7 Best North Carolina FNP Programs (Online & Campus) – 2024

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

When you graduate from one of the FNP programs in North Carolina, you’ll embark on an exciting new phase of your nursing career in the Tar Heel State. Family nurse practitioners are much in demand in the Tar Heel State, and employment opportunities for these professionals are expected to increase by more than 55 percent in the next 10 years. They make excellent salaries, too, averaging $114,170 a year. FNPs play a crucial role in making primary care accessible to all residents of North Carolina. Want to learn more about this professional option? Get started with this list of the 7 best FNP programs in North Carolina for 2024.


(Based on our Ranking Methodology, we have ranked the 7 best campus-based and online FNP programs in North Carolina.)

1. Duke University School of Nursing, Durham

Programs Offered: MSN, BSN to DNP, and Post-Master's Certificate

If graduating from a reputed FNP school is your top priority, then Duke University School of Nursing must be high on your list as its family practitioner course is not only one of the best FNP programs in North Carolina but also ranks #1 in the nation according to the US News & World Report. Also, if you are particularly interested in pediatrics and perinatal care, Duke’s FNP programs will serve you well as the curriculum is designed to include courses in these two areas as well.

MSN Program Details: As such there are not many online FNP programs in North Carolina, however, this MSN program offers its core courses completely online. So, when you enter the program you first complete the 12 credits in MSN core courses entirely through the distance format and then progress through the advanced practice and FNP-specific online courses which require barely any campus visits. These on-campus intensives offer unique learning opportunities where you interact with students from other nursing disciplines and practice clinical skills in the college’s simulation lab. Furthermore, as an FNP student here, you have an option to further specialize in either cardiology, endocrinology, oncology, orthopedics, or HIV. To graduate, you require completing a total of 49 credits, including the 728 hours of clinical practice.

BSN to DNP Program Details: To qualify for this BSN to DNP program you must have completed your BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Ideally to be the perfect candidate for this program you should be someone with leadership skills along with a keen desire to make a difference in primary care. The 74-credit curriculum prepares you with the highest level of clinical expertise to fulfill your role as a primary caregiver for individuals and families across the life span.

Post-Master's Certificate Program Details: If you have completed your masters and wish to possess specialized skills in family nursing care, then by completing this post-master’s certificate you will gain eligibility to take the certification exam for an FNP. Program requirements will depend on your previous nursing degree as you will receive credits for your MSN courses.

2. The University of North Carolina At Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill

Programs Offered: MSN, BSN to DNP, and Post-Master's Certificate

Do you strongly feel for the cause of health equity and accessible healthcare for the vulnerable and underserved populations? If yes, then you may want to know more about the FNP programs in North Carolina offered by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Not only does this nursing school train you for clinical excellence, but to further your interest in serving the vulnerable and the underserved population, you will be offered with clinical learning opportunities and elective courses that emphasize on removing health disparities.

MSN Program Details: Out of all the FNP programs in North Carolina, this MSN-FNP stands out for its community-oriented curriculum. To be eligible for this program you must be a BSN graduate with an unencumbered RN license. During the two years of the program, you will take courses in pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, evidence-based research, sexual & reproductive health, population health in a global context, and primary care across the lifespan.

BSN to DNP Program Details: As a BSN prepared RN you can achieve the highest level of clinical expertise through this BSN to DNP pathway. To qualify, apart from a minimum GPA of 3.0 in your undergraduate degree, you must have worked as a registered nurse in a primary care setting, serving individuals of all age groups. The program spans through three years and requires completion of 74 credits in MSN core, advanced practice, and FNP courses.

Post-Master's Certificate Program Details: To be able to apply for this post-master’s certificate, you must have either completed an MSN or DNP program with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Additionally, you are required to hold a current APRN license in another specialty. The 27-credit coursework expands on your previous nursing degree and trains you in the areas of primary care for individuals, families, and communities across the life span. Upon graduation, you will be eligible to take the FNP certification exam and earn the status of a certified FNP in North Carolina.

3. East Carolina University, Greenville

Programs Offered: BSN to DNP

As an aspiring family nurse practitioner are you keen on improving healthcare for the rural and underserved populations, especially in the eastern region of North Carolina? If your answer is an astounding yes, you must consider East Carolina University, offering one of the best FNP programs in North Carolina focuses on training service-oriented FNPs who are committed to improving rural healthcare. Here, you will receive assistance in finding clinical sites that provide umpteen learning opportunities in interprofessional collaboration and community based primary care.

The college prepares you for advanced primary care through its BSN to DNP program, which is ideally meant for BSN graduates. The practice-focused DNP coursework is offered mainly through the distance format with part-time and full-time schedule options. On a part-time basis, you complete this program in four years, whereas if you choose to attend full-time classes you can graduate in three years. The 70-credit curriculum requires you to complete 840 hours of clinical practice, after which you will be equipped with the professional preparedness to lead healthcare teams to improve health care delivery systems. The program also requires completing a DNP project which spans across four semesters. Program graduates will be eligible to sit for the ANCC or the AANP administered certification exam for an FNP.

4. Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem

Programs Offered: MSN and Post-Master's Certificate

Winston-Salem State University stands out for being one of the best North Carolina FNP schools, historically known for serving African-American students. The college prepares FNP students to provide comprehensive primary care to patients of all age groups and ethnic diversities. If you are someone who prefers face to face instructions, this program will be suitable as most courses are offered on-campus with options of part-time and full-time classes. To achieve the FNP credential, depending on your previous nursing degree you can enroll in either one of its two FNP programs in North Carolina – an MSN or a post-masters certificate program.

MSN Program Details: This MSN program focuses on primary care of the rural and underserved populations. BSN graduates with an RN license are eligible to apply for this program which starts in fall. The 51-credit curriculum comprises core MSN, advanced practice, and FNP courses. To graduate you are also required to complete 672 clinical hours at primary care settings, including internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, and women’s health, with some of these sites serving rural and underserved patients.

Post-Master’s Certificate Program Details: Are you an MSN graduate looking at acquiring specialized skills in the primary care of patients across the lifespan? If yes, with this certificate program you can expand on your graduate nursing degree by completing 36 to 39 FNP credits. Although the exact program requirements depend on your previously completed coursework, some of the courses you take include advanced health assessment, pathophysiology & pharmacology, primary care of women, children & adults in families. Also, you are required to complete 672 hours of clinical practice.

5. University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington

Programs Offered: MSN and BSN to DNP

By completing your FNP education from University of North Carolina-Wilmington you graduate with evidence-based knowledge, and enhanced critical thinking & clinical decision-making skills that help you effectively play the role of an agent of change. The nursing school's continuous engagement within the community provides FNP students with several opportunities to participate in events, health programs, and workshops, where they closely understand issues and challenges the various counties face in providing optimum healthcare. It currently offers two FNP programs in North Carolina.

MSN Program Details: This patient-centric MSN prepares you with advanced practice skills to provide primary care to individuals across the lifespan. The 46 to 47 credits that you are required to complete comprise courses in advanced health assessment, diagnostic reasoning, theory & research, health policy, and families in urban and rural communities. Also included in the curriculum are the 600 clinical hours that you must complete. Depending on your preference, you can complete this program on a full-time or part-time basis.

BSN to DNP Program Details: This BSN to DNP program can help take your nursing career to the highest possible level. Although the required undergraduate GPA of 3.0 can enhance your chances of admission, a lower score shouldn't be a deterrent as the college reviews applications on a holistic basis. Upon completing the 70 credits of this program you will be able to analyze, evaluate, and transform healthcare delivery for patients across the lifespan, particularly the rural and underserved populations. Successful competition of the program requires completing all the courses with a minimum grade "B" and at least 1000 FNP focused clinical hours.

6. Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs

Programs Offered: Post BSN to DNP and Post-Doctoral Nursing Certificate

Are you looking for one of the top online FNP programs in North Carolina that prepares you for leadership roles in healthcare? By enrolling in Gardner-Webb University’s nursing school you can become a clinical leader while fulfilling your professional and personal obligations. As an FNP student here, you will complete an online coursework that is grounded in Christian values of service and compassion. Furthermore, except for the once-per semester intensive for which you are required to visit the campus, clinical experiences can be conveniently completed within your local community.

Post BSN to DNP Program Details: To start with, you must be a BSN graduate who carries an active RN license and has completed at least two years of experience as a working nurse to qualify for this BSN to DNP program. The 79-credit curriculum is designed to prepare you as an advanced primary care provider.

Post-Doctoral Nursing Certificate Program Details: This certificate is meant for DNP graduates who are keen on becoming a family nurse practitioner. 40 credits are required to be completed to graduate from this program. Upon completion, you will be eligible to take the FNP certification exam.

7. University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte

Programs Offered: MSN and Post-Master's Certificate

If you are shortlisting FNP programs in North Carolina that do not require a GRE score, then you are in for some luck as University of North Carolina-Charlotte offers admission into its FNP programs without the GRE requirement. Nevertheless, the college follows a selective admission policy, seeking only highly deserving candidates. UNCC offers the FNP education through its campus-based MSN and post-masters certificate program, both offered only on a full-time basis.

MSN Program Details: This MSN program is open to BSN graduates with a minimum GPA of 3.0 along with at least one year of work experience as a registered nurse. To earn your MSN-FNP degree you must complete 46 credits, including 600 clinical hours. Typically, your coursework comprises 15 credits in core courses, 7 in advanced clinical core, and 21 credits in FNP-specific courses. Finally, you must complete a 3-credit capstone which helps you synthesize theoretical and research foundations.

Post-Master's Certificate Program Details: You must have completed an MSN and carry an unencumbered RN license in NC to be eligible for this program. If you have already earned an NP certification in mental health, women’s health, or pediatrics you may be exempted from certain coursework. To graduate, you must complete 21 credits in FNP courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0.


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