Home > Top 25 Online Nurse Practitioner Master’s Degrees for 2018

Top 25 Online Nurse Practitioner Master’s Degrees for 2018

While registered nurses are qualified to carry out a variety of patient care plans, nurses with advanced training are often needed to help patients manage more acute and chronic health issues. If you are a current nursing professional who wants to take your career to the next level, then consider enrolling in one of the many online nurse practitioner programs. Earning this degree prepares you to diagnose illnesses, coordinate patient care plans, and act as an advocate for patients and healthcare providers.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there will be phenomenal growth for nurse practitioners over the next several years. A 31% surge in this occupation is projected by 2026, which amounts to 64,000 jobs. This is nearly five times more than the projected growth rate for all other occupations. The upswing is due largely to an aging population and a greater demand for preventive care.

What are the Best Online Nurse Practitioner Master’s Degree Programs?

1

George Washington UniversityWashington, DC

Degree Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 46%
Default Rate 1%
Retention Rate 94%
Graduation Rate 83%
Online Enrollment 14%

Through its online family nurse practitioner programs, George Washington University in Washington, D.C. prepares registered nurses for careers in primary care for all ages. Students are required to attend an on-campus course to learn how to perform a complete history and physical examination. Near the end of the final semester, students come to campus to complete their exams. The 48-credit curriculum includes courses on several topics including nursing leadership, genetics for healthcare providers, and concepts in population health.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, two letters of recommendation, nursing licensure, a personal statement, and their current resume. Tuition is charged per credit hour and rates vary by program. Students must finish 700 clinical hours with an approved preceptor to graduate.

2

Maryville University of Saint LouisSaint Louis, MO

Degree Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 72%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 71%
Online Enrollment 44%

Maryville University of Saint Louis' online nurse practitioner programs blend research, theory, and evidence-based practice to teach students how to provide holistic care. The nurse practitioner MSN program is designed to benefit working RNs, and can be completed fully online in 15 courses. Courses cover healthcare policy, leadership and quality, advanced health assessment, advanced pathophysiology, and evidence-based practice in nursing. Students also choose from different concentrations to learn more about pediatrics, adult care, and acute care.

Applicants must have a BSN degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, RN licensure, three letters of recommendation, current resume, an essay, and one year of professional nursing experience. The nurse practitioner program can be completed in approximately two years. Students get the opportunity to learn from instructors with professional clinical experience and receive student-centered support to become successful nurse practitioners.

3

Clarkson CollegeOmaha, NE

Degree Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 52%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 71%
Online Enrollment 53%

Nurse practitioner online programs at Clarkson College in Omaha offer opportunities for RN’s looking to continue their education. Family nurse practitioner students learn to complete health assessments, direct care, and health maintenance for families of all ages. The 47-credit curriculum covers nursing law and ethics, primary healthcare, and advanced nutrition.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA, RN licensure, and two years of professional nursing experience. Students must complete five clinical courses with an approved preceptor and clinical site. During clinical courses, there are guidelines students must adhere to including wearing a badge, checking email daily, and maintaining RN licensure and basic life support certification.

4

Regis UniversityDenver, CO

Degree Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 66%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 73%
Online Enrollment 36%

Regis University in Denver offers nurse practitioner programs online for nursing students who are passionate about providing healthcare for families. The online program is FNP for Rural and Underserved Communities. Students are expected to participate online once per week. They also need to complete five on-campus incentives and 630 clinical hours. The 48-credit curriculum covers primary care procedures and research in nursing.

Typically, it takes students two years to complete the program. Preparation for national certification is part of the curriculum and graduates often have opportunities to serve at-risk populations. Students complete clinical practicums in rural areas with the support of local healthcare clinics and facilities. The clinical experience spans pediatric, adult, women's, and family situations.

5

Saint Joseph's College of MaineStandish, ME

Degree Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 78%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 58%
Online Enrollment 57%

Saint Joseph's College of Maine is located in Standish and offers online graduate nursing degrees. No on-campus residency is required and students have the opportunity to work one-on-one with instructors who have nursing experience. The family/individual across the lifespan nurse practitioner track spans 48 credits and has course content including primary care, young and middle age adult care, children and women of childbearing years care, and adult care.

A passing grade of 83 (B) is required for completion of all graduate-level nursing courses and any student who fails a nursing course twice is dismissed from the program. Applicants must have their BSN from an accredited institution, RN licensure, minimum 3.0 GPA, resume, career statement, and three references in order to gain admittance.

6

Cedarville UniversityCedarville, OH

Degree Masters of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 74%
Default Rate 2%
Retention Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 72%
Online Enrollment 10%

Cedarville University, located in Cedarville, Ohio, offers Christian accredited online nurse practitioner programs. All courses are offered online except for four on-campus experiences which include face-to-face instruction and simulation experiences to help students develop advanced nursing skills. Cedarville offers both part- and full-time completion options for students and qualifies graduates to sit for national certification.

Students must complete 600 hours of clinical experience of primary healthcare across the lifespan. Applicants must be Christian, hold a BSN degree with a 3.0 minimum GPA, and have their RN licensure. Graduates are qualified to gain national certification and employment as a family nurse practitioner.

7

Stony Brook UniversityStony Brook, NY

Degree Master of Science in Family Health Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 41%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 90%
Graduation Rate 68%
Online Enrollment 7%

The family health nurse practitioner program at Stony Brook University in New York is offered in an online format with few on-campus requirements. Graduates are qualified to sit for the family nurse practitioner national certification exams to begin their career in family healthcare. Courses cover a variety of topics, including clinical pharmacology, applications in clinical nursing research, and organizational leadership and role transformation.

Applicants must have a BSN degree, minimum 3.0 GPA, RN licensure, three letters of recommendation, at least one year of related and recent professional experience, a three-credit undergraduate course in health assessment, and a three-credit undergraduate course in statistics. Students graduate with the ability to be educators, leaders, consultants, and advocates.

8

Samford UniversityBirmingham, AL

Degree Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 93%
Default Rate 2%
Retention Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 74%
Online Enrollment 11%

Samford University in Homewood, Alabama offers a flexible online family nurse practitioner program. All courses in the program are taught online with only three on-campus requirements. Courses are led by certified nurse practitioner faculty who are experienced with clinical practices. Students have the option to complete the program full- or part-time.

Applicants must have their RN licensure, a bachelor’s of science in nursing degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, one undergraduate nursing research class, one undergraduate health assessment course, and a video submission. On the family nurse practitioner national certification exam, pass rates for the university are steadily around 100%.

9

Concordia University-WisconsinMequon, WI

Degree Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 67%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 58%
Online Enrollment 26%

Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin has a family nurse practitioner online nursing degree available for graduate students. Students learn to use a body systems outlook to the etiology, pathogenesis, and clinical manifestations of common disease processes throughout the lifespan. Courses cover advanced pathophysiology across the lifespan, role transitions for advanced practice nursing pharmacotherapeutics, and foundations of healthcare informatics.

Concordia’s program prepares students for careers as family nurse practitioners and nurse managers. They learn about common problems presented in primary healthcare settings and develop clinical intervention strategies for planning patient care. Through its Christian foundation, the university creates strong and well-rounded graduates who are able to nurture their patients’ physical and spiritual health.

10

Duquesne UniversityPittsburgh, PA

Degree Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 76%
Default Rate 3%
Retention Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 74%
Online Enrollment 7%

In Duquesne's online family nurse practitioner graduate program, students learn to interpret diagnostic information and provide holistic treatment plans. With the vast majority of coursework done online, students are only required to do two on-campus experiences. The 45-credit curriculum covers clinical prevention and population‑based health promotion and transitioning to advanced practice nursing.

Graduates are eligible to work in physicians’ offices, outpatient care centers, urgent care centers, federally-qualified health centers, retail clinics, nursing homes, and hospice organizations. The university has a 96% pass rate on the family nurse practitioner certification exam that graduates are eligible to take.

11

Indiana Wesleyan University-MarionMarion, IN

Degree Master of Science in Nursing-Psychiatric Mental Health
Admissions Rate 95%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 60%
Online Enrollment 45%

Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion offers online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs to prepare students to provide healthcare in various settings. Students complete at least 525 practicum hours and attend an on-campus course in advanced health assessment with two intensives. The curriculum includes biostatistics and epidemiology, diagnostic reasoning, and interprofessional development for the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

Books and materials are delivered to students and included in the cost of the program. Applicants must have earned a BSN with a minimum 3.0 GPA, RN licensure, three letters of recommendation, one year of professional experience, and a completed background check. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to graduate.

12

Catholic University of AmericaWashington, DC

Degree Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 79%
Default Rate 2%
Retention Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 69%
Online Enrollment 8%

Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. offers an online family nurse practitioner graduate program. Students learn to provide comprehensive primary care across the lifespan in various settings. The curriculum covers women’s health, biomedical ethics, pediatrics and adolescent health, and management of health problems in adults and geriatrics. Students must complete 700 hours of supervised clinical experience and create two short campus-based residencies.

Graduates have a high pass rate on the national family nurse practitioner certification exam. Although the Catholic faith is at the core of the university’s identity, students and faculty members come from many religious and cultural backgrounds. Nursing graduates enter their careers with the intellectual, moral, and ethical leadership qualities needed to provide quality healthcare.

13

University of South Carolina-ColumbiaColumbia, SC

Degree Masters of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 65%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 87%
Graduation Rate 72%
Online Enrollment 5%

The University of South Carolina in Columbia has online family nurse practitioner programs available for students. Students use course content within the context of the community in order to understand it as a client. They also learn to use theory to practice problems, analyze practice guidelines, and complete an evidence-based practice project. In order to complete the program, students must take nine credit hours of core classes, 21 credit hours of major core classes, three credit hours of research requirement, and 16 credit hours of clinical courses.

Applicants must have their BSN with a minimum 3.0 GPA, RN licensure, two letters of recommendation, and an updated resume. To graduate, students must earn a minimum 3.0 grade in all of their courses. Students must also complete a comprehensive assessment consisting of a written paper describing how the student was able to achieve the program objectives. The exam is completed during the final semester of the program.

14

MCPHS UniversityBoston, MA

Degree Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 87%
Default Rate 1%
Retention Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 72%
Online Enrollment 6%

MCPHS University in Boston offers nurse practitioner programs online. In addition to the required coursework, students must complete two 1-3 day residencies. The program is part-time and lasts for 24 months. The curriculum covers topics including family primary care, human diversity, social and political issues, translating and integrating scholarship practicum, and professional role development for advanced practice nursing.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, RN licensure, a minimum 3.0 GPA, a letter of recommendation, resume, and one year of full-time RN employment. Residencies for students include new student orientation, second-year residency, and a final residency coinciding with graduation. The university has a 91% pass rate for the national family nurse practitioner certification exam.

15

Wheeling Jesuit UniversityWheeling, WV

Degree Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 61%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 54%
Online Enrollment 25%

Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia offers an online family nurse practitioner graduate program. All courses are offered online and the clinical and practicum requirements are available in the student's’ home community. The 51-credit curriculum has many courses including advanced practice nursing in the primary care of reproductive health and advanced practice nursing in the primary care of the infant, child, and adolescent.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a 3.0 GPA, RN licensure, a background in statistics and research, a written essay, and a minimum score of 286 on the first two sections of the GRE test. Graduates can take on the role of the family nurse practitioner as a leader in primary healthcare and ensure the delivery of safe, cost-effective, and quality care for patients.

16

Loyola University New OrleansNew Orleans, LA

Degree Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 90%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 66%
Online Enrollment 15%

Loyola University in New Orleans has an online nurse practitioner graduate program available to students. Students learn to provide holistic care to individuals and families. The curriculum covers health assessment, pathophysiology, clinical pharmacology, family theory, and primary care. Students have a required practicum experience designed to give them the ability to use their ideas in professional healthcare setting by partnering with a distinguished healthcare professional.

The program prepares students to take the family nurse practitioner certification exam. Graduates gain employment in primary care facilities, hospitals, schools, homes, correctional facilities, and rural clinics. Graduates do physical examinations, diagnose illnesses, focus on wellness and disease prevention, prescribe medication, and even assist in minor surgeries.

17

University of Cincinnati-Main CampusCincinnati, OH

Degree Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 86%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 62%
Online Enrollment 17%

The University of Cincinnati has a family nurse practitioner online program. The program is comprised of 50 credit hours, about 672 hours of clinicals, and 42 lab hours. The curriculum covers subjects including the care of well women and children, research and best evidence for clinical reasoning, and clinical management.

Applicants must have a nursing degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, RN licensure, three letters of recommendation, a goal statement, a resume, completion of an undergraduate statistics course with a minimum “C” grade, and one year of professional nursing experience. Graduates move on to work at private practices, schools, health departments, rural or hospital clinics, pediatric offices, and women’s health clinics.

18

Seton Hall UniversitySouth Orange, NJ

Degree Master of Science in Nursing-Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 76%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 63%
Online Enrollment 5%

Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey offers online nurse practitioner programs. Students can pursue the adult-gerontology primary/acute care nurse practitioner program or the pediatric primary/acute care nurse practitioner program. Students learn to use evidence-based research to provide patient care. Three on-campus requirements are to be completed by students including an orientation and two practicums.

Students pursuing the adult care track work toward gaining employment in cardiology, pulmonary, GI, neurology, rheumatology, dermatology, oncology, occupational health, long-term care, hospice, and palliative care. Pediatric students prepare themselves for careers in the primary care of children and adolescents. Clinical hours must be completed by students in all of the available tracks.

19

Georgia College and State UniversityMilledgeville, GA

Degree Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 76%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 60%
Online Enrollment 6%

Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville offers an online family nurse practitioner program. Students learn to use evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning to provide quality care. The program is available to students full- and part-time. Courses cover topics including the primary care of adults, women, and of children and adolescents.

Applicants must have a nursing degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA, RN licensure, and successful completion of an undergraduate statistics course. Family nurse practitioner students are also able to pursue a concentration in psychiatric mental health. All required clinical rotations must be completed in Georgia with a preceptor who is reviewed and approved by the School of Nursing. Students must have Microsoft Office, and they should have home access to a computer.

20

Graceland University-LamoniLamoni, IA

Degree Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 48%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 62%
Graduation Rate 52%
Online Enrollment 45%

Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa offers an online family nurse practitioner program. Students are trained to provide care to various patients. Students must complete 720 hours of practicum work in their community to graduate. Courses cover pediatrics, adult care, and family care. The university averages a 94% success rate on the family nurse practitioner certification exam.

During practicums, students get the opportunity to work with an approved local preceptor and a member of Graceland’s nursing faculty to gain hands-on experience. The program emphasizes study through clinical areas. Students learn about disease prevention, health promotion, diagnostics, and treatment plans. Students must complete 47 credit hours with a minimum “B” grade in each of their courses to graduate.

21

Winona State UniversityWinona, MN

Degree Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 62%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 58%
Online Enrollment 3%

Winona State University in Minnesota offers online nurse practitioner programs. Students who pursue the family nurse practitioner track learn to provide healthcare to families and individuals across their lifespan. Courses cover primary care of adult and gerontology clients, primary healthcare clinicals, and primary care of children.

Graduates are eligible to take the national family nurse practitioner certification test. Students learn to conduct comprehensive assessments of adults, children, and families. They also learn how to diagnose and manage acute chronic health problems, collaborate with other healthcare providers, and study disease prevention. Clinical practicums are supervised by qualified nurse practitioners or other primary care provider preceptors and focus on healthcare in different settings.

22

Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaff, AZ

Degree Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 77%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 52%
Online Enrollment 20%

Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff has online nurse practitioner programs designed for RN’s interested in pursuing a career in family care. Students must complete 48 credits, participate in fieldwork, and complete research and a thesis to graduate. Students learn about clinical practice and prevention, communication, critical reasoning, leadership, professional values, and global health. Graduates are qualified to take the national family nurse practitioner certification exam.

Applicants must have earned their nursing degree with a 3.0 minimum GPA or better, RN licensure, three letters of recommendation, clinical health requirements, fingerprints, prerequisites, and responses to essay questions. Students must maintain a 3.0 in each of their courses and the program must be completed in a maximum of six consecutive years to graduate.

23

Midwestern State UniversityWichita Falls, Texas

Degree Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 76%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 44%
Online Enrollment 18%

Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas has an online family nurse practitioner program for RN’s interested in working with patients across the lifespan in various settings. The curriculum is comprised of 48 credit hours, including 18 hours of core nursing courses, 24 hours of clinical experience, and six hours of thesis or evidence-based project courses. Graduates are qualified to take the national family nurse practitioner certification exam.

Applicants must have their bachelor’s degree in nursing, a minimum 3.0 GPA, RN licensure, GRE scores; they must also participate in an interview. The university boasts a student-centered educational experience while also providing guidance from instructors with professional nursing experience.

24

Briar Cliff UniversitySioux City, Iowa

Degree Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 48%
Online Enrollment 25%

Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa offers nurse practitioner programs online. Students are able to choose from two program tracks: family nurse practitioner and adult/gerontology nurse practitioner. Family nurse practitioner students must take 51 credit hours to graduate. Classes cover cultural competence in healthcare and foundations of advanced nursing practice. Adult/gerontology students have to take 49 credit hours, covering material that covers how to care for adults and a gerontology practicum.

No GRE is required for admission and no thesis is required for graduation. The university works with students to help find clinical preceptors close to home at places where they are able to make a difference. The clinical component, which is comprised of 540 hours, also includes an experience in a rural, underserved, or multicultural setting.

25

Indiana University-Purdue University-IndianapolisIndianapolis, Indiana

Degree Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
Admissions Rate 70%
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 44%
Online Enrollment 7%

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis offers online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs. Students learn assessment, clinical management, diagnosis, and how to prevent mental illness across the lifespan. Online students join the classroom in real-time using videoconferencing. The program includes 525 clinical hours and 45 credit hours. The curriculum covers nursing theory, substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, and neuro-psychopharmacology.

Applicants must have a BSN with a minimum 3.0 GPA, RN licensure, and completion of an undergraduate statistics course with a minimum 80% grade. The GRE is not required for admission. Students are given the option to complete the program full- or part-time. Courses follow a traditional 16-week format and are taught by instructors who have professional nursing experience.

How to Choose an Online Nurse Practitioner Master’s Degree Program

If you are investigating nurse practitioner programs online, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind. For instance, you should know if you require a fully online program or if you can enroll in a hybrid program that involves both online and on-campus classes. Some programs may offer only synchronous classes, meaning all students must participate in class at a scheduled time. However, your own busy schedule may mean you need an asynchronous program that permits greater flexibility.

Another factor affecting the length of a program is part- or full-time status. You should also think about what specialty you wish to pursue in your studies, as many programs offer concentrations in areas like pediatrics, adult-gerontology, or neonatal care. Perhaps most importantly, pick only schools that are regionally or nationally accredited, and determine what financial aid options are available to you and how the cost of various programs aligns with your budget.

Careers for Graduates of Nurse Practitioner Master’s Programs

Because nurses make such a difference in people’s lives, students who finish nurse practitioner programs online enter exciting careers that are personally and professionally rewarding. The knowledge you gain after completing your degree also opens up a variety of lucrative career options. Below are several nursing occupations that are commonly pursued by graduates of accredited online nurse practitioner programs.

Job Outlook and Salary for Graduates of Nurse Practitioner Master’s Degrees

According to BLS, the nurse practitioner occupation will grow 31% by 2026, a much faster growth rate than the 7% average for all occupations. This means the number of professionals in this field will soar from 155,500 in 2016 to 211,500. What you earn depends not only on your area of specialty, but also where in the country you work. Still, the expected number of openings in this field — combined with what is certain to be an increased demand for nurse practitioners — means salaries will remain competitive.

Employment Growth for Nurse Practitioners
Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
155,500 211,500

Salary Growth by Experience for Graduates of Nurse Practitioner Master’s Programs

Salary and years of experience are closely linked for graduates of online nurse practitioner programs. Compensation depends heavily on how many years you have on the job, and also on the kinds of responsibilities you must fulfill. While your earnings will surely increase as you acquire more experience, entry-level incomes are nonetheless competitive. This is because nurse practitioners are expected to enter the field with a high level of competence in how they manage patient care.


To determine the best online nurse practitioner master’s degrees, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online nurse practitioner master’s degrees. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.