Best Online Colleges for Nurse Practitioner (RN Required)

Introduction

While some people think nursing salaries are low, registered nurses earn much more than the U.S. national average, and advanced practice nurses can earn well over $100k annually. 

The scope within the nursing profession is huge. There are many areas in which you can specialize, including adult-gerontology, psychiatrist care, and neonatal. What’s more, your role within each different facility can vary widely, meaning there’s a good chance of finding a role that fits your work style perfectly. Couple this with the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics BLS predicts a 45% rise in employment for advanced practice nurses over the next decade, and you’ve got some great reasons to get into nursing. 

What do you learn from a nursing degree?

What do you learn from nursing school? A lot, actually. Some people believe that nursing is a profession that doesn’t require formal education, but there’s a lot to be learned from gaining your degree. Programs at accredited colleges and universities will help you to conform to the American Nurses Association’s principles and standards

Aside from gaining strong theoretical knowledge in areas like pharmacology, you’ll also learn essential practical skills. For example, the proper documentation procedures for patient data, leadership and delegation, patient health education, and more. You’ll learn how to properly take and record vital signs, draw blood, and clean and sterilize equipment. 

What are the Best Nurse Practitioner Degrees?

Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Each program is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking. Accredited Online College considers the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. To learn more, visit our methodology page. 

ECU

#1. East Carolina University

ECU’s College of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree program. Admission to the program requires you to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing with a minimum GPA of 2.7 from your undergraduate studies and 3.0 in your nursing major. You’ll also need to possess an unrestricted RN license in North Carolina. 

Students enrolling in this program have the opportunity to specialize in one of many concentration subject areas. These include:

  • adult gerontology
  • neonatal
  • midwifery

If you have an interest in roles that don’t involve direct patient contact, you could instead choose to specialize in nursing education or leadership. 

Since 2016, the ‘Fixed Tuition Program’ has kept tuition fees affordable at ECU and other institutions in the state. Distance education at ECU costs around $169.36-$204.46 per credit hour, which includes a technology fee. That said, the College of Nursing may levy an additional charge for graduate classes. 

#2. Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

TAMUCC

At Texas A&M University, distance learning students can pursue the Family Nurse Practitioner MSN program. Comprising 49 hours in total, this program will prepare you, as an RN, to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). With this degree under your belt, you’ll also be qualified to sit for the National Certification Exam to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. 

The curriculum includes some graduate-level courses grounded in areas that include:

  • research methods in advanced nursing practice
  • health policy
  • science in nursing
  • diversity
  • role development

The remainder of your program will involve studying advanced nursing topics, which include management of acute and chronic illnesses, wellness and health promotion, and advanced physiology, health assessment, and diagnosis. 

Texas A&M has ‘Distance Education Differential Tuition’, which is an extra charge for online programs. This can range from $40 up to $550 per semester credit hour, and it is in addition to the typical tuition rates. For the most accurate estimate of your costs, check out the tuition and fees on this page or use the tuition calculator

UND

#3. University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota offers two master’s programs for nurses: the M.S. Family Nurse Practitioner program, and the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner master’s degree. Coursework can be completed entirely online, and some students graduate in as few as eight semesters. There are also three potential start dates throughout the year. 

No GRE or GMAT is required, and at the end of the program, you’ll be qualified to sit for the F.N.P Certification Exam. You’ll also complete clinical placements, gaining valuable hands-on experience, and the university will provide you with assistance in sourcing a suitable clinical placement. 

UND’s student fees for online learners are capped, with a maximum cost of around $718.68 for 12 credits. For those taking less than 12 credits, the rate is $59.89 per credit. Tuition may vary depending on your residency, with your final year of study also costing less than your first two. Check out this page for more information on tuition rates. 

University of Cincinnati

#4. University of Cincinnati

Comprising 50 credits in total, the University of Cincinnati Online offers an MSN Family Nurse Practitioner distance learning degree. This program will prepare you to assess, diagnose, and manage complex illnesses across all age groups. This is a fully online program that offers flexibility for working professionals and part-time students. 

If you’re looking for high-quality teaching and support, you’ll be in good hands at this institution according to U.S. News & World Report. Their online graduate nursing programs are routinely ranked highly among the best online programs in the nation. Your faculty will also comprise experts who are practicing nurses with recent clinical experience. 

At the University of Cincinnati, you’ll benefit from the ‘Cincinnati Tuition Guarantee’. This program sets tuition and fees at a consistent rate for the length of your program. To work out your cost of attendance and tuition, check out this page on the university’s website for a calculator. 

Stony-Brook

#5. Stony Brook University

The Master of Science Family Nurse Practitioner program is a distance education degree, though there are some campus-based requirements. For admission, you’ll need to have a B.S. degree majoring in nursing and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, in addition to current licensure as an RN. You’ll also have an advantage if you have at least one year’s recent, relevant experience. 

If accepted, you’ll complete a total of 45 credit hours, with core requirements in organizational leadership, quality improvement, and health care policy and advocacy. You’ll also study:

  • research methods
  • pharmacology
  • health assessment
  • pathophysiology
  • clinical courses

Successful graduates may sit for the ANCC and AANP national certification exams. 

While some universities have a fixed tuition rate for distance learning, Stony Brook charges higher tuition for non-residents. Including all fees, students enrolled in an online program can expect to pay around $15,048.00 in tuition and fees for 12 credit hours. A breakdown of the charges that make up this figure can be found on this page. 

Ohio State University

#6. Ohio State University

Ohio State Online offers a Master of Science in Nursing. Interested students must have a BSN degree from an institution accredited by ACEN, CCNE, or CNEA to apply. However, assuming you meet the eligibility requirements, you’ll be glad to hear that this program has been ranked within the top three by U.S. News & World Report for best online graduate nursing programs in the nation. 

Enrolled students have a choice of four different tracks including:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Leader

The first two tracks will allow you to specialize in the diagnosis and management of illnesses in individuals and families or neonates, respectively, while the latter two will allow greater specialization in mental health treatment or leadership roles. 

Ohio State Online’s tuition varies depending on the number of credits being taken. Typically, a graduate nursing program will attract a total of around $47,568 in tuition and fees when studied full-time. However, the calculator on the university’s website will help you to gain more accurate estimations. 

University of Colorado Medical

#7. University of Colorado – Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus

This family nurse practitioner program combines academic knowledge with clinical placements to deliver well-rounded graduates who can work in areas including primary care, urgent care, school clinics, and more. You’ll complete coursework online, though there are some on-campus intensives required. The program boasts an outstanding first-time pass rate for FNP national certification examinations. 

Typically completed in less than 2.5 years as a full-time student or around 4 years with part-time study, the program is best-suited to students who have some degree of flexibility. This is owing to the mandatory campus visits and 14 credits of clinical experience required. Clinical placements are provided for students who live closest to campus in the Denver metropolitan area, which will make meeting these mandatory hours easier. 

Online tuition at the University of Colorado varies from one program to the next. Exact rates can be found on the Bursar’s website, though it’s worth keeping in mind that the College of Nursing charges additional costs and fees. These amount to around $284-325 on top of your typical program tuition. 

NIU

#8. Northern Illinois University

Taught by the NIU School of Nursing, this program benefits from an academic school that was named the best nursing School for men in nursing in recent years. It has also been ranked within the top ten percent in the nation by best-nursing-colleges.com. In this program, coursework is delivered entirely online. 

You can choose from two curriculum specializations: Nursing Education and Family Nurse Practitioner. Depending on your choice, you’ll complete either 41 or 50 credit hours, respectively. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and existing RN licensure in the state of Illinois to be considered for admission. While all coursework is completed online, you’ll need to attend clinical placements in person to meet the clinical requirements of the program. 

Tuition rates also vary between each specialization, with the FNP program costing more. Tuition per credit for the nursing education curriculum is around $496.72, while the tuition rate for the FNP program is around $732.06 per credit. You can find more information on tuition and fees by following this link. 

Texas-Womans-University

#9. Texas Woman’s University

The Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner degree at TWU has been ranked the No.1 Online FNP Master’s Program in Texas. This is in addition to the institution being named one of the best graduate schools for nursing by U.S. News & World Report. 

There are three intakes per year, with accepted students completing 13-week courses and a total of 46 credit hours. While this is a fully online program with online coursework, around half of the curriculum’s courses have required clinical hours, so you should be prepared to allow for some flexibility in your studies. 

At TWU, state residents can expect to pay tuition of around $284.00 per credit hour for graduate-level programs, while non-residents pay a higher rate of around $692.00 per credit hour. In addition, nursing programs attract an additional $75.00 per credit hour at the graduate level. More information can be found on this page. 

University of Alabama Birmingham

#10. University of Alabama at Birmingham

UAB’s MSN Nurse Practitioner Pathway prepares you for a variety of roles in a broad selection of nine different specialties. Offered via distance learning, the program does require some campus-based learning for intensives, and students will be expected to complete four of these within the final four semesters of the degree plan. 

Among the nine specialties are common choices such as:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner’
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Other specialities will allow you to dive deeper into adult gerontology, pediatric, or women’s health subjects. Prospective students require a BSN degree from a regionally accredited university and an unrestricted RN license in the state where clinical experience will be gained. 

Tuition for this program costs around $656 per credit hour regardless of whether you are a state resident. You’ll also pay an educational support and technology fee of around $235 per course. Books and supplies cost approximately $600 per term. For more information on costs, check out the program page

UCONN

#11. University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut offers a master’s degree for neonatal nurse practitioners (NNP). This complex role requires a significant time investment from students, but successful completion of the program will allow you to apply for the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner examination. In total, you’ll complete 44 credits online, which can be through part-time or full-time study. 

Admission requirements for this program are a little stricter than most. In addition to having a bachelor’s degree in nursing and being a licensed RN, you will need to have completed at least two years work experience as a full-time RN in a level three neonatal intensive care unit. This experience must have been gained before starting your clinical practicum courses. 

Following a 2019 review, the tuition charge for this program is around $995 per credit hour ($2,775 for a 3-credit course). The same tuition rate applies to all prospective students regardless of residency or international student status. With this being a particularly expensive specialization, students may wish to check out the scholarship page on the university’s website. 

Ball State

#12. Ball State University

With Ball State’s master’s degree in nursing, all courses are offered online via asynchronous learning. This means that you can set your own schedule to work around your existing commitments. You’ll also have access to a range of student services and an online orientation, in addition to an orientation specific to your program. 

You’ll have a choice from three specializations:

  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Administrator
  • Family Nurse Practitioner

The former two specializations comprise 36 credit hours, while the FNP option comprises 47. This option also includes a much greater commitment in terms of supervised clinical hours in primary care settings. Check out the program page for more details on each. 

For residents of Indiana, the cost of tuition is around $449 per credit, which includes a $110 technology fee. Full-time students pay around $4,537 to $4,687 per semester. For non-residents, the cost per credit is around $661, or around $7,081 to $8,503 each semester. 

UTEP

#13. The University of Texas at El Paso

This Master of Science in Nursing allows specialization in one of three majors:

  • Nursing Administration and Management (NAM)
  • Nursing Education (NE)
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)

These options are suitable for students who want to secure nurse leadership roles, teach in an academic or clinical environment, or pursue patient-contact roles as a nurse practitioner, respectively. 

Courses last for seven weeks and are taught online, though some practicum and mentored courses can require visits to the campus. What’s more, some of the specializations have further concentrations to choose from. It’s worth checking out the program page to read more about each of the tracks you can follow as an enrolled student. 

Tuition and fees vary depending on your program. For the specialization in nursing education or nursing administration management, students pay around $500.00 per semester credit hour as a state resident or around $620.00 as a non-resident. For the nurse practitioner specialization, it’s $552.00 or $782.00. 

Simmons University

#14. Simmons University

This RN to MSN Family Nurse Practitioner degree program is unique in that you do not need a bachelor’s degree to be eligible. If you’re a licensed RN and have earned a nursing diploma or associate’s degree, then you can apply. It’s accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and offers full-time or part-time study options. 

You’ll complete a minimum of 68 course credits, in addition to at least 836 clinical placement hours. In total, the program can be completed in as few as eight terms if studied full-time. Coursework is online, while placements are not; however, the dedicated placement team will help you to find a suitable placement. 

Tuition for this program was recently reduced to support improved access to careers in advanced nursing. As a result, the tuition for this program is approximately $1,200 per credit hour. This is a reduction of around $13,600 over the duration of the program. The university also offers scholarship opportunities, including $5,000, $10,000, and $15,000 awards. 

Columbus State University

#15. Columbus State University

This master’s degree in nursing is offered in conjunction with Georgia Southwestern University, with both institutions belonging to the University System of Georgia. Comprising around 36-38 credit hours, the program offers prospective students three tracks:

  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Leader
  • Nurse Informaticist.

A separate program, the master of science family nurse practitioner. is also available. 

Hopeful students will need a bachelor’s degree in nursing from a regionally accredited university, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (or 2.75 for provisional admission). In addition, you should have unrestricted RN licensure in the state where you’ll be completing your clinical requirements, and you’ll need to submit three professional references. 

In terms of tuition, state residents pay around $210 per credit hour in tuition, plus $802.50 in fees. Non-residents pay the same fees but around $817.00 in tuition. To understand what makes up the bulk of these fees, you can check out this page from the university’s website. 

University of Southern Indiana

#16. University of Southern Indiana

This family nurse practitioner master’s degree comprises 42 credit hours; you’ll also complete a minimum of 665 clinical hours. This split includes 18 credit hours of core courses, covering graduate-level academic courses such as:

  • Population Based Care and Health Policy
  • Nursing Leadership in Health Systems
  • Healthcare Informatics for Advanced Nursing Practice

When you enroll on this program, you’ll be encouraged to find a preceptor who will guide you in clinical placements. They’ll help you to arrange placements, put contracts in place, and establish your plan to meet your clinical requirements. More information can be found in the student handbook for clinical experience. 

Tuition varies from one program to the next. With this master’s degree, you’ll pay around $297 per credit hour, or $8,900 annually. More information on financial aid and costs, including a billing and payment schedule, can be found on this page of the university’s website. 

USC

#17. University of Southern California

Geared toward students who already possess a bachelor’s degree and have a minimum of one year’s experience as an RN, this Master of Science in Nursing is a part-time or full-time program. Full-time study can be completed in as few as 21 months, while part-time study averages at around 33 months. You’ll come to understand in depth how healthcare is impacted by biomedical, psychological, social, and cultural influences. 

Aside from the requirements above, admission to the program may include the completion of a two-unit bridging course to increase your understanding of pathophysiology and pharmacology. This applies to you if you have a cumulative grade of C+ or lower in your undergraduate science courses, microbiology and chemistry, or anatomy and physiology. Other conditions can be found here.

The easiest way to calculate your approximate cost of attendance is to check out the tuition and fees page on the university’s website. Typically, a graduate student at UNC will pay around $29,630.00 in tuition for between 15 and 18 units per semester. This varies from program to program and excludes the fees that may apply. 

Maryville University

#18. Maryville University

Maryville University offers various options in nursing, including a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctoral-level study. According to Forbes, it’s one of ‘America’s Top Colleges’, and it has also been named on a ranking for ‘Best College Values’ by Kiplinger. Check out these and more accolades on the program page

Not only is this program fully online, there are no campus visits required either. What’s more, the GMAT, GRE, or Statistics scores is required for the nursing program. The university will assist you in finding local clinics to satisfy the clinical requirements, saving you time commuting to campus. 

Tuition for the nursing programs at this university varies. The RN to BSN program costs $500 per credit, while the BSN to DNP program costs $813 per credit at the master’s level or $897 per credit for doctoral courses. This master’s degree in particular attracts a tuition rate of $813 per credit, comprising around 41-50 credits in total. 

Delta State

#19. Delta State University

Admission to this master’s degree in nursing is competitive, and there are two types of admission. For full admission, you’ll require a minimum GPA of 3.0 from a bachelor’s degree program in nursing, in addition to other requirements. Admission with conditions can be considered for students who fall short of the standard admissions criteria. 

Classes take place online, while there are scheduled campus visits to attend some seminars. It’s also possible to arrange clinical opportunities close to home to reduce the commute time required while progressing through the program. You’ll also be able to participate in regular discussions and debates with your cohort. 

In addition to the tuition and fees charges by the university for graduate study, there are certain other course fees and lab fees due. These comprise around $1,465.00 in the first semester, $305.00 in the second semester, $365.00 in the third, and $640.00 in the fourth. Information on standard tuition and fees can be found on this page. 

Angelo State

#20. Angelo State University

This Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) – Family Nurse Practitioner degree is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The faculty comprises experts in the healthcare industry who have many years worth of experience practicing the subjects that they teach. You’ll also be able to join student organizations that put you in contact with your fellow cohort. 

Your graduate nursing courses will prepare you for advanced nursing practice, including courses such as:

  • Informatics and Health Care Technology for Advanced Nursing
  • Pharmacotherapeutics
  • Research Foundations for Advanced Nursing
  • Advanced Pathophysiology

For a full list of graduate-level nursing courses offered by the university, check out this page. 

Graduate students at Angelo State University pay differing tuition based on state residency. Your typical in-state student taking 9 semester credit hours for two semesters will pay around $7,034, while a non-resident will pay around $14,396. This makes for a total cost of attendance (COA) of around $16,664 or $24,026. See the tuition calculator here

University of South Carolina Columbia

#21. University of South Carolina-Columbia

The University of South Carolina, Columbia (UofSC) offers a master’s program in nursing that has been named a best online program in grad nursing for 2021. This program in particular focuses on the role of the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) and will prepare you to work directly with adults with complex care requirements. 

Admission into this program requires you to have a B.S. in Nursing from a nationally accredited program, for which you should’ve attained a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. You also require at least one year’s full-time nursing experience (2,400 hours) that took place within the past two years. 

The cost of your master’s degree could vary based on certain factors, including your residency and whether or not you receive a scholarship. For a full breakdown of the potential costs associated with the various nursing degree options, check out this table on the university’s website. 

GSW

#22. Georgia Southwestern State University

In 2019, Georgia Southwestern State University’s (GSW) nursing school was ranked the best in the state. In 2020, this success was continued when their RN to BSN program made a list of the best online RN to BSN programs in Georgia. In addition to the bachelor’s program, GSW offers an online master’s degree in nursing. 

This Master of Science program comprises 36-44 hours depending on your choice of track. There are four tracks available, in addition to two certificates. Students choose from:

  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Nursing Leadership / Management
  • Family Nurse Practitioner

If you take 9 credits each semester, you could finish your degree in as little as two years. 

The online master’s degree in nursing attracts a higher rate of tuition than typical graduate programs at GSW. Online graduates usually pay around $257 per credit hour, but as a nursing student, you’ll pay around $385 per credit hour. More information on fees and other costs can be found on this page of the university’s website. 

University of Texas Arlington

#23. University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington offers several options for distance learners looking to get their master’s degree in nursing. This Master of Science degree offers seven different options, including:

  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing Education
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric and adult gerontology specialisms (several options)

All of these programs are offered fully online, and more information can be found here. Students also have the option of choosing from a number of post-master’s certificates in the above areas, giving you the chance to increase your subject knowledge in broader areas. 

Tuition for the above master’s degree programs varies depending on your choice of specialization. For example, the M.S. in Nursing Administration costs around $17,800, while the M.S. Family Nurse Practitioner program costs around $30,084. Check out the linked program page above to see a cost breakdown for each of the degree programs. 

UTMB

#24. The University of Texas Medical Branch

Under the UTMB School of Nursing, there are four different tracks within the Nurse Practitioner program to choose from. You can specialize in adult gerontology, either as an acute care nurse or primary care nurse, or pursue studies as a family nurse practitioner or neonatal nurse practitioner. 

Other opportunities outside of these tracks are also available. If you’re more interested in teaching or leadership, then you could pursue one of the alternative tracks, which include:

  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Executive Nurse Leader
  • Nurse Educator’ programs

Check out this page for information on all seven options. 

Graduate students studying a master’s degree in nursing can expect to pay around $942.78 per credit hour in tuition and fees, assuming that you are a state resident. Non-residents pay the higher rate of around $1,365.94. Tuition does not include any course or lab fees that may apply, which are common with nursing programs. Check out this link for more rates. 

University of Central Missouri

#25. University of Central Missouri

With a choice of two tracks, Nurse Educator and Family Nurse Practitioner, you’ll either take 33 or 44 credit hours. The curriculums include core courses that cover research methods in nursing, theories in nursing, and other key foundation topics, such as leadership, health policy, and statistics. 

For admission, you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree with an upper division nursing major from an accredited program. You will also need at least one year’s experience as an RN if you want to pursue the FNP track, in addition to having an unrestricted licence to practice as an RN. 

According to their website, The University of Central Missouri is one of the most affordable universities in the country. Their average tuition rate is around $8,310 for an in-state, typical student. For online or hybrid courses, you’ll pay around $653.00 per credit at the graduate level. More information and a cost calculator can be found on this page. 

George Mason University

#26. George Mason University

Comprising 49 credits in total, Mason Online offers the Master of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner program. It’s accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is open to applications from prospective students who have both a bachelor’s degree and an unencumbered RN license. 

You’ll study under a faculty comprising active practitioners, in addition to completing more than 500 hours worth of clinical experience. Upon completion, you’ll also be eligible to sit for certifications from both the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This program has been ranked within the top 50 master’s programs in nursing in the nation. 

Tuition at George Mason University depends on your level of study and the academic college that you study under, in addition to whether you’re a distance learner. In this program, you’ll study under the College of Health and Human Services. Tuition for this master’s degree program is charged at $850 per credit hour regardless of your state residency. 

The George Washington University

#27. The George Washington University

The George Washington University’s MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner program has been ranked at No. 7 in a list of the best online FNP master’s programs in the nation. There are two admission dates throughout the year, and students will be expected to complete at least 700 hours of clinical placement experience. 

Students enrolled in this master’s degree in nursing (FNP) will complete all coursework via distance education. Clinical placements can be arranged within your local community to allow you to meet your required clinical hours. You also have the choice of whether to enrol in the program as a part-time or full-time student. 

Tuition varies depending on your academic school. As a student under the School of Nursing, you’ll pay graduate tuition of around $1,395 for every program, including this master’s degree. Various fees apply to students under this academic school, including a $250 simulation lab fee. See more information on fees on this page. 

Indiana State University

#28. Indiana State University

Indiana State University offers a master’s degree in nursing with a Family Nurse Practitioner concentration. Comprising around 47 to 50 credit hours, your actual workload will depend upon the clinical experience course that you choose at the end of the curriculum. There are no campus visits required in this program; all work can be completed online and at a local clinical site. 

This graduate school has been ranked among the ‘Best Grad Schools for Nursing’ by U.S. News & World Report. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the program takes around 2.5 to 3 years to complete on average. While it’s open for admissions to both in-state and out-of-state students, international students may not apply. 

At Indiana State University, around $16 million in scholarships and other financial aid awards are given out annually. Online tuition for graduate programs is charged at a rate of around $554.00 per credit hour for out-of-state students, while Indiana residents pay around $426.00 per credit hour. 

Spring Arbor University

#29. Spring Arbor University

Spring Arbor University’s fully online MSN Nurse Practitioner program is slated as one of the top FNP programs in the state. You’ll have a choice of four different tracks, including:

  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology, Primary Care, Nurse Practitioner

It’s a good program for busy working professionals, as you can study at your own pace and take just one course at a time. The study format also means that you get a week off between classes. When it comes to clinical experience, you’ll be allowed to choose from a variety of placements that include psychiatric, cardiac, and orthopedic care facilities. 

Tuition for the master’s degree in nursing is a little cheaper than the standard graduate rate of $752 per credit hour, costing just $739 per credit hour. For online students, there’s also a full-time technology fee of around $105 per semester (or $53 for part-time students). More information on fees can be found on this page. 

Northern Kentucky University

#30. Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University (NKU) offers six different concentrations as part of their master’s degree program in nursing. Each of these is available online, varying from 33 to 47 credit hours depending on your selection. These include concentrations in nursing education, leadership, and psychiatric specializations. 

Your choice of program will influence the amount of tuition paid and the time taken to complete your program. For example, the Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Education lasts for around 12 months full-time and costs $18,712. The Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner costs around $28,017 and takes as few as 22 months to complete. 

This variety in course length and cost means that you can find the program most aligned with your future aspirations in nursing. It’s worth mentioning that NKU also offers a number of certificate programs at the post-master’s level, in addition to a Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing degree. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a registered nurse?

Becoming a registered nurse can take between two and four years depending on the route that you take. You’ll need to have a nursing diploma, associate’s degree in nursing, or bachelor’s degree in nursing to meet the academic requirements of most roles. Certain positions will dictate the level of education and experience needed, so we advise looking at four-year bachelor’s degrees if you have ambitious career plans. It might also be worth looking at existing job advertisements to figure out your path. 

However, in order to gain status and licensure as a registered nurse (RN), you also need to have met clinical nursing requirements and passed the NCLEX-RN to gain licensure to practice in your state. Once you’ve satisfied these requirements, you can seek positions as a registered nurse in a range of facilities. For more information on this examination, check out the official website

If you want to pursue higher salaries and gain more recognition in your role, aside from completing a master’s degree, you can also become board certified. This will require at least two years worth of experience in a clinical setting, within a specialty area, and you’ll normally need to pass an examination too. 

Do nurses need a master’s degree?

While you don’t need a master’s degree to become a registered nurse, RNs with such a qualification tend to earn more than their colleagues with a bachelor’s degree. You’ll also typically find it easier to pursue roles that carry a greater level of responsibility, such as management, education, and leadership positions. 

Additionally, advanced practice nursing licensure requires a master’s degree, and many of the higher-paying roles with greater responsibility require you to have a master’s. In some states across the U.S., advanced nurse practitioners can even diagnose their own patients and prescribe medication. This is why many master’s degree programs in nursing place a greater focus on pharmacology. 

You should also consider the career outlook for both groups of nurses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth in available roles for nurse practitioners is a huge 45% between 2019 and 2029. For registered nurses, this figure is far lower at around 7%. In short, completing a master’s degree could make it easier to find a job in future. 

How much do registered nurses make?

Registered nurses typically earn above the U.S. national average salary of around $40,000. According to the BLS, the median pay for an RN in 2020 was around $75,330 annually or $36.22 hourly. Those in government could expect to earn around $84,490, while the lowest-paying sector was in educational services at around $64,630. 

It’s worth noting that these roles have what’s often termed ‘antisocial hours’. Nurses in hospitals and care facilities in particular will work shifts to ensure that care is always available. This could include working through the night, on weekends, and during holiday periods. 

When we look at the typical salary for advanced practice nurses, it’s easy to see why some people pursue a master’s degree in this area. According to the BLS, these professionals earned a median annual salary of around $117,670 in 2020 or $56.57 hourly. 

What does a registered nurse do?

Registered nurses are an integral part of a healthcare team. While duties will vary depending on specialty and the facility in which you work, there are a lot of common duties shared by different RNs. For example, you’ll usually monitor and record patients’ vital signs and progress through their treatment. 

Many RNs are involved in creating patient care plans, administering medications, and performing small procedures, including IV cannulation, wound and skin care, and drawing patients’ blood. You might also assist on larger procedures and provide patients with advice and information about their condition. 

Outside of the typical roles that most RNs share, you might be a surgical RN, assisting in the operating room during surgeries. Or, you could be working in a general physician’s office, completing administrative tasks. Thankfully, with such a broad scope of roles available, you can pick and choose one that suits your preference for the type of work you want to be performing. 

If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out The 20 Best Online Bachelors In Nursing Degree Programs and The 25 Best Bachelor’s in Nurse Practitioner (RN Required)