The 25 Most Affordable Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs

The 25 Most Affordable Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs

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Thanks to an aging American population, the demand for qualified healthcare providers — including nurse practitioners (NPs) — is growing each year. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, there are over 270,000 licensed NPs in the U.S., and an estimated 28,700 new NPs completed their academic programs in the 2017-2018 school year. Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 26% job growth rate for NPs between 2018 to 2028. This figure far outpaces the 7% projected average growth rate across all occupations during that time.

Along with the promise of a growing industry, many registered nurses (RNs) pursue family nurse practitioner (FNP) careers for the salary potential. The AANP found that the mean, full-time base wage for NPs was well over the national average, at $105,903. In comparison, the mean annual wage for all workers nationwide is $50,620.

A growing population demands more FNPs to fulfill the increasing need for healthcare services. RNs and other individuals interested in an advanced practice nursing career should consider taking the steps needed to work in this field. While traditional school is an option, many aspiring FNPs are pursuing online graduate degrees in nursing to achieve their career goals.

Many people associate a graduate degree with high tuition and fees. In reality, there are a handful of online NP programs that offer high-quality education at an affordable cost. Here are the 25 most affordable online FNP programs that deliver a solid education without breaking the bank.

Top 10 Most Affordable Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs

Rank School Location
1 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
2 Villanova University Villanova, PA
3 George Washington University Washington, DC
4 Simmons University Boston, MA
5 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
6 Regis University Denver, CO
7 Samford University Birmingham, AL
8 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA
9 Georgetown University Washington, DC
10 Gwynedd Mercy University Gwynedd Valley, PA
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Top Online Programs

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  1. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    The University of Southern California's (USC) history dates back to the 1870s. This Los Angeles private school awarded 16,412 degrees in June 2019 and educated 48,500 learners in the 2019-2020 school year. Only 11.4% of applicants in Fall 2019 gained admission. USC boasts over 375,000 alumni and conducted nearly $900 million worth of research in 2017-2018. USC is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

    The department of nursing's master of science in nursing focuses on family nurse practitioner concepts. Students must complete 49-51 credits, including online courses addressing behavior, pharmacology, and health assessment. Classes meet online every week and contain no more than 12 learners.

    The program also calls for 784 clinical hours of fieldwork divided among four placements, along with on-campus intensives. Degree-seekers can graduate in under two years.

    The California Board of Registered Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredit this program.

  2. Villanova University
    Location

    Villanova, PA

    The Order of Saint Augustine founded Villanova University in 1842. In the Fall of 2019, 10,848 students from over 40 countries attended this private school. The institution embraces Catholic ideologies and includes six colleges and schools, ranking 46th among national universities and 54th among best value schools.

    The M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing offers a master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner (MSN-FNP) degree. This MSN-FNP requires courses in areas like ethics, research, pathophysiology, and physical assessment, and also clinical classes that include at least 730 hours of fieldwork.

    Each applicant must hold an RN license and possess a minimum of one year's worth of experience. The department also requires a prerequisite statistics class and at least a 3.0 GPA. Transfer students may apply six previously earned credits toward the MSN-FNP. Villanova also offers an online doctor of nursing practice.

    The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits Villanova.

  3. George Washington University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Chartered in 1821, George Washington University (GW) boasts over 26,000 learners from more than 100 countries. The institution includes 10 colleges and schools and ranks on several U.S. News & World Report lists: 42nd for best colleges for veterans, 70th for national universities, and 86th for best value schools.

    The university's master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner (MSN-FNP) degree calls for at least 48 credits in courses related to population health, biostatistics, physiology, and leadership. MSN-FNP students must also earn 700 clinical hours during three courses, along with visiting campus to complete certain exams and the Campus Learning and Skills Intensive.

    Admission requires a valid nursing license and is not open to candidates in North Dakota, Louisiana, or Alabama. Program graduates can pursue the school's hybrid doctor of nursing practice.

    GW holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  4. Simmons University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Simmons University, a private school in Boston founded in 1899, now educates more than 6,000 students with an 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

    Students who pursue the school's master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner (MSN-FNP) degree earn 48 credits in cohort-based courses. The program incorporates synchronous and asynchronous elements by requiring real-time meetings with professors and allowing learners to review course documents at any time. Degree-seekers must also complete at least 672 clinical hours. Graduation from this online FNP program also requires participation in an on-campus weekend experience.

    The department only admits candidates with RN licenses. Each applicant must complete prerequisite statistics and health assessment coursework, along with submitting bachelor's transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, and three recommendation letters.

    This MSN-FNP holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and Simmons University holds accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.

  5. Drexel University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    The Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry began in 1891, later changing its name to Drexel University in 1970. Located in Philadelphia, this private institution's enrollment surpasses 24,000, including 4,669 online learners. Drexel offers more than 200 degrees through 15 schools and colleges and holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    The Department of Advanced Practice Nursing offers a master of science in nursing that emphasizes family nurse practitioner concepts. This program calls for 56 credits, including clinical courses related to families, infants, children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. The department delivers courses in four quarters throughout the year. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits this program.

    Each candidate must possess an RN license and at least one year of relevant experience. Graduates may take family nurse practitioner certification exams through the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board.

  6. Regis University
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Located in Denver, Colorado, Regis University started in 1877 as a Jesuit institution. Today, more than 10,000 students attend this private school, and nearly 80,000 boast alumni status. Current students learn through a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and can choose from 184 degree options.

    Candidates interested in online nurse practitioner programs should consider the school's 48-credit master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner degree. For this master's, learners complete classes in areas like healthcare policy, primary care procedures, and women's health. Students also earn 630 clinical hours, which must include experience with children, families, women, and other adults. The program also includes a comprehensive exam. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits this program.

    Each candidate must hold an RN license and possess a minimum of two years of related fieldwork. An applicant should also maintain prerequisite coursework in statistics, a GPA of at least 2.75, and certification in basic life support through the American Heart Association.

    Regis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. Samford University
    Location

    Birmingham, AL

    Samford University, a private school established in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1841, now educates 5,692 students and has graduated 52,838 learners. Samford boasts Carnegie Classification and accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    The Ida Moffett School of Nursing delivers the master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner (MSN-FNP) program, which calls for 42 credits. The curriculum explores research, pharmacotherapeutics, assessment, and statistics, along with incorporating four clinical courses. These clinical experiences must address care for general adults, children, and women to total at least 660 hours. Students must also complete three on-campus components.

    This MSN-FNP prepares for related certification exams through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board or the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Nearly all MSN-FNP graduates pass these exams.

    Registered nurses may apply but need a bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and prerequisite coursework in health assessment and nursing research.

  8. Gonzaga University
    Location

    Spokane, WA

    Gonzaga University, a private school in Spokane, Washington, first opened its doors in 1887. In the 2018-2019 school year, 7,566 students attended. The university is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and embraces Jesuit traditions. Notable graduates include singer Bing Crosby, past Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas Foley, and the late Judge Frank Burgess. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

    Learners who enroll in the institution's master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner program must complete 47 credits. Online courses last eight weeks and explore concepts such as information technology, health assessment, and pharmacology. Degree-seekers must also satisfy practicum requirements, which include hours in adult, geriatric, adolescent, and infant care. Clinical components must total at least 660 hours. The program also mandates on-campus attendance for six immersions. Candidates can complete all of these requirements in nine terms.

    The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits Gonzaga University's online nurse practitioner programs.

  9. Georgetown University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Georgetown University was established in 1789 and welcomed its first students in 1792. Located in Washington, D.C., this private, nonprofit school reflects Jesuit and Catholic ideologies. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits the university.

    Students interested in nurse practitioner online programs can consider Georgetown's master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner (MSN-FNP) degree but must complete 650 hours of fieldwork and 44 credits. Online courses include synchronous components. MSN-FNP students must also complete two on-campus experiences. Each applicant must hold an RN license. The MSN-FNP includes accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

    Full-time students can graduate in 19 months, while part-time learners may need 27 months. Graduates can sit for national certification exams through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board or the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

  10. Gwynedd Mercy University
    Location

    Gwynedd Valley, PA

    The Sisters of Mercy of Merion launched Gwynedd Mercy University (GMercyU) in 1948. The school continues to embrace Catholic traditions. More than 2,000 undergraduate students attended GMercyU in Fall 2018, and over 22,000 individuals have graduated from this private Pennsylvania institution. University learners can benefit from a 10-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and choose from over 40 programs. The university holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    Candidates can pursue the school's hybrid master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner (MSN-FNP) degree. The MSN-FNP requires 48 credits and explores topics like pharmacology, research, and health policy. Learners must also earn 720 clinical hours and graduate in two years with full-time study. Part-time learners may need as many as five years to complete the program. The MSN-FNP holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

    Graduates can apply for admission into GMercyU's online doctor of nursing practice. The school also offers an online certificate in healthcare administration for further professional credentials.

Methodology

Read about our ranking methodology here.

Scholarships for Nurse Practitioners

Qualifying students can make their online FNP programs even more affordable by applying for scholarships, including the five awards listed below. Prospective FNP students with questions about funding their education should consult this FAQ page.

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF NURSE PRACTITIONERS SCHOLARSHIPS

Who Can Apply: These awards are open to licensed RNs pursuing advanced nursing practice degrees through accredited programs. Candidates submit applications online, along with academic records and professional references. 

Amount: $2,500 to $5,000

LAURA D. SMITH NATIONAL STUDENT NURSES’ ASSOCIATION SCHOLARSHIP

Who Can Apply: This award provides funding for master’s and doctoral students who joined the National Student Nurses’ Association as undergraduates, and who possess high-level nursing service and scholarship credentials. 

Amount: Varies

NURSE EDUCATIONAL FUNDS, INC., SCHOLARSHIP

Who Can Apply: Students enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs accredited by the Commission for Nursing Accreditation or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education may apply for this scholarship. Applicants are selected based on their record of academic excellence and potential to contribute to the profession. 

Amount: Variable

NURSE PRACTITIONER HEALTH FOUNDATION/PROCTER & GAMBLE ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP IN COMMUNITY SERVICE

Who Can Apply: This award supports NP graduate students who have positively impacted their community, patient care, or school. Application materials include a personal statement discussing the candidate’s commitment to underserved/multicultural patient care. 

Amount: $1,000

TYLENOL FUTURE CARE SCHOLARSHIP

Who Can Apply: Nursing graduate students can apply for these awards, which help cover tuition, fees, books, and supplies. Successful applicants demonstrate academic excellence, community service, leadership, and dedication to patient care. 

Amount: $5,000 to $10,000

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Advertisement nursepractitionerschools.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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