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Best Dual FNP/CNM Programs For 2021


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Did you know that an FNP/CNM dual program can prepare you to practice both as a family nurse practitioner and a certified nurse-midwife? Would you like to provide care to individuals from conception through adulthood? Does having a depth of knowledge that equips you to provide care for women as you teach them about how their health and lifestyle habits affect their overall health sound like something you would enjoy? Dual FNP/CNM programs will not only help you be an effective healthcare provider for women, but you will help families make better decisions regarding their health and reduce their risks later. Sound interesting? If so, keep reading and learn about the best dual FNP/CNM programs for 2021.


What Exactly Is the Goal of a Dual FNP/CNM Program?


FNP/CNM dual programs prepare nurses to work as both family nurse practitioners and certified nurse-midwives. These programs instruct students on essential knowledge and skills that will allow them to deliver comprehensive care to patients from preconception through older adulthood. The priority goal of a dual FNP/CNM program is to produce self-sufficient APRNs, who can work with a broad range of patients in diverse settings and who desire to promote health and wellness while improving patient outcomes.


6 Big Advantages of Dual FNP/CNM Programs


The decision to go back to school is not something to be taken lightly, especially if you are planning to pursue a dual graduate degree. Knowing the advantages can help you feel more at ease about the move. Here are 6 benefits of Dual FNP/CNM degree Programs for you to consider.

1. Make More Money: According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, APRNs earn approximately $40,000 more annually than nurses with a master’s degree. Advanced practice nurses with a dual degree, like those who graduate from accredited FNP/CNM dual programs, earn even higher wages. Payscale.com reports APRNs who hold this dual degree earn an average of $132,130 each year.
2. More Variety in Job Choices: When you earn a dual FNP/CNM, you will have the education and clinical experiences necessary to help you perform in two APRN specialties that are in high demand. Being able to perform in both roles will make you a great candidate for positions that other APRNs may not be able to fill.
3. Save Time Reaching Your Academic Goals: Earning an APRN degree can take anywhere from three to six years or longer. Individuals who know they want to specialize in two areas and are considering a dual degree, like those offered in CNM/FNP dual degree programs, can earn two degrees concurrently and cut down the amount of time it takes overall to achieve both degrees.
4. Career Flexibility: While APRN jobs rarely require applicants to hold dual degrees, doing so can create flexibility in career choices. Dual degrees mean you are qualified in two specialty areas, which could mean qualifying for twice the number of jobs.
5. You Will Have a Broad Patient-Care Range: Graduates of CNM/FNP dual programs can take care of patients from birth to old age, including pregnant women and newborns. The setting where an FNP/CNM works will determine the reach of practice, but the dual degree makes it possible.
6. Save Money While Earning Two Degrees: Although dual degree programs, like the ones featured in this article, can be costly, you can save money over the long term. This is possible because pursuing your degrees simultaneously allows you to complete the required coursework in less time. Some schools may charge tuition on a per-credit basis, but all do not. If you go to a school that charges per semester or annual tuition rates, you could save thousands of dollars.


How Long Are FNP/CNM Dual Programs?


Universities that offer dual CNM/FNP programs may be formatted on different schedules or plans. For reference, the accredited FNP/CNM dual programs at both the University of Michigan School of Nursing and Vanderbilt University are available in three- or four-year study plans. Students who choose to pursue their degrees part-time may take longer to graduate than those who attend school full-time. Also, there is no way to know when something unexpected like an illness or emergency may occur, prolonging one's length of time in the program.

You can follow a few steps to help make the most of your time in the program and graduate on time. First, plan with your employer and family regarding work and home responsibilities and ensure you have the help you need so you do not have to miss classes. Be sure to apply for financial assistance as early as possible before the deadline each academic year. Also, if you are responsible for requesting clinical site or preceptor approval, do it early in the program to prevent a delay in approval to begin the clinical component.


How Much Do FNP/CNM Dual Programs Cost?


The cost of dual CNM/FNP programs varies from one school to the next. The two programs featured in this article range from $116,545 to $300,200. There are options to help offset the cost of earning this dual degree, such as applying for grants, loans, and scholarships. Some schools offer work-study programs, and some employers may offer incentives for employees to go to school in exchange for a promise to continue working after graduation.

The University of Michigan offers one of our featured CNM/FNP dual programs. Tuition is calculated at a per-credit rate of $1,536 for Michigan state residents and $3,160 for non-residents. Students complete at least ninety-five credit hours to be eligible for graduation. The cost of tuition alone ranges from $145,920 to $300,200. Tuition at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing is $1,793 per credit hour. The tuition cost for the sixty-five-credit-hour course is $116,545.

These costs are for tuition and exclude any books, supplies, or other required fees. An admissions counselor or advisor can provide a detailed list of anticipated expenses for the program you choose.


Coursework


The curriculum outlines for the best CNM/FNP dual programs integrate nursing theory, evidence-based practice, and research with coursework to develop advanced nursing skills. Students learn to apply a family-centered approach to client care. Emphasis on health maintenance and promotion using advanced assessment, illness and disease management, pharmacology, and pathophysiology knowledge and skills is crucial to the program.

The curriculum for the FNP/CNM dual degree at Vanderbilt University is sixty-five credit hours of coursework. Students are engaged in didactic instruction, clinical practicum, lab immersions, and an FNP preceptorship.

Sample Classes:

◦ Advanced Health Assessment Applications for Nurse-Midwifery
◦ Gynecologic, Reproductive and Sexual Health for Nurse Midwifery
◦ Post-partum and Neonatal Care
◦ The Context of Primary Care: Family Nurse Practitioner Domains and Core Competencies for Practice
◦ Advanced Practice Nursing in the Primary Care of the Elderly

At the University of Michigan, students enrolled in the dual FNP/CNM program complete ninety-five credits of coursework. The FNP/CNM dual degree curriculum combines coursework from the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse-Midwife programs. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for examinations in both specialty areas upon graduation.

Sample Classes:

◦ Care of the Childbearing Woman
◦ Infant, Child, and Adolescent Health: Wellness and Management of Common Illness
◦ Advanced Primary Care of Chronic Illness in Adults and Their Families
◦ Advanced Primary Care of Adults and Families with Complex Systems
◦ Integration of Midwifery Care to the Woman, Mother, and/or Newborn with Complex Health Conditions



Clinical Training


Students pursuing an FNP/CNM dual degree are required to participate in clinical training while enrolled. The number of clinical hours a student must complete is determined by program directors in compliance with accrediting agencies. Although some programs allow less, most require each student enrolled in a dual nurse practitioner program to earn at least 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours.

The following paragraphs explain the clinical requirements for the featured programs in this article.

The faculty and clinical practice staff for the Vanderbilt University accredited FNP/CNM dual programs work diligently to provide students with productive clinical experiences. The Nurse-Midwifery clinical practicum is aligned with the American College of Nurse-Midwives Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice. While in the Nurse-Midwifery portion of the program, clinical sites and assignments are designated and arranged by the School of Nursing. Students work with the clinical placement office and FNP faculty to procure clinical practice sites and preceptors during the FNP portion of the program. To meet curriculum guidelines, all students in the program complete at least 1,365 clinical hours before graduating.

At the University of Michigan, students enrolled in the dual CNM/FNP program are presented with instruction to understand health science theories and clinical preparation. These experiences help students develop the knowledge, judgment, and clinical skills needed to provide healthcare services to individuals and families across the lifespan, including women during pregnancy and childbirth. Students at the University of Michigan must complete a minimum of 1,570 clinical hours while enrolled in the dual FNP/CNM program.


Admission Requirements


As you begin to research the best dual CNM/FNP programs, you may find that admission criteria vary somewhat from school to school. A few differences you may find are the minimum degree applicants should have or prior work experience requirements. Be sure to review admission requirements carefully and make sure you submit all required documentation to prevent any delays concerning an offer of admission.

The University of Michigan requires all applicants to have earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or be in the process of acquiring one from an NLN-, CCNE- or AACN-accredited nursing school. Also, all prospective students must show supporting evidence of an undergraduate grade-point average of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale. Prior work experience as a nurse is not required. However, all applicants accepted for admission must have a valid license to practice as a registered nurse in the state where they will complete their clinicals.

Vanderbilt University offers another of our featured programs. Applicants who wish to be accepted in the program must have earned their nursing degree from a CCNE or ACEN accredited nursing school and possess an active, unrestricted license to practice as an RN. Individuals who have earned a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in a non-nursing discipline must have successfully completed eleven credit hours in natural sciences. Applicants who have earned a BSN must have completed a three-semester hour or four-quarter hour Statistics course.

Although some admission criteria may differ, applicants to accredited dual CNM/FNP degree programs should be prepared to submit the following along with their completed application to the school of their choice.

◦ Official transcripts from all post-secondary schools
◦ Letters of professional recommendation
◦ A Statement of Purpose/Personal Essay
◦ Resume or curriculum vitae
◦ Immunization Records




FOLLOWING ARE THE 2 BEST DUAL FNP/CNM PROGRAMS (ONLINE & CAMPUS) IN THE NATION FOR 2021

(These FNP/CNM Dual Degree Programs are ideal for individuals who wish to become an APRN with expertise in both FNP and CNM.)

1. Vanderbilt University - Nashville, TN (Hybrid)

Programs Offered: MSN

2. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI (Campus)

Programs Offered: MSN and BSN to DNP

View Ranking Methodology



Career Opportunities Post-Completion of This Dual Degree


FNP/CNMs have several responsibilities. Some include assessment and diagnosis of patients of all ages across the lifespan, ordering laboratory or other diagnostic tests, evaluating the results, prescribing medications or other therapies, conducting routine assessments/check-ups, and promoting disease prevention to improve overall patient outcomes. Job responsibilities vary, depending on the type of setting. Graduates of dual CNM/FNP programs can choose from several practice settings, including the following.

◦ Primary Care Clinics
◦ Ambulatory Care Centers
◦ Correctional Facilities
◦ Women’s Health Care Centers
◦ Physicians’ Offices
◦ Birthing Centers
◦ Rural Health Clinics
◦ Hospitals
◦ College or University Instructor



Average FNP/CNM Salary


The average annual income for graduates of a dual FNP/CNM program is $132,130. With experience, CNM/FNPs may be able to negotiate higher wages. Also, a few factors that may impact income earning potential include the type of healthcare environment where they work, the cost of living in the area, and the risk associated with the job. For example, CNM/FNPs who work in correctional facilities, such as a Women's Correctional Facility, may earn more than a person with the same degree who works in a rural family clinic.

Hourly$63.52
Monthly$11,010
Annual$132,130


Job Outlook for Graduates of This Dual Degree


With a growing population, increased awareness of the importance of health and wellness, and the need for qualified healthcare professionals to guide patients, it is natural to expect a good job outlook for graduates of CNM/FNP dual programs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a forty-five percent growth in overall employment of nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and nurse anesthetists between 2018 and 2029. This data suggests dual FNP/CNM programs are an excellent education opportunity for anyone who wants to secure a professional future.


The Bottom Line


If you love the idea of working with patients of different ages and from various backgrounds, becoming a CNM/FNP could be an excellent choice for you. The best dual CNM/FNP programs for 2021 mentioned in this article offer great resources for pursuing the dream of a dual APRN degree. With a promising job outlook and good income earning potential, one of these programs could be what you have been looking for.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


What should I look for when choosing between dual CNM/FNP degree programs?

Hands-down accreditation is one of the most important things to look for. According to CCNE and ACEN, the accreditation process helps improve the quality of education offered by nursing schools. The process ensures instructors are using proper teaching methods, courses cover suitable material, and that schools are attentive to the needs of students. Accredited dual CNM/FNP programs will have a curriculum that is kept up to date with current nursing standards.

Do I have to be a nurse before enrolling in a CNM/FNP dual degree program?

Unless otherwise stated on the school's website or written content provided by the school, you can enter the dual specialty focus of FNP/CNM without prior nursing experience. However, some colleges or universities may require applicants to have a bachelor's degree or higher in a non-nursing field and take undergraduate nursing courses to satisfy BSN requirements. If you wish to pursue this dual degree program, speak directly with the admissions faculty at any school that interests you to verify the criteria applicants must meet.


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.