Nurse Practitioner Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Nurse practitioners are a type of primary health care provider and work independently of physicians. A prospective nurse practitioner must be a registered nurse and complete at least a master's degree program in nursing. Often a nurse practitioner will specialize in geriatrics, pediatrics, family practice or women's health.

How to Choose a Nurse Practitioner School or College

Both the Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing programs allow students to focus only on nursing science courses. However, a master's degree in nursing science with a nurse practitioner focus is the basic educational requirement needed to become a nurse practitioner. The BSN component is typically completed in two years of full-time study; the MSN program may be completed within three years. Entry-level MSN programs are designed for applicants who have no prior nursing training. Students enrolled in entry-level MSN programs earn their nursing licenses before completing graduate courses in nursing science. Registered nurses who seek the highest nurse practitioner qualifications can choose to complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program and a graduate of a this program can compete for jobs in education as well as traditional nurse practitioner and nurse clinician roles. Some nurse practitioner degree programs can be completed on a part-time basis. The following items should be considered before choosing a nursing school:

  • One consideration for prospective applicants is the type of concentration areas offered by a nurse practitioner degree program.
  • Prospective students with undergraduate degrees in areas not related to nursing may want to consider Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Master of Science in Nursing programs.
  • Clinical experiences in the best hospitals, acute care centers and surgical practices among other areas are attractive to aspiring nurse practitioners because they contribute to the quality of education.

Top 10 Schools with Nursing Programs

College/UniversityInstitution Type
University of Pennsylvania4-year, Private
Johns Hopkins University4-year, Private
University of California-San Francisco4-year, Public
University of Washington4-year, Public
University of Pittsburgh 4-year, Public
Duke University4-year, Private
New York University4-year, Private
University of Maryland--Baltimore4-year, Public
University of Michigan--Ann Arbor4-year, Public
Emory University4-year, Private

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