Online NP Programs in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

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Whether you are a practicing Registered Nurse in Maryland or Washington, D.C., or you are a college student looking towards your future, becoming a nurse practitioner can be an exciting and rewarding path. Before you can become a nurse practitioner, you must be sure that you are a truly dedicated to the idea because it does require significant formal education as well as hands on training.

Unlike RNs, nurse practitioners (or NPs) must complete an accredited graduate level program that culminates in either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Both of these paths require significant time and effort. However, once an NP is able to begin independent practice, he or she can usually make more money and enjoy significant autonomy in Maryland or the District of Columbia. Nurse practitioners fill a vital role in the U.S. healthcare system and are likely to continue to be in high demand for many years.

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Maryland

As with most careers, there are a few different ways that someone can become a nurse practitioner. The right path for any individual will depend on their current experience level as well as how much time they have to devote to training. The most common path to becoming a nurse practitioner in either Maryland or Washington, D.C. is outlined below.

  • 1
    STEP 1: Earn an Undergraduate Degree (duration: 2 – 4 years)

    One prerequisite for all nurse practitioners is an undergraduate degree in nursing. The sooner a prospective NP can earn this degree the better. Initial RN licensure requires only an Associate’s Degree in nursing, which can be completed in 2 years. However, a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree is required by most NP programs, and BSN-to-MSN NP programs tend to require less time to complete than do ADN-to-MSN bridge NP programs. Students applying to either type of NP program should ensure their program has earned accreditation from a recognized body such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission For Education in Nursing (ACEN), as this can impact future licensure prospects.

  • 2
    STEP 2: Apply for RN Licensure (duration: less than 1 year)

    Students who successfully complete an undergraduate nursing program are eligible to apply for their Registered Nurse licensure in Maryland or Washington. New nurses must first successfully pass the NCLEX-RN exam, submit to a background check, and submit a completed application to the requisite Board of Nursing. In Maryland, this is the Maryland Board of Nursing while in Washington, D.C., applications will go to the D.C. Department of Health. Successful applicants will be able to begin to practice as a registered nurse.

    Because Maryland is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, RNs from 25 participating states are eligible to work in Maryland, meaning that nurses do not necessarily need to complete their undergraduate work in Maryland in order to work there later. Washington, D.C. is not a member of the NLC.

  • 3
    STEP 3: Earn a Graduate Degree (duration: 2 – 4 years)

    To continue down the path to becoming a nurse practitioner, RNs must complete further formal training by way of a graduate program in the form of either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The duration of these programs can vary depending on whether the nurse is available to attend full time, as well as which degree the nurse pursues.

    In Maryland, students must attend a program that has been approved by the Board of Nursing. A current list of approved programs is available from the Board of Nursing. Those who attend schools that are not listed may experience delays in licensure since the school will have to submit the program for Board approval.

  • 4
    STEP 4: Obtain Specialty Certification Credential (duration: Less Than 1 Year)

    Unlike RNs, nurse practitioners must identify a specialty focus prior to beginning practice. Indeed, each nurse practitioner program, whether online or on-campus, will focus on a specific patient population. Before earning a nurse practitioner license, nurses must earn a specialty credential from a Maryland approved credentialing body, which include:

    • American Nurses Credentialing Center
    • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
    • American Association of Critical Care Nurses
    • National Certification Corporation
    • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

    Earning a credential from one of these organizations will generally include submitting transcripts from a nurse practitioner program and sitting for an exam focused on that specialty. The time required to receive a final credential will depend on the individual board.

  • 5
    STEP 5: Apply for Nurse Practitioner Certification (duration: Less than 1 Year)

    Nurse Practitioner Certification for the state of Maryland requires submitting a completed application along with a $50 non-refundable fee. The application includes standard information including information about the school the applicant attended, specialty credential earned, and current RN license status.

    The Maryland certification does have one unique requirement in that applicants must identify a mentor who has agreed to work with them for the first 18 months of their licensure. The mentor must be either a practicing nurse practitioner or a licensed physician. This requirement does not exist for Washington, D.C.

Admissions Requirements for Maryland Online NP Programs

  • Application Process

    The application process for online NP programs is similar to that of on-campus graduate programs. Applicants should expect submit an application along with transcripts from their undergraduate programs, a professional resume (or CV), proof of current RN licensure, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

  • GPA + Test Scores

    Although most NP programs do not require the GRE, some do so it is important for potential applicants to investigate the requirements for their specific program so that they can prepare for that test. Many of the online NP programs in Washington, D.C. also have minimum GPA requirements, which range from 3.0 to 3.3 for undergraduate work.

  • Other Common Admissions Requirements

    Applications for online NP programs can be submitted online. Many programs have one or two deadlines during the year for fall and spring admission, although some programs also feature rolling admissions meaning nurses can apply at any time during the year.

Maryland Online Program Accreditation

  • In order for Maryland NP program graduates to be eligible for licensure, they must graduate from a program that is accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). It should be noted that the ACEN was formerly known as the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).

    In addition to accreditation, nurse practitioner programs must be explicitly approved by the Maryland Board of Nursing. These programs must show evidence of courses covering the following subjects:

    • Advanced Pharmacology
    • Advanced Pathophysiology
    • Advanced Physical Assessment

Online Nurse Practitioner Schools Based in MD or DC

  • University of MarylandCampus Location: College Park, MD

    Unfortunately there is no completely online program for nurse practitioners at the University of Maryland. However, those interested in pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree are able to complete their core courses online.

  • George Washington University (GWU)Campus Location: Washington, DC

    Graduates of George Washington University online NP programs are eligible to apply for licensure in Maryland as well as Washington, DC and select counties in Virginia. GWU online nurse practitioner programs include MSN, DNP, and post-master’s certificate programs in the Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care specialties.

  • Georgetown UniversityCampus Location: Flint, MI

    Another prestigious Washington, DC university, Georgetown offers online MSN programs in four different specialties:

    • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care
    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Nurse Midwife/Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
    • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

    The program is accredited by the CCNE and is ranked highly (in the top 30) by the U.S. News and World Report.

    Meet The Professors

    Karen L. McCrea

    Dr. Karen McCrea is an Assistant Professor in the Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Georgetown. Her research interests include the healthcare needs of the Amish population and she has contributed to the book "Introduction to quality and safety education for nurses."

    Kelley M. Anderson

    Dr. Kelley M. Anderson is an Assistant Professor at Georgetown where she has taught since 2007. She also served as Assistant Program Director from 2011 to 2013. Dr. Anderson helped to develop one of the first curriculums for the distance learning program.

  • Other Approved Online NP Programs for Maryland Nurses

    Although online education options for aspiring nurse practitioners in Maryland are limited, there are some programs offered by universities located outside of the state that have been approved for Maryland nurses to attend. The list below is not complete (the Maryland Board of Nursing has a more complete list), but select approved programs include:

    • Loyola University, Chicago
    • Chamberlain College of Nursing
    • Duke University Medical Center
    • Bradley University
    • Simmons College

Campus Visitation Requirements for Online Programs in Maryland and Washington, DC

Online nurse practitioner programs do not uniformly report campus visitation requirements. In fact, specific campus visitation requirements may change depending on the year and the course instructors. Where possible, the below chart lists exact requirements. Where the word "limited" is used, specific data is not available, but general language indicates a limited number of required visits.

Complete List Of Online NP Programs In Maryland & DC

Select All
Post-Master Certificate
Select All
Catholic University of America
Washington, DC
MSN - Family Nurse PractitionerMSNFNPNoBSNNo GRE Required
Georgetown University
Washington, DC
MS - Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP)MSNAGNPNoBSNNo GRE Required
Georgetown University
Washington, DC
MS - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)MSNFNPNoBSNNo GRE Required
Georgetown University
Washington, DC
MS - Nurse-Midwifery/Women's Health Nurse PractitionerMSNWHNPNoBSNNo GRE Required
Georgetown University
Washington, DC
MS - Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)MSNWHNPNoBSNNo GRE Required
John Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD
Post Graduate Certificate - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse PractitionerPost-Master CertificatePMHNPYesMSNNo GRE Required
The George Washington University
Washington, DC
Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (AG-ACNP specialty)DNPAGNPNoBSNNo GRE Required
The George Washington University
Washington, DC
Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (AG-PCNP specialty)DNPAGNPNoBSNNo GRE Required
The George Washington University
Washington, DC
Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (FNP specialty)DNPFNPNoBSNNo GRE Required
The George Washington University
Washington, DC
MSN - Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)MSNAGNPNoBSNNo GRE Required
The George Washington University
Washington, DC
MSN - Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse PractitionerMSNAGNPNoBachelor's (Non-Nursing)No GRE Required
The George Washington University
Washington, DC
MSN - Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (RN to BSN/MSN)MSNAGNPNoADNNo GRE Required
The George Washington University
Washington, DC
MSN - Family Nurse PractitionerMSNFNPNoBachelor's (Non-Nursing)No GRE Required
The George Washington University
Washington, DC
MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner (RN to BSN/MSN)MSNFNPNoADNNo GRE Required
The George Washington University
Washington, DC
Post-Graduate APRN Certificate - AGPCNPPost-Master CertificateAGNPNoMSNNo GRE Required
The George Washington University
Washington, DC
Post-Graduate APRN Certificate - FNPPost-Master CertificateFNPNoMSNNo GRE Required

Preceptorships & Licensure

Though online education can prepare a nurse for the academic requirements of becoming a nurse practitioner, hands-on clinical training is also an essential piece of the puzzle. The training associated with nurse practitioner programs is known as a preceptorship and involves a student working closely with a nurse practitioner in their chosen specialty.


After graduating from an NP program and completing a national certification exam in his or her chosen specialty, a nurse is eligible to apply for his or her nurse practitioner certification. Certified nurse practitioners in both Maryland and Washington, DC are some of the most independent in the country. In addition to standard nursing authority, nurse practitioners in both regions are able to:

  • Prescribe medications
  • Sign handicap placards
  • Authorize worker’s compensation claims
  • Sign death certificates
  • Operate autonomously
  • Order physical therapy
  • Act as primary care providers


This means that becoming a nurse practitioner in either Maryland or Washington, DC is a tremendous opportunity for nurses who want to be able to practice autonomously and make a significant healthcare contribution.

Online NP Programs for DC Nurses

Georgetown University

Online MS - FNP

Online MS - AG-ACNP

Online MS - WHNP

Online MS - Nurse-Midwifery

Simmons College

Online RN to MSN - FNP

Online Bachelor's to MSN - FNP

Online BSN to MSN - FNP