FIND DNP PROGRAMS
FIND DNP PROGRAMS
6 Best Online 3-Semester DNP Programs – 2023
Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Are you an MSN-trained nurse ready to take your career to a higher level? Are you interested in earning a doctorate in nursing but feel you may not have the time it takes to dedicate to a long program? If this sounds like you, then you should consider a 3-semester DNP program. These programs are designed to be completed in a short amount of time while still providing you with a quality education and relevant clinical experiences.
You may have heard of these programs but wonder, “What are the best online 3-semester DNP programs?” In this article, I will share the 6 best online 3-semester DNP programs for 2023 and discuss important information about them. You will learn about program costs, curriculum, clinical requirements, and discover a few of the top jobs and earning potential for graduates. Keep reading to find out about this exciting option for completing your DNP degree in a short amount of time!
RECOMMENDED ONLINE DNP PROGRAMS
WHAT EXACTLY IS THE GOAL OF AN ONLINE 3-SEMESTER DNP PROGRAM?
The goal of the best online 3-semester DNP programs is to prepare students with a terminal degree in clinical nursing in a short time. These specialized programs are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to practice at the highest level of clinical practice, advancing the implementation of nursing knowledge to improve health outcomes for individuals and populations.
In online 3-semester DNP programs, you will learn to combine your previously acquired clinical skills and judgment with healthcare policy knowledge to deliver cost-effective, patient-centered care. The advanced knowledge base and clinical expertise you will acquire will prepare you to seek executive leadership, management, or academic positions where they are positioned at the forefront of nursing advances.
5 MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS AND ABILITIES YOU WILL GAIN IN AN ONLINE 3-SEMESTER DNP PROGRAM
The skills and abilities gained during any of these online 3-semester DNP programs are essential and will stay with you throughout your career. The following are five of the most important skills and abilities you will gain.
1. You will learn to analyze and utilize scientific data and research to improve health outcomes:
In 3-semester online DNP programs, you will work with faculty to assist with research projects which include learning to design and implement research studies. You will learn to analyze data and use the data to create scientific papers, and policies focused on influencing clinical practice guidelines. This skill is especially important, as you will use it on many levels throughout your nursing career.
2. You will learn to create and implement healthcare policies that address health concerns and disparities for diverse populations:
In online 3-semester DNP programs, you will spend a large portion of time devoted to learning about diverse populations, health disparities, and how to create policies dedicated to improving healthcare outcomes. You will learn about specific health concerns and how they disproportionately affect diverse groups. You can then take what you learn to propose new policies or changes in existing policies to help reduce health disparities and improve individual, group, and population health outcomes.
3. You will learn to implement cost-effective healthcare:
In 3-semseter online DNP programs, you will learn about the financial side of healthcare, including cost management and budgeting. This is a critical skill that will make you an asset in executive healthcare roles. Balancing the clinical needs with the cost concerns of delivering the services will ensure long-term success for the company you work for.
4. You will learn to apply theory and ethics in delivering high-quality nursing care:
Theory and ethics are long-term driving forces behind patient-centered care. Theory and ethics help determine how and why people make their decisions. Online 3-semester DNP programs will help you understand important theories and ethics and apply them to how nursing care is delivered.
5. You will learn to develop and implement quality improvement and control measures to improve patient outcomes:
In 3-semester online DNP programs, you will acquire the skills needed to develop and implement quality control and improvement measures. By gaining knowledge of biostatistics and epidemiology, you will gain the ability to make plans and policies that focus on improving patient outcomes through quality improvement and control measures.
4 MAIN ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE 3-SEMESTER DNP PROGRAMS
3-semester DNP online programs are full of advantages. Here are the four main ones that stand out as important to me:
1. Graduates of online 3-semester DNP programs earn excellent incomes!:
One of the most significant factors people consider when choosing a career path is their income potential. New DNPs earn more than $89,000 per year on average. This pay increases significantly with experience. So, if earning a good income doing what you love is important and you want to get started sooner rather than later, a 3-semester online DNP program could be the perfect option!
2. DNPs are in demand:
Currently, there is a nationwide shortage of nursing faculty. The shortage has led to colleges and universities nationwide limiting class sizes, which has left qualified program applicants wait-listed. The need for qualified nursing faculty is so far-reaching that the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has taken action to secure funding to help alleviate the shortage. Graduates of 3-semester online DNP programs are highly qualified to fill these roles, making the program a great option for earning your degree and entering the DNP work field quickly.
3. Your marketability will increase greatly:
With a doctoral degree in nursing, you achieve the highest degree possible in the profession. Your knowledge and skills position you to become a competitive candidate for many jobs. Online 3-semester DNP programs will provide you with instruction to develop the knowledge and skills needed by doctoral nurses and help catapult you into an excellent career in much less time than a traditional DNP program.
4. You can be instrumental in reducing health disparities in underserved populations:
Graduates of 3-semester online DNP programs can leverage their knowledge and leadership skills to influence not only how care is delivered but to whom. The DNP curriculum will teach you to use evidence-based practice, information systems and technology, healthcare policy, and interprofessional collaboration. With these skills, you can be instrumental in improving access to care for individuals who may otherwise not receive healthcare services. Earning your degree through online 3-semester DNP programs means you can begin making a difference in the lives of others in as little as a year!
2 MAIN DISADVANTAGES OF ONLINE 3-SEMESTER DNP PROGRAMS
Although there are many advantages to online 3-semester DNP programs, there are also disadvantages. Weighing the pros and cons carefully can help you decide if this type of program is something you wish to pursue.
1. The job of a DNP can be quite stressful:
3-semester online DNP programs teach you how to manage your time wisely, use critical decision-making, and many other skills. With higher education and better jobs comes greater responsibility, which means more stress. Despite preparing you for your role, what these programs cannot do is reduce the stress associated with the job.
2. Online 3-semester DNP programs feature a lot of content in a short time:
The idea of earning a doctorate in nursing in only three semesters is attractive, especially if time is of the essence. However, the short time it takes to complete the programs means you have to learn a lot of information quickly. Some students find it challenging to grasp in-depth content at a fast pace, which means this type of program could leave you feeling at a disadvantage.
WHEN DO 3-SEMESTER DNP ONLINE PROGRAMS START?
3-semester DNP online programs typically have one to two start dates during the year, depending on the school. The following are examples of start dates for five of the programs featured in this article.
The three-semester DNP online program at Francis Marion University begins each fall
The University of Miami
offers admission to its 3-semester online DNP program every Fall and Spring
• Holy Family University’s
online 3-semester DNP program begins each Spring and Fall
At Westminster College
, the 3-semester online DNP program begins in the fall
The online 3-semester DNP program at the University of Minnesota
offers a program start date in the fall
of each year.
HOW MANY CREDITS ARE THERE IN 3-SEMESTER DNP ONLINE PROGRAMS?
The curriculum for online 3-semester DNP programs is determined by the school where the program is offered. Most programs require students to complete between 25 and 35 credits. The following are a few examples.
The 3-semester online DNP program at Delta State University
features 31 credit hours
At Francis Marion University
, students in the online 3-semester DNP program complete 30 credit hours
The 3-semester online DNP program at the University of Minnesota
DNP features a curriculum of 37-38 credits
At Holy Family University
, the online 3-semester DNP program requires students to complete 26 credits
The curriculum for the 3-semester online DNP program at Westminster College
includes 32 semester hours
HOW LONG ARE 3-SEMESTER DNP ONLINE PROGRAMS?
3-semester DNP online programs typically take 12 to 15 months to complete. The time it takes to earn your degree will depend on whether you attend school during the summer semester. The list below shows the time it takes to graduate from some of our featured programs.
The 3-semester online DNP program at Delta State University
takes one and a half years
At the University of Miami
, you can complete the online 3-semester DNP in just one year
The three-semester online DNP program takes one full year
at the University of Minnesota
The online Post MSN to DNP three-semester full-time program at Holy Family University
can be completed in one year
• Francis Marion University’s
DNP full-time program can be completed in one year
HOW MUCH DO 3-SEMESTER DNP ONLINE PROGRAMS COST?
Online 3-semester DNP programs cost anywhere from $12,000 to $55,000. Of course, if you receive scholarships or other forms of financial assistance, you can reduce the price of earning your degree. Some schools charge different rates based on whether you are a state resident or a non-resident student. So, choosing an in-state program could also help with your expenses. The following are examples of the cost of some of the best 3-semester online DNP programs.
The cost of tuition
for the online 3-semester DNP program at Francis Marion University
is calculated based on your residency status. South Carolina residents pay $24,696 for the program, and out-of-state students pay $49,392.
The total program cost for the University of Miami’s
3-semester online DNP program is $55,000
At the University of Minnesota
, students enrolled in the online 3-semester DNP program pay approximately $38,961
• Delta State University's
graduate tuition is $469 per credit hour. The 3-semester online DNP program features 31 credits, making the total cost of the program's tuition $14,539
Tuition for the online 3-semester DNP program at Holy Family University
is $1,066 per credit hour. The program features a 26-credit curriculum, which makes the total tuition $27,716
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM GPA REQUIRED TO GET INTO ONLINE 3-SEMESTER DNP PROGRAMS?
One factor the admissions team considers carefully when evaluating a candidate's application is their college grade point average. Most 3-semester DNP online programs require candidates to have a minimum 3.0 GPA. However, it is important to remember that the higher your GPA, the more favorable a candidate you become. The following list shows the grade point average requirements for some of our featured programs.
• Delta State University
requires candidates for its online 3-semester DNP program to have a minimum GPA of 3.0
earned during an accredited MSN degree program.
The 3-semester online DNP program at the University of Miami
requires a minimum GPA of 3.0
from your BSN and MSN degrees, as applicable.
The minimum GPA requirement for admission to the online 3-semester DNP program at the University of Minnesota
on a 4.0 scale from your previous MSN program.
Admission to the 3-semester online DNP program at Francis Marion University
requires a minimum GPA of 3.0
earned during your MSN degree.
• Holy Family University
has a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0
for all nursing coursework to be considered for admission to its online 3-semester DNP program.
WHAT ARE THE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR ONLINE 3-SEMESTER DNP PROGRAMS?
The admission requirements for online 3-semester DNP programs are established by each school. General admission criteria include that applicants must have a current, unencumbered RN license, an MSN degree, and one year of clinical nursing experience. Because admission requirements vary, it is crucial that you verify the criteria for each school carefully before applying. The following are the admission requirements for a few of the nation’s best programs.
The admission requirements
for the online 3-semester DNP degree at Delta State University
include the following. Applicants must have an MSN degree from an accredited nursing school, an active, unrestricted license to practice as a registered nurse, and at least one year of clinical nursing experience within the last three years. You must have proof of completing college statistics and pathophysiology courses with a grade of "C" or better. Finally, candidates who meet all other criteria will be invited to interview with a nursing faculty member.
Candidates seeking admission to the 3-semester online DNP program at Francis Marion University
must possess a Master of Science in Nursing with a master’s level GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and have a current APRN license. To meet admission and application requirements
, you must provide official transcripts from all previously attended institutions, three letters of recommendation, a resume or CV, and an admission essay.
To be considered for admission
to the online 3-semester DNP program at the University of Miami
, you will need a bachelor's and master's degree, preferably in nursing, from an accredited program with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for both degrees and an active and unrestricted RN license with proof of national certification in a nursing specialty. You must submit your official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, one reference, a statement of professional goals, and a professional resume or CV. Additionally, all applicants must have completed a minimum of 440 clinical hours during their MSN program.
At Westminster College
for the 3-semester online DNP program must have Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing degrees with a nursing grade point average of at least 3.0 and have an active unrestricted RN license, APRN license, and nurse practitioner certificate. In addition to completing an online application
, you must provide official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended, a professional statement, a professional resume, and two letters of recommendation. All program candidates must submit to a criminal background check and a 10-panel drug screen.
• Admission requirements
for the online 3-semester DNP program at the University of Minnesota
include having a BSN and MSN degree with an APRN specialty, a GPA of 3.0 or above from your last completed degree, and an active and unrestricted RN and APRN license. You must submit three professional references, an application essay, and your CV or resume. International applicants who are not native English speakers must also submit TOEFL scores. If you meet all admission criteria, you will be offered an interview to complete your application process.
WHAT KIND OF COURSES WILL YOU TAKE IN ONLINE 3-SEMESTER DNP PROGRAMS?
The courses in 3-semester DNP online programs focus on high-level advanced practice concepts. The names of classes and the number of credits awarded for each may differ among schools. However, the content studied in the curriculum is similar among accredited programs. The following are examples of classes offered in five of the nation's best online 3-semester DNP programs.
in the online 3-semester DNP program at Delta State University
include Advanced Theory & Ethical Issues in Advanced Nursing Practice, Epidemiology/Population Health, Health Care Policy, & Economics in Clinical Practice, Leadership & Role Development in Advanced Nursing Practice, Business Management & Quality Care in Clinical Practice, and Information Management & Decision Support in Clinical Practice.
The 3-semester online DNP program’s curriculum
at Francis Marion University
includes some of the following classes: Doctoral Knowledge Development, Doctoral Research, and Epidemiologist Evidence-based Practice, Doctoral Health Policy & Leadership, Ethics & Quality Improvement, Scholarly Writing & Grant Development, and The Role of Technology & Interprofessional Collaboration.
offered at Westminster College's
online 3-semester DNP program include Epidemiology/Population Health, Health Care Policy, and Economics in Clinical Practice, Evidence-Based Nursing Practice: Theory, Design & Methods, Advanced Statistics for Clinical Practice, Informatics in Health Care Systems, and Quality & Safety Across Healthcare Settings.
for the 3-semester online DNP program at the University of Minnesota
includes courses such as Interprofessional Health Care Informatics, Nursing Research & Evidence-based Practice, Science of Nursing Intervention, Quality Improvement & Implementation Science in Health Care, Health Policy Leadership, Economics of Health Care, and Scholarly Teaching & Learning in Nursing.
At Holy Family University
, students in the online 3-semester DNP program take classes
, including Leadership: Setting the Example: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Organizations, Population Focused System Evaluation & Implementation, Biostatistics, Evidence-Based Practice for the DNP, and Informatics.
WHAT KIND OF PRACTICAL TRAINING WILL YOU UNDERGO IN ONLINE 3-SEMESTER DNP PROGRAMS?
Like all nursing programs, online 3-semester DNP programs include a practical training component. Accredited programs align with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education regarding clinical training criteria. The CCNE’s publication, the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice
, states, "In order to achieve the DNP competencies, programs should provide a minimum of 1,000 hours of practice post-baccalaureate as part of a supervised academic program."
Most DNP programs include a DNP Scholarly/Capstone Project that awards some clinical hours credit. Also, the clinical hours you earned during your MSN program will be evaluated to determine how many are transferable to the DNP program. The following are examples of the practical training requirements at some of the nation's best programs.
At Delta State University
, students in the online 3-semester DNP program must complete 420 clinical hours
, which are earned through the DNP Scholarly Project. The DNP Project clinical hours are mandatory, regardless of the number of clinical hours you earned in your previous MSN program. Students with a current FNP certification may only need the hours earned through the DNP Project. An analysis of MSN clinical hours will determine if additional practical training is needed.
If you do not have a current FNP certification, you will complete 1,440 clinical hours
. 1,020 clinical hours are direct care hours and 420 are earned through the DNP Project. The university offers clinical placement assistance and allows you to complete clinical requirements near where you live, when possible.
At Francis Marion University
, the 3-semester online DNP program includes a minimum of 500 clinical hours
. To earn these clinical hours, you will develop and present a DNP Capstone Project. Additional practical training may be required, depending on the number of hours you earned during your MSN program. You have the option of locating your own clinical sites and preceptors and then asking for approval from the clinical coordinator. If you follow attendance guidelines, you can typically set your own clinical hours.
Practical training for the online 3-semester DNP program at the University of Miami
consists of 560 to 1000 clinical hours
. Students need at least 1000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours to meet the DNP requirements, which can include credit for previously completed hours. The hours you will complete are determined after analysis of previous clinical hours from your MSN program. Clinical hours can be completed at your place of employment but may not be paid hours. Therefore, if you wish to complete your practical training at your current job, you must work with your employer and clinical coordinator to ensure your clinical hours are scheduled outside your work hours.
The University of Minnesota
requires students in the 3-semester online DNP program to complete a total of 1,000 clinical hours
. The actual hours each student completes are determined by using the following formula: 1,000 required hours, minus verified MSN clinical hours, minus 160 DNP clinical hours. For example, a student with 400 verified MSN hours plus 160 DNP project hours would need 440 clinical hours in the program. All clinical hours must be under the guidance of a qualified preceptor. Approved practicum areas include Consumer Health Informatics, Clinical Decision Support, Knowledge Representation & Interoperability, and Population Health Informatics.
At Holy Family University
, non-APRN students in the online 3-semester DNP program complete 1,000 clinical hours
. Students who are already APRN certified may transfer up to 500 clinical hours from an accredited MSN program and then complete 500 additional hours at Holy Family University. Clinical hours must be completed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware. Clinical hours may be arranged at your place of employment for added convenience but must not overlap with paid hours.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE 3-SEMESTER DNP PROGRAMS IN THE NATION?
(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 6 Best Online 3-Semester DNP Programs in the nation for the year 2023.)
VIEW OUR RANKING METHODOLOGY
3 BEST JOBS FOR GRADUATES OF ONLINE 3-SEMESTER DNP PROGRAMS
Graduates of 3-semester DNP online programs can choose from a number of exciting jobs. Your preference for working in an office or clinical setting will determine which job is best suited for you. The following are three of the best jobs for program graduates.
1. Healthcare Executive:
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities need strong leadership to succeed. Graduates of online 3-semester DNP programs have the knowledge and skills it takes to lead these organizations effectively. If you are looking for a challenge and want a leadership role in healthcare, becoming a healthcare executive is the way to go. Your strong leadership can help promote positive patient, organizational, and professional outcomes.
2. Nursing/ University Faculty:
Graduates of online 3-semester DNP programs are well qualified to work as nursing or university faculty members. Depending on your area of clinical expertise, you can teach specialty nursing classes or general undergraduate and graduate courses. Nursing faculty members have the added bonus of conducting research and seeking out an academic tenure track. You can contribute to new nurses' professional development while directly contributing to emerging research and improving patient outcomes.
3. Chief Nursing Officer:
Chief Nursing Officer is one of the best jobs for graduates of 3-semester online DNP programs. In this role, you will directly influence patient care outcomes and ensure a positive working environment for nurses. As a nurse yourself, no one is more qualified to lead nurses than you. Chief Nursing Officers must consider staffing levels, patient care needs, and the monetary impact on their corporation.
WHAT STARTING SALARY CAN NEW GRADUATES OF THIS PROGRAM EXPECT?
New graduates of the best 3-semester DNP online programs earn an average annual salary of $89,410. This pay equals $7,450 per month, $1,719 per week, and $42.99 per hour.
WHAT AVERAGE SALARY CAN GRADUATES OF 3-SEMESTER DNP ONLINE PROGRAMS EXPECT?
As is common with most career paths, the more experience you gain, the higher your potential earnings. For example, with experience, the average annual income for graduates of online 3-semester DNP programs is $132,804. That is an increase of more than $40,000 from the starting salary! This pay is equal to $63.85 per hour, $2,554 weekly, or $11,070 monthly.
10-YEAR JOB OUTLOOK FOR GRADUATES OF 3-SEMESTER DNP ONLINE PROGRAMS
The 10-year job outlook for graduates of 3-semester DNP online programs is projected to increase by 45.68% between 2021 and 2031. This increase is well above industry standards and directly correlates with the current nursing shortage, the cause of which is multi-factorial. The need for direct care nurses, advanced practicing registered nurses, and qualified faculty who can teach nursing students is the main reason there is such a demand. As a graduate of online 3-semester DNP programs, you can directly reduce the impact of this shortage in any career role you choose.
|(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)|
BONUS! IS THE COST OF AN ONLINE 3-SEMESTER DNP PROGRAM WORTH THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)?
The cost of online 3-semester DNP programs can range from $12,000 to $55,000. New program graduates earn more than $89,000 annually, with your income potential increasing as you gain more years of experience. When you compare these numbers, it is clear that the return on investment is worth the cost of getting your degree through 3-semester online DNP programs.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
The decision to return to school and earn a DNP degree is not one to be taken lightly. If you are like me, time is a commodity you may not have to spare. If so, finding a program you can complete quickly is helpful. As you research and weigh your options, one of the most pressing questions is probably, “What are the best online 3-semester DNP programs?” The 6 best online 3-semester DNP programs for 2023 featured in this article offer excellent opportunities to take your nursing career to the highest academic level in a short time.
Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).