The increasing need for healthcare services across the nation has led to expanding roles for nurse practitioners (NPs). NPs, who must hold a master’s degree to practice, provide many of the same services as physicians, with over 69% delivering primary patient care. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 45% projected job growth from 2019-29 for all NPs. Accelerated NP programs provide the fastest route to employment in this high-paying nursing career.
While the terminology used to describe these degrees and prerequisites may differ by school, accelerated online NP programs take less time and require fewer credits than traditional formats. Accelerated RN-to-NP programs accept applicants who have a bachelor’s in a non-nursing field but hold an RN license. Other schools offer accelerated formats, also known as direct-entry or second-degree programs, for students without a BSN or an RN license.
Before enrolling in any accelerated program, prospective NP students should carefully research admission and credit requirements.
Top Accelerated Nurse Practitioner Programs Online
From its campus in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California operates as a major private research university with around 46,000 undergraduate and graduate students. USC's Nursing Department offers an online MSN family nurse practitioner (FNP) program for registered nurses with a bachelor's degree and at least one year of RN clinical experience.
Full-time FNP students can finish this 49-credit nurse practitioner program in 21 months of study, and part-timers can complete it in 33 months. For clinical hour requirements, students can get placements close to their homes.
This accelerated FNP program uses an evidence-based curriculum with the essential material and training needed for aspiring FNPs to develop their advanced nursing practice. Live online classes cover topics such as pharmacology, quantitative and qualitative analysis, health care management, and more.
Licensed registered nurses can apply by submitting proof of a BSN or MSN, official transcripts showing a 3.0 GPA, and proof of a three-credit course in statistics.
With over 9,000 enrolled students, Sacred Heart University is the second-largest Catholic university in New England. Based on its campus in Fairfield, Connecticut, Sacred Heart's College of Nursing offers an online family nurse practitioner (FNP) program for licensed RNs seeking to increase their health care capabilities.
This online MSN family nurse practitioner program has a three-year completion average, and it features a flexible, asynchronous course structure without losing the benefits of studying on campus. Upon completion of the 42-credit program, students can examine, diagnose, and treat illness.
The curriculum teaches aspiring FNPs to effectively explain health plans, understand drug classifications, and manage patients' drug therapy. It provides the academic foundation for taking the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) certification exams.
Potential FNP candidates must submit proof of a BSN from an accredited college with a GPA of 3.2, official transcripts of previous nursing/academic work, a resume, a statement of goals, and two letters of recommendation.
Operating as a private university in Bourbonnais, Illinois, Olivet Nazarene University serves over 3,500 graduate and undergraduate students. Olivet's School of Nursing has an online MSN family nurse practitioner (FNP) program for BSN-holding registered nurses who desire to be family nurse practitioners.
This accelerated RN-to-NP program only takes two years to complete, and it meets all the educational requirements for advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) Illinois state licensure. To verify other states' compatibility, aspiring FNPs in other states can check the university's federal disclosure website. This 52-credit program also gives students the option of a post-master's nursing education certificate or transformational leadership certificate.
The curriculum includes every aspect of advanced nursing practice diagnostic and treatment plans in multiple settings. It provides courses such as advanced pharmacology and evidence-based practice - project proposal.
Aspiring FNPs can apply by filling out an online application and submitting college transcripts.
DeSales University is a private university with over 3,300 enrolled students at the Center Valley campus and online. It has an accelerated online MSN-nurse practitioner (NP) program with full- or part-time options.
The adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (A-GACNP) program trains active registered nurses to manage health problems in adults and older adults. Full-time students can finish this online NP program in as little as two years. This 50-credit program satisfies all the Common Law of Pennsylvania requirements for graduates to have prescriptive drug authority.
With a blend of theoretical and applied learning, this online NP program's curriculum integrates Christian humanism to help students build productive relationships with acutely ill patients. It teaches advanced concepts of leadership and patient advocacy.
Potential students can apply with proof of a BSN with a minimum 3.0 GPA from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited school, evidence of one year of full-time RN practice within the last three years, and proof of an active registered nurse license in the state of Pennsylvania.
Duquesne University in Pittsburgh operates as a private institution with nine schools of study and nearly 10,000 students. The Duquesne University School of Nursing features an online BSN-to-AGACNP MSN program for licensed registered nurses seeking to provide advanced acute care to chronically ill patients.
With a 42-credit requirement and mostly online coursework, the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP) MSN program prepares aspiring NPs for the ACNPC-AG certification examination with small cohort classes and campus-based faculty mentors. This NP program only takes three years to complete and requires three campus visits.
This MSN concentration program prepares students for national ACNPC-AG certification and licensure. Some of the featured courses are foundations for adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, historical and contemporary foundations for advanced nursing practice, and transitioning to advanced practice nursing.
Admission requirements include a resume, goal statement, two professional references, official transcripts, and a completed application.
Located in Springfield, Missouri, Cox College is a private school with close to 1,000 students. The online MSN-FNP program in Cox College's Nursing School provides comprehensive and convenient means for bachelor-holding RNs to become family nurse practitioners.
The MSN-family practitioner program allows admission in the fall and spring semesters. When nurses in this online FNP complete the required 42 credits and the clinical practicums, they become qualified to take the national FNP certification exam. Full-time students may finish the entire program in 24 months.
The curriculum features instructors with real-world experience who maintain certification in their fields. Students complete all coursework online. The course work covers all FNP related topics from pharmacology to care for patients across the age continuum.
Prospective students must submit proof of a current, unencumbered RN license, a BSN with a 3.0 GPA, official transcripts of all regionally accredited institutions, and a resume.
With a student enrollment of about 36,000, the University of Texas at Arlington is the largest university in North Texas. This Arlington-based university has an MSN Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PNP-PC) program for licensed nurses with a desire to advance their careers.
The MSN PNP-PC program gives nurses the academic and clinical background to provide advanced nursing care to patients from birth to age 21. Students can complete a 41-credit hour program requirements in 29 to 33 months.
The curriculum covers the nurse practitioner's role in advanced health assessment, pediatric primary care clinic practice, and other essential duties. Because this curriculum belongs to a Carnegie Research 1 institution, students can benefit from emphasizing evidence-based research and the theoretical approaches to examination, diagnosis, and treatment. For clinical placement, students can select an eligible preceptor in their area.
Aspiring students must provide a completed online application, official transcripts, and proof of an active RN license. GRE scores are required for students with a GPA below 3.0.
Regis University runs as a private university of around 6,900 students in Denver. Regis' College of Health Services offers an MSN-NNP program that helps licensed nurses to reach the next level in the neonatal field.
Students enter RU's online MSN neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) program to acquire the knowledge and skillset to meet the neonatal field's challenges. This 44-credit program accommodates them by providing synchronous web-based classes that meet once a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST. Completion of the program is possible in five semesters of continuous study.
This accelerated online NP program's curriculum covers the complex issues concerning the care of high-risk newborns. Some of the unique courses are genetics and embryology for the NNP, advanced practice procedures for the high-risk infant, and the child's primary care up to age two.
Candidates can apply directly to the NNP program with a completed online application, official degree bearing transcripts, three professional letters of recommendation, a resume, and an essay.
Located in Mequon, Wisconsin, Concordia University Wisconsin educates over 8,000 students in-person and online. This private university's School of Nursing offers an MSN-NP program for licensed RNs seeking personal and professional growth.
In 2020, graduates of CUW's online master of science nurse practitioner (NP) program had a 98% first-time pass rate on the AANP certification and 100% on the ANCC certification. This accelerated NP program offers two MSN specialties: family nurse practitioner and primary care adult-gerontology nurse practitioner. It requires 41 credit hours and an average of three to four years to complete.
Regardless of the specialty, this accelerated program's curriculum uses a Christian foundation to prepare nurses to apply moral and ethical principles to evidence-based practices. Students can gain higher professional knowledge of pharmacology, pathology, and health policy with a comprehensive course roster that is completely online.
Potential students can apply by submitting a resume, a formal essay, three letters of reference, official transcripts, and an RN license.
Simmons University operates in Boston, Massachusetts as a nonprofit, nonsectarian institution with over 6,600 enrolled students. This university's School of Nursing has a direct-entry RN to MSN-FNP program for licensed RNs with an associate degree or a nursing diploma.
This accelerated online RN to MSN-FNP program can take fewer than 32 months to complete. The Simmons placement team has helped graduates achieve over 6,800 clinical placements from more than 14,000 clinical networks.
This online program's curriculum features interactive synchronous classes, and it has all the material and instruction needed for students to pass their boards. In fact, the board pass rate for the Simmons' online MSN for working RNs program is 96.3%. Also, the program allows nurses to earn 800 hours of clinical experience near their homes.
Aspiring MSN students must provide a completed online application, official transcripts of all previously attended colleges and universities, a personal statement/essay, a letter of recommendation, and a resume.
Stationed in El Paso, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) oversees the education of about 25,000 students. The School of Nursing Graduate Program at TAMU features an MSN-NP degree program for licensed RNs with a BSN.
UTEP's online MSN-nurse practitioner program allows students to pursue the path to national board certification in five concentrations: adult-gerontological acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, a pediatric nurse practitioner with acute focus, a pediatric nurse practitioner with primary care focus, and the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Depending on the concentration, the program can take between 46 to 49 credit hours for completion.
The curriculum matches the requirements for the AACN, APRN, and the NONPF. Complete with simulated lab experiences, the course structure comes in a seven-week format. The core courses include courses such as advanced health assessment and research appraisal/applications.
To apply, nurses must supply official transcripts and a statement of nursing professional purpose. This program does not require GRE scores or letters of recommendation.
With an average annual enrollment of about 2,000 students, Saint Joseph's College of Maine's campus sits off the coast of Maine in Standish. SJC's Online School offers an MSN degree program for practicing RNs and nursing students.
In only two years or so, this online master of science in nursing program prepares students to impact patients' lives as nurse practitioners. Studies can specialize in education, administration, family nurse practitioner (FNP), and adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP) programs.
Except for the AGACNP specialty, this accelerated NP program curriculum does not require an on-campus residency. In any of the specializations, students can get the theoretical foundation and clinical experience needed to address real-life health care situations.
Licensed RNs with a BSN can apply by submitting all official transcripts with a 3.0 GPA, a resume, a career statement, and three references from supervisors, peers, and former instructors.
The University of Indianapolis is a private university based in Indianapolis. More than 5,600 attend on-campus and online. The School of Nursing at UIndy features an MSN-FNP for licensed RNs seeking to become family nurse practitioners.
By increasing the class load to two at a time, students in this online MS in nursing primary care family nurse practitioner (FNP) program can graduate in about three years. The 48-credit-hour accelerated NP program has a hybrid format that is on-campus with an online component.
This program's curriculum includes 15 classes and 720 clinical hours. Completing the curriculum requirement will most likely help graduates add to the 100% pass rate on AANP and FNP Certification Exam.
In their online application, licensed RNs must include a recommendation letter from a supervisor, a resume indicating two years of full-time RN work, an essay concerning goals, and a valid Indiana professional nursing license or an Indiana-eligible license. Applicants must submit official transcripts, as well.
New Orleans is the home of Loyola University New Orleans, a Jesuit college with 4,548 enrolled students. Loyno offers an online MSN program that addresses the growing demand for nurses with advanced degrees and specializations.
The 100% online master of science in nursing degree helps students take advantage of that need by offering three MSN specialization tracks and three degree paths. With a possible two-year completion period, the 48-credit RN-to-MSN FNP combination is an accelerated direct-entry program. The health-care systems administration/leadership and the nurse informatics specialization tracks require 36 credit hours.
The coursework for these online accelerated nurse practitioner programs has an asynchronous instruction format with 720 practicum hours for the FNP track and 180 for the other two tracks. Throughout the period of study, the FNP program requires two on-campus intensive sessions.
To apply, potential NP students must provide transcripts, a statement of purpose, a completed online application, and proof of an unencumbered RN license. Applicants must also supply three references and show 1,800 hours of recent nursing practice or 12 months of full-time employment in the profession.
Located in Tyler, the University of Texas at Tyler has nearly 10,000 students on campus and online. The Graduate College of Nursing and Health Sciences at UT Tyler offers an MSN-PMHNP degree program for licensed nurses with a BSN.
With UT Tyler's MSN-psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program (PMHNP), nurses can get the advanced practice knowledge and skills required for this high-demand field. Students can complete this 49-credit program in two years and qualify for the national certification exam.
Through the 99% online curriculum, students learn to diagnose mental disorders, study the effects of brain structure on mental health, prescribe drugs and therapies for mental illness, and provide holistic mental health care to patients throughout the age continuum.
Candidates must provide three references, a BSN from an accredited college or nursing program, transcripts showing a 3.0 GPA in their final 60 credits, proof of RN licensure in the state of practice, proof of at least a "C" grade in an undergraduate statistics course, and a personal essay.
Applying to an Accelerated Nurse Practitioner Program Online
Admission requirements differ depending on the accelerated program format. Some programs restrict admission to students who already hold a valid RN license or a nursing background, while others accept students with non-nursing undergraduate majors. Students applying to accelerated RN-to-NP programs need to complete prerequisites in anatomy and physiology, nutrition, microbiology, statistics, and human growth and development.
Accelerated NP programs generally require a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing, a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, two to three letters of recommendation, a personal statement describing career goals, and a resume that documents any relevant nursing work experience or volunteer activities in healthcare settings. Because of their quick pace and rigorous format, many online accelerated NP programs require minimum scores on the GRE.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to complete an advanced nurse practitioner program?
The length of time to complete an accelerated NP program depends on the number of prerequisites, the specialization, and enrollment status. The shortest online nurse practitioner program may take as little as one year to complete. For example, students interested in obtaining a family nurse practitioner specialization may pursue a 12-month FNP program.
NPs earn some of the highest salaries in the nursing profession and can expect expanding employment opportunities from 2019-29. Earning an NP degree takes less time and costs less than an M.D. while preparing graduates for many of the same roles and responsibilities.
What can I do as a nurse practitioner?
NPs work with specific patient populations, such as infants, children and adolescents, the elderly, women, and cardiac patients. The majority find positions in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and outpatient care centers, while others work independently. NPs hold prescriptive authority in all fifty states and the District of Columbia; they can order and evaluate medical tests and diagnose and treat health problems.
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.