Top Nurse Practitioner Schools
If you're interested in becoming a nurse practitioner and would like to find out which colleges and universities offer quality programs, you're in luck! We've created a comprehensive list outlining the top 50 nurse practitioner schools in the nation. To develop this list, we examined Department of Education data like school costs and student retention and explored program specific factors, including nurse practitioner program diversity, certification exam pass rates, and degrees and certificates offered. After exploring these programs, you should have no problem finding a school that will get you on the right track towards a successful career as a nurse practitioner.
1. Mount Carmel College of Nursing
Mount Carmel College of Nursing in Ohio is a fantastic school to consider if you're interested in training to become a nurse practitioner (NP). The college provides amazing perks like a small 8 to 1 student to faculty ratio and history of impressive national nursing certificate exam pass rates, with 95% of 2018 students earning their certifications. To prepare for this exciting career, the college offers Master of Science (MS) degrees and post-master's certificates that train students as adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners (AGACNPs) and family nurse practitioners (FNPs). The 48-credit MS degrees can be completed in as little as two years, while certificates can be completed in just three semesters.
2. Bellin College
Wisconsin-based Bellin College gets students on the right track toward careers as family nurse practitioners with a comprehensive Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. This 47-credit program, which is available to full-time and part-time students, thoroughly trains for FNP careers through quality nursing coursework focused on advanced pharmacology, evidence-based nursing practice, professional role development and much more. Students get clinical experience through practicums that accumulate to 680 hours and benefit from access to the university's more than 85 local clinical partners.
3. University of Wyoming
The Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing at the University of Wyoming prepares students to become nurse practitioners through its three-year Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program. The program, which includes FNP and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) concentrations, is designed for students possessing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN); however, students with MSNs are welcome as long as they complete the plan of study for BSN students. Both concentrations offer clinical experience through outpatient facilities and prepare students to work in rural environments.
4. Georgia College & State University
Georgia College & State University prepares its graduate students for amazing careers as FNPs, PMHNPs or women's health nurse practitioners (WHNPs) with MSN programs that offer valuable training through comprehensive coursework, face-to-face immersion experiences and more than 600 hours of clinicals. Students already possessing a graduate degree have the opportunity to earn a post-master's certificate to become an FNP or PMHNP. All nurse practitioner degree and certificate options are offered in a convenient online format and require only a few campus visits over the course of the program.
5. Westminster College
Westminster College provides quality training that prepares students to work in clinics, emergency rooms and other medical facilities while caring for underserved and rural populations. Students at this Salt Lake City school get the knowledge needed to become family nurse practitioners through the college's MSN degree or graduate certificate program. The MSN FNP is designed for BSN holders and can be completed after earning 42 credits in just five semesters. The FNP graduate certificate, which is designed to help current certified NPs become nationally certified FNPs, is typically tailored to align with each students' previous preparation and need for additional FNP training.
6. Clarkson College
Students attending Clarkson College in Nebraska have several excellent paths to become nurse practitioners. The college offers MSN, post-graduate certificate and DNP options for students with bachelor's or master's degrees in nursing who aim to become FNPs or adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioners (AGPCNPs). Registered nurses possessing a nursing diploma or associate's degree in nursing can earn both their BSN and master's degree while in the process of becoming an FNP or AGPCNP by enrolling in the college's comprehensive RN to MSN program.
7. Misericordia University
Misericordia University in Pennsylvania offers fantastic MSN degree and post-master's certificate programs for students ready for amazing careers as family nurse practitioners. Students in these programs enjoy small class sizes and hundreds of hours of supervised clinical practice. Master's level coursework focuses on advanced physiology, family health promotion, clinical management of family health and more. Students who excel in this program could be recognized with awards like the MSN Clinical Excellence Award.
8. D'Youville College
D'Youville College offers multiple graduate programs that prepare students for careers as FNPs or PMHNPs. Students possessing BSNs could enroll in a 40-42 credit MSN program, while MSN holders could enroll in a 30-credit advanced certificate program or 34-36 credit DNP program. While in their programs, D'Youville's students could take courses like advanced pharmacology, advanced health assessment, legal and ethical issues in HCO or community-based care of the aging population to develop their nursing skills. Students at this Buffalo, New York based school also have the fantastic opportunity to use the interdisciplinary education lab, which allows them to work with students in other health care majors and provide treatments to actors who portray patients.
9. Molloy College
Students enrolled in Molloy College's Hagan School of Nursing can prepare for careers as primary care nurse practitioners in areas that include the family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology nurse practitioner and pediatric nurse practitioner. This New York college also offers a quality nurse practitioner program for students interested in family psychiatric-mental health. These programs ensure students develop their nursing skills in alignment with the school's humanistic nursing practice philosophy of value and respect to all patients through courses like advanced medical ethics. Other core, advanced practice and specialty courses along with hundreds of clinical hours ensure students have the skills needed for success as NPs.
10. Carlow University
Nurse practitioner programs offered at Carlow University in Pennsylvania include the Family Nurse Practitioner and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, both of which are available at the MSN level. The FNP is a 50-credit program offered at the Oakland campus, while the WHNP requires 49 credits for completion and is available at the Oakland, Greensburg and Cranberry campuses. Both programs give their students the freedom to choose from flexible hybrid, online and in-person formats, offer 600 total clinical hours and prepare students to work in urban and rural environments. FNP and WHNP post-graduate certificates are also available.
11. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
At the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, students have the opportunity to become family nurse practitioners through a quality MSN program that focuses on cultural sensitivity and patient safety in nursing. The college also offers a comprehensive psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner program that fully prepares students to provide expert-level, compassionate care to patients with psychiatric disorders. MSN program options are available for registered nurses with associate's degrees in nursing as well as BSN holders. Students possessing their MSN could pursue the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Students (CAGS).
12. Ursuline College
Ursuline College's Breen School of Nursing ensures its students have the skills needed to excel in careers as AGPCNPs, FNPs, AGACNPs or adult-gerontology clinical nurse practitioners. Whether entering an MSN program as a bachelor's degree holder or post-master's certificate program as an advanced practice nurse, students get plenty of quality training to help them succeed. To get started on the right track, students at this school in Ohio could take MSN core courses like health care informatics, health care policies or advanced health assessment. Depending on their chosen specialty track, they might have the chance to learn about clinical management, advanced diagnostics, acute care management or adult health management.
13. University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
The University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire has received recognition for offering its students a quality education resulting in 99% of its graduates securing jobs or moving forward with their education within one year of program completion. Among the university's top programs is its DNP, which amply prepares students for roles as AGPCNPs or FNPs. Students can enter the program with a BSN and finish in just three years, while individuals possessing an MSN can finish in as little as three terms.
14. South Dakota State University
Bachelor's degree holders enrolled in South Dakota State University's College of Nursing can become family nurse practitioners through the MSN or DNP programs. The MSN program, which has been offered since 1979, aims for nurses to prepare for work using evidence-based practice. The DNP program, which could be completed in just three years, ensures students are ready for advanced practice in rural settings. Post-graduate certificates are also available for students interested in pursuing FNPs or PMHNPs.
15. Valparaiso University
At Valparaiso University in Indiana, nursing students are well supported on their journeys toward successful careers through strong academic programs, a hands-on Virtual Nursing Learning Center and the chance to participate in service-learning opportunities in countries like Tanzania. For students interested in securing positions as FNPs, the university's BSN to DNP is a great choice. The program features hybrid, in-person, and online learning formats. It also provides valuable clinical experience that sets students on the right track toward becoming FNPs and potentially earning positions as managers, directors or executives in the nursing field.
16. Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Millersville University of Pennsylvania offers a 43-credit MSN for students interested in becoming nurse practitioners focused on family/individuals across the lifespan. The same specialty track is available for students looking to earn the 28-credit post-master's certificate. Courses taken at the MSN and certificate levels to enhance students' NP knowledge include pathophysiology for advanced practice, clinical management of the young family and a family nurse practitioner internship. Graduate-level nursing scholarships available to support students' academic journeys include the Forty et Eight (Voiture 42) Endowment for Nursing Education.
17. Husson University
Maine's Husson University has a fantastic track record for academic excellence, which is a major reason that its graduate students have a 100% national certificate exam pass rate. The university offers an MSN and post-master's certificate for students interested in becoming a family and community nurse practitioner (FCNP) or family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (FPMHNP). MSN students can enjoy clinical experiences through top-notch simulation labs under the instruction of faculty members who also have experience as nurse practitioners.
18. Mount Saint Mary College
Mount Saint Mary College in New York provides opportunities for registered nurses and master's prepared nurses to enhance their current careers by becoming nurse practitioners. Students enrolled in the master's degree program or post-master's certificate program can study to become family nurse practitioners or adult gerontology nurse practitioners. Both programs offer students didactic and clinical courses, while the master's program also includes a research component. This impressive preparation is one reason 92% of the college's nursing students are able to secure employment within six months of their graduation.
19. Catholic University of America
At the Catholic University of America in the nation's capital, students have the opportunity to train for roles as family nurse practitioners through the university's MSN or post-master's certificate program. Students can take courses in an online or on-campus learning format and benefit from clinical experience at one of 100 area health care facilities. In addition to gaining the education and skills needed to become FNPs, the MSN program allows students to take an additional nine credit hours, which allows them to qualify for National League of Nursing Certified Nurse Educator certification.
20. Madonna University
Madonna University students can choose from four MSN nurse practitioner programs, designed to guide them into rewarding careers. Students at this Michigan school could enroll in the AGACNP or AGPCNP program track to work in the adult-gerontology field or add to either track an advanced practice hospice and palliative care specialty. The university ensures its students are well prepared to work in their fields, as evidenced by the AGACNP and AGPCNP programs' 100% national certification exam pass rate for first-time test takers in 2016.
21. Belmont University
Nashville, Tennessee's Belmont University ensures its nursing students have all of the resources needed to prepare for and succeed in their careers. Students have the opportunity to develop their nursing skills via access to 13 learning labs, 30 simulation manikins, numerous mission trip opportunities and more. Those interested in specific careers as family nurse practitioners can choose from three program options: the traditional MSN, a post-graduate APRN program for nurses with master's in other clinical specialties and a BSN to DNP for students who want leadership roles as FNPs.
22. Palm Beach Atlantic University
Palm Beach Atlantic University takes pride in being Florida's only Christian nursing program to receive national accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Students in all programs are well prepared to excel in their chosen nursing professions. To train students for careers as family nurse practitioners, Palm Beach Atlantic University offers a comprehensive DNP. The 74-credit program educates students in areas that include advanced nursing research, faith and science, primary care, and leadership in organizations and systems.
23. Cedarville University
The School of Nursing at Cedarville University offers an MSN with a family nurse practitioner focus that prepares students to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) exam. Students enrolled in this program are trained to offer care that is rooted in Christian principles and learn how best to use the nursing profession as a ministry. While courses in this in-depth program are available online, students have the opportunity to participate in four on-campus courses where they work with low- and high-fidelity simulators. In total, nursing students at this Cedarville, Ohio school get 600 hours clinical experience that will prepare them for success upon graduating.
24. Gwynedd Mercy University
Gwynedd Mercy University more than prepares its students for amazing careers as nurse practitioners through its MSN and post-master's programs. The 43-credit MSN program at this school in Pennsylvania takes about two years to complete and offers adult-gerontology, family and pediatric specialties. The 25-credit post-master's certificate program can be completed in just one year and provides adult-gerontology, primary care and pediatric primary care specialty options. The university offers students fantastic opportunities to develop their clinical skills through high-quality laboratories, patient simulations, and affiliations with 200+ regional health care facilities.
25. University of Portland
At the University of Portland, registered nurses already possessing a BSN can train to become FNPs through the 76-credit DNP program. This program, which is designed for full-time completion in nine semesters, well-prepares students for their careers through courses like nursing science and ethics for advanced practice, translation science, and botanicals in primary care. Students will get an impressive 960 hours of clinical experience so they're confident in their ability to diagnose health conditions and encourage patients to take part in their health and wellness.
26. Pittsburg State University
In Pittsburg State University's BSN to DNP program, students have the opportunity to train for careers as family nurse practitioners. The program requires 74 credit hours for completion and allows students to add an emphasis in nursing education for an additional three credit hours. Students who complete the CCNE-accredited program will be qualified to work in advanced roles that include the expert clinician, director of nursing or medical services, or assistant professor.
27. Saint Joseph's College of Maine
Saint Joseph's College of Maine prepares its students to serve as highly trained nurse practitioners who offer top-notch primary or acute care while also excelling as leaders in the field. Whether desiring to become adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners or family nurse practitioners, students can choose from a variety of fantastic programs. Students enrolled in one of the 48-credit MSN programs have the opportunity to develop skills for treating patients with acute ailments or working with other professionals to provide primary care. Post-master's certificate enrollees get the same opportunities while benefiting from the chance to complete their programs after earning just 30 credits.
28. Duquesne University
Duquesne University's School of Nursing in Pennsylvania offers excellent MSN degree and post-master's certificate options for students aiming to become family nurse practitioners for individuals across the lifespan. The online MSN is a 42-credit program designed for bachelor's degree holders, while the 15-34 credit online post-master's certificate was created for nurses possessing MSNs. The success of both of these impressive programs is evidenced by the university's 2018 AANPCB Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam pass rate of 100 percent.
29. Mississippi University for Women
The Mississippi University for Women Graduate Nursing Program has offered an accredited MSN degree since 1974. By attaining this nationally-recognized graduate degree, students will be prepared to serve as nationally certified family nurse practitioners. The program also offers a post-graduate APRN certificate for registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses interested in becoming FNPs. Students could earn their MSN after completing 39 credit hours; completion of the post-graduate certificate requires 30 credits for nurses with MSNs and 23 credits for nurse practitioners.
30. Marymount University
Marymount University nursing students are offered several routes to train for successful nurse practitioner careers. Opportunities to become FNPs are available through the MSN degree, DNP degree, and post-master's certificate. While in these programs, students gain valuable clinical experience through affiliations with top organizations like the Virginia Hospital Center and Children's National Medical Center. This experience is likely a major contributor to 100% of the university's 2018 graduates passing the AANP certification exam on their first try.
31. Otterbein University
Associate's degree holders have the chance to earn an MSN and eventually a DNP while also becoming either a family nurse practitioner or psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner through Otterbein University's graduate nursing program. The program also offers comprehensive FNP and PMHNP options through post-master's certificates and BSN to DNP degrees. Students in these accredited programs get plenty of experience that can aid their careers through the university's skills labs and clinicals in inpatient and outpatient settings.
32. Saint John Fisher College
Saint John Fisher College's Wegmans School of Nursing offers a quality MSN program for students interested in nurse practitioner roles in the following areas: primary care family, adult-gerontology (primary or acute care) and psychiatric mental health. The DNP program at this Rochester, New York school is designed for students aiming for careers as nurse practitioners in leadership roles. To support students' academic journeys, the school provides opportunities to secure Federal Nurse Traineeship awards, which are designated for nursing students in a graduate program.
33. College of Our Lady of the Elms
The DNP program at the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Massachusetts can prepare students to become adult-gerontology acute nurse practitioners or family nurse practitioners in as few as 2.5 years. While in the program, students get plenty of experience through direct clinical observation and supervised advanced clinical practice and have the opportunity to showcase all they have learned through the DNP Capstone scholarly project. In addition to a stellar DNP program, the college offers a complete post-graduate certificate option for students interested in becoming an FNP or AGACNP. Completion of these nurse practitioner programs ensures students are ready to sit for and excel on the ANCC or AANP certification exam.
34. Saint Peter's University
Students interested in becoming an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner in the area of primary care could greatly benefit from Saint Peter's University's MSN degree or post-master's certificate program. The MSN, which can be completed in just short of three years, is designed for students who have earned their BSN, while the 25-credit post-master's certificate was created for nurses who possess their MSN. Both programs present courses at the university's Jersey City campus. Courses students might take while pursuing their degree or certificate include nursing theory, administration in health care organizations and case management.
35. DeSales University
DeSales University in Pennsylvania provides students with several paths to begin careers as specialized nurse practitioners. At the MSN level, full-time students can become FNPs across the lifespan, PMHNPs or adult-gerontology acute nurse practitioners in as little as two calendar years. Post-MSN certificates are also available for students interested in pursuing one of these three specialties. In addition to quality curriculum and off-campus clinical experiences, students get the chance to develop in the clinical skills lab, which prepares them to perform important tasks like central line placement.
36. Lubbock Christian University
At Texas-based Lubbock Christian University, students have access to two graduate programs dedicated to training students to become family nurse practitioners. The university offers a complete MSN FNP program for bachelor's degree holders with at least two years of full-time RN experience. A 38-credit post-master's FNP certificate program is also available that can be completed in just five semesters. Students of these programs are well prepared, which is proven in the university's 93% licensure/certification exam pass rate and 100% job placement rate for 2018 graduates.
37. Marshall University
Nursing students have the opportunity to become highly trained FNPS or PMHNPs while attending Marshall University. In the school's 41-credit MSN FNP program, students are prepared to work with patients in underserved and rural settings. The two-year MSN PMHNP program ensures students are ready to provide psychotherapy within hospitals and other facilities through coursework totaling 51 credits and a minimum of 700 clinical hours. Nurses who have already earned graduate degrees could become FNPs by enrolling in the university's post-master's certificate program.
38. SUNY Polytechnic Institute
SUNY Polytechnic Institute has a goal to ensure its nursing students are prepared to work within and even transform health care systems while providing the highest quality of care possible to a wide spectrum of patients. Students interested in becoming nurse practitioners could achieve this goal through a 45-credit MS FNP program for registered nurses already possessing a BSN or an accelerated FNP option for RNs who possess an associate's degree in nursing and want to earn their BSN and MSN in less time. The institute also offers a 36-credit FNP advanced certificate program students who have already earned a master's degree.
39. Salve Regina University
Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island prepares students for success as family nurse practitioners through its top-notch master's degree in nursing program. This 48-credit program trains students for their careers through 14 courses covering advanced health assessment, family theories, health promotion across the lifespan, research for evidence-based practice and more. Students have the opportunity to enhance their nursing skills by attaining 600 clinical hours as well as the chance to practice in the university's simulation library.
40. University of Mary
Students who aim to become nurse practitioners and earn their DNP can meet all of their needs at the University of Mary. The school's family nurse practitioner DNP is an 86-credit CCNE-accredited program that prepares students for important roles in disease management and health promotion. Students can enjoy courses presented in a blended online/on-site format as well as plenty of experience through 1,180 clinical and leadership hours. At the school's North Dakota campus, DNP students gain additional experience through the university's anatomy lab, which includes six cutting-edge synthetic humans developed by SynDaver Labs technology.
41. Pacific Lutheran University
Pacific Lutheran University in Washington trains students to secure roles as FNPs and PMHNPs through its comprehensive DNP program. The university offers the option to enter the program as bachelor's degree holders (BSN to DNP), master's degree holders (MSN to DNP) or nurses who work as advanced practice nurses (MSN-ARNP to DNP). BSN students can complete the program in just three years, while MSN students can finish in as little as two years. Students in these programs have the opportunity to support their studies by applying for the Dean's Excellence in Nursing Leadership DNP Scholarship.
42. Seattle University
At Seattle University, prospective nurse practitioners can pursue their career dreams through post-master's certificates or the school's DNP program. The AGACNP acute care post-master's certificate is open to current primary care NPs with a master's degree, while primary care certificates in areas like AGNP, FNP and family PMHNP are open to NPs already possessing their DNP. Non-nurses, RNs with BSNs and RNs with MSNs can earn their DNP in the same areas of practice. While in their respective practitioner programs, students get plenty of experience through the Clinical Performance Lab, which includes an outpatient clinic, simulation areas, high-fidelity manikins and more.
43. Montana State University
Montana State University takes pride in being the only provider of graduate nursing programs in the state. Students interested in becoming family/individual nurse practitioners or psych/mental health nurse practitioners have the opportunity to secure careers following the successful completion of the university's DNP program. While in one of these 3-4 year programs, students have the opportunity for financial assistance to further their studies through research or teaching assistantships, Nurse Faculty Loan program funds or other graduate scholarship opportunities.
44. Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville offers a DNP program designed to prepare students for quality careers as family nurse practitioners. This program is available in a hybrid (online/in-person) format for students attending classes part-time or full-time. Depending on the level of education already attained when first enrolled, students could complete the program in as little as three years. While the majority of courses are offered online, students in this program take part in in-person immersion experiences and also have the chance to gain clinical experience through on-campus lab opportunities.
45. Bellarmine University
Bellarmine University's Nursing Department ensures its graduate students have access to a wide range of resources to help them succeed in their programs, including a top-notch simulation laboratory and more than 100 community and healthcare partners. Among nursing programs available at this Kentucky university is the 43-credit MSN FNP. Students in this program learn about health policy, nursing care at the end of life and healthcare administration and benefit from 720 clinical hours. This strong academic and clinical foundation has likely contributed to its 2018 graduates' astounding 95% first-time pass rate on the FNP certification exam.
46. Goshen College
The MSN program offered at Goshen College in Indiana gets students on the right track toward success as family nurse practitioners. The program typically takes about 32 months to complete and offers students coursework focused on healthcare ethics, pharmacology for advanced nursing, foundations for leadership and more. Students benefit greatly from the stellar curriculum and clinical partnerships, which is likely why they have enjoyed almost 100% APRN job placement within one year of graduation.
47. College of Mount Saint Vincent
At the College of Mount Saint Vincent, students have the opportunity to train for family nurse practitioner roles through the college's MS and advanced certificate programs. Completion of the MS program requires 42 credits and 750 clinical hours and includes courses like advanced nursing theory, advanced pathophysiology, and family nurse practitioner theory. Since students in the advanced certificate program already possess an MSN, they can complete their studies with just 27 credits. Upon graduation, students in both programs will be well prepared to take the ANCC and/or AANP exams.
48. Xavier University
Xavier University in Ohio is a great choice for students looking to train for family nurse practitioner careers. At the university are two program options: MSN FNP and FNP post-master's certificate. The MSN program requires the completion of 47 credit hours and 600 clinical hours, while the post-master's certificate can be completed in just 18 credit hours. Students gain valuable practical experience on campus through the university's laboratory, which offers life-like mannequins that simulate the patient experience.
49. Winston-Salem State University
At Winston-Salem State University, students could begin training to become a family nurse practitioner through the MSN or DNP program. Students in the 51-credit MSN program get 672 practicum hours and the experience needed to offer primary care to patients of all ages. The DNP ensures students are ready to assume FNP roles that include nursing leadership, health policy design and the transformation of nursing practice. Both programs prepare nursing students to address the needs of patients in disadvantaged and underserved areas.
50. Binghamton University
Binghamton University in New York provides the training needed to become quality AGPCNPs, community health PCNPs, FPMHNPs or FNPs. The university's 46-48 credit MSN program, which will soon transition its NP specializations to the DNP program, prepares students through five curriculum components (core, clinical, role development, supporting and elective), while the 35-credit DNP trains students through comprehensive coursework and 540 clinical hours. The university offers post-graduate certificate programs that could be finished after completing just 16 credits. Students in these programs benefit from access to the Innovative Simulation and Practice Center, which offers a 10-bed hospital ward, exam rooms, simulated hospital rooms and many other state-of-the-art features.
To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.