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


1) Duke University - Durham


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

The Duke University School of Nursing administers one of the best nurse practitioner programs in North Carolina. “U.S. News & World Report” rates Duke’s MSN program number two and its DNP program number four in the nation. Many of the patient care experiences nurses participate in as part of their clinical NP training take place in the Duke University Health System, which is consistently ranked among the top 10 health care facilities in the U.S. Duke offers eight advanced nurse practice specialties either as an MSN concentration, a BSN to DNP concentration or as a post-master’s certificate. Duke also makes two NP specialties available as continuing education options.

MSN Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

All eight of Duke’s advance practice clinical specialties are offered as distance-learning programs. Some courses, however, will require at least one two-to-five day on-campus intensives. Duke’s Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care programs have been dubbed top of their kind in the nation by “U.S. News & World Report.” Duke also offers the only Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner programs in North Carolina.

The AGNP-AC specialty entails 48 credit hours and 728 clinical hours while the AGNP-PC specialty requires 42 credit hours and 560 clinical hours. The FNP specialty involves 49 credit hours and 728 clinical hours. Both Primary Care and Acute Care PNP options can be completed with 43 credit hours and 616 clinical hours. You’ll need to earn 49 credit hours and 616 clinical hours to finish the PNHNP specialty. Students pursuing the WHNP option will need to take 45 credit hours and 672 clinical hours. Competition is particularly intense for entry into the NNP specialty; in order to be considered for admission into this specialty, you’ll need to have two years of professional experience as a registered nurse in a clinical care setting, and you’ll need to complete 43 credit hours and 616 clinical hours once you’re admitted.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Registered nurses who’ve earned bachelor level nursing degrees are qualified to apply to Duke’s BSN to DNP program. Upon graduation, these students will be awarded both a master’s degree and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. An aspiring DNP degree holder will have to take 73 credits in all, but the specific degree requirements for the advanced practice specialties associated with the degree are similar to what they are for students earning MSN degrees.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Students who’ve already earned an MSN degree have the opportunity to pursue any of the NP specialties Duke offers through the university’s Post-Graduate Certificate program. Students must have at least one year of professional nursing experience in order to be admitted into a certificate program.

Continuing Education Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Fellowship & Residency, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Post-Graduate Training Program

Duke also administers an Adult-Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Fellowship and a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner Post-Graduate Training Program in conjunction with its continuing education offerings. The A-GNP Fellowship is one of a number of Geriatric Workforce Enhancement projects the U.S. federal government funds throughout the nation. The PMNP Training Program is a 12-month clinical residency that’s divided between eight weekly hours of didactic coursework and 32 weekly hours of clinical rotation over a 12-month period.

2) University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill


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

The MSN degree program at the University of North Carolina’s flagship school in Chapel Hill is not just the top NP program in North Carolina, it’s the third-best program of its kind in the nation. In fact, “U.S. News and World Report” ranks Chapel Hill as the number one nursing program in the U.S. The MSN and Post-Master’s Certificate programs are associated with four advanced practice specialties. In addition to those four specialties, the BSN to DNP program offers a fifth clinical focus area: an innovative Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner option with an oncology focus. All coursework associated with these nurse practitioner programs takes place on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus.

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

All nurse practice specialties associated with the MSN can be completed in two years. Sixty laboratory hours are required for each specialty. The A-GPCNP specialization involves 41 credit hours and 600 clinical hours; the FNP specialization entails 43 credit hours and 600 clinical hours. If you want to go for a PNP-PC specialization, you’ll need to take 41 credit hours and 540 clinical hours. The curriculum for the P-MHNP specialization entails 40 credit hours and 540 clinical hours.

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

It takes three years of fulltime study at the University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill campus to complete an advance practice option in conjunction with the BSN to DNP track. The curricula for the A-GPCNP, FNP, PNP-PC, and P-MHNP concentrations are very similar to the coursework and clinical requirements for an MSN degree. However, the A-GPCNP Oncology focus requires an additional four credits of coursework and students who successfully complete this coursework will be eligible to sit for the Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner examination.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Advance practice nurses who want to expand their clinical competencies can do so by enrolling in one of Chapel Hill’s Post-Graduate Advanced Practice options. All four specialties can be completed in two years or five semesters, including one summer semester. The A-GPCNP option involves 31 credit hours and 600 clinical hours; the FNP option entails 27 credit hours and 600 clinical hours. You can complete the PNP-PC track with 29 credit hours and 540 clinical hours and the P-MHNP track with 34 credit hours and 540 clinical hours.

3) University of North Carolina - Wilmington


Programs Offered: MSN, and BSN to DNP

Do you want to become a nurse practitioner in North Carolina who’s dedicated to improving health outcomes for underserved patients? Then the NP programs administered by the University of North Carolina in Wilmington are an excellent choice. The university’s nursing school is known for fostering partnerships with local food banks, homeless shelters, schools, county public health departments, and other facilities that are critically important for maintaining community health. One NP track is associated with the MSN degree, and two NP tracks are associated with the BSN to DNP concentration.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

The FNP specialty the university offers in conjunction with its master’s of nursing degree is primarily taught online. The specialty entails 46 to 47 credit hours, and clinical rotations focus on helping students meet the challenges posed by the 21st-century health care delivery system.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Two NP tracks are associated with the university’s BSN to DNP concentration. Both the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty and the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentrations require 70 credit hours for completion and can be completed in as few as eight semesters. Applicants are required to submit a five-minute video in which they explain why they want to participate in these NP programs.

4) East Carolina University - Greenville


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

North Carolina is on the verge of facing one of the worst nursing shortages in the U.S., and East Carolina University is one of the nurse practitioner schools in North Carolina that’s trying to do something about that. The College of Nursing shares the Health Sciences campus with ECU’s medical and dental schools, Vidant Medical Center, the East Carolina Heart Institute, the Leo Jenkins Cancer Institute, and many other facilities serving acute and chronic health needs. This gives aspiring NPs numerous opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and meaningful clinical placements.

The university offers two NP specialties in conjunction with its MSN degree and post-master’s certificate concentrations. A different two are offered in conjunction with the university’s BSN to DNP track. ECU’s NP programs are designed to meet NP certification requirements in North Carolina, and out-of-state applicants are cautioned to make sure this coursework meets the NP certification requirements of their home states before they enroll.

MSN Concentrations: Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The MSN-Neonatal Nurse Practice specialty entails 42 semester hours. Full-time students can complete this specialty in five semesters while part-time students will finish in seven semesters. All coursework is delivered online, and the university will help students set up clinical rotations in the geographic area in which they live.

The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practice specialty involves either 38 or 40 semester hours and 550 clinical supervision hours. Classes are offered in a distance-learning format, utilizing the Blackboard Learning Platform. Each semester, students are required to attend one two-day intensive on campus. Out-of-state applicants will not be admitted into this NP program.

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

The DNP-AGPCNP specialty involves 63 semester hours and 720 clinical supervision hours. The program utilizes a hybrid learning format: Most of the coursework will be completed online, but students are required to come to campus each semester for one two-day intensive. All clinical rotations must take place in North Carolina. Applicants must hold nursing licenses from North Carolina or a compact state.

The Family Nurse Practitioner track requires 70 semester hours and 840 clinical practice hours in primary care settings. Applicants to this program must display a significant commitment to improving health care outcomes among rural and underserved populations throughout the eastern part of North Carolina. Most of the coursework is delivered online, but students will need to visit the campus every semester for a two-day intensive.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Nurses with MSNs can expand their scope of practice through two post-master’s certificate NP programs. All coursework is conducted online, and students will participate in clinical rotations in the places where they live or work. The NNP specialty requires a minimum of 21 semester hours while the P-MHNP specialty requires 22 semester hours and 550 hours of supervised practicum.

5) University of North Carolina - Greensboro


Programs Offered: Post-BSN DNP

The University of North Carolina’s Greensboro campus is another one of the nurse practitioner programs in North Carolina that aims to increase the number of advance practice RNs in the Tar Heel State. The university offers one advance practice concentration as part of its BSN to DNP track.

Post-BSN DNP Concentrations: Adult Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Half the coursework for the university’s DNP-Adult Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner specialty takes place on campus while the other half is asynchronous web-based learning. The program takes three years to complete and entails 73 semester hours. and 714 clinical hours.

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