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 NP 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.

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).

15 Nurse Practitioner Programs

Take a look at the following nurse practitioner programs. These span two educational options. That could includes masters and doctorate degrees. Each school could offer key opportunities for students going full or part time. Many of these schools may offer financial aid to help cover costs. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify.

  1. University of Southern California
  2. Seton Hall University
  3. Sacred Heart University
  4. United States University
  5. Walden University
  6. University of Cincinnati
  7. Herzing University
  8. Purdue University Global
  9. Simmons University
  10. Georgetown University
  11. Northern Kentucky University
  12. Gonzaga University
  13. Drexel University
  14. Clemson University
  15. Villanova University


Let’s take a closer look at the nurse practitioner programs that these 15 schools have to offer.


University of Southern California

Master of Science in Nursing

The Master of Science in Nursing program from the U of Southern California is one option for students. This MSN program is fully online. It is designed for registered nurses. The course is taught by recognized practitioners. Students learn enhanced nursing skills. They also have a social work foundation. Students could learn how to prescribe medications. They also learn about referring patients. This could include interpreting lab results and x rays. A post master’s certificate program is available.

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The MSN at Seton Hall U school of nursing aims to prep students to pursue work in the adult and elderly population. This includes in primary care and acute settings. Students may work in interprofessional healthcare teams. They could learn how to be a servant leader. They also learn critical thinking skills to solve problems. Students could learn how to incorporate cultural aspects into the care they offer. You also may learn decision making and may learn new nursing roles through this online learning program.

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Sacred Heart University

Master of Science in Nursing

The MSN program from Sacred Heart U aims to prepares students to be leaders. It is designed to provide students with a up to date experience. This may allow them to pursue. It is also very flexible. Students could customize what they learn. They may choose between six start days during the year. Students may focus their education on clinical nursing or nursing education. Some may choose leadership or management as nursing students. Areas of focus include pediatric nurse practitioner. Some may also choose a women’s health nurse practitioner role.

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The Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN – FNP) program helps students to have the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people. They have the opportunity to focus on learning the technology that enhances their skills. This program uses an evidenced based practice in nursing. It allows students to learn fully online or through a hybrid learning program. Courses are numerous. They include theories of advanced practice nursing. A capstone project is often included.

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The Psychiatric MSN program from Walden U is one of the few to focus on this area of practice. This program is fully online. The school claims it is the first to offer the MSN – PMHNP program in this format. Students may learn how to lead in mental health fields. They may have the opportunity to learn about working with children and adults. This degree program includes up to date technology which may include interactive simulations and case students.

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This MSN AGNP degree program is fully online. Students could generally complete it in about two years. The curriculum is competitive. Courses include biostatistics for evidence based practice, advanced health assessment, and health care policy. Students may concentrate in various ways. They may study psychology. They may  learn more about the economics of healthcare. And, they may also focus on finance or health assessments. The program aims to prepare students to work with patients who are 13 years of age or older.

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Students completing the MSN FNP program may do so fully online at Herzing U. This could generally be done in under 20 months. It is done over 5 semesters. Students learn to manage enhanced nursing concepts. The goal is to prepare them to operate their own practice. Courses start at six times during the year. The school may provide clinical placement. Students gain insight by working with many patients in clinical experiences.

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Purdue University Global

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Purdue University Global aims to help students be competitive. This program could offers a lot of benefits. It has one of the most respected faculties. It also provides students hands on experience. There are also one on one mentoring opportunities. Students may have the opportunity to learn to analyze data and use scientific research. They may  learn how to evaluate legal and ethical questions in health policies. Courses are flexible. They could include scientific foundations for practice doctorate. Ethics, policy, and advocacy for population health is another.

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Simmons University

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The DNP program from Simmons University is another option. It aims to develop nursing leaders who improve health care outcomes. Students have the opportunity to learn through clinical practice programs. It includes management and research classes. Students may learn ethics as well. They work within the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Boston Children’s Hospital is a part of it. As is Dana Farber Cancer Institute if desired. Many of the student’s professors have ties to these well recognized programs.

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Georgetown University

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The DNP program from Georgetown University is a highly competitive program. Students may take the BSN to DNP program or the Post Master’s DNP program, which is for those who are APRNs. The student may  be able to complete most credits online. There are on campus intensives and clinical placement options. Students who wish to complete the Post Master’s program may also have access to executive sessions on campus. Students may learn to implement quality and safety initiatives with the goal of improving outcomes. And, students will have the opportunity to learn about ethical and legal challenges in the field. They also may cover economic and financial principles as it applies to their practice.

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Northern Kentucky University

Post Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Northern Kentucky University’s Post Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program may be completed within 20 months. It requires 35 credit hours. Students will have the opportunity to learn about managing the challenges of the health care industry. Students may work as nurse leaders to improve the lives of their patients. This program aims to deliver contemporary nursing sciences. That includes topics in the areas of economics, cultural areas, and political topics. Students may  also focus on sustaining financial viability in their practice.

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Gonzaga University

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Gonzaga University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program is available as a post baccalaureate DNP or a post master’s DNP. This course allows students to concentrate  their education in areas of psychiatric, family, or specialty nurse practitioner. Those that complete this program may do so with mostly online education. There are some scheduled on campus immersions required. Students will have the opportunity to focus on practice. Topics include diagnostic reasoning and focus on health assessment. Students may also learn about behavioral therapy among other concentrations.

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Drexel University

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The DNP from Drexel University is an online program. It is not as research focused as other school programs. Rather, it is generally designed to help individuals to prepare for executive roles in their fields. It uses an evidence based practice focus. Students may  be able to implement a successful practice. Courses range widely. They are spread out in four, 10 week quarters each year. Students may take courses quickly, as well. Some of the courses include applied epidemiology, health policy and economics, and quantitative methods in clinical nursing.

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Clemson University

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The DNP program is full online. It is a post master’s nursing degree based on an evidence based practice. It incorporates topics such as health care policy and inter professional collaboration. And, it also has enhanced nursing practice courses. Students may be able to pursue leadership roles. They could be clinical leaders in their field. This program generally requires 35 credit hours. Students may spend some time on campus for immersion experiences. The goal of this program is to develop leadership. Cultural, ethical, and legal topics are included.

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Villanova offers a Post Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Program. This program aims to create nurse executives. Students will have the opportunity to learn how to lead innovation in the work they do. They may also learn organizational leadership skills. That includes economics and finance as they apply. Students may learn skills to design, direct, and implement quality improvement projects. They may  also learn about cultural competence in the industry.

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