In the Buckeye State, the employment and salary prospects for nurse practitioners look very bright into the future. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Dec. 2015) anticipated a 35 percent increase in openings for NPs nationwide between 2014 and 2024—the addition of 44,700 fresh positions—much more robust than the average growth predicted across all occupations during that same decade (7 percent). Also, the BLS (May 2015) reported that the 6,300 NPs in Ohio earned an average annual salary of $96,520, more than double the average salary of all professions in the state ($44,750, BLS). In short, there is expected to be a wealth of job opportunities for Ohio NPs in this lucrative field.
Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses (APRNs) who have at least a master’s degree in nursing (MSN), although there is a trend toward the doctor of nursing practice (DNP). The DNP is the terminal academic degree in nursing, and several organizations including the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) have called for its widespread adoption as the preferred academic credential. As of January 2017, however, an MSN is still sufficient to qualify an Ohio NP for national and state certification.
Luckily for aspiring NPs in OH, there is an abundance of accredited online NP programs in the state. This guide examines the various online NP programs in Ohio, as well as how to become an NP, all credentialing procedures, and the scope of state-based practice in this profession.
Pathways differ to becoming a nurse practitioner in Ohio, but they generally involve the completion of undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing; the attainment of both an RN license and national certification; and finally an application to the Ohio State Board of Nursing for advanced practice licensure as a CNP (effective April 2017).
Here is one possible route to joining this high-growth and lucrative career:
At this stage, aspiring NPs in Ohio typically earn one of two degrees: an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). Both ADN and BSN students should verify that their program is on the list of approved RN programs from the Ohio Board of Nursing. Also, students should seek out programs accredited by one of two organizations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). For more on program accreditation, please visit the relevant section below.
Associate degree programs typically take two years or less to complete, while a bachelor’s is generally a four-year program. Due to the hands-on nature of training at this early stage, there are limited online ADN or BSN programs available, although there are exceptions. It’s important to add that for those interested in enrolling in an online MSN or DNP program, it is advisable to pursue a BSN at this stage since it is a typical admissions requirement to distance-based graduate programs in nursing. BSN programs comprise hands-on clinical training as well as courses in health assessment; anatomy & physiology; microbiology; nutrition, health & wellness; pharmacology; biological chemistry; and pathophysiology, among others. As part of an undergraduate nursing program, students receive preparation for the NCLEX-RN exam.
To qualify for RN licensure in Ohio, candidates must pass the aforementioned NCLEX-RN examination. It costs $200. Prior to taking the exam, candidates must have submitted proof of having completed a qualifying program in nursing; proof of citizenship. RN candidates must also pass a background check and submit an online application. After getting RN licensure, many aspiring NPs choose to work for a year or two. Having one to two years of clinical experience may be an enrollment prerequisite for online NP programs, particularly in the neonatal and acute care specializations.
Following at least one year of work experience, prospective NPs in Ohio typically apply to a graduate program in nursing. As mentioned above, they can pursue either a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP), the terminal degree in the field. There are six common NP specializations: adult-gerontology (acute or primary care), pediatrics (acute or primary care), women’s health, family care, psychiatric-mental health, and neonatal care. All graduate programs in nursing typically involve between 500 and 1,000 structured clinical hours and coursework in evidence-based practice; advanced pharmacotherapeutics; nursing theory; public policy issues & challenges; population-based healthcare; biostatistics; advanced health assessment; nursing research; epidemiology & social determinants of population health; and a capstone or original research project. Similar to the undergraduate degrees, prospective NP students are strongly encouraged to seek out programs accredited by CCNE or ACEN.
Prior to qualifying for state credentialing in advanced practice in Ohio, NPs must have achieved national credentialing. The specific certifying agency varies by specialization, but the application processes are similar; these national credentialing organizations generally ask for proof of a graduate-level nursing degree from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited program; proof of at least 500 practice hours in one’s intended specialization; an application fee; and a passing score on a comprehensive application. These certifications must be maintained following the completion of hours of continuing education and the submission of a renewal application. The common national certifying bodies include:
To learn more about the credentialing requirements in each NP specialization, check out the online nurse practitioner programs page.
Lastly, NPs in Ohio must apply for state certification through the Ohio Board of Nursing. As of January 2017, Ohio NPs were able to prescribe physical therapy, work as primary care providers, sign handicap permits and worker’s compensation claims, and prescribe medicines without a collaborative agreement with a physician (effective April 2017), but they were unable to sign death certificates. For more information on the evolving scope of practice within OH, please visit the last section of this piece.
Admissions requirements for Ohio’s online NP programs vary from school to school and by degree desired. As mentioned above, a majority of online MSN and DNP programs across the country require at least a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) prior to enrollment. This is because BSN programs fulfill many of the hands-on training requirements to prepare students for the rigors of a distance-based graduate education in nursing. That said, there are a few exceptions. For example, Frontier Nursing University of KY offers exemplary distance-base ADN-to-MSN and ADN-to-DNP programs with minimal campus visitation. For online NP programs based in OH, however, a BSN is a typical prerequisite.
Here are the common admissions materials for an online NP program:
Finally, some OH NP programs may also call for test scores (GRE or MAT), letters of recommendation, or a candidate interview. Also, for post-master’s certificate or MSN-to-DNP programs, candidates may need to have achieved national certification through one of the aforementioned credentialing organizations.
Aspiring nurse practitioners in Ohio are strongly encouraged to verify two aspects of their programs of interest prior to applying: accreditation status and state authorization status.
As mentioned above, there are two main accreditation organizations for nursing programs in the US:
These organizations weigh various factors in their program-approval process, including quality of program facilities; student outcomes; program finance management; and curricula standards. All of the Ohio NP programs discussed below are accredited by one of these two entities.
Also, ‘state authorization’ status is crucial for students residing in a state other than the one in which their online NP program is based. Due to differing legislation regarding the provision of distance-based education, there is sometimes a mismatch between a student’s state of residence and the state in which the program is located. To get this information, interested students are encouraged to view program websites or contact admissions offices directly.
Dr. Cynthia Nypaver is the director and coordinator of the nurse midwifery and women’s health nurse practitioner program at University of Cincinnati’s College of Nursing. In addition to Dr. Nypaver’s work with urban, resource-challenged women, she continues to practice midwifery at TriHealth Nurse Midwives and serve as an assistant professor. Her practice and teaching foci embrace various aspects of care such as perimenopause and menopause management; family planning; and preconception care. She’s a member of several professional organizations, including the American College of Nurse Midwives and the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health.
Christine Colella is an associate professor and the director of all masters specialties, as well as the director for the adult nurse practitioner distance learning program at the University of Cincinnati. She’s the recipient of numerous nursing awards and has published a wealth of peer-reviewed articles. She’s also published a groundbreaking book entitled, Clinical Decision Making: A Case Study Approach.
Dr. Vermeersch is an associate professor at Kent State University, where she researches the use of technology among older adults in managing health. She has published with numerous high-impact scholarly journals, including the Journal of Nursing Administration, Geriatric Nursing, and Telemedicine and e-Health. Notably, she continues to give her time to geriatric patients at a free clinic serving Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Dr. Lisa Echeverry is the director of nurse practitioner programs at the Kent State University College of Nursing. She is a two-time recipient of the Barbara Donaho Distinguished Leadership in Learning Award and has been with KSU since 2008. She has taught varied subjects including the application of evidence-based practice and organizational systems, and she continues to work in internal medicine for the Cleveland Clinic.
The University of Cincinnati offers online master of science in nursing (MSN) programs—also available as post-master’s certificates—in three specializations: women's health, adult-gerontology (primary care), and family health. In addition to in-person clinical trainings at facilities close to students’ homes, these programs include online instruction in advanced health assessment; advanced physiology & pathophysiology; biostatistics; differential diagnoses; and healthcare policy, among other classes. An online psychiatric-mental health post-master’s certificate is also available, although it requires a two-day on campus intensive during the first semester. UC also provides a hybrid MSN in pediatrics (acute or primary care), a hybrid MSN-to-DNP program, and a hybrid BSN-to-DNP program in various subfields (family health, adult-gerontology primary care, pediatrics acute care, pediatrics primary care, and psychiatric-mental health). These programs cost roughly $6,395 per full-time term or $4,661 part-time plus additional fees.
Kent State University offers a 100 percent online MSN program (or post-master’s certificate) in women’s health, as well as partially online concentrations in adult-gerontology primary care, adult-gerontology acute care, family health, psychiatric-mental health, and pediatrics. The online WHNP program includes 630 practice hours in approved clinical facilities close to a student’s home and coursework in advanced nursing informatics; health policy & advanced nursing practice; pathophysiology for advanced practice; methods of inquiry; and pharmacology. Additionally, Kent State offers a 100 percent online MSN-to-DNP program, comprising five semesters of coursework in areas such as application of evidence-based practice; research methods for evidence-based practice; population health; organizational systems; clinical analytics; quality improvement in healthcare delivery; and other subjects. These graduate programs generally cost $11,090 (Ohio resident) or $19,362 (nonresident) annually.
Ohio University offers online MSN, post-master’s certificates, and BSN-to-DNP programs in several specializations: family health, neonatal health, and psychiatric mental health. These MSN programs offer classes such as innovation leadership in advanced nursing practice; quality improvement & informatics; health promotion & disease prevention across the lifespan; nursing in the American healthcare system; and other courses. Please note that all online BSN-to-DNP programs require an on-campus intensive session at the beginning of each year of study. Please check out OSU’s tuition and fee table to calculate estimated costs.
Ohio University provides an online MSN program in the family health specialization, requiring only three on-campus sessions. Courses include advanced maternal & child care; theoretical basis of practice; advanced health appraisals; pharmacology; and pathophysiology in nursing. This program costs $664 (in-state) or $683 (out-of-state) per credit hour.
Cedarville University, a Christian college, also provides an online family nurse practitioner MSN program with only three required campus visits. Courses include health promotion; healthcare economics & policy; principles of evidence-based practice; professional role development & healthcare leadership; and other subjects. To learn about costs, please reference the CU net price calculator.
These are some of the schools in Ohio offering online graduate programs in nursing, but institutions located in other states may have additional distance-based options. To learn about these, please check out the online NP programs page.
In WSU’s hybrid family nurse practitioner post-master’s certificate program, students must visit the campus five times. Classes include units in role development & leadership; information technology in healthcare; nursing research and evidence for practice; advanced family nursing; and other foundational topics. Total tuition per term costs $6,738 (Ohio resident) or $11,446 (nonresident) for between 11 and 18 credit hours. WSU also has hybrid post-master’s certificates in pediatrics (acute and primary care) currently under revision, as well as a joint MSN-to-DNP program with the University of Toledo, which also requires some campus visitation.
|School Name||Program Name||Degree Offered
|Accreditor||Campus Visits Required (Yearly)||Requires RN?||Requires BSN?||Requires MSN?|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Adult Gerontology Primary Care Post-Master's Study Option||Post-Graduate Certificate||AG-PCNP||CCNE||>3||yes||no||yes|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Family Nurse Practitioner||MSN||FNP||CCNE||limited||yes||no||no|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Family Nurse Practitioner Post Master's Study Option||Post-Graduate Certificate||FNP||CCNE||limited||yes||no||yes|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Neonatal Nurse Practitioner||MSN||NNP||CCNE||>3||no||no||no|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Post Master's Study Option||Post-Graduate Certificate||NNP||CCNE||>3||yes||no||yes|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner||MSN||PMHNP||CCNE||>3||no||no||no|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Post Master's Study Option||Post-Graduate Certificate||PMHNP||CCNE||>3||yes||no||yes|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner||MSN||PNP-AC||CCNE||>3||no||no||no|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Post Master's Study Option||Post-Graduate Certificate||PNP-AC||CCNE||>3||yes||no||yes|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner||MSN||PNP-PC||CCNE||>3||no||no||no|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Post Master's Study Option||Post-Graduate Certificate||PNP-PC||CCNE||>3||yes||no||yes|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Women's Health Nurse Practitioner||MSN||WHNP||CCNE||>3||yes||yes||no|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Women's Nurse Practitioner Post Master's Study Option||Post-Graduate Certificate||WHNP||CCNE||>3||yes||no||yes|
|Ohio UniversityAthens , OH||Master's in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration||MSN||FNP||CCNE||0||yes||yes||no|
|University of CincinnatiCincinnati , OH||Adult-Gero Primary Care Nurse Practitioner||MSN||AG-PCNP||CCNE||0||yes||yes||no|
|University of CincinnatiCincinnati , OH||Family Nurse Practitioner||MSN||FNP||CCNE||0||yes||yes||no|
|University of CincinnatiCincinnati , OH||Online Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner||Post-Graduate Certificate||PMHNP||CCNE||1||yes||no||yes|
|University of CincinnatiCincinnati , OH||Women's Health Nurse Practitioner||MSN||WHNP||CCNE||0||yes||yes||no|
|Wright State UniversityDayton , OH||Family Nurse Practitioner||MSN||FNP||CCNE||>3||yes||yes||no|
|Wright State UniversityDayton , OH||Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate Program||Post-Graduate Certificate||FNP||CCNE||>3||yes||no||yes|
|Wright State UniversityDayton , OH||Neonatal Nurse Practitioner||MSN||NNP||CCNE||>3||yes||yes||no|
|Wright State UniversityDayton , OH||Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care||MSN||PNP-AC||CCNE||>3||yes||yes||no|
|Wright State UniversityDayton , OH||Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care Certificate Program||Post-Graduate Certificate||PNP-AC||CCNE||>3||yes||no||yes|
|Wright State UniversityDayton , OH||Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care||MSN||PNP-PC||CCNE||>3||yes||yes||no|
|Wright State UniversityDayton , OH||Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care Certificate Program||Post-Graduate Certificate||PNP-PC||CCNE||>3||yes||no||yes|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Adult/Geronology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner||MSN||AG-ACNP||CCNE||limited||yes||yes||no|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Adult/Geronology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate||Post-Graduate Certificate||AG-ACNP||CCNE||limited||yes||no||yes|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Adult/Geronology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner||DNP||AG-ACNP||CCNE||0||yes||yes||no|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Adult/Geronology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner||MSN||AG-PCNP||CCNE||limited||yes||yes||no|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Adult/Geronology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate||Post-Graduate Certificate||AG-PCNP||CCNE||limited||yes||no||yes|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Adult/Geronology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner||DNP||AG-PCNP||CCNE||1||yes||yes||no|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Family Nurse Practitioner||MSN||FNP||CCNE||limited||yes||yes||no|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate||Post-Graduate Certificate||FNP||CCNE||limited||yes||no||yes|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Family Nurse Practitioner||DNP||FNP||CCNE||>3||yes||yes||yes|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Psychiatric/Mental Health - Family Nurse Practitioner||MSN||FPMHNP||CCNE||limited||yes||yes||no|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Psychiatric Mental Health Family Nurse Practitioner for Adult PMHNP or Adult PMHCNS||Post-Graduate Certificate||FPMHNP||CCNE||limited||yes||no||yes|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Psychiatric Mental Health Family Nurse Practitioner for non-Psychiatric Mental Health APRN||Post-Graduate Certificate||FPMHNP||CCNE||limited||yes||no||yes|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Psychiatric Mental Health Family Nurse Practitioner for PMH Adolescent/Child CNS||Post-Graduate Certificate||FPMHNP||CCNE||limited||yes||no||yes|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||DNP: Psychiatric/Mental Health - Family Nurse Practitioner||DNP||FPMHNP||CCNE||>3||yes||yes||yes|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner||MSN||PNP-PC||CCNE||limited||yes||yes||no|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate||Post-Graduate Certificate||PNP-PC||CCNE||limited||yes||no||yes|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner||DNP||PNP-PC||CCNE||>3||yes||yes||yes|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Women's Health Nurse Practitioner||Post-Graduate Certificate||WHNP||CCNE||limited||yes||yes||yes|
|Kent State UniversityKent , OH||Women's Health Nurse Practitioner||DNP||WHNP||CCNE||>3||yes||yes||yes|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner||MSN||AG-ACNP||CCNE||>3||yes||yes||no|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Adult Gerontology Acute Care Post-Master's Study Option||Post-Graduate Certificate||AG-ACNP||CCNE||>3||yes||no||yes|
|Ohio State UniversityColumbus , OH||Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner||MSN||AG-PCNP||CCNE||>3||yes||yes||no|
Lastly, one of the major challenges facing nurse practitioners today is whether or not they operate in a full practice environment. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (2016) has an interactive map showing the NP practice authority in each US state. According to the OH Nurse Practice Act, OH NPs operate in a reduced practice capacity, or one which “reduces the ability of nurse practitioners to engage in at least one element of NP practice.” Furthermore, “state law requires a regulated collaborative agreement with an outside health discipline in order for the NP to provide patient care or limits the setting or scope of one or more elements of NP practice.” Therefore NPs in OH cannot legally practice to the full extent of their education, despite the mounting evidence that NPs produce quality and cost-effective care.
The Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses (OAAPN) reported that House Bill 216 was signed in January 2017, establishing two licenses for advanced practice nurses: an RN license and a certified nurse practitioner (CNP) license. It set the requirements for the renewal of these licenses, including completing 48 hours of continuing education every two years (12 of which must be in pharmacology). Most importantly, the CNP license gives prescriptive authority without the oversight of a collaborating physician, effective April 2017. It also allows APRNs who are registered with the DEA to prescribe schedule 2 medications to people in assisted living facilities. The standard care arrangement (SCA) has also been updated so it doesn’t require regular reviews.
Overall, while the efforts to expand the practice authority of OH NPs continue, it’s still a political battle and begs the participation of all people affected, including patients, NPs, and community activists.
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