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Nurse Practitioner Programs in Iowa – 2020 Rankings



What are the 5 Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Iowa (Online & Campus) for 2020?


1) University of Iowa - Iowa City


Programs Offered: BSN to DNP, MSN to DNP, and Post-Graduate Certificate

Do you aspire to complete your doctoral education in nursing from one of the best nurse practitioner programs in Iowa? If so, University of Iowa with its highly acclaimed DNP programs that also offer a wide range of specialization options can be a great choice. Furthermore, if you are transitioning from the military you will be glad to know that the college has been ranked among the top colleges for veterans by the US. News & World Report for the strong support it offers to students coming from the Armed Forces.

With three NP pathways, flexible course offerings, and an option to take classes online or in the hybrid format, you can complete your advanced nursing education in a way that matches your goals and preferences. As a program graduate, you will demonstrate clinical expertise and the skills to improve health care for a diverse patient population in a complex healthcare environment.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, DUAL Adult-Gerontology Acute Care/Psych Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, DUAL Adult-Gerontology Primary and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, DUAL Adult-Gerontology Primary Care/Psych Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, DUAL Family/Psych Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, DUAL Family/Adult Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, DUAL Family/Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, DUAL Pediatric PC/Psych Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and DUAL Pediatric Primary and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

At UI you have several BSN to DNP specializations to choose from, some of which can be combined into a dual certification. So, whether you find your calling in elderly care or caring for mental health patients or infants & children, here you can combine the specialties depending on your interests and earn a dual certification within your two chosen population foci.

To qualify for this path, you must have a BSN degree and an encumbered RN license in Iowa. Although a GPA of 3.0 is good enough, if you are seeking a dual certification you require a minimum GPA of 3.5. Upon enrollment, most students complete this program in three to four years, depending on their plan of study. While the single specialization requires completing anywhere close to 77 credits, with the dual-track you must complete credits ranging from 96 to 104.

MSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

This MSN to DNP program is open to MSN prepared APRNs who are keen on acquiring specialized skills in another area of focus. As such, program requirements will depend on your previously completed coursework. Also, as an APRN if you want to retain your current specialization while obtaining a doctoral degree, you can do so by earning 29 credits which can be completed on a part-time basis. So basically, this MSN to DNP program serves both, APRNS keen on getting certified in another specialty as well as to those who wish to complete the DNP coursework without adding another specialty to their nursing practice.

Post-Graduate Certificate Concentrations: Adult/Gero - Acute Care, Adult/Gero - Primary Care, Family Certificate, Pediatric - Acute Care, Pediatric - Primary Care, and Psychiatric-Mental Health

This post-graduate certificate is designed for MSN and DNP prepared APRNs keen on specializing in either adult-gerontology care, family health, pediatrics, or the care of mental health patients. As such credit requirements are around 21, along with 720 clinical hours, however, the exact course plan is based on a gap analysis.

2) Morningside College - Sioux City


Programs Offered: MSN, DNP (BSN to DNP or MSN to DNP), and Post-Master’s Certificates

Whether it is an affordable Iowa NP school or the convenience of online classes that you desire, either way, Morningside College has got you covered. The college not only offers one of the lowest tuition rates in the Midwest region but is also counted among the few offering 100% online nurse practitioner programs in Iowa. Furthermore, with several financial aid opportunities, you can further save on tuition costs and graduate with much lesser debt. To aspiring NPs, the college offers an MSN, DNP, and a post-master’s certificate with a specialization in family health or care of adults & the elderly.

MSN Concentrations: Family Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

As a BSN prepared RN, you can obtain your APRN certification by completing this MSN program. You can choose from two direct patient-care specializations to get certified either as an FNP or AGPCNP. While the FNP track requires completing 47 credits and 600 clinical hours, with the adult-gero track you must earn 46 credits to graduate. Most students graduate within three years by attending full-time classes.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

If you are ready to take your nursing career to the highest possible level in direct-patient care, then this program can be right for you. As a working RN who seeks flexibility to juggle a busy work life with doctoral studies, here, you can customize a study plan to suit your needs, to the extent of the college allowing you to stop and restart the program if required. While the DNP-FNP track requires completion of 77 credits, to earn the DNP-AGNP degree you need 76 credits.

MSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

This MSN to DNP program is ideal if you are an APRN prepared at the master’s level and are now ready to reach the pinnacle of your nursing education with a DNP while retaining your current nurse practitioner specialization. Although most students graduate with a DNP degree within two years, you can tailor the plan to suit your requirements. By completing the 34 credits you will graduate as DNP prepared clinical leader.

Post-Master’s Certificates Concentrations: Family Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

To qualify for this post-master’s certificate, you must have completed your master's in nursing. You can choose from specializing in family health or adult-gerontology care and become certified as an NP in IA. To graduate you must earn 34 credits and complete 600 clinical hours along with three on-campus residencies.

3) Clarke University- Dubuque


Programs Offered: DNP and Post-Graduate Certificate

Most often the best nurse practitioner schools in Iowa or anywhere in the nation boast of an outstanding faculty that shapes students for excellence in nursing post-graduation. Clarke University is one such nursing school where you will be taught by a faculty who cares about student success and nurtures them to build bonds that typically last a lifetime. This is evident from the fact that 100% of its DNP graduates consistently pass the national certification exam. Furthermore, you will also get an opportunity to enhance personal and professional growth by participating in the governance of the nursing department as the college invites a member of each cohort to the Nursing Advisory Board.

DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

If your goal is to transform healthcare then you can consider enrolling in this DNP which allows two entry points, one after completing a BSN and the other after an MSN. The DNP degree comes with specialization options in family health and psychiatric mental health. Regardless of the track, classes are offered in a hybrid format with face to face classes held on the third Thursday of every month. Post a BSN, you must earn 81 credits and complete 1000 clinical hours, whereas graduation requirements for MSN graduates will be based on a gap analysis.

Post-Graduate Certificate Concentrations: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

You can enroll in this post-graduation certificate program if you are a certified NP keen on specializing in the care of mental health patients. Offered in a hybrid format, you must complete 18 credits and 500 clinical hours to graduate with a PMHNP credential.

4) Allen College – Waterloo


Programs Offered: MSN, BSN to DNP, and Post-Graduate Certificate

Allen College has produced several nurse leaders who are improving health outcomes for patients in Iowa and beyond. The college has been synonymous with quality healthcare education for more than 90 years now and in all these years has played a significant role by providing a dynamic learning environment to future nurse practitioners. Through its MSN, BSN to DNP, and post-graduate certificate program, the college prepares evidence-based advanced practice nurses to treat individuals, families, and communities across the lifespan.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), and Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (ACPNP)

Whether you are an RN with a bachelor's in nursing or non-nursing, you can enter this program and gain eligibility to certify either as an FNP, PMHNP, AGACNP, or ACPNP. If you are an RN holding a bachelor's in a non-nursing field, you must complete courses in statistics, nursing research, and community health before beginning with the master’s level coursework. Regardless of the track you choose, you must complete around 46 credits in MSN core and specialty-specific courses, in addition to 600 hours of clinical practice.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Ever thought of taking your BSN straight to the doctoral level? Well, with this BSN to DNP pathway you can seamlessly graduate with the terminal nursing degree. To qualify for this NP program in Iowa, you must have completed a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and hold an encumbered RN license in the state. Graduation requires completion of credits anywhere close 71 in MSN core, specialty-specific, and DNP courses.

Post-Graduate Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

This post-graduate certificate is open to MSN prepared nurses. You can choose to specialize in family health, psychiatric mental health, adult-gerontology acute care, or pediatric acute care and gain the eligibility to take the certification exam by completing 26 credits.

5) Briar Cliff University - Sioux City


Programs Offered: MSN and Post-Graduate APRN Certificate

If you are searching for nurse practitioner programs in Iowa that offer a less cumbersome admission and graduation process, then Briar Cliff University can be your best bet as here you do not require to produce a GRE score for admission or a thesis to earn your MSN degree. Under the caring mentorship of its dedicated faculty, students receive personalized attention and although the entire coursework is offered online, an instructor is always just a call away!

As a Briar Cliff NP, you will be prepared with evidence-based knowledge to serve the state’s diverse population, particularly the rural, underserved, and vulnerable areas.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

To be eligible for this MSN program you must be a BSN graduate, holding an active RN license. Depending on whether you enroll in the FNP, PMHNP, or AGPCNP track, you require completing 51 to 54 credits and 600 hours of clinical practice which includes experiential learning in rural, underserved and multicultural clinical settings.

Post-Graduate APRN Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Online NP programs in IA can be a boon for working RNs who are keen on getting certified as an NP but lack the time to go to school. Well, with this certificate program you can become an NP by completing the entire coursework online along with clinical rotations in your geographic location. Depending on the specialty track you choose, graduation requirements vary from 22 to 25.

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