4 Best 18-Month Online FNP Programs For 2023

Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Are you a registered nurse who is considering pursuing a higher degree? Does the idea of providing professional, advanced practice nursing care to patients of all ages throughout their lifespan sound like something you can see yourself doing? If so, becoming a family nurse practitioner (FNP) could be a great option to help you meet your career goals. Even if going back to school seems like an impossibility because you must work or have other responsibilities, there are still options. You may be surprised to know you can get become an FNP in a shorter amount of time by enrolling in an 18-month FNP program online. In this article, I will share a list of the best 18-month online FNP programs for 2023 and give you some information about each one.

What Exactly Is The Purpose Of An 18-Month Online FNP Program?

There is a high demand for qualified healthcare professionals like family nurse practitioners. Many universities offer both on-campus and online programs for nursing professionals who wish to pursue this role. The purpose of 18-month online FNP programs is to provide nurses who want to advance their education, skills, and knowledge to be used to provide care to patients of all ages throughout their lifespan in an advanced practice nursing role as a family nurse practitioner. Although the program is completed in 18 months, students are not lacking when it comes to exposure to the education and training needed to help them learn to manage diseases, promote healthy lifestyle choices, and restore health. In fact, the goal of an 18-month online FNP program is to make sure that FNP students get the highest quality education possible to provide care to patients while becoming available to provide that care in a shorter amount of time.

How Much Do 18-Month Online FNP Programs Cost?

The cost of 18-month FNP programs online vary from one school to another and may be affected by different factors. Many online programs require students to pay tuition based on a per-credit basis. Some students may also be required to pay specific fees such as application fees. Some online programs include technology or online learning fees. An important question to ask the admissions office is whether the FNP school you are considering charges credit transfer fees. Although not all schools charge for credit transfer, if the school you choose to attend does, your admissions advisor can help you decide which courses, if any, would be beneficial for you to transfer to the online 18-month family NP program.

Saint Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida, offers an MSN-FNP program that can be completed in as few as 18 months by completing forty-seven credit hours. The total tuition for the program is $27,125. The cost of tuition and fees at Mount Carmel’s College of Nursing online FNP program is approximately $28,506.00.


Family nurse practitioner programs can be quite rigorous. They involve coursework that includes family medical care, as well as advanced nursing courses. Some of the most common courses included in an FNP program include:

• Primary Healthcare Across the Lifespan
• Advanced Pharmacology
• Advanced Health Assessment

South College in Knoxville, Tennessee, is one of the best 18-month online FNP programs we have found. Although the college offers more than one family nurse practitioner track, the BSN-MSN pathway is designed so that students can complete it within eighteen months. Saint Thomas University’s online MSN-FNP program curriculum requires students to complete eight core courses, which equal twenty-four credit hours, and nine specialization courses (twenty-three credit hours). FNP courses at Saint Thomas include Philosophical and Theoretical, Evidence-Based Research Basis of Nursing, Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced FNP courses including Children and Families, Women's Health, Adults, and Adult-Gerontology. Mount Carmel College of Nursing offers another one of the best 18-month online family nurse practitioner programs available. The program is designed to be completed in five semesters. Students complete 48 credit hours, which include courses such as Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology, Advanced Health Assessment, Leadership in Advanced Nursing Roles, Theoretical Foundations, and Advanced Pharmacology.

Clinical Training

Clinical training may be integrated into a family nurse practitioner program’s curriculum in different ways, depending on the school’s online program guidelines. Typically, online 18-month FNP programs require students to seek out clinical sites and preceptors independently and then submit requests for site and preceptor approval from the school. Because not all clinical sites and preceptors are approved by every school, it is imperative that students begin to plan for clinical rotations early in the program to prevent any delays in completing the program on time.

The following are examples of the clinical requirements at some of the best online 18-month FNP programs we have listed in this article.

FNP students at South College must complete a minimum of 780 hours, which involves five supervised clinical practicum courses. The five courses include Family Health-Adult and Gerontology, Women's Health, Pediatrics, Primary Care, and a Graduate Project in Nursing. National University FNP students must complete 645 clinical hours at an approved site during practicum courses. The clinical requirements at Mount Carmel College of Nursing include that students complete at least five hundred post-baccalaureate preceptor-supervised clinical hours.

Admission Requirements

Applying for admission to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with family nurse practitioner specialty requires an applicant to be able to submit to a rigorous professional and educational program. Whether a prospective student chooses to enroll in on-campus or online classes, most schools have similar admission requirements. Although there are online FNP programs that accept registered nurses with an associate degree, admission to 18-month FNP programs online typically require applicants to have a BSN or higher nursing degree. Having a BSN degree prior to admission is what helps a student complete the program within the time constraints of the program.

Typical admission requirements for a family nurse practitioner program include the following:

• Possess an active, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse in the state where you will do your clinical practicum
• Submit official transcripts of all post-secondary schools attended
• Submit resume’ or curriculum vitae

The best 18-month FNP programs online may have additional admissions requirements, such as the following.

National University applicants to the FNP program must hold a bachelor's or higher degree from a university or college that is regionally accredited, prove an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher, or a 2.75 GPA or higher within the last 90 quarter units completed. Students with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to 2.49 may still be admitted to the program, but they must submit scores from a standardized, approved program-specific exam, such as GRE, GMAT, or Miller Analogies Test.

South College requires applicants to participate in an admission interview and receive a minimum of 2.5 out of 4 possible points from the interviewer(s). They must also show evidence of completion of a BSN degree from an accredited nursing school, submit a two-page typed personal statement that includes the applicant's professional objectives and goals, and at least three letters of recommendation from healthcare professionals rating the applicant's professional and academic potential for success.


(These 18-Month Online FNP programs are ideal for BSN graduates who wish to earn their FNP Degree in 18 Months. Although other schools may offer an FNP program that can be completed in eighteen months, the following are some of the best 18-month online family nurse practitioner programs we found and wanted to share with you.)

1. National University - San Diego, CA (12-18 Months)

2. South College - Knoxville, TN (18 Months)

3. Saint Thomas University - Miami Gardens, FL (18 Months)

4. Mount Carmel College of Nursing - Columbus, OH (18 Months)



Choosing to enroll in and graduate from one of the best 18-month online FNP programs for 2023 can create endless possibilities for career advancement and increases in salary, not to mention the respect of your colleagues and clients. If you have a genuine desire to care for others, wish to provide care to patients of all ages, and like the idea of developing long-term relationships with clients, choosing a career as a family nurse practitioner could be a perfect fit for you.

Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.