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Nurse Practitioner Program Length – (Program Length Of Top NP Programs)


Written By: Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN

Has your dream always been to be a Nurse Practitioner? Are you just not sure how long the length of a nurse practitioner program is? Nurse practitioner program length can vary depending on the school you choose to attend, what degree you are entering the program with, and the specialty you choose to pursue. In this article, we look at the various top nurse practitioner schools for obtaining your MSN and your BSN and how long you will be spending in school. I mean, after all, we want to arm you with some tools to make a solid decision when deciding on a degree and university.


Typical Nurse Practitioner Program Length


The typical nurse practitioner school length can run anywhere from 12-84 months depending on the degree you are entering with, the type of nurse practitioner degree you plan to end up with and whether you sign up for full-time or part-time classes. The chart below can give you a pretty good idea of the different lengths of nurse practitioner school you are looking at depending on the degree you are entering a program with and what type of nurse practitioner degree you want to end up with. If you plan to start your NP degree with a BSN and want to pursue an MSN, you could expect the length of the nurse practitioner program to be anywhere from 15 to 48 months. If you choose to pursue the DNP and you are already holding a BSN, the length of this nurse practitioner program will run you anywhere to 36-84 months of school. Now, let's say you have your MSN degree already, and you decide to pursue a DNP. This route will have you attending an NP program for 12-48 months.

Type of NP Program Full-Time Part-Time
BSN to MSN 15 to 24 Months 24 to 48 Months
BSN to DNP 36 to 48 Months 48 to 84 Months
MSN to DNP 12 to 24 Months 24 to 48 Months


NURSE PRACTITIONER LENGTH OF SCHOOL FOR THE TOP MSN-NP PROGRAMS

Below let’s take a closer look at the nurse practitioner school length for some of the top MSN-Nurse Practitioner programs in the nation.

1. Boston College: At Boston College, you can choose from five different specialty NP degree programs. At Boston College, the nurse practitioner program length generally runs about 2 years if you are attending full time. Keep in mind the program track you choose may slightly affect the length of time in school.

2. The University of Texas at Austin: The University of Texas at Austin ranks among the world's 40 best universities. This University offers three NP specialties. The typical nurse practitioner length of school at UT Austin is anywhere from 1.5-2 years.

3. The University of Virginia: The University of Virginia is a top-ranked public institution that offers its students various NP specialties. The average nurse practitioner program length for this institution is about 21 months.

4. University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus: This institution offers students four NP specialties. Most students can complete their coursework in as little as 2-3 years if they decide to take 12 credits a semester. If you take fewer credits or more credits every semester, this will affect the length of the program for you.

5. Yale University: This IVY league school offers prospective students five different NP programs for their students to choose from. The length of school for the nurse practitioner program here is two years.

6. University of Pennsylvania: The University of Pennsylvania is another IVY league school that offers students eight different concentrations to choose from when pursuing their NP degree. Here the nurse practitioner degree's average program length will range from 12 months to 18 months depending on your track and if you plan to take classes full time or part-time.

7. Bradley University: Bradley University offers its students a family nurse practitioner degree. This university presents its coursework completely online. The only caveat to this is that you will need to find your own preceptors when it comes time to complete your clinicals. The nurse practitioner length of school at this university is eight semesters.

8. Georgetown University: Georgetown University offers prospective students various NP programs to choose from. Your NP degree can be earned in either 19 or 27 months. If you choose to earn your degree in 19 months, it is advised that you refrain from working as this is an accelerated program.

9. Herzig University: Herzing University offers its students flexible schedule options to complete their nurse practitioner program in 20 months if you choose the full-time option. This program is for nurses who hold a BSN.

10. Ohio University: At Ohio State University, you can choose from three different NP specialties. This program can be completed in six semesters. Most of your coursework can be completed online with intermittent mandatory campus visits.

11. John Hopkins University: This prestigious University offers a post-master’s certificate in two specialties. You can choose from pediatric acute care and psychiatric mental health. The coursework for these programs will take you one year to a year and a half to complete.

12. Vanderbilt University: Vanderbilt University, which is located in Nashville, Tennessee, is home to an MSN program that can suit many different lifestyles. Their program has many options available to help you achieve your dream of becoming a nurse practitioner. Depending on which specialty track and which entry point into the program you choose, you are looking at earning your degree in one to three years.

13. Samford University: Stamford University is ranked the number 1 university in Alabama. Stamford offers its students three different FNP specialty tracks to choose from. This program can be completed in two to three years, depending on which track you choose.

14. Emory University: Emory University offers students 9 different specialty NP tracks to choose from. If you choose that you want to study full time, you will have your degree completed in as little as 4 semesters. If full time is just not doable for you and you desire part-time study, you will earn your degree in seven months.

15. Villanova University: Villanova University offers prospective students three different specialty tracks to choose from. Many students at Villanova choose to complete their program on a part-time basis, which is completed in two and a half years. If you can complete the program part-time, you will be able to complete it in 18 months.


NURSE PRACTITIONER LENGTH OF SCHOOL FOR THE TOP DNP-NP PROGRAMS

Below let’s take a closer look at the nurse practitioner school length for some of the top DNP-Nurse Practitioner programs in the nation.

1. Rutgers University: Rutgers University, located in the Garden State of New Jersey, offers students an FNP-DNP degree. Rutgers University offers its students three and four-year study programs.

2. Emory University: Emory University offers students two different entries into their DNP program and various specialty tracks to choose from. If you enter the program with a BSN, you can expect to complete your degree in 7 semesters (2 years). If you enter with an MSN degree, you can complete your degree in as little as 4 semesters full time and 7 semesters part-time.

3. Chapel Hill University: Located in North Carolina, this university offers students two different entry points into their DNP program. You can enter the program with a BSN or an MSN. If you enter with an MSN and choose to study full time, you will end up studying for two years. If you choose to study part-time, you will end up studying for three years. Now, if you enter the program with a BSN, you are looking at a nurse practitioner program length of three years.

4. University of Virginia: The University of Virginia, like many DNP-NP programs, offers students different pathways to pursuing your DNP. The BSN to DNP track will require 4 years of study at the standard program, or you can choose the accelerated program and complete the degree in 3 years. The MSN to DNP program will require 2 years of full-time study or 3 years of part-time study to complete.

5. University of Michigan: The University of Michigan has been recognized as one of the most leading research institutions of higher education in the nation. Here you can pursue your DNP-NP degree full-time and have it completed in 2 years, or you can study part-time and have it completed in 3 years.

6. University of Washington: The University of Washington takes a different approach to earn your DNP. You will find their Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) track within the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. This institution requires that students make a full-time commitment and finish their degree within three years.

7. Villanova University: Villanova University offers students a post-master DNP-NP degree. This terminal degree can be completed full time in five consecutive semesters and part-time in eight consecutive semesters.

8. Northeastern University: Northeastern University offers those who already hold an advanced practice degree the option of full time and part-time study to earn their terminal degree. The full-time study nurse practitioner program length is two years. The nurse practitioner program length for those seeking the part-time option is three years.

9. Columbia University: Located in New York City, Columbia University offers NP students multiple entrance points into their DNP program. They also offer students multiple specialties to choose from. Your coursework at Columbia University will require two to three years of full-time study to complete.

10. University of Buffalo: The University of Buffalo offers students multiple specialty tracks to choose from. If you enter the program with a BSN, you can expect to complete your degree in three to five years, depending on your track and if you are attending full-time or part-time. If you already hold an MSN, you can expect to complete your coursework in five to seven semesters once again, depending on track and your full time or part-time status.

11. University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus: There are two different pathways that you can take at this university while earning your degree. One is entering with a BSN, and the other is entering with an MSN. This university also offers students various specialty NP track options. You can expect to earn your degree in three to five years, depending on which pathway you are entering with and which specialty track you choose.

12. University of Maryland: The University of Maryland offers different pathways in order to earn your DNP-NP degree. They also offer students the option to specialize in a particular area. Depending on your pathway and if you choose to specialize, you are looking at a nurse practitioner program length of about two to five years.

13. University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center: This university offers students who wish to pursue their family nurse practitioner degree two different options for entrance into their program. You can enter their program with a BSN or an MSN. Depending on your entrance point, this university will require two to three years of study.

14. Binghamton University: This University offers those who already hold an advanced practice degree four different specialty NP tracks to choose from when pursuing their DNP. They also offer students a full-time option, which will take two years to complete, and a part-time option, which will take three years to complete.

15. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center: At this university, you can earn your DNP degree through multiple pathways. This terminal degree is designed to be completed in six semesters if you already hold your MSN. If you plan to start this degree and hold a bachelor's degree, you will need nine semesters to complete the DNP family nurse practitioner degree. If you wish to pursue the DNP psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner degree, you will also need nine semesters to complete the coursework.


Conclusion


Obtaining your nurse practitioner degree can be done via the MSN route or the DNP route. Your nurse practitioner program length will depend on the degree you choose, the specialty, and your entry point into the program. Another factor that will also impact your length of study is the university you choose. As you can see, different universities will have different requirements for you to earn the degree. So, now that you have a bit clearer picture about which NP programs have which length, it's now time to get out there and start applying!


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


Are online nurse practitioner programs shorter than on-campus programs?

Online Nurse practitioner programs are not typically shorter than On-campus programs. Regardless, if you choose the remote learning option or the in-person learning option, you will still be required to meet the same requirements.

Can I still work and obtain my MSN or DNP?

Working while obtaining your degree is a personal choice. There are, however, some things you should keep in mind. This includes the rigor of your program and if you are a full-time student or a part-time student. Other pertinent things to think about are how many days a week your classes and clinicals are and how you can accommodate your work schedule.

How Can I afford to get an NP degree?

Let’s face it, pursuing any degree can be expensive, especially if you find you are unable to work during the length of your Nurse practitioner program. One thing that you can do to lessen the burden is you can contact the school's financial aid office to see what programs that university already has in place. Another option would be pursuing a personal loan, or you can apply for a scholarship. Follow this link to find a scholarship that are available to nurse practitioners (Scholarships)

Do I have to complete my nurse practitioner program consecutively, or can I take time off?

The answer to this question truly lies with your institution. Some universities will allow for time off when you need it, while others will only allow for it before the program's clinical component. Other programs do not allow for it at all. It is best to ask this question to admissions before paying for your first semester.


Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN
Jennifer Schlette is a registered nurse in pediatric critical care in New York City. She is the former Director of Undergraduate Nursing at a college located in New York. After obtaining her BSN from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, she went on to complete her MSN.