Nurse Practitioner Degrees

Nurse practitioner degree programs aim to provide students the ability to pursue work in a higher position in medical practice. Many work full time. Students must complete a certification exam. They may then earn licensure They may then provide care directly to patients. Many take this program after earning a bachelor of science in nursing.

What Is a Nurse Practitioner Program?

Nurse practitioner programs aim to teach the skills to pursue work as a nurse practitioner. This is a high level position in the health care industry. These professionals may often focus their education. They may evaluate patients and create treatment options for them. Many times, NPs can might operate their own clinical practice. Nurse practitioner programs could teach them how to do this.

Some may complete a disease prevention program. Others could complete a family nurse practitioner program. Acute care could be an option. Adult gerontology is another.

What Nurse Practitioner Degree Levels Are There?

Students may need to earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree to pursue a career as an NP. This program comes after a bachelor’s degree. This is a BSN degree. There may be a few ways to reach this goal.

  • BSN – a 4 year program
  • LPN to BSN – A licensed practical nurse or licensed vocational nurse may take this route
  • RN to BSN – This program is often available to those who are a registered nurse (RN)
  • Second Degree BSN – This program is for those who have a 4 year degree in another field
  • Accelerated Degree BSN – This program could allow students to earn their degree faster

Students may then complete their master’s degree program. They may focus in areas such as health care ethics or clinical practicum. Other options include health care policy and pharmacology. Students may continue after earning an MS. They could  complete a doctoral program as well. This earns a student a DNP.

What Could I Do with a Nurse Practitioner Degree?

With an NP degree, a student may have more responsibility in their daily work. They may make decisions about diagnosis and treatment plans for patients. They may prescribe medications in many states. This is obtained at the MSN level. Doctoral students could often run their own practice.

Is a Nurse Practitioner Program Worth It?

Those working as a Nurse Practitioner may earn more overall. They may also have more freedom to manage patient care.

Online Nurse Practitioner Degree Jobs & Median Annual Salary

Occupation Median Annual Salary Jobs
Outpatient Care Centers $119,920 18,820
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals $115,790 47,420
Offices of Physicians $108,930 95,820
Offices of Other Health Practitioners $108,660 6,210
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $105,310 6,710

State Salary information for Jobs as a Nurse Practitioner

State Jobs Annual Mean Wage
New York 14,060 $122,550
California 13,900 $138,660
Texas 13,620 $115,440
Florida 12,310 $101,510
Ohio 8,950 $103,780

What Classes Could I Take in an Online Nurse Practitioner Program?

Courses for an online NP program may differ from one to the next. That is because students may focus their education in many areas. And, many programs have a hands on section. This allows students to practice their new skills beyond course work.

Master’s degree courses may include classes and clinical hours like these.


Students could learn how to create policies. They may learn about the financial and political aspects of forming policy. Students may learn to think critically about these subjects. They may also learn how to deliver a new policy to the practice.


This type of course is often based on the focus the student selects. This may include mental health or family medicine. The area may often include training on certain treatments in these areas. Students may learn about diagnosing in their field.


This area often focuses on the patient and provider relationships. It is about ethics in health care overall. This may include some legal aspects of managing a practice. It may often include a focus on moral judgment.


NPs may prescribe medicine in some states. This course is often a must in the MSN practicum. It teaches prescription guidelines. They may learn about side effects. They may also cover drug interactions. Students may learn how to prescribe for many conditions.

Doctorate degree courses may include:


Students could learn to balance the economics of running a practice with patient care. Students often learn about business and finance. They may have the chance to learn about strategies to reduce costs.


Students may align their education with research studies. These may meet the student’s unique interests.


This course may focus on evidence recommendation methods. The focus is on the population’s health. You could have the chance to learn topics such as deterrents of health based and diversity.


This course could teach how to use data to make decisions. This may include population health or public health. It may focus on other areas. It also may include clinical prevention or health promotion topics.

Many nursing schools offer focal areas to prepare NPs for certain nursing roles. Apart from online learning, you are likely to take part in a practicum. This training aims to grow decision making skills suitable for a certain patient group or issue. Once you graduate, you may be ready to take the exams required to practice a nurse practitioner specialty. 

1. Adult Gerontology Acute Care

An acute care nurse practitioner takes care of very ill patients. With a focus on geriatrics, you focus these skills on the elderly who are sick or in hospice care.

2.  Adult Gerontology Primary Care 

An adult gerontology nurse practitioner treats elderly patients as they age. Classes for this area tend to cover health assessment and diagnosis. You also tend to study the aging process and common medications for the older adult. 

3. Psychiatric Mental Health 

A psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner treats patients with mental illness. You may learn about these conditions (e.g. depression). Plus ways to test for them and suitable drugs or therapies. 

4. Women’s Health

A women’s health nurse practitioner cares for female patients during their lifespan. From puberty to childbearing. So you often study things like family planning and fertility. 

5. Family Nursing

A family nurse practitioner (FNP program) focus is about providing primary care to patients of all ages. You are likely to learn how to perform physical exams. And, assess, diagnose and treat common diseases and injuries.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Nurse Practitioner Degree Online?

Many factors play a role in this. Here is a look at some of the options available and what you can expect.

University Level of Degree # of Credits Required Starts Per Year Minimum Months to Complete
University of Southern California Masters 49 21
Seton Hall University Masters 48 36
Sacred Heart University Masters 39 24
Purdue University Global Doctorate 48-60 18
Georgetown University Doctorate 69-74 33
Clemson University Doctorate 35 18

What Accreditations Are There for My Program?

Nursing practitioner programs are accredited by several agencies. The common accrediting bodies include:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Additional accreditations exist as well. This includes the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs and Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).

Scholarships for Nurse Practitioner Programs

To offset the cost of an online NP program, you may qualify for financial aid. Scholarships are one type that nursing schools and other sources offer. They tend to go to students who show financial need or academic merit. If you meet the criteria, apply before the deadline.

Lighting the Way for Nursing Scholarship

From the American Association of Post-Acute Care Nursing (AAPACN). This LPN/LVN scholarship is for $5,000. There is one nurse selected. Applicant must have an interest in long term care obtain a BSN or higher nursing degree.

Deadline: December 18, 2020

AfterCollege Nursing Student Scholarship

Open to students working toward a certificate or associate’s degree. Applicants must attend an accredited school. The recipient receives a $2,000 award in 4 payments of $500. 

Deadlines: March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31

District of Columbia Nursing Scholarship

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) offers this award. There are two recipients, each of $2,500. To qualify you must have a 3.25 GPA. And, attend or plan to attend a nursing program at the University of the District of Columbia. 

Deadline: January 31, 2021

National Black Nurses Association Scholarship Program

If an NBNA member you may qualify for one of 14 annual awards. Applicants must be current nursing program students with at least a year of studies ahead. Awards range from $1,000 to $5,000 and each has slightly different criteria. 

Deadline: April 15, 2021

NLN Foundation for Nursing Education Scholarship Awards

National League for Nursing scholarships award up to $8,000 each. These are for nurses going for an advanced degree (MSN/DNP) in nurse education. Applicants must have at least one year of studies under their belt. 

Deadline: May 31, 2021

15 Nurse Practitioner Programs

We have ranked our top 15 schools based on the number of graduates from the program in 2019. Our process looks at 2019 data from the NCES. And, it may help you narrow your search down.

  1. Chamberlain University Illinois
  2. South University Savannah Online
  3. University of Texas At Arlington
  4. Maryville University of Saint Louis
  5. Simmons University 
  6. Purdue University Global
  7. University of Cincinnati 
  8. Frontier Nursing University 
  9. Indiana Wesleyan University
  10. Olivet Nazarene University 
  11. Texas Woman’s University 
  12. Graceland University 
  13. Grand Canyon University 
  14. Nova Southeastern University
  15. George Washington University


Here is a closer look at these 15 schools and the online NP programs they offer. 


Chamberlain University

Master of Science in Nursing


Chamberlain offers a CCNE accredited MSN with 7 specialty tracks. Some are health care policy, nurse executive, nursing informatics, and population health are a few   If you take one class each 8 week session you may finish the program in two years. The school also awards a Become Extraordinary Grant while funds are available. Courses include:

  • Nursing Informatics
  • Diagnosis 
  • Pharmacology

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $19,900
Grad: $13,940

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • MSN Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
  • MSN Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner 
  • MSN Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

South’s MSN is CCNE accredited. The FNP focus is about how to manage common health problems at all life stages. Other courses may grow your ability to make sound clinical decisions. The program also places a strong emphasis on health promotion. Courses include:

  • Health Policy 
  • Role of the APRN nurse
  • Practicum – Family Health 

2020/21 Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $13,594
Grad: $14,520

Average Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • Online Nursing RN to BSN


University of Texas at Arlington

Registered Nurse to Master of Science in Nursing


UTA Online offers two CCNE accredited paths. An MSN Nurse Educator and MSN Administration. Both allow you to work towards an MSN (if you have an RN license) in an accelerated format. Courses include:

  • Research in Nursing
  • Science and Theories
  • Informatics 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $58,195
Grad: $47,107

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • RN to BSN
  • RN to MSN – FNP 

Maryville’s CCNE accredited program is for nurses with their MSN. It creates a path to a DNP while also earning the academic degree needed to take NP credentialing exams. There is an option to choose from five specialty areas: AGACNP, AGPCNP, FNP, PNP, and PMHNP. Courses include:

  • Clinical Inquiry I/II
  • Patient Safety 
  • Ethics for Advanced Practice Nursing 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $28,470
Grad: $15,646

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • BSN to DNP
  • MSN 

Simmons offers a CCNE accredited program with full time, part time, and extended program options. They also have a placement team to assist students in finding local clinical experiences. Courses include:

  • Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Physical Assessment

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $42,070
Grad: $22,818

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • RN to MSN to FNP
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice


Purdue University Global

Doctor of Nursing Practice


Purdue’s CCNE accredited program is for APRNs who want to reach the highest level of nursing. There are a few start dates and each term lasts 10 weeks. Apart from courses, the program ends with a supervised DNP project. Courses include:

  • Clinical Decision Making
  • Ethics, Policy, Advocacy
  • Epidemiology

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $14,358
Grad: $10,580

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • BSN
  • RN to BSN
  • MSN


University of Cincinatti

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner

Online / Campus

UC offers a CCNE accredited program so as a graduate, you may take certification exams. This program aims to ready nurses to diagnose and manage common and complex medical conditions. Both across the lifespan and from children to the elderly. Courses include:

  • Biostatistics
  • Care of Well Women/Children
  • Health Care Policy

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $26,994
Grad: $26,210

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • RN to BSN
  • BSN to DNP
  • MSN to DNP
  • Post MSN to DNP
  • PhD in Nursing 
  • Nurse Anesthesia
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice 
  • Adult Gerontology 
  • Nursing Administration 
  • Pediatric Acute Care
  • Psychiatric Mental Health

Frontier offers the FNP specialty track that you may go for on a full or part time basis  while completing a MSN or a Post Grad Certificate. The course plan has a strong academic and clinical basis. It also includes classes about how to be an entrepreneur and leader. Courses include:

  • Primary Care  
  • Gynecologic Health
  • Psych Concepts for APRN

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $19,675
Grad: $19,675

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • MSN
  • MSN  Women’s Health Care
  • MSN Psychiatric Mental Health 
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice 

IWU offers a few Christian focused programs through their school of nursing. This one studies the links between theory, research and evidence based practice. Apart from your course credit hours, there are university approved preceptors at clinical sites in various areas. Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, and in areas of Illinois and Michigan bordering Indiana. Courses include:

  • Intro to Prof. Development
  • Ethics and Health Policy
  • Advanced Pharmacology

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $9,743
Grad: $11,977

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • RN to BSN
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • MSN  (Associate to Master’s) Nursing Administration
  • MSN  (Associate to Master’s) Nursing Education
  • MSN / MBA
  • MSN/ Nursing Education and MPH

Olivet Nazarene U offers an accelerated program with 8 week classes. This format may require as few as 24 months to complete. There are 3 start dates to choose from and an option to work towards a post master’s Nursing Education Certificate. Courses include:

  • Moral and Ethical Decision Making
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Advanced Pathophysiology

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $37,070
Grad: $13,420

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • Accelerated BSN
  • RN to BSN
  • RN to MSN
  • MSN Nurse Education
  • MSN Transformational Leadership


Texas Women’s University

Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner


TWU’s CCNE accredited program is for BSN prepared nurses. It features 13 week courses and 3 start dates per year. Of the classes, 6 have associated clinical hours and some students finish in under three years. Courses include:

  • Research and Quality Improvement
  • Health Policy
  • Advanced Practice Nursing Role

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $7,926 / $18,055
Grad: $7,497 / $15,093

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • MSN Health Systems Management
  • MSN Nurse Education 
  • PhD in Nursing Science


Graceland University

Master of Science in Nursing

Online / Campus

Graceland offers online Master of Science in Nursing programs with specialty tracks in 3 areas. Family nursing, adult gerontology acute care, and psychiatric mental health. The format uses online cohort courses, on campus focus sessions, and faculty  and preceptor guided practicums which one completes in a local community. Courses include:

  • Intro to MSN
  • Theory in Nursing
  • Research Methods 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $30,420
Grad: $17,580

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • RN to BSN to MSN 
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

GCU’s program meets AACN standards. It aims to ready nurses to provide primary health care to persons of all ages and locales. Including underserved urban and rural areas. For your clinical practicum, you may choose a community based primary or family health focused site. Courses include:

  • Intro to Advanced Registered Nursing
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Health Promotion 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $17,800
Grad: $11,074

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • RN to BSN
  • MSN Fast Track 
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice


Nova Southeastern University

Master of Science in Nursing

Online / On Campus

NSU offers a hybrid program with 3 specialty tracks. FNP, AGACNP and psychiatric mental health. Some courses are totally online and others use a mix of online and in class. In the basic program, one studies concepts of policy, data analysis, and the advanced nursing role. Courses include:

  • Evidence and Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Behavioral Health

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $32,110
Grad: $21,206

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • MSN in Nursing Education
  • MSN in Executive Nurse Leadership
  • MSN Nursing Informatics
  • BSN to DNP
  • DNP to PhD (PhD in Nursing Education option)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice 


George Washington University

Doctor of Nursing Practice in Family Nurse Practitioner

Online / On Campus

GWU offers this program to BSN prepared nurses. It comes with two entry points (post BSN or post MSN). The school also stresses key nursing practice skills and innovation. Some courses have seminars in live stream with faculty members and other students. You also have two to three on campus experiences. While enrollment is in fall, you may study full or part time. Courses include:

  • Diagnostic Reasoning
  • Knowledge Mgmt. 
  • Health Care Quality Improvement

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad: $56,935
Grad: $31,824

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

Average Net Price:

More Degree Programs:

  • RN to BSN
  • MSN Adult Gerontology Acute Care or Primary Care
  • MSN Nurse Midwifery
  • MSN Nursing Leadership and Management
  • MSN Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Post BSN DNP (AGAC or AGPC) 
  • MSN DNP in Executive Nurse Leadership 
  • DNP in Health Policy
  • DNP in Nursing Practice
  • PhD in Nursing