Nurse practitioners (NPs) work in one of the fastest-growing professions in the country. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), about 290,000 nurse practitioners currently hold licensure in the industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of jobs for NPs could grow by 45% between 2019 and 2029. In comparison, the BLS projects a nationwide job growth rate of 3.7%.
NPs can pursue many different specialties, and about two-thirds of aspiring nurse practitioners earn certification as family nurse practitioners (FNPs), according to AANP data. FNPs offer primary healthcare services to patients of all ages. They play a pivotal role in their patients’ lives, addressing overall wellness and a wide variety of injuries and illnesses.
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Prospective FNP students can take advantage of several pathways to becoming an FNP, including master’s programs, post-graduate certificate programs, and doctoral programs. Many registered nurses (RNs) become FNPs by earning a master of science in nursing (MSN).
MSN programs prepare registered nurses to take on the added responsibilities of nurse practitioners, including prescribing medication. MSN programs typically last about two years, although accelerated programs allow students to graduate more quickly.
Online family nurse practitioner programs are particularly suited for busy RNs, and offer a degree of flexibility that on-campus programs do not. Students who choose to pursue an online program can typically take advantage of asynchronous coursework and customizable schedules.
UTA's MSN-family nurse practitioner online program takes 31-36 months to complete and prepares graduates for evidence-based primary practice. The 46-credit hour curriculum includes coursework in advanced research, clinical management, diagnostics, health assessment, and pharmacology.
Distance learners fulfill their clinical requirements at healthcare facilities in their local communities and access their asynchronous courses 24/7. Students pay tuition on a per-course basis. UTA provides online learners with services like advising, academic coaching, and tutoring.
Admission requirements include an RN license, a bachelor of science in nursing with a 3.0 GPA, RN experience, and completed undergraduate coursework in statistics and/or research. Applicants submit transcripts, a statement of purpose or professional history, and letters of recommendation. Students with GPAs lower than 3.0 must provide GRE scores.
UTA holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Birmingham, Alabama-based Samford offers an MSN family nurse practitioner program online that includes just three campus visits and precepted clinical experiences near students' homes. Samford boasts a pass rate at or near 100% on the national FNP certification exam. MSN graduates can enter the university's doctor of nursing practice program without reapplying.
Applicants must hold an RN license and a bachelor of science in nursing from an accredited program with a 3.0 GPA. Admission requires a video submission, undergraduate coursework in health assessment and nursing research, three recommendation letters, a resume, and a personal statement.
The two-year curriculum covers advanced physiology and pathophysiology, statistics for advanced practice nurses, population health and policy, and care of family patient populations.
Samford is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MSN nursing programs hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Peoria, Illinois' Bradley counts an MSN-family nurse practitioner degree among its online nurse practitioner programs. The program does not require campus attendance, and students can complete their clinical hours at sites near their homes. The 50-59 credit curriculum includes courses in advanced health assessment, evidence-based practice, healthcare policy, and nursing theories, along with a primary care immersion.
Bradley allows BSN-holders and students with ADNs, diplomas, and non-nursing bachelor's degrees to start at different points in the program. Most graduate in 2-3 years.
Candidates must possess an RN license, a 3.0 GPA, and the ability to arrange a clinical site and preceptor. Applicants with a non-nursing bachelor's degree must complete basic nursing courses. Conditional admission may be offered to candidates with lower GPAs. Bradley also requires an admission essay, two recommendation letters, and a resume.
Bradley is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the FNP program by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
MSU's online family nurse practitioner program culminates in an MSN in primary care. The 49-credit curriculum can be completed on a full- or part-time basis. Courses cover topics like care of the aging population, childbearing and women's health, pediatrics, and population health and epidemiology. Distance learners benefit from career services, including career planning, resume and interview preparation, and internship placement.
Prospective students must hold an RN license with at least one year of clinical RN experience, show completion of a college-level descriptive statistics course, and submit three professional references. Candidates must also undergo criminal background checks and comply with immunization specifications. The MSU graduate school requests a cover letter/goal statement, resume, and transcripts showing a 3.0 GPA or higher.
Based in Morehead, Kentucky, MSU holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Located in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, DeSales offers an online MSN as a family/across the lifespan nurse practitioner with two-year full-time or three-year part-time enrollment options. DeSales coordinates clinical placements in the Lehigh Valley area and beyond. The school's 60-hour advanced pharmacology class exceeds the minimum requirement to obtain prescriptive authority in Pennsylvania.
Course delivery is available in an asynchronous format, in which students set their own schedules; a synchronous format with set class times; and a hybrid option.
Applicants must hold an RN license and a bachelor of science in nursing with a 3.0 GPA. They should also provide proof of one year of full-time nursing experience within the prior three years, two recommendation letters, a resume, and a personal statement. Candidates with GPAs below 3.0 must provide GRE or MAT scores.
DeSales holds regional accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and nursing program accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Located in College Station, Texas A&M offers an MSN-family nurse practitioner track that prepares graduates to become primary care providers. Coursework is delivered primarily online, and on-campus requirements include a new student conference, 45 hours of clinical work in advanced health assessment, and diagnostics and procedures and primary care courses. Precepted clinical experiences may be available in students' communities.
The 48-credit full- or part-time curriculum also covers leadership and policy, primary care of families, healthcare quality and improvement, and health informatics.
Applicants must be licensed RNs residing in Texas. Other admission requirements include a "C" in undergraduate elementary statistics, an admission essay, three professional or academic references, 1-2 years of baccalaureate RN work, and a background in leadership and service. The selection committee may invite candidates to interview.
Texas A&M is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The FNP program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
At Boston-based Simmons, working RNs can earn an online MSN-family nurse practitioner degree on a full- or part-time basis. The 68-credit FNP program includes 800 hours of clinical experience and takes 32 months to complete. Remote course delivery follows an interactive live format. In addition to core courses in pathophysiology, pharmacology, and physical assessment, students complete a scholarly research project.
Simmons' FNP program does not require a bachelor of science in nursing. Instead, applicants need an associate degree or diploma in nursing and an RN license. Other requirements include academic transcripts evidencing a non-nursing bachelor's degree, a 3.0 GPA, and prior coursework in sciences, statistics, and health assessment. Applicants should also provide three letters of recommendations and a personal statement.
Simmons boasts a 96% pass rate on national board certification exams and
holds regional accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education, along with programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
UCM houses one of the most affordable online nurse practitioner programs with a family nurse practitioner emphasis. The 44-credit FNP track leads to an MSN degree and covers research methods, nursing theories, family and population health, and advanced practice nursing topics. Students complete a capstone clinical experience at a Missouri healthcare site.
The FNP program focuses on advanced practice nursing and clinical research within the family health context. UCM encourages part-time enrollment, defined as six or fewer hours in the fall and spring and three or fewer in the summer. Learners may also study full-time.
Prospective students need a bachelor's degree in nursing with a 3.0 GPA and an RN license with at least a year of experience. Applicants must submit their immunization records and current CPR certification.
Warrensburg, Missouri's UCM is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Maryville lists an online family nurse practitioner specialty track among its MSN-level nursing programs. Students can access asynchronous course materials entirely online and on their own schedules, completing clinicals at healthcare settings in their home communities. Graduates emerge with new perspectives on evidence-based practice, holistic health, and leadership.
Remote learners take core courses in health promotion and disease prevention, theoretical foundation of nursing practice, and professional role development, along with FNP courses exploring patient populations like adult-gerontology and pediatrics. Students can graduate in 2-3 years, depending on enrollment status.
The FNP program admits practicing RNs with bachelor of science in nursing degrees. Graduate admissions requires transcripts showing a 3.0 GPA and a personal statement.
Maryville and its FNP school of nursing program boast accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Rochester, Minnesota's WSU offers a family nurse practitioner program that develops advanced practice nurses skilled in evidence-based practice and nursing leadership. FNP candidates earn a doctor of nursing practice in 2-4 years, depending on whether they enroll with a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing.
The hybrid FNP concentration requires in-person attendance for clinical hours and preparation for differential diagnosis and clinical coursework. Winona tries to arrange clinicals within 50 miles of students' homes.
Admission requires a baccalaureate degree in nursing, a 3.0 GPA, and undergraduate coursework in physical assessment, nursing research, and statistics. Applicants with lower GPAs may be offered provisional admission. Winona also requires an RN license and recommends that candidates possess at least a year of clinical nursing experience. Required submission materials include three references and a statement of professional goals.
WSU maintains regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The nursing programs hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Students can earn their MSN-family nurse practitioner degree online at this Texas institution. The 49-credit FNP curriculum features courses in informatics and healthcare technology for advanced nursing, pharmacotherapeutics, research foundations, and clinical skills. Most class delivery follows an asynchronous format, in which learners access course materials on their own schedules, and students must pass a comprehensive written exam to graduate.
Admission requires a bachelor of science in nursing from an accredited program and a 3.0 GPA, along with an RN license and one year of recent clinical nursing experience. Applicants should submit transcripts showing at least a "C" in undergraduate statistics, three references, a personal statement, and a resume. Admitted students must provide proof of CPR certification, state-mandated immunizations, and health insurance, and undergo a background check.
ASU holds regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Loyola's MSN-family nurse practitioner track includes 48 credits of entirely online courses and 720 clinical practicum hours. Two degree paths accommodate FNP program applicants: an accelerated RN-to-MSN for RNs with non-nursing bachelor's degree and an MSN program for those with a bachelor of science in nursing. Admission requires an RN license, transcripts, a statement of purpose, three references, and a resume demonstrating 1,800 hours of recent nursing practice.
While candidates complete coursework remotely, practicum hours must be logged in person at healthcare facilities near students' homes. Distance learners must also attend two on-campus intensives. Core courses include primary care of adults, gerontology, pediatrics, and women's health, while electives include advanced statistics and data management and scientific writing.
Loyola boasts accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The FNP school of nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Fostering working RNs' professional advancement, King's online master of science in nursing features a pediatric nurse practitioner specialization. Cohorts of remote learners complete 45 semester hours, including pediatric specialization coursework and core classes in global health awareness, health informatics, research design, and social perspectives on health. Students also log 600 on-site clinical practicum hours.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program and a Tennessee RN license, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and demonstrate a "C" or better in undergraduate statistics, nursing research/evidence-based practice, health assessment, and pathophysiology. Qualified BSN students at King can secure guaranteed admission to the MSN program. King offers a variety of funding options.
King is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The online NP program maintains accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
MCPHS' MSN-family nurse practitioner program can be completed in 24 months of part-time study. The FNP program combines online coursework with in-person assessments and clinical work performed in students' own communities. Students come to the Worcester, Massachusetts, campus three times to attend orientation, a second-year residency, and a final residency that coincides with graduation.
Courses include family primary care; survey of telemedicine; scholarship for advanced nursing; and human diversity, social, and policy issues. Interactive remote learning follows a cohort model and provides opportunities for online engagement with classmates. MCPHS boasts a 91% pass rate on FNP board certification exams.
Admission requires a bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school, a 3.0 GPA, an RN license, transcripts, and a professional letter of recommendation.
In addition to MCPHS's regional accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education, the MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, AIC offers affordable online nurse practitioner programs that allow distance learners to graduate in three years. AIC's master of science in nursing includes a family nurse practitioner concentration that prepares RNs for careers as advanced practice nurses.
The 46-credit FNP concentration features online courses in the art and science of advanced nursing, primary care clinical management, and advanced practice capstones. On site clinical hours train FNPs to diagnose and manage health problems. AIC offers a free orientation course for remote students, along with online academic, library, and tech support.
Admission prerequisites include a baccalaureate degree, an active RN license, and a 3.0 GPA. RNs with lower GPAs may be invited to interview and offered conditional admission. Applicants submit transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
AIC holds regional accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education and nursing programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Comprising 44 course credit hours and 630 hours of mentored clinical rotations, Regis' online MSN-neonatal nurse practitioner program can be completed in five semesters. Synchronous courses meet online once a week and include clinical management of the high risk infant, genetics and embryology for the NNP, and primary care of children up to age two. Regis requires in-person attendance for clinicals at neonatal intensive care units and two intensive simulations and skills experiences at the university's Denver campus.
Regis accepts applications from licensed RNs with a bachelor of science in nursing. Additional prerequisites include a 2.75 GPA, a grade of "C" in undergraduate statistics, and AHA Basic Life Support certification. The program prefers candidates with two years of RN work in a Level III or IV NICU.
Regis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The online NP program holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Designed for working RNs, A&M-Corpus Christi's 49-credit online family nurse practitioner MSN degree can be completed part time. The online FNP program admits students in the fall only and requires a Texas RN license, transcripts, a resume, a personal essay, and three references.
The curriculum explores the science of nursing, finance for the nurse practitioner, wellness and health promotion, and management of acute and chronic illness. Graduation requires a capstone course or a thesis. Clinical hours take place at healthcare facilities in students' communities whenever possible.
Campus services like advising, academic support, and technical help are available online. A&M-Corpus Christi also offers an online student orientation.
A&M-Corpus Christi boasts regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and MSN programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Lubbock-based TTUHSC's online offerings include an MSN-family nurse practitioner program. The 48-credit curriculum prepares graduates to take on primary care provider roles in rural healthcare settings. Class topics include population health essentials for advanced nursing practice, mental health in primary care, and foundations of the well child.
The program requires periodic travel to campus for skills labs and in-person attendance for clinical experiences.
Applicants must hold a bachelor of science in nursing and an RN license, along with one year of RN work experience. Application materials include a personal statement, three reference letters, and transcripts showing a 3.0 GPA and a "C" grade in both undergraduate research and statistics. TTUHSC prefers candidates with nursing leadership and diversity in work or life experience.
TTUHSC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MSN programs maintain Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accreditation.
NAU's online family nurse practitioner MSN tailors its program to RNs with bachelor of science in nursing and broad-based nursing experience. Graduates must complete 48 units of coursework with a 3.0 GPA and complete a clinical experience and a thesis or research project. Required classes include theoretical foundations, applied pathophysiology for advance practice nurses, advanced principles of evidence-based practice, and family nursing theory and practice.
Prospective students should possess an RN license, an undergraduate 3.0 GPA, three recommendation letters, and responses to essay questions. Transcripts must show a "C" in undergraduate statistics and a "B" in both nursing research and public health nursing.
NAU's affordable online FNP program allows degree completion while working full time and emphasizes connections with faculty and classmates. Tuition rates correspond to credit hours. Located in Flagstaff, NAU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
This Pittsburgh institution's online MSN-family nurse practitioner program touts a 100% pass rate on the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board exam for the past three years. Students complete coursework online, visiting the campus only twice, and work with a faculty mentor. The three-year program also includes 700 clinical hours, which are completed on site.
The 42-credit curriculum allows students to add a concentration to their FNP school of nursing program, offering tracks in forensic nursing, transcultural nursing, and nursing education and faculty. Admission prerequisites consist of a bachelor of science in nursing with a 3.0 GPA, an RN license with a year of full-time work experience, and a "C" in undergraduate statistics. Applicants should submit a resume, a professional goal statement, two references, and official transcripts.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits Duquesne, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits the family nurse practitioner program.
Based in Standish, Maine, SJC offers a two- to- four-year master of science in nursing with a family/individual across the lifespan nurse practitioner specialization. FNP students can also choose from administration and education tracks.
Online courses include the advanced practice nurse as provider, family theory: young and middle age adult, and women's health theory and practice. Experiential training consists of a mandatory on-campus skills session, clinical rotations, a primary care practicum, and a capstone.
Applicants must hold a bachelor of science in nursing with a 3.0 GPA and an RN license. Transcripts must show recent completion of undergraduate statistics and health assessment with grades of "B" or better. Required materials include a resume, career statement, and three references. SJC offers 10% tuition discounts and employer reimbursement programs.
The New England Commission of Higher Education confers regional accreditation on SJC, and the FNP program maintains Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accreditation.
Distance learners in UTEP's affordable online nurse practitioner program can pursue an MSN with a primary care focus. The 49-credit curriculum features courses in advanced FNP diagnostics, advanced pathophysiology, and pharmacotherapeutics, along with 775 clinical hours. FNP students may be asked to come to campus up to three times each semester, and should be prepared to travel 200 miles or more for clinical work.
Designed for working professionals, online course delivery mixes asynchronous class material with scheduled sessions that include practicums. Faculty offer virtual office hours.
Admission requirements include an RN license and nursing experience, official transcripts, a statement of professional purpose, and a resume. UTEP invites top candidates to interview. The program does not require GRE scores or recommendation letters.
UTEP holds institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Iowa's Morningside prepares family primary care nurse practitioners as part of its MSN program. FNP students complete 47 credits of online coursework, 600 hours of clinical and practicum experiences, three on site residencies, and an evidence-based capstone. Courses cover nutrition in disease management, advanced role development, and healthcare policy and economics, along with concepts in pediatric and adult primary care.
Remote learners can graduate in 2-3 years, depending on if they choose a full- or part-time enrollment status. Flexible courses allow students to work at their own pace according to their schedules.
Morningside's nursing school accepts applications from candidates with a bachelor of science in nursing and a 3.0 GPA. Applicants must hold RN licensure in Iowa or another nurse licensure compact state. In addition, prospective students should submit basic cardiac life support certification, official transcripts, a professional goal essay, and two recommendation letters.
Morningside is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The nursing school maintains accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Top-ranked GW offers an online MSN-family nurse practitioner program. Students at the Washington, D.C.-based school of nursing must log 700 hours of in-person clinical experience at a healthcare facility with a preceptor of their own choosing.
A hybrid course delivery format combines online courses with on-campus testing, intensives, simulation center training, and a culminating skills assessment event. The 48-credit curriculum emphasizes assessment, diagnostic reasoning, and patient management skills. Coursework covers topics in primary care; nursing leadership; and practice, theory, and research.
To be considered for admission, candidates need a bachelor of science from an accredited program with a 3.0 GPA and an RN license. Admission materials include official transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education fully accredits GW, and the FNP school of nursing program holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Georgia College's family nurse practitioner concentration culminates in an MSN degree. Coursework is presented online, with on-campus attendance required for immersion weeks, labs, and guest lectures. Clinical rotations total 630 hours and take place at Georgia healthcare facilities near students' homes.
Online courses comprise 40 credits of asynchronous and synchronous learning. Classes include advanced nursing assessment, perspectives of advanced nursing practice, ensuring healthcare safety and quality, and primary care of adults, women, children, and adolescents.
Applicants need a baccalaureate degree in nursing, a GPA of 2.75, and a Georgia RN license. Prospective students must complete an interview and writing exercise, and submit three reference letters, official transcripts, a resume, and a statement of professional goals. Distance learners must be proficient in Microsoft Office.
Georgia College and its nursing school are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Applying to an Online FNP Program
Just like any other field, admission requirements for FNP programs vary depending on the school and program type. Generally speaking, prospective MSN students must possess an undergraduate nursing degree and an RN license. Many schools offer RN-to-NP programs, which allow nurses who hold an associate degree to move straight into their master’s degree.
Schools usually set minimum undergraduate GPA requirements ranging from 2.0-3.0. Some programs require applicants to hold at least 1-2 years of nursing experience, and others allow students to enroll directly after graduating with their bachelor’s degree.
Prospective students typically need to submit their undergraduate transcripts and letters of recommendation from former professors. They may need to submit GRE scores, but many schools now bypass this requirement in favor of previous work experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can family nurse practitioners prescribe medication?
Yes; however, family nurse practitioners’ level of prescriptive authority varies depending on the state. In about half the states, FNPs can prescribe with full authority, which means they do not need physician approval or supervision. Other states fall under the “reduced practice authority” category, which means FNPs need some sort of collaborative agreement with a physician to prescribe medication.
What is accreditation, and why is it important?
Accreditation essentially ensures that academic programs equip their students with a quality education. If you find programs without accreditation, this should register as a red flag. Especially important for healthcare professionals, licensure guidelines require applicants to hold accredited degrees. Look for programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Is a nurse practitioner a good job?
Nurse practitioners perform essential, fulfilling work in a growing industry. BLS data shows that nurse practitioners earned a mean income of $111,840 in 2019, about double the average annual income in the nation. Plus, as the healthcare industry grows, NPs benefit from a job growth rate much faster than the national average, with jobs protected to grow by 45% from 2019-29.
What can I do as a family nurse practitioner?
As a family nurse practitioner, you can provide medical assessments and treatments to people of all ages. FNPs ensure the long-term health of their patients, including performing physical exams and diagnostic tests, prescribing medications, and treating injuries and illnesses. You can work in several different types of healthcare facilities, like hospitals, community health centers, and university clinics.
Many students prefer online nursing schools and programs, which offer learners considerably more flexibility and autonomy than traditional, on-campus programs. This list outlines some of the best online nursing programs.