. Depending on the program, nurse practitioner students may complete 600 or more clinical hours as part of their training.

After earning a nurse practitioner degree, graduates must apply for a license and national certification. Several organizations certify nurse practitioners, including the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board, the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.

Professional Organizations for Nurse Practitioner Students



Professional organizations help nurse practitioner students expand their network and prepare for the workforce. Organizations like the American Association of Nurse Practitioners provide targeted resources for nurses planning to work as nurse practitioners. Many professional associations also offer professional development support, career resources, and networking opportunities.


  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners AANP represents more than 116,000 nurse practitioners. The association publishes professional resources, provides information on how to become a nurse practitioner, and lists research opportunities. Members gain access to educational tools, practice and career support, and up-to-date information. Members can also use the AANP Job Center to strengthen their career skills and identify opportunities.

  • American Nurses Association Founded in 1896, ANA advocates for the 4 million registered nurses in the U.S., including nurse practitioners. The association provides practice resources, accreditation information, and educational events. ANA also hosts events with networking opportunities and posts job openings in its career center.

Scholarships for Nurse Practitioner Students

Nurse practitioner students may qualify for many scholarship opportunities. Professional associations, private foundations, and government agencies all support nurses moving into advanced practice roles. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for nurse practitioner students. Nurses can also research scholarships based on their school, state, or specialty.

Geraldine “Polly” Bednash Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Nurse practitioner students with a minimum 3.2 GPA can apply for the scholarship. Applicants must attend an AACN member institution for their graduate degree. The scholarship application includes a short essay on career goals and future plans.
Amount: $5,000

AfterCollege/AACN Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship, offered four times per year, supports nursing students. Degree-seekers in an accelerated graduate program or an RN-to-MSN program receive preference. Applicants must show current enrollment in an AACN member institution. Finalists for the scholarship must provide recommendation letters, academic awards, and their published articles to the committee.
Amount: $2,500

NHSC Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program offers full tuition waivers to nurse practitioner students. Recipients must attend an accredited nursing program that leads to national certification as a nurse practitioner in family medicine, adult medicine, geriatrics, primary care pediatrics, psychiatric mental health, or women’s health. Recipients also agree to a service obligation after completing their program.
Amount: Tuition plus a stipend

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