Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Degrees 2021

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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 Nicholls State University Thibodaux, LA
2 Angelo State University San Angelo, TX
3 Georgia Southwestern State University Americus, GA
4 Columbus State University Columbus, GA
5 Morningside College Sioux City, IA
6 Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi Corpus Christi, TX
7 Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, TX
8 Clayton State University Morrow, GA
9 Spring Arbor University Spring Arbor, MI
10 Delta State University Cleveland, MS

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. Nicholls State University
    Location

    Thibodaux, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A public institution in Thibodaux, Louisiana, Nicholls State University enrolls 6,500 students each year. Nicholls offers an online nurse practitioner degree with family nurse practitioner and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner tracks.

    Depending on their track, online nursing students take 42-51 credits of coursework and complete 600 clinical hours. Core classes for both tracks cover topics like advanced practice nursing, leadership for nurse practitioners, and population-based primary care. Students also complete a focused scholarly project or thesis.

    Prospective nursing students need a BSN degree from an accredited nursing program with a minimum 2.7 GPA on the final 60 credits. Nicholls also requires a current Louisiana RN license. Nicholls State University holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The nurse practitioner degree holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  2. Angelo State University
    Location

    San Angelo, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1928, Angelo State University is a public institution in San Angelo, Texas. ASU offers an online nurse practitioner program that trains family nurse practitioners. The program prepares nurses for advanced practice roles through online coursework and clinical requirements.

    Students learn to provide holistic care, promote health, and prevent diseases. Online learners study topics like advanced nursing, evidence-based practice, and advanced health assessment. Students also complete practicum and family primary care courses. Learners can complete clinical requirements at an approved local site.

    Prospective students must reside in Texas and hold a BSN degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Angelo State University holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits the graduate nursing programs at ASU.

  3. Georgia Southwestern State University
    Location

    Americus, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in Americus, Georgia Southwestern State University offers an online nurse practitioner program with a family nurse practitioner track. The degree prepares nurses for advanced practice nursing roles through a flexible online format.

    Online nursing students complete theory courses online and 765 clinical hours in their local area. Clinical hours allow students to build hands-on skills working with patients. Full-time students can complete the 44-credit MSN program in 22 months.

    Applicants need a BSN degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Georgia Southwestern State University holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The nurse practitioner program holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  4. Columbus State University
    Location

    Columbus, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A public institution located in Columbus, Georgia, Columbus State University dates back to 1958. The school offers an affordable nurse practitioner degree online that trains family nurse practitioners. Online learners complete asynchronous coursework, allowing them to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.

    The 44-credit program includes 15 core credits, 20 specialty credits, and six credits of practicum coursework, which translates into 765 clinical hours. The curriculum emphasizes healthcare delivery and health promotion for patients at different stages of life.

    Prospective students need a BSN degree from an accredited nursing program with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Columbus State University holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

  5. Morningside College
    Location

    Sioux City, IA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A private liberal arts college, Morningside College hosts students on its 68-acre campus in Sioux City, Iowa, and online. Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Morningside dates back to 1894 and offers an online MSN program with a family nurse practitioner specialization. The program integrates certification into the curriculum so graduates can pursue advanced practice roles.

    Online nursing students learn to diagnose and treat patients and administer treatments. The 47-credit program includes 600 clinical hours and three onsite residencies. Learners study topics like primary care, evidence-based research, and pediatric primary care, preparing for family nurse practitioner certification.

    Applicants need a BSN degree from an accredited nursing program with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Morningside College holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The Nylen School of Nursing holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  6. Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi
    Location

    Corpus Christi, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Known as Island University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi operates from an island on the Texas Gulf Coast. The university is a public institution that hosts 12,000 students through on-campus and online programs, including an online family nurse practitioner program. Designed for full-time nurses, the program enrolls students on a part-time basis.

    The 49-credit MSN program incorporates 630 clinical hours that students can complete at an approved local site. Learners study topics like health promotion, health assessment, and acute chronic care. MSN students culminate the degree with an integrated clinical capstone course.

    Prospective students must hold a current Texas RN license. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The College of Nursing and Health Sciences holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  7. Midwestern State University
    Location

    Wichita Falls, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A public institution located in Wichita Falls, Texas, Midwestern State University dates back to 1922. MSU enrolls students on its 255-acre campus and online. The online nurse practitioner degree offered through the Wilson School of Nursing expands the skills of registered nurses. Graduates qualify to sit for national certification exams.

    The family nurse practitioner curriculum includes 18 core credits, 24 clinical credits, and six credits of a thesis or evidence-based project courses. Online learners complete clinical hours at a family practice clinical site approved by the program.

    Applicants need a BSN degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA on the final 60 credits and a current RN license. Midwestern State University holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The Wilson School of Nursing holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  8. Clayton State University
    Location

    Morrow, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Morrow, Georgia, Clayton State University is a public institution that offers a variety of online degrees, including an online family nurse practitioner degree. The program trains professional nurses for advanced practice roles through online coursework and clinical hours.

    The 47-credit program requires 585 clinical hours and emphasizes collaborative learning, community-based nursing skills, and care for vulnerable populations. Online nurse practitioner students take courses on topics like advanced health assessment, evidence-based nursing practice, and healthcare policy. Students culminate the degree with a nurse practitioner practicum.

    Prospective MSN students need a BSN degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a current Georgia RN license. Clayton State University holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The School of Nursing holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  9. Spring Arbor University
    Location

    Spring Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A private Methodist institution in Michigan, Spring Arbor University dates back to 1873. SAU offers online and on-campus nursing programs, including an online nurse practitioner degree. The curriculum provides a Christian perspective on nursing care and trains students to assess, treat, and manage acute and chronic illnesses.

    Students can choose from family nurse practitioner and adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner tracks. In both tracks, students complete one seven-week course at a time. Courses cover topics like moral and ethical decision-making, theoretical perspectives for advanced practice, and role development and leadership. Online learners benefit from a dedicated student success coach.

    Prospective students need a BSN degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA on the final 60 credits. Spring Arbor University holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits the nurse practitioner program.

  10. Delta State University
    Location

    Cleveland, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A public institution in Cleveland, Mississippi, Delta State University enrolls 3,500 students annually. The institution's Robert E. Smith School of Nursing offers an online MSN degree with a family nurse practitioner track.

    The program combines online courses with campus seminars to offer a hybrid route to an MSN degree. Learners study topics like nursing ethics, differential diagnosis, role synthesis, and informatics in clinical practice. Students must complete clinical requirements in Mississippi or Arkansas.

    Prospective students need a BSN degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, a GRE analytical score of at least 3.0, and at least one year of clinical nursing experience. Delta State University holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The Robert E. Smith School of Nursing holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

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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