This is an exciting time in nursing. It’s an ever expanding career, with nurses assuming greater roles in the care of patients. The need for Advanced Practice Nurses is estimated to grow by a rapid 31% over ten years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners projects that 23,000 Nurse Practitioners enter the workforce each year; and, estimates NPs provide care to over 1 billion patients each year. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners is launching a countrywide campaign, as described in Forbes Magazine, to provide information to consumers on the benefits of receiving care from a Nurse Practitioner.
One APN role, that of Family Nurse Practitioner, is an attractive specialty as physicians rely more on FNPs to provide quality patient care to an increasing patient base. To address the need for more Advanced Practice Nurses, more universities and colleges are providing online, graduate nursing degrees. But, where do you start?
Best Medical Degrees has done some of the work for you by researching and identifying Family Nurse Practitioner online degrees that meet specific criteria.
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)
Not all online Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner degree programs are available to students living in all 50 states. The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) establishes comparable national standards for distance education or, online, programs. Be certain, before making a commitment to a program, that you verify yours is a member state. This information is available on schools’ websites or you can talk with the admissions officer for the school you’re considering.
This ranking took the following into consideration: 1) identifying online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a concentration in Family Nurse Practitioner, 2) we utilized U.S. News and World Report, Washington Monthly and Forbes Magazine rankings of universities and colleges, 3) we only report on schools holding accreditation by Department of Education approved accrediting agencies, specifically, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and 4) estimate tuition cost ranges for schools is based on data from the 2016-2017 National Center for Educational Statistics data as well as school websites to establish tuition cost ranges. Tuition estimates do not include any additional fees accessed by the school or university and 5) length of academic program and clinical experiences.
Tuition Range $10,000-$15,000
1. Delta State University
Offered through Delta State University’s Robert E. Smith School of Nursing, this program is an online program which requires 49 credit hours for graduation. Holding accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), this two-year Master of Science in Nursing program with a Family Nurse Practitioner concentration, requires students to have a current nursing license and hold a Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited school. Family Nurse Practitioner students are also required to sit for the national certification exam for graduation. Coursework will include topics in: advanced health assessment, differential diagnosis in primary care, advanced pharmacology, advanced nursing research and evidence based practice, clinical practicum experience and a research project.
Delta State University was founded in 1924 in West Cleveland, Mississippi. The university has been ranked #114-142 in U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Regional Universities South ranking and is rated #77 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. The school has been rated #117 Best Bang for the Buck by Washington Monthly.
2. Ball State University
Ball State University, located in Muncie, Indiana, offers an online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program. Accredited by CCNE, the school recommends you check to see whether your state of residence qualifies through its State Authorization agreements, as not it’s not able to admit nursing students from a few states. For eligible students, the curriculum includes studies in: research and data analysis, nursing theory, nursing information technology, advanced health assessment, clinical pharmacology, pathophysiology, primary care of adults, children and women. The program also includes a clinical practicum of 690 supervised clinical hours and requires a total of 44 credit hours for completion. Students will be eligible to sit for the Family Nurse Practitioner exam through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANP).
Ball State University has been named one of Princeton Review’s Best Universities in the Midwest, the online nursing program received a #13 rating by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Nursing Programs and has been named a Military Friendly School in 2018 by Victory Media. Founded in 1918, Ball State University has grown to an enrollment of over 21,000 students and is ranked as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation.
3. Texas A&M Corpus Christi
Texas A&M at Corpus Christi’s online Master of Science in Nursing Family Practitioner degree is accredited by the CCNE and requires 49 credit hours for completion. Coursework will include studies in: nursing research, advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology, health assessment and differential diagnosis, wellness and health promotion, acute chronic care and an integrated clinical experience. The program requires an undergraduate degree from an accredited university, an unencumbered nursing license and a background check. Due to state regulations, the school advises applicants should contact the College of Nursing and Health Sciences to determine the exact requirements for admission.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi’s graduate nursing program ranks #124 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Nursing Programs. The school’s history dates to 1947 and has a current enrollment of over 12,000 students. The university is one of nine universities of the Texas A&M University System and offers five academic colleges conferring bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
Tuition Range $15,000-$25,000
4. Columbus State University
This online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program may be completed in as little as two-years and holds accreditation from CCNE. The program is a collaborative effort between Columbus State University and Georgia Southwestern University, both institutions are part of the University System of Georgia. Course curriculum includes studies in: research for evidence based practice, advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, health care delivery systems, healthcare promotion and a 765 clinical hours practicum which is completed in your local area. Student applicants must hold a current, unencumbered nursing license and a BSN from a CCNE or National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) accredited program. AllNurses.com cites an 85% NCLEX exam pass rate for the nursing programs at Columbus State University.
Established in 1958 in Columbus, Georgia, this university has received a #106 rating for Regional Universities South by U.S. News and World Report; and, the nursing school received a #118-#154 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs by the publication. The university has a current enrollment of over 8,000 students.
5. Indiana State University
This online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program at Indiana State may be completed in 47-50 credit hours, with 675 clinical hours; and, may be finished on a part-time basis in 2 1/2 years. Holding accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) since 1989, this graduate nursing program will cover courses in: advanced pathobiology, health assessment, nursing research, diagnostic lab, evidence based practice, management of common chronic and acute health problems. Clinical practicum hours are conducted in the student’s state of licensure. Due to state authorizations, Indiana State University is only able to accept students from the states listed by the school’s Online Availability . Applicants must hold a BSN degree from either an ACEN or CCNE for admission; and, prior nursing experience is preferred but not required. Successful students will be eligible to sit for the ANCC or AANP certification exam.
Indiana State University has been rated #90 by Washington Monthly’s Best Bang for the Buck Midwest, #626 America’s Top Colleges by Forbes Magazine and #111 Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. With an enrollment in excess of 13,000 students, the university was founded in 1865 in Terre Haute, Indiana as a teacher’s college. Today, the university has seven colleges and offers Bachelor, Master and Doctoral programs.
6. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University provides a 100% online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner with a primary focus on Rural Health. This 45 credit hour degree program offers studies in: advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, pharmacology, rural health, advanced nursing practice issues, evidence based practice, principles of epidemiology and requires a rural practice internship. Please Note: Eastern Kentucky has issued this statement regarding its nursing programs: “It has been incorrectly reported by local news outlets that EKU’s MSN program has been suspended. The Nursing Administration concentration within the MSN program has been suspended. However, the FNP and PMHNP concentrations will remain and are not affected by budget reductions. Please disregard any reports that contain conflicting information.
U.S. News and World Report has ranked this online program as #23 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs and the university holds a #73 ranking for Best Universities South by the publication. Additionally, Forbes Magazine rates EKU #637 in America’s Top Colleges and Washington Monthly, in its Best Bang for the Buck rankings, named EKU #62 in 2017. Located in Richmond, Kentucky, EKU was established in 1906 and, at last report, has an enrollment of over 11,000 students.
7. University of Southern Mississippi
Online at Southern Miss has a MSN Family Nurse Practitioner hybrid program available which holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Coursework, beyond graduate core courses, includes studies in: pathophysiology for Advanced Practice Nursing, pharmacology, physical assessment, Family Nurse Practitioner Women and Children, diagnosis and management for primary care, policy organization and financing of health care, health promotion, evidence based practice, and a clinical practicum. The program requires 44-47 credit hours. The FNP program complies with the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Competencies for Nurse Practitioners and the APRN Consensus Model. It’s unclear from the school’s website whether students from states outside of Mississippi are eligible for the online program and it’s suggested you contact the College of Nursing and Health Professions for specific admission opportunities.
The nursing program at Southern Mississippi ranks #136 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Master’s Nursing Schools and #58 in its Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. Southern Mississippi also has been recognized by Washington Monthly as being #124 in its Best Bang for the Buck rankings and ranks #629 by Forbes Magazine’s America’s Top Colleges in 2017. The university was founded in 1910 and currently has an enrollment of over 14,000 students.
8. Old Dominion University
Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Old Dominion offers an online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner Family Nurse Practitioner hybrid program which requires 51 credit hours, clinical practicum and hands-on training (typically once a semester) at the Norfolk, Virginia campus. Clinical experiences may be completed in the student’s home community. Course studies include core topics: evidence based and theory in nursing practice, pharmacology, pathophysiology, physical assessment and application of practice-based research methods. FNP studies involve coursework in: primary care of children, family and community primary care assessment, management of chronic illnesses, primary care approaches for women and health promotion and maintenance. The university offers a preceptor program for those interested in working in medically underserved areas in Virginia. Applicants must hold a current, unencumbered nursing license and have a minimum of one year work experience. This program is not available for students from Washington State.
U.S. News and World Report rates this program #58 Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs, 2018 and #531 in Forbes Magazine’s America’s Top Colleges ranking and ranked #1 in Virginia “Best for Vets” by Military Times. With an enrollment exceeding 24,000 students in nine academic colleges, ODU was established in 1930 and joined the Virginia State University System in 1969.
9. Stony Brook University
Located in Stony Brook, New York, this MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program is offered online but does have on-site requirements. Coursework for this program includes core courses in: family theory and intervention, organizational leadership, quality improvement, safety, and health care technologies and health care policy and advocacy. Additional students involve: clinical pharmacology, statistical methods and scholarly inquiry, applications in clinical research, clinical pharmacology, clinical pathobiology, advanced health assessment and advanced theory and clinical practice in family health nursing. Clinical rotations are dependent on availability in the student’s region of residency. There are a total of 45 credit hours required. This program will also consider admission for those not holding an undergraduate degree in nursing by student submission of a clinical portfolio. More information on the portfolio is available on the website.
U.S. News and World Report has ranked Stony Brook University as #18 Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs, #66 in Best Nursing Schools-Master’s, the university holds a #97 ranking in National Universities, #119 Best Value Schools and #58 Best Colleges for Veterans. Washington Monthly ranks Stony Brook University #248 in its “Best Bang for the Buck” and Forbes Magazine lists the university at #187 in its 2017 America’s Top Colleges. Founded in 1957 and has a current enrollment of over 21,000 students and is part of the State University of New York system.
10. Gonzaga University
Gonzaga University provides an online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner blended degree program (there are 6 on-campus immersions required). Campus immersion is in the form of structured scenarios in obtaining a focused history and physical exam of a scripted model patient. This exam will include differential diagnoses, the most likely diagnosis, and treatment plan based on the diagnosis. The immersion experience is conducted under the leadership of practicing faculty. Students are required to complete 15 core MSN credit hours in: theoretical foundations for healthcare improvement, evidence based practice for quality and safety, contemporary healthcare environment and clinical prevention for diverse populations. Core FNP courses involve studies in: advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, health assessment, primary care in adult and geriatric, primary care infant, child and adolescent and clinical practicum. The program requires 47 credit hours and 660 clinical hours for completion.
Ranked #4 by U.S. News and World Report in its Regional Universities West, #3 Best College for Veterans, #141 Best Nursing Schools-Master’s and #84 Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. Rating #81 in Washington Monthly’s “Best Bang for the Buck”, Gonzaga University also was rated #161 by Forbes Magazine’s America’s Top Colleges ranking. Founded in 1887, Gonzaga University is a private university with an enrollment of over 7,000 students and is located in Spokane, Washington.