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Best 100% Online FNP Programs For 2021


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

If you are a registered nurse and have considered expanding your role to become a family nurse practitioner through 100% online learning, this is a perfect time. Family nurse practitioners play a significant role in healthcare delivery. As roles continue to evolve, so do opportunities for increased independence in practice authority and to have a more personal impact on patient care. Even the busiest nurses can now become an FNP by becoming a student in 100% online family nurse practitioner programs. In this article, you will find information on some of the best 100% online FNP programs for 2021. As you keep reading, you will learn about the program curriculum, admission criteria, and expected career outlooks for graduates.


What Exactly Is the Goal of a 100% Online FNP Program?


The goal of 100% online FNP programs is to prepare registered nurses for the role of an advanced practice RN who specializes in family care. Like all FNP programs, 100% online family nurse practitioner programs aim to equip students with the knowledge and clinical skills necessary to provide patient care and improve health outcomes by providing classroom and clinical experiences focused on family-centered healthcare. Through entirely online learning, students can pursue a graduate nursing degree and become an FNP with less disruption to their daily lives.


3 Advantages Of 100% Online FNP Programs


If you are considering becoming a family nurse practitioner but are not sure which route you should take to get there, making a list of pros and cons is a great way to help you decide the right path for you. In this section and the next, I will share some advantages and disadvantages of 100% online FNP programs for you to review.

1. Save money on your degree. Students who choose 100% distance learning to earn a degree save money a few ways. Tuition for 100% online family nurse practitioner programs is typically less expensive. Students also save the expense of room and board on campus and other fees associated with in-person learning.
2. Flexible schedule: Unlike on-campus classes which are typically scheduled during regular office/working hours, the courses students take in hundred percent online Family NP programs offer more flexible scheduling. Students can, within reason, choose when and where to study or complete assignments and projects. Having a less restrictive schedule makes it easier for students to keep up with other obligations, such as caring for family or working a job.
3. Increased Earning Potential: The average annual salary for registered nurses with an associate degree is $69,000. R.N.s who have earned a BSN earn approximately $80,000. Family Nurse Practitioners, on the other hand, make around $97,000 yearly. 100% online FNP programs give students the opportunity to pursue a degree that offers increased income while still being able to work or remain committed to other personal obligations.


3 Disadvantages of 100% Online FNP


Making an informed decision means looking at advantages and disadvantages and deciding if the benefits outweigh the risks. As with any college program, there are some disadvantages to 100% online FNP programs.

1. It may be challenging to stay on task. While 100% online family nurse practitioner programs give students the freedom to choose when and where to study, you may find it difficult to stay on task if you are not motivated. If you prefer online learning, it can be helpful to create a schedule that includes designated time for studying and completing assignments. It is much easier to create a plan and stay on task than to try to catch up once you get behind.
2. Limited interaction with faculty and peers: In a classroom setting, you have the benefit of hearing questions your classmates ask. Sometimes they will ask questions you may not have thought of, but that help you have a better understanding of the topic being discussed. Students who attend in-person classes often develop friendships that last beyond graduation. For students who enroll in 100% online FNP programs, face-to-face interaction occurs rarely if at all, and is reserved for occasional on-site simulations or clinical rotations. The lack of in-person communication can leave some students feeling isolated.
3. Difficulty Finding Clinical Placements or Preceptors: 100% online family NP programs often allow students to choose the sites they wish to complete clinical hours and choose preceptors. While this option can be appealing, not all clinical sites or preceptors are approved by the nursing program. If you decide to enroll in a 100% online family nurse practitioner program, be sure to ask who is responsible for finding placements and preceptors for the clinical portion of the program. In programs where students are required to submit requests for clinical site and preceptor approval, it is vital to do so as early as possible to prevent delays in beginning clinical assignments.


How Long Are 100% Online FNP Programs?


100% online family nurse practitioner programs take from two to four years to complete, on average. A student’s current degree level and whether they enroll in school part-time or full-time are the most significant factors that determine how long it takes to graduate. The following are some examples of how long it takes to complete some of the featured hundred percent online Family NP programs from this article.

The MSN-FNP program at Carson-Newman University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing. The program, one of the best 100% online FNP programs available, can be completed in thirty-two months.

With five program paths, Regis College has something to offer most people who wish to pursue a degree as a family nurse practitioner. The Regis College School of Nursing is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nursing and was the first school of nursing in New England to be named a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education. The Associate Degree in Nursing to MSN-FNP, Non-Nursing Bachelor's to MSN-FNP, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing to MSN-FNP pathways require students to complete forty-six to sixty-one credit hours. Students graduate in twenty-eight to thirty-six months, depending on their program of study. The college also offers BSN to DNP-FNP and MSN to DNP-FNP options with program completion averaging twenty-eight to thirty-six months. BSN to DNP-FNP students can complete the program in as little as forty months, while MSN to DNP-FNP students graduate in two to three years.

Sacred Heart University uses a holistic approach to patient treatment and nursing leadership that it refers to as "The Human Journey." The university has resources, expertise, and pathways to help students advance their careers and become poised for long-term success. The BSN to MSN-FNP program is designed to be completed in three years.

Ohio State University offers BSN to MSN-FNP and MSN to DNP-FNP programs for registered nurses who wish to pursue a graduate degree with family nurse practitioner specialty. Students enrolled in the BSN to MSN-FNP can complete the program in three years of full-time study or four years part-time. MSN to DNP-FNP students can graduate in two years of full-time study and three years part-time.


How Much Do 100% Online FNP Programs Cost?


One of the most significant concerns prospective students have when choosing a college or degree program is, “How much will this cost?” The total cost for 100% online family nurse practitioner programs varies, depending on the path of study and how long a student takes to complete the program. The average range of tuition for hundred percent online FNP programs is $26,000 to $85,000. Other costs associated with the programs may include books, uniforms, technology fees, or nursing association dues.

U.S. News and World Report ranked Drexel University's MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner program as #5 in 2020's Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs: FNP and #16 in 2020's Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs for Veterans. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. It boasts a 100% pass rate for graduates who take FNP certification examinations, making it one of the best 100% online family nurse practitioner programs we have found. Tuition for the MSN-FNP program is $1,026 per credit hour, making the fifty-two credit-hour program cost approximately $57,456.

The family nurse practitioner program at Texas Women’s University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It is ranked #1 in Texas and #9 nationally for the Best Online Nurse Practitioner Master’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report for 2021, and #8 Top Value School by College Factual. The MSN-FNP program is offered in thirteen-week courses and requires students to complete forty-six credit hours. The approximate cost of the program is $26,330.40, which includes tuition and fees.

Simmons University has reduced tuition costs by $200 per credit hour, saving students close to $14,000 for the program. Students enrolled in the R.N. to MSN-FNP program must complete sixty-eight credit hours and at least 836 clinical hours. BSN to MSN-FNP students complete forty-eight credit hours and 670 clinical hours. At a rate of $1,210 per credit hour, tuition from the program ranges from $58,080 (BSN to MSN-FNP) and $82,280 (R.N. to MSN-FNP).

Walden University offers BSN to MSN-FNP and R.N. to MSN-FNP tracks. Program faculty prepare students to act in advanced practice roles with confidence. Graduates actively manage disease prevention, promote health and well-being, and implement restorative care for patients of all ages. The average tuition for the FNP program is $43,350.

William Patterson University’s 100% online BSN to MSN-FNP program includes a curriculum that prepares students capable of applying advanced knowledge of nursing theories and methods of inquiry in healthcare delivery. Students develop leadership and communication skills to promote a collaborative approach to patient care and advocate for healthcare policies and systems that improve healthcare overall. The program can be completed in as few as twenty months, including forty-seven credit hours of coursework at a rate of $720 per credit hour. The total tuition for the program is approximately $33,840.


Coursework


Coursework in 100% online FNP programs focuses on nursing care provided to patients of all ages and with varying degrees of health. From advanced pharmacology, advanced physiology, Ethics in Healthcare and FNP Roles and Transitions in Leadership, students enrolled in these programs are engaged in rigorous curriculum and clinical experiences to prepare them for advanced practice roles as a family nurse practitioner.

The following are examples of some coursework in some of the hundred percent online Family NP programs mentioned in this article.

Ohio State University offers a 100% online FNP program for students entering with a traditional BSN. The program is nationally ranked and meets the nurse practitioner guidelines established by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Advanced Nursing Practice and is one of the 25 best 100% online FNP programs. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the national certification as an FNP. The BSN to DNP Family Nurse Practitioner program, typically completed in four years, includes eighty-six hours of coursework and a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours.

Sample coursework:

◦ Pathophysiology of Altered Health States
◦ Health Promotion in the Age of Personalized Health and Healthcare
◦ Ethics in Healthcare Practice, Research and Policy
◦ Advanced Health Assessment
◦ Advanced Pharmacology in Nursing

Duquesne University is home to another of our featured accredited 100% online FNP programs. The program is designed in a BSN to MSN format. Over the course of three years, students learn enhanced clinical judgment skills, prepare to become patient advocates and provide transcultural care. The program requires students to complete forty-two credit hours and 700 clinical hours.

Sample Coursework:

◦ Evidence-Based Nursing Practice and Policy Development
◦ Clinical Prevention and Population-Based Health Promotion
◦ Foundations of Family care: Women and Infants, Children& Adolescents
◦ Foundations of Family and Individual Care I & II
◦ Pathophysiology for Advanced Practice Nursing

Frontier Nursing University offers part-time and full-time options for students to complete a Master of Science in Nursing with Family Nurse Practitioner specialty 100% online. After completing the program, students also have the option of direct admission to transition into the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

Sample Coursework:

◦ Epidemiology and Biostatistics
◦ Psychiatric Concepts for Advanced Practice Nursing
◦ Clinical Skills for Family Nurse Practitioner Care
◦ Gynecologic Health and Childbearing
◦ Principles of Independent Practice

At the University of South Alabama, students enrolled in the 100% online family nurse practitioner program learn to synthesize and apply advanced knowledge, research, and theories to nursing practices focused on family care. The program curriculum includes concepts, research, theory, and issues related to nursing practice. The BSN to MSN program requires forty-five credit hours of support, MSN core and specialty courses, and 600 clinical hours. The university also offers BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP options. The curriculum for the BSN to DNP student includes sixty-nine credit hours of coursework and 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours. MSN to DNP students typically need thirty-six credit hours and must meet the post-baccalaureate clinical hour requirements.

Sample Coursework:

◦ Physio-pathological Basis of Advanced Nursing
◦ Health Promotion and Disease Prevention & Issues for Family Nurse Practitioners
◦ Leadership & Management Roles for Professional Nursing Practice
◦ Clinical Prevention and Population Health
◦ Evidence-Based Practice & Quality Improvement in Healthcare

CCNE-accredited and ranked #5 for Best Nursing Schools in Ohio by Nursing Schools Almanac, Walsh University’s MSN-FNP program is one of the best 100% online FNP programs available. The program offers affordability, flexibility, and one on one support from faculty advisors. The program’s format allows students to continue working full-time and graduate in as little as two and a half years.

Sample Coursework:

◦ Clinical Pharmacology
◦ Advanced Health Assessment for Family Nurse Practitioners
◦ Care of the Family in Primary Care
◦ Advanced Pathophysiology
◦ Advanced Care of Women and Children


Clinical Training


FNP students, including those enrolled in 100% online Family NP programs, must complete a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical practicum hours. Most schools that offer hundred percent online Family NP programs give students some leeway to choose clinical sites and preceptors close to their homes. However, both sites and preceptors must be approved by nursing program directors/coordinators.

The hundred percent online FNP program at the Medical University of South Carolina is focused on preparing students with a strong foundation in evidence-based practice, preventive care, and holistic wellness and the development of skills necessary to provide patient care for both acute and chronic health issues. The DNP-FNP program is available with three or four-year study plans. BSN to DNP-FNP students will complete between 1,040 and 1,310 clinical hours.
The 100% online Master of Science in Nursing with FNP concentration at George Mason University presents students with a curriculum based on up-to-date, evidence-based nursing practice taught by active nurse practitioners. The forty-nine-credit hour program requires students to participate in a minimum of 500 precepted clinical practice hours. The clinical experience is designed to equip students with skills necessary to integrate learning into daily work, building a solid foundation for evidence-based practice.
Maryville University offers one of the best 100% online Family Nurse Practitioner programs we have found. With six entry points each year, students can begin coursework the semester after they are accepted. Students must complete a minimum of 745 clinical practicum hours at an approved clinical site with approved clinical preceptors.
The MSN-FNP program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and offered through a partnership with the Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in Nursing. BSN to MSN-FNP students must complete at least 600 precepted clinical hours.
Eastern Kentucky University’s 100% online Master of Science in Nursing –Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner program prepares students for careers in primary care clinics, urgent treatment centers, federally qualified rural health centers, and private practice. The forty-seven-credit hour program is delivered in eight-week terms for core coursework and offers direct interaction between students and faculty with the benefit of personalized advising. Upon completion, graduates will have at least 700 direct patient contact clinical hours.


Admission Requirements


Colleges and universities that offer the best 100% online FNP programs determine the admission criteria each applicant must meet. Some schools have different minimum requirements regarding work experience and grade point average, among others. In general, however, the average minimum admission criteria include the following:

◦ Associate Degree in Nursing or Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (depending on the type of 100% online FNP program the school offers)
◦ Possess an active, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse
◦ Submit three letters of professional reference
◦ Pass a state and federal criminal background check
◦ Submit to and pass a drug screening
◦ Provide a resume and/or curriculum vitae

Herzing University offers access to experienced faculty who have extensive professional and academic experience. The 100% online FNP program is formatted as a direct BSN to MSN program. This program can be completed in twenty-four to thirty-two months, depending on the path of study.

◦ Possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university.
◦ Live in a state where Herzing University is authorized to offer the R.N. to MSN program
◦ Participate in an interview with admissions faculty
◦ Submit GRE or GMAT scores, if available

Marymount University’s MSN-FNP program is designed for baccalaureate-prepared nurses. The CCNE-accredited program includes forty-five credit hours of coursework and 700 clinical practicum hours. The university also offers a BSN to DNP-FNP option that requires sixty-three to seventy credit hours and at least 1,000 clinical hours. BSN to MSN students are prepared to graduate in just over two years and BSN to DNP students in forty months. Graduates are eligible to sit for the ANCC or AANP family nurse practitioner certification examination. Program faculty are practicing Family Nurse Practitioners.

◦ BSN from a regionally accredited school of nursing
◦ Minimum 3.0-grade point average from the BSN program
◦ One-year full-time experience as a practicing nurse by the first day of class

The Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner 100% online program at the University of Cincinnati is open to registered nurses who already possess a Bachelor of Science in nursing. The university accepts applications year-round.

◦ BSN from a regionally and ACEN or CCNE accredited institution
◦ Minimum cumulative BSN grade point average of 3.0. on a 4.0 scale
◦ Completion of an undergraduate statistics course with at least a 2.0 grade
◦ Minimum, one year experience working as a registered nurse in the U.S.
◦ Science grade point average of 3.0 or higher

The University of North Dakota is dedicated to preparing Family Nurse Practitioners who approach patient care with an understanding of collaborative, family-centered care. The BSN to MSN-FNP program offered by the university is 100% online, and students can graduate in as few as eight semesters.

◦ Undergraduate or graduate-level statistics course
◦ Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in the last two years of undergraduate study
◦ BSN or higher degree in nursing from an accredited institution and school of nursing
◦ One year of work experience as an R.N.

American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Post University gives students time and location flexibility to complete the MSN-FNP online program. The BSN to MSN-FNP program has dedicated faculty and clinical coordinators available to students as they navigate through eight-week courses at their own pace.

◦ Official transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended
◦ BSN from a school accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or U.S. Department of Education
◦ BSN grade point average of 2.5 or higher
◦ Students must maintain residency and hold an active, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse in a state-approved by the FNP program



FOLLOWING ARE THE 25 BEST 100% ONLINE FNP PROGRAMS IN THE NATION FOR 2021

(These hundred percent online FNP programs are ideal for individuals who wish to pursue their family nurse practitioner education entirely online.)

1) Ohio State University - Columbus, OH

Programs Offered: MSN and BSN to DNP


2) Duquesne University - Pittsburgh, PA

Programs Offered: MSN


3) Frontier Nursing University - Versailles, KY

Programs Offered: MSN


4) Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA

Programs Offered: MSN


5) University of South Alabama - Mobile, AL

Programs Offered: MSN and DNP(MSN-DNP & BSN-DNP)


6) Texas Woman's University - Denton, TX

Programs Offered: MSN


7) Medical University of South Carolina - Charleston, SC

Programs Offered: BSN to DNP


8) Simmons University - Boston, MA

Programs Offered: RN to MSN and MSN


9) The Catholic University of America - Washington, DC

Programs Offered: MSN


10) University of South Carolina - Columbia, SC

Programs Offered: MSN


11) Carson-Newman University - Jefferson City, TN

Programs Offered: MSN


12) Walden University - Minneapolis, MN

Programs Offered: RN to MSN and BSN to MSN


13) Regis College - Weston, MA

Programs Offered: MSN (RN to MSN, BSN to MSN & Non-Nursing Bachelor’s to MSN), BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP


14) Maryville University - St. Louis, MO

Programs Offered: MSN, BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP


15) Herzing University Milwaukee - Menomonee Falls, WI

Programs Offered: RN to MSN and MSN


16) Marymount University - Arlington, VA

Programs Offered: BSN to MSN and BSN to DNP


17) George Mason University - Fairfax, VA

Programs Offered: MSN


18) William Paterson University - Wayne, NJ

Programs Offered: MSN


19) Walsh University - North Canton, OH

Programs Offered: MSN and BSN to DNP


20) Sacred Heart University - Fairfield, CT

Programs Offered: MSN


21) University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati, OH

Programs Offered: MSN and BSN to DNP


22) University of North Dakota - Grand Forks, ND

Programs Offered: MSN


23) American Sentinel University - Aurora, CO

Programs Offered: MSN


24) University of Louisiana at Lafayette - Lafayette, LA

Programs Offered: MSN


25) Eastern Kentucky University - Richmond, KY

Programs Offered: MSN

View Ranking Methodology



Career Opportunities After Graduating from This Program


Graduates of accredited 100% online FNP programs work with patients from various backgrounds across the lifespan. They work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals and care for patients in different stages of health and diverse family situations.

Family Nurse Practitioners take on increased responsibilities, delivering much-needed health services to patients and communities. The clinical environments of FNPs vary, depending on their preference. A few examples of FNP job opportunities include the following.

◦ School Nurse
◦ FNP in Family Practice Clinic
◦ Outpatient Clinics
◦ Nursing Home Administrator
◦ Director of Nursing
◦ Home Health
◦ Hospice


Average Salary for Graduates of This Program


After completing the best 100% online FNP programs, Family Nurse Practitioners earn an average annual salary of $97,073. Depending on the FNP's graduate degree, Master's or Doctorate, and the setting wherein they work, earnings could be higher. As Family Nurse Practitioners become more experienced, earning potential increases, as well. Some FNPs make up to $150,000 yearly or more.

Hourly $46.67
Monthly $8,090
Annual $97,073
(Source: Payscale.com)


Job Outlook for Graduates of This Program


With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act giving more people the chance to have health insurance, a rapidly aging population, and rising standards in primary care, FNPs are in higher demand. Some sources suggest the demand for primary healthcare needs will increase between 15 and 25 million visits per year over the next decade. With a shortage of primary care physicians, this demand means graduates of hundred percent online Family NP programs will be called upon to fill the need.


The Bottomline


100% online family nurse practitioner programs with exclusive online learning focus on healthcare policy, health promotion, preventive care, and clinical management of patient care, family nurse practitioner who play a vital role in delivering effective healthcare today. The best 100% online FNP programs for 2021 featured in this article prepare registered nurses with the essential skills to provide the care necessary to improve outcomes for patients across the lifespan.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


How do students in 100% online family nurse practitioner programs get the required clinical hours?

Like students enrolled in on-campus programs, students in 100% online family nurse practitioner programs are required to meet minimum clinical requirements as established by state boards of nursing. Colleges and universities that offer 100% online FNP programs determine the number of clinical hours students must achieve to graduate. Many schools allow students to choose clinical sites and preceptors that are close to their homes. Some students may be permitted to earn clinical hours at the current place of employment. It is essential to verify the school's requirements with an advisor beforehand, as clinical hours must be meet minimum standards for licensing and certification.

Can I work while I’m enrolled in a 100% online FNP program?

Many students work while enrolled in 100% online family nurse practitioner programs. Assessing the course load you will be required to take and the financial aid obligations you must meet will help you determine the best way to balance school and work. Some students decide to make changes to their work schedules, or the number of hours worked during certain parts of the program, but that is a personal choice.

Do 100% online family nurse practitioner programs require any on-site visits?

Most 100% online FNP programs featured in this article require no on-site visits. Those that do require students to come to campus usually limit those visits to once a semester at most. Each school is different, so speaking with an admission counselor will help you determine how many times if any, you may be expected to appear on-site while enrolled.


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.