Online Nurse Practitioner Programs: School Info and Requirements

Online nurse practitioner programs allow students to prepare to work as advanced practice nurses without relocating or giving up current employment to attend school. Online programs are commonly offered at the master's and doctoral levels.

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Online nurse practitioner programs are offered through the nursing schools of 4-year universities. Some programs can be completed entirely online, while others require students to attend a limited number of on-campus sessions.

Schools With Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Here is a list of a few of the schools that offer online or partially online nursing programs for aspiring nurse practitioners.

College/University Location Institution Type Degree Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 4-year, Public Master's $12,790 (in-state)
Herzing University Brookfield, WI 4-year, Private Master's $10,400
Chamberlain College of Nursing Addison, IL 4-year, Private Master's $15,600
South University Savannah, GA 4-year, Private Master's $20,115
Maryville University of Saint Louis St. Louis, MO 4-year, Private Master's & Doctorate $13,768
Ohio State University Columbus, OH 4-year, Public Master's $11,560 (in-state)
Bradley University Peoria, IL 4-year, Private Master's & Doctorate $14,940
Walden University Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Private Master's & Doctorate $11,895
Gonzaga University Spokane, WA 4-year, Private Master's $14,868

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

When looking for a program you want to make sure the you choose best fits you occupational goals and schedule. Further considerations for students in this field:

  • Schools accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission may better prepare students to sit for certification exams after graduation.
  • When choosing a program, students should consider whether they are interested in the specialty options a school offers, which may include focuses such as family health, women's health, gerontology or oncology.
  • Students should keep in mind their personal schedules; some programs are offered entirely online, while others require in-person attendance for weekend courses or semester residencies.

Master of Science in Nursing

A Master of Science in Nursing program requires approximately two years of full-time study. Coursework in these programs focuses on training students to assess and diagnose patients as well as make and manage health care plans. To attend these programs, students must be registered nurses. Students lacking prerequisite courses may be required to attend courses on-campus prior to admission.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

For a student who already has a master's degree in the field, a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program takes about two years to complete. These programs train students to evaluate health care and nursing informatics and implement evidence-based nursing practices based on the gathered information. Students in these programs complete electives and capstone experiences tailored to their specialties, and they may also need to complete a scholarly project or write a thesis. Graduates of these programs are usually eligible to assume leadership positions in health care settings.

Registered Nurses wanting to advance their careers as a nurse practitioner may choose to either pursue a MS in Nursing, or for more advanced leadership roles a doctorate in nursing practice. These programs may be found online and are designed to fit RN schedules.

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