Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) play vital roles in providing quality healthcare. These Advanced Practice Nurses, fill a broad range of roles, from assisting physicians to solo practices in underserved areas. Family Nurse Practitioners often serve in the role of a family doctor, in states where allowed, and treat patients from chronic to acute care. These FNPs are trained to do patient histories, physicals, order treatments, medical tests and provide prescriptions. While the majority of FNPs work in physician clinics, some work in hospitals, outpatient clinics and offices of other health practitioners.
Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, projects that Family Nurse Practitioners have an employment outlook of 31% between 2014-2124 and the median salary of $104,740 annually.
Best Medical Degrees previously published 50 Highest Paying Nursing Specialties and has assembled a degree specific listing of the least expensive nurse practitioner programs with a specialty in family care. These FNP programs have been rated by tuition cost, accreditation and length of program and includes national rankings from U.S. News and World Report and other educational rating organizations where appropriate. Although certainly not exhaustive, this list should give you a jumping off point to find the right program for you.
The opportunity for advancement in healthcare is usually always dependent on receiving an advanced degree. For instance, typically, nurse practitioners earn more than registered nurses; due, in large measure, to advanced training and education. Advancement generally leads to an increase in salary, making the investment in tuition an important consideration. Tuition costs may range from $11,250 to $37,905 per degree; and total program credits varying from 40-60 credit hours. Generally, public institutions are less expensive than private colleges and universities.
Employers, as part of employee benefit packages, may offer tuition assistance or reimbursement. Check with your Human Resource department to see if your employer provides this benefit and how to apply.
Federal Financial Aid
Students applying for federal financial assistance for graduate study are typically limited to loans. If you want to apply for a graduate student loan, you will need to complete Federal Student Aid form offered online. The current, and future, demand for nurses and advanced care nurses, has prompted some nursing organizations to provide scholarships or grants for those advancing their nursing careers. You may want to explore sites such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners or American Association of Colleges of Nursing to see if there are any financial options available.
Veterans, Active Military, Spouses and Dependents
Active, or retired, military personnel, spouses and dependents, may qualify for tuition reduction. You should consult with either the Financial Aid Office or admissions advisor to see if these discounts are an option.
Educational program accreditation is critical in healthcare education. MSN programs, accreditation by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the American Association of Colleges of Nurses (AACN) is significant. The nursing profession also require certification exams and state licensure. You must verify that your program meets the requirements to sit for certification and apply for state licensure.
1. University of Southern Indiana
The University of Southern Indiana provides a MSN Family Practitioner degree online that offers a two-year and three-year plan of study. Accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and is ranked by U.S. News and World Report #36 in its Best Online Nursing Programs ratings. Founded in 1965 and has a current enrollment of over 10,000 students.
This MSN Family Practitioner program prepares students to integrate evidence based medicine, nursing theory, serve as patient advocate, develop advanced practice clinical expertise and apply family assessment methodologies. Courses include Nursing Leadership, Nurse Practitioner Specialty, Clinical Pharmacology for Advanced Nursing Practice and Primary Care Nursing for Families. This program is not available for students in all states, so be certain to check if your state is eligible.
Program Length: 42 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $14,784 (Residents); $29,106 (Non Residents)
2. Georgia College
The Georgia College provides an online MSN in Family Practitioner degree which is accredited by Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The FNP degree requires core coursework in Perspectives of Advanced Nursing Practice, Healthcare Research and Statistical Analysis, Ensuring Healthcare Safety and Quality and Nursing Theory Principles and Application. Studies in the primary care of adults, children and adolescents, advanced nursing assessment and primary practicum are included.
Georgia College was founded as a women's college in 1889 and has a current enrollment in excess of 5,000 students in Milledgeville, Georgia. The public college has received numerous national rankings, including in the top 10 of Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs, Best Colleges for Veterans and Best Regional Universities South by U.S. News and World Report.
Program Length: 40 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $14,920
3. University of Southern Alabama
The University of Southern Alabama (USA) offers a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited, online degree in MSN in Family Practitioner. This public university began classes in 1964 in Mobile, Alabama and has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report for several programs and has an enrollment of over 16,000 students.
This is a seven semester program, with studies including Physio-Pathological Basis of Advanced Nursing, Scientific Underpinnings of Advanced Nursing, Pharmacology for Advanced Practiced Nurses, Evidence-Based Practice, Healthcare Policy and Finance, Introduction to Family Nurse Practitioner and practicum studies.
Program Length: 45 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $15,660 (Resident); $31,320 (Non Resident)
4. Columbus State University
This Georgia school is ranked #105 Regional Universities South by U.S. News and World Report and also #46 in its Top Public Schools rankings. Founded in 1958, Columbus State University School of Nursing offers an online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner degree. Students with BSN degrees are eligible to apply for this nursing graduate program which is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The school, founded in 1949, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The FNP core courses include: Research for Evidence Based Practice, Advanced Pathophysiology, Scientific Underpinnings of the Advanced Practice Nurse, Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nurses, Health Assessment for Advanced Practice Nurses. Specialty coursework covers: Health Care Delivery Models, Economics and Policy, Health Promotion for Women and Children, Health Promotion for the Elderly, Health Promotion for Adults and is completed by a practicum. The practicum is under the supervision of a Nurse Practitioner and/or physician preceptor. It's estimated the program will take two years to complete.
Program Length: 44 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $16,940
5. Texas A&M Corpus Christie
This online Master of Science in Nursing Family Practitioner degree is an estimated three year program which concentrates on coursework in diverse care environments, nursing research, introduction into advanced nursing practice, wellness and health promotion, integrated clinical practice and acute chronic care.
Texas A&M Corpus Christie ranks in the top 50 of Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs by U.S. News and World Report and the nursing program is accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the university holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school's history dates to 1947 with a total enrollment of 312 students. Today, the university is one of nine universities of the Texas A&M University System, with an average student enrollment in excess of 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
Program Length: 49 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $18,228 (Resident); $38,220 (Non Resident)
6. Ball State University
Located in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State University supports a MSN Family Nurse Practitioner online degree. The program features core courses in Nursing Research, Introduction to Statistical Methods, Research, Nursing Theory, Nursing Information Technology and Nursing Concepts in Health Promotion Disease/Injury Prevention. The FNP concentration includes advanced pharmacology, primary care of adults, primary care of children and pathophysiology and nursing practice.
The nursing program at Ball State University is CCNE accredited and the university maintains accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission. Founded in 1918, Ball State University now boasts a student enrollment surpassing 21,000 and is ranked in the top 25 in U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.
Program Length: 47 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $18,518 (Resident); $27,730 (Non Resident)
7. Clarion University
This Pennsylvania university offers a MSN Family Nurse Practitioner online degree. Course requirements include courses in Advanced Concepts in Pathophysiology, Pharmacologic Applications, Evolution of Nursing Theory, Advanced Concepts in Nursing Research, Health Promotion: Family & community Perspectives, Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Health Assessment Practicum, Clinical Decision and Family Nurse Practitioner Role Development.
Clarion University had its beginnings in 1867 and has an overall student enrollment of over 5,000 and holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The School of Health Sciences is accredited by accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as having one of the Top Online Graduate Nursing Programs.
Program Length 45 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $21,735 (Resident); $23,490 (Non Resident)
8. Clarkson College
Clarkson College began teaching nurses in 1888 as the first in Nebraska. Ranked #39 by U.S. News and World Report as Best Online Graduate Nursing Program, this Master of Nursing Family Practitioner online degree is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
Coursework concentrates on Essentials of Scholarly Writing, Role Transition,
Applied Statistics, Theories and Concepts of Advanced Practice Roles, Health Care Delivery Systems and Managed Care, Application and Evaluation of Theory in Nursing, Nursing Law and Ethics, Research Design and Methods and Evidence-Based Practice Research Project. Successful graduates will be able to sit for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program National Certification Examination.
Program Length: 47 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $26,132
9. Tennessee Tech University
Located in middle Tennessee, Tennessee Tech University (TTU) provides an online Master of Science in Nursing with a Family Nurse Practitioner concentration. Founded in 1916, TTU has a study body enrollment of over 10,000 and has been ranked by U.S.News and World Report as a Top Public School and Top 10 Best Universities for Veterans. Accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), TTU's program is offered through a consortium of six Tennessee Board of Regents universities.
Core MSN coursework will include: Theoretical Foundations, Healthcare Policy, Advanced Nursing Research, Advanced Role Development and Scholarly Synthesis/Research. FNP concentration classes will cover Adult Health and Adult Health Clinical, Women's Health and Clinical and Pediatric Health and Clinical. Classes in advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology and health assessment are included in the FNP concentration.
Program Length: 46 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $27,692 (Residents); $38,272 (Non Residents)
10. Eastern Kentucky University Online
This Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited program is a MSN Family Practitioner with a concentration in rural health. Located in Richmond, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University evolved from Central University in 1901 to currently maintaining six colleges. U.S. News and World Report ranks EKU as one of the top 20 Best Online Nursing Graduate Programs, EKU is also recognized as a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs Magazine and one of the Top Colleges by Forbes Magazine.
EKU's Nurse Practitioner program has a rural health specialty, with coursework focusing on advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, evidence based medicine, advanced health assessment; and, rural health practicum courses. The school boasts a 100% pass rate on national certifying exams.
Program Length:: 48 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $31,200