Best Online BSN to FNP Programs for 2020
Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Are you a registered nurse who has completed a BSN degree? Are you interested in taking steps to higher education and earning the right to practice as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)? Does the idea of quitting your job make you second-guess going back to school? If you answered yes to any of these questions, a BSN to MSN-FNP online program might be a step in the right direction for you. In this article, we will discuss some of the best online BSN to FNP programs, look at the pros and cons of an online education, and give you information about this learning pathway.
What Exactly is a BSN to FNP Program?
A BSN to FNP program is a nursing program designed to allow BSN registered nurses to pursue an advanced practice nursing degree.
Pros and Cons of Pursuing an Online BSN to FNP Program?
Before enrolling in any college program, it is important to look at the pros and cons of the pathway you are interested in. There are advantages and disadvantages to pursuing a BSN to family nurse practitioner online degree. Weighing each will help you determine if an online degree is the right choice for you.
Examining the PROS of Pursuing an Online BSN to FNP Program:
• Nurses who are currently working or caring for family members often benefit from the flexibility that online education offers. Being enrolled in an online program means being able to schedule study time around your other obligations.
• Online learning programs are generally more cost-effective. Studying from home instead of commuting back and forth to a college campus means less gas expense and reduced wear and tear on an automobile. Additionally, some colleges may offer students enrolled in an online program to use digitally delivered textbooks and study content. This option could mean reduced expenses when it comes to buying supplies needed for the program.
The CONS of Pursuing an Online BSN to FNP Program:
• Being independently motivated is a must if you plan to enroll in an online BSN to FNP course. If you are not a self-starter, or if you require more hands-on learning, the mentorship of an instructor or daily structure, you may find that an online program may not be a good fit for you.
• Some people who choose online learning feel that the lack of relationship-building opportunities is a disadvantage. While it is not something that everyone experiences, some individuals prefer being able to establish relationships with other students.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right BSN to FNP Online Program
Before enrolling in any nursing program, it is essential to consider some important factors. This is also true when you begin to research the option of enrolling in BSN to FNP programs online. The following are some factors you should consider when trying to find the best program.
1. What are the qualifications and experience of the nursing faculty? If you are considering pursuing an advanced nursing degree, you will want to learn from the best! When you begin researching schools, visit their website, and view faculty profiles. If you live close enough to travel to a school, ask to schedule an appointment to meet with the nursing faculty.
2. What commitments do you have outside of school that will require your time and attention? Looking at your obligations and considering how much time you have to devote to your BSN to FNP Online degree will help you decide if full-time or part-time enrollment is the best option for you.
3. Accreditation... While this is the last factor listed, it is of utmost importance to find an accredited nursing program. To be accredited, a nursing program must meet high-quality standards and must maintain those standards.
How Long Do Online BSN to FNP Programs Take to Complete?
Typically, students who have already achieved a BSN and who choose to attend school full-time can complete an online family nurse practitioner program in about two years. Part-time students may take three years or more, depending on how many courses are taken each semester. Further, many schools follow a 16-week semester program. Students enrolled in programs that follow this semester outline may choose to enroll in classes during the summer semester and may complete the course in less than two years.
How Much Do BSN to FNP Online Programs Cost?
The cost of a BSN to FNP online degree program varies from school to school. One factor that may influence the cost of the program is whether you are required to pay out-of-state tuition. In the United States, average tuition costs for an online BSN to family nurse practitioner program range from $200 to $650 per credit hour, an average of $425 per credit. With this figure in mind, an FNP program that requires students to complete 45 credit hours would cost about $19,000. Again, this is an average figure, and it may vary depending on whether you need to repeat a course or take extra classes.
BSN registered nurses who enroll in a BSN to MSN-FNP online program are typically required to complete an additional 45 to 50 credit hours. This number varies by school. Therefore, it is essential to talk with an academic advisor to be sure which classes you need.
The coursework that is typically required for an online BSN to FNP program includes:
• Advanced pathophysiology
• Advanced pharmacology fundamentals
• Advanced pharmacology for the care of the family
• Population health
• Statistical principles
• Advanced physical assessment
• Leadership and role of the advanced practice nurse
CCNE guidelines stipulate that FNP students are expected to complete a minimum of 500 direct patient care clinical hours. However, it is important to note that each state has the right to set guidelines for minimum clinical practice. Therefore, it is good to verify requirements with the state board of nursing where you reside so you can be sure you are getting the required number of clinical hours.
Although each college or university sets its own admission criteria, most follow similar guidelines for admission. Typically, admission criteria for students who wish to enter a BSN to FNP online program include the following:
• Successfully complete a BSN program
• Hold a current, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse
• Have one-year clinical experience working as a registered nurse
• Provide official transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions attended
• Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale in all undergraduate classes previously taken
• BLS certification
• Provide three letters of reference, one of which should be from someone who holds a master’s degree or higher
Following are the 5 Best Online BSN To FNP Programs For 2020-2021
The BSN to FNP program offered by Duke University is provided exclusively as a distance-learning option. FNP students at Duke University also have the opportunity to choose an area of specialization such as endocrinology, oncology, cardiology, HIV, or orthopedics.
The program requires students to complete a minimum of 49 credit hours, which includes 728 clinical hours. While the university does allow students to participate in direct clinical hours in an area close to where they reside, clinical sites and preceptors must be pre-approved by the university. It is advisable to begin researching preferred clinical sites and preceptors and begin planning to apply for approval well ahead of time.
At the Ohio State University, the BSN to FNP program is open to registered nurses with a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. There are some courses in this online program that require students to meet at designated times via web conferencing software. Students can complete their clinical requirements close to their personal geographical location. The University must approve clinical sites and preceptors. Additionally, during the second clinical course, BSN to FNP students are required to attend two days of in-person learning and clinical skills evaluation on campus.
The BSN to FNP program at Ohio State University is designed to prepare graduates for careers in various clinical settings. Many graduates practice in clinics, private practices, hospitals, governmental and managed care organizations. Upon completion of the online BSN to FNP program at Ohio State University, students are eligible for national certification as an FNP.
The BSN to FNP online course offered at Vanderbilt University is tailored to meet the specific needs of BSN-prepared registered nurses who wish to pursue a career as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). Students in Vanderbilt University's BSN to FNP program are offered an approach to advanced practice nursing education that combines a foundation of research, evidence-based practice, and nursing theory. This approach aims to help BSN nurses develop the skills necessary to engage in advanced health assessments, health promotion, illness, and disease management (both acute and chronic), pharmacology, and pathophysiology.
Students who are enrolled in the online BSN to family nurse practitioner program can participate in online course activities by watching class presentations in real-time or via audio or video files after the session has been recorded and may participate in online discussion boards. As a distance-learning student at Vanderbilt, you can also submit clinical logs and complete tests online.
At Georgetown University, students enrolled in the online Family Nurse Practitioner program are prepared to care for the health and well-being of families throughout the lifespan. The program can be completed in as little as 19 months if you are enrolled as a full-time student or in approximately 27 months if attending part-time.
Although Georgetown University does not require students to submit GRE scores, strong GRE scores may help strengthen your application and increase your chances of admission into the program. The BSN to family nurse practitioner online program at Georgetown consists of 44 credit hours, including 650 direct care clinical hours. Clinical placement is selected with the approval of the nursing faculty based on a student’s location.
Distance-learning students at Georgetown University engage in live, interactive online class sessions that are conducted by university faculty. Additionally, students have unlimited access to all assignments, lectures, and documentary videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The University of Texas Medical Branch is part of the University of Texas System. BSN to FNP program offered at the University of Texas Medical Branch has been applauded as one of the top-ranking online MSN programs in the United States. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and is approved by the Texas State Board of Nursing.
Although students of the University of Texas Medical Branch BSN to FNP program have the option of choosing placement sites for the required clinical hours, the clinical site and preceptors must be approved by the University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing.
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Career Opportunities Post Completion of This Program
Family nurse practitioners work in a variety of settings. As an FNP, you may have the opportunity to work in any of the following healthcare settings:
• Privately owned physician’s office
• Outpatient clinics
• Ambulatory care clinics
• Community health centers
• Health insurance companies
Additionally, family nurse practitioners may find employment in long-term care or assisted living facilities, in-home health, or hospice. In some states, FNPs can work independently and own their clinics. In others, they may be required to work under the supervision of a physician.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that family nurse practitioners earn an average annual salary of approximately $112,000. Some factors that may influence an FNP’s earning potential include years of experience, the type of healthcare setting, and geographical location. For example, California is reported to have the highest annual salary for an FNP of about $138,000.
With an aging population and increased incidence of chronic illness and disease processes, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that more than 53,000 new family nurse practitioner jobs will be available by the year 2028. With this statistic alone in mind, the outlook for FNP jobs is quite favorable.
If you are a BSN-prepared nurse, and you want to contribute to the care of your patients in a more hands-on approach, becoming a family nurse practitioner could be a great career move. Taking the time to research and find the best online BSN to FNP programs will allow you to review your options and make a wise choice.
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. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).