By BestMedicalDegrees.com Staff
Last Updated: February 12, 2021
increased dramatically in recent years. In 2006, fewer than 50 DNP programs existed in the United States. By 2018, that number reached approximately 350 programs.
To accommodate the nation's growing healthcare needs, the AACN recommends that the industry standard for advanced practice nurses, such as nurse practitioners (NPs), shift towards the DNP rather than a master's degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for advanced practice nurses could increase by 45% from 2019-29, reflecting the rapid growth of the healthcare profession as a whole.
Many DNP graduates go on to work as NPs, nurse administrators, and other advanced practice nurses, but they might also pursue management and advocacy roles. BLS data shows that NPs make a lucrative median annual salary of $115,800.
While doctoral degrees can take anywhere from 2-4 years to complete and demand a challenging workload, online DNP programs offer students a certain degree of flexibility. Distance learners can typically take coursework at their own pace, and can often take advantage of asynchronous courses. The list below outlines the online DNP programs that offer their students the best value in nursing education.
The Best-Value Online DNP Programs of 2021
Applying to an Online DNP Program
Some DNP programs require incoming students to hold a master's at the beginning of the degree, while others offer doctoral tracks that accomodate learners with a bachelor's degree. Generally speaking, applicants should possess a high GPA; many schools set the minimum GPA requirement at 3.0.
In addition, candidates typically need a registered nursing license and work experience. Applicants should submit a resume, personal statement, and recommendation letters. Some schools require GRE or MAT scores, while others put more emphasis on an applicant's work experience.
Finally, prospective students should expect to participate in an interview with faculty members. The interview stage usually occurs later in the admission process and helps both students and faculty determine program fit.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to complete a DNP program?
Students who start their DNP programs with a bachelor's degree could spend 3-4 years pursuing their doctoral degree. Learners with master's degrees may be able to finish more quickly, within 2-3 years, or in some cases even one year. Additionally, degree-seekers who enroll part time may take longer than four years to graduate.
What is accreditation and why is it important?
When searching for a DNP program, accreditation is one of the most important factors to consider. Accredited programs meet strict industry standards and guarantee that students receive a valuable education. Prospective DNP students should look for accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and/or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
What can I do with a DNP?
A DNP can lead to a variety of fulfilling careers in healthcare. Some graduates go on to work in healthcare settings as advanced practice nurses or nurse leaders and administrators. Others might use their doctoral degrees to become professors at universities. Professionals with DNPs may also become clinical researchers or healthcare lobbyists.
What's the difference between a DNP and a Ph.D. in nursing?
A DNP focuses on nursing practice, ensuring excellent patient care, while a Ph.D. in nursing concentrates on research. Therefore, many DNP graduates work in high-level jobs within healthcare facilities. They might lead nursing teams or evaluate nursing practices at a hospital. A Ph.D. graduate may go into academia to conduct research and teach college-level courses. However, these categories are not set in stone, and nurses with doctorates are qualified to pursue many positions.