Best Online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Programs – 2021

A career as a family nurse practitioner is rewarding and full of challenges that allow nurses to reach their goal of helping to elevate communities through the provision of high-quality health care services. Online family nurse practitioner programs create a pathway for registered nurses to pursue a position of leadership within health care facilities. Although someone with this credential can work in a variety of facilities, many choose to provide care to children and adults in family-oriented medical clinics. Many family nurse practitioners work with physicians to plan and implement health care plans for patients who visit their practices. However, some states are beginning to allow family nurse practitioners greater independence in their ability to diagnose diseases and prescribe treatments that help their patients. The growing demand among families to have a single health care home for their family is increasing the need for more family nurse practitioners to serve in this essential role. If you are interested in finding out about the Best Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs for 2021? Please keep reading.

What Factors Were Considered for Ranking the Best FNP Online Programs?

Academic Quality30%
Editorial Team Rating25%
Online Education Presence20%
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Following are the 10 Best Online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Programs in the Nation for 2021

1) Rush University - Chicago, IL

Programs Offered: Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP & MSN to DNP)

Registered nurses can enter Rush University’s DNP program either after completing a BSN or post an MSN. Regardless of the pathway you take, upon completion of this online program, you will be well prepared to explore a career as an advanced family nurse practitioner in a variety of healthcare settings. The program offers part-time and full-time enrollment options to choose from, thus providing you the opportunity to pursue this course even if you have a busy life schedule. Nevertheless, for a successful academic outcome, it is advised that you avoid full-time employment while pursuing this course.

The program mainly focuses on population health. It teaches you to evaluate and treat individuals of all ages with acute or chronic illnesses and play leadership roles, wherein you plan and implement healthcare strategies to improve the health of a larger population.

Earning this degree after a BSN will take around two and a half years for full-time students, while part-timers can complete it in three and a half years. On the other hand, post an MSN, you can complete this program full-time in two and a half years, while as a part-time student, you will take three years.

The BSN to DNP coursework requires completing 71 credits, whereas, after a master’s, you must complete 62 credits to earn your degree. Additionally, you will complete 1008 clinical hours that include simulation learning, DNP capstone, and clinical experiences at various clinical sites in Chicago.

Key Highlights

• Rush’s FNP program is highly acclaimed, little wonder that it has been ranked #4 in the country by the U.S. News.
• As the program entails campus visits once a week, the college requires you to reside in or around the Chicago area.

2) Bradley University - Peoria, IL

Programs Offered: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Post Graduate Certificate, & Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

If you are a nurse with a keen interest in family medicine and primary care, then pursuing either one of Bradley University’s FNP programs can greatly advance your professional career. The best part about these programs is that the coursework is offered completely online, and there are no on-campus visit requirements whatsoever. Moreover, you also complete the clinical experiences within your own geographical location. The coursework teaches you to provide advanced evidence-based nursing care to individuals and families across the lifespan.

Depending on your qualification, you can choose from the following three FNP options.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): You can choose from either the RN to MSN or BSN to MSN pathway to earn an MSN-FNP degree. The former entails finishing 74 credits, while in the BSN to MSN, you require to complete 65 credits. You will also go through 800 clinical hours of hands-on experience at a clinical site in your own community.

Post Graduate Certificate: If you have already completed an MSN, you can pursue a post-master’s FNP certificate that takes two years to complete. The 44-credit curriculum will prepare you to provide primary care to individuals across the lifespan. It also focuses on enhancing your leadership skills.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): The DNP-FNP is available post a BSN. In four years of study, you can earn the highest nursing credential and open-up leadership positions in nursing practice, education, and research.

Key Highlights

• This online program is delivered by expert faculty who are nurse leaders. They bring in their years of clinical experience to the benefit of FNP students.
• You are responsible to secure the clinical sites and five preceptors on your own to complete the clinical experiences. Out of the five preceptors, at least three need to be nurse practitioners.

3) South University - Savannah, GA

Programs Offered: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) & Post Graduate Certificate

South University’s online family nurse practitioner programs are ideal for working registered nurses looking at advancing their careers as the primary caregiver for adults and families across all age groups.

The coursework is a blend of online and on-site experiences in the nursing care of the elderly, women, and newborns. This diverse hands-on learning thoroughly prepares you to work in any sort of primary care setting. You will learn about preventive health care, diagnosis, and evaluation of health conditions. The program also strengthens your critical thinking, clinical reasoning, leadership, and communication skills.

You can opt to complete an MSN with FNP specialization or pursue the FNP post-graduate certificate program.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): The MSN-FNP curriculum requires completing a total of 62 credits that comprise five core MSN courses and ten FNP specialization courses. The FNP curriculum includes courses in advanced nursing practice, pharmacology, health assessment, and clinical courses in adult and gerontology, women’s health, pediatrics, and primary care. The program ends with a capstone project.

Post Graduate Certificate: The FNP postgraduate certificate is a perfect addition to your MSN. You can take this program to gain specialized nursing knowledge or to add another specialty to your existing profile as an advanced nurse practitioner. Most students complete this online program in 13 months. The FNP specialization coursework of this program remains the same as with the MSN.

Key Highlights

• If you are an active or retired military personnel, you can avail special benefits such as scholarships, financial aid, and counseling.
• The courses are taught by expert faculty who bring in their years of real-work experience to the virtual classroom.

4) Georgetown University - Washington, DC

Programs Offered: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) & Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

There is a growing demand across the nation for advanced nurse practitioners who can provide independent primary care to individuals and families across the lifespan. Georgetown University addresses this need by offering two online FNP programs, where the online coursework is perfectly complemented by real-world clinical experiences. The coursework is rooted in Jesuit values of compassion and holistic nursing that treats the body, mind, and spirit of the patient. With both the programs offering part-time and full-time enrollments, working nurses can easily balance their work hours along with academics.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): The MSN-FNP option is available to registered nurses who have completed their BSN. Depending on the schedule you choose, you can complete the 44-credit curriculum either in 19 or 27 months. If you are considering the accelerated full-time track of 19 months, then you must refrain from full-time work. The program also entails completing at least 650 clinical hours and two campus intensives that last three days each. Upon completion of this program, you will be eligible to take the national certification exam.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): The DNP-FNP program is typically meant for BSN graduates with a keen desire to take on leadership positions in primary care settings. The DNP coursework covers a board spectrum of topics in biostatistics, epidemiology, and economics that train you to plan and implement patient care in various healthcare organizations. To graduate, you must complete 69 credits and a total of 1000 clinical hours. The clinical courses are divided into 650 clock hours for the FNP specialization portion and 350 hours for the DNP courses. Furthermore, you must also make yourself available for two campus intensives.

Key Highlights

• Georgetown University’s MSN-FNP has been ranked among the top FNP programs in the nation by U.S. News.
• The college helps you find clinical placements and a preceptor within your own community. This saves you from the ordeal of traveling to clinical sites in faraway locations.

5) Harding University - Searcy, AR

Programs Offered: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Harding University’s MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner online program prepares you for a career as an advanced practice registered nurse. As a primary caregiver, this MSN-FNP program teaches you to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients with chronic and acute health conditions. Focused on holistic nursing care, the college stays true to its Christian values of service to the community. Moreover, with many of its faculty members being active missionaries, you gain a closer insight into compassionate patient care.

To be eligible for this program, you must have completed your BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Once enrolled, you must complete 45 semester credit hours of didactic learning and 720 hours of clinical training. On a full-time basis, you can complete this program in two years, whereas part-times take three years.

Apart from the above MSN degree, the college also offers two other options for individuals interested in earning the FNP credential.

Second-Degree MSN-FNP: If you have completed your MSN in non-nurse practitioner areas such as nursing education, nursing administration, and clinical nurse specialist and are keen on becoming an FNP, you can choose to complete this program. Your curriculum will be designed, taking into consideration the courses completed in your first degree. You can transfer up to 15 credits towards this 45-credit online coursework and complete the second MSN in much lesser time.

Post-Graduate FNP Certificate: The college also offers a 32-credit online post-graduate FNP certificate program that is meant for students who have an MSN degree in a non-FNP concentration.

Key Highlights

• To qualify for the MSN-FNP admission, ensure that you have at least 2000 hours of work experience as a registered nurse. Also, by completing courses in statistics, health assessment, and nursing research with a minimum grade "C," you can enhance your chances of getting into this program.
• Upon graduation, you will be able to explore employment opportunities in community health clinics, health departments, specialty clinics, or you can go on to start your independent clinic, working alongside other health care professionals.

6) Herzing University - Kenosha, WI

Programs Offered: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Herzing University’s family nurse practitioner online MSN degree prepares you to become a valuable resource to a medical facility by training you to treat a diverse population across all age groups. Being an online program with flexible scheduling options, you can pursue this advanced nursing degree while juggling other responsibilities. On a full-time basis, you can complete this program in 20 months. Herzing lays emphasis on practical learning and exposes students to interdisciplinary diverse clinical learning experiences where you collaborate with other members of a healthcare team to better patient outcomes.

Being an advanced nursing degree, this program is available to BSN graduates who hold an active nurse license. The 48-credit coursework spans across five semesters. After completing the core courses, you will complete 23 credits of FNP specialization courses that include health promotion, healthcare of adults, infants, women, elderly and adolescents, and understanding the role of a practitioner.

Key Highlights

• If you have earned a GPA of 3.8 or higher in your BSN, you may stand eligible for a $10K scholarship.
• The college partners with several healthcare organizations across the country and offers them tuition grants to encourage their employees to pursue the MSN-FNP at Herzing. This partnership also serves well to find you a suitable clinical site and preceptor for your 675 clinical hours of practicum.

7) Frontier Nursing University - Hyden, KY

Programs Offered: MSN & Post-Graduate Certificate

If you aspire to become a nurse leader who perhaps is keen on starting a practice of your own, then you can consider Frontier Nursing University’s Family Nurse Practitioner programs. The programs focus on improving the health of the community by addressing their health needs. You are also trained in leadership and entrepreneurial skills that help in starting your own practice. These programs offer courses via the web, and the clinical experiences can be completed in your own community.

The MSN-FNP coursework requires completing 61 credits, out of which 46 credits are in didactic courses, and 15 are clinical in nature. Additionally, you must also complete 675 clinical hours of hands-on experience. You can earn this degree in 24 months.

If you opt for the post master’s certificate program you must earn 36-credits that usually take 18 months to complete. You will learn about the role of a nurse practitioner, primary care concepts, psychology concepts, pediatrics, women’s health, and advanced skills for nurse practitioners.

Key Highlights

• The college allows its MSN-FNP students, particularly enrolled after 2014, to complete the DNP program quicker by taking an additional 19 credit hours. Alternatively, if it is otherwise, you will instead require completing 28 credits to earn a DNP at FNU.
• Frontier Nursing University is the first nursing school in the nation to offer the FNP specialization track.

8) University of Phoenix - Tempe, AZ

Programs Offered: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) & Post Graduate Certificate

The University of Phoenix offers registered nurses a fruitful opportunity to expand their scope of practice. The college offers an MSN and a post-graduate certificate program with flexible online scheduling to help you earn the credential of a family nurse practitioner at your convenience. Both programs prepare you to offer advanced nursing care to patients by diagnosing and treating their health conditions. You will also develop enhanced communication and leadership skills.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): The MSN curriculum available to both ADN and BSN graduates requires you to complete 47 to 48 credits. There are eleven courses to be completed, and each course lasts for eight weeks. The program usually takes two years to complete. You start with clinical applications of theory and research and end your coursework with an eight-week clinical practicum.

Post Graduate Certificate: The 41 credits post-masters’ certificate coursework can greatly enhance your nursing career by adding another specialty to your existing nursing credentials. You can complete this program in about two years and eight months by taking one course at a time. This comfortable pace allows you to work alongside your studies. You will refine your clinical, leadership, and critical thinking skills by completing this certificate training.

Key Highlights

• The FNP coursework is planned in consultation with industry experts who are well versed with the changing trends in healthcare.
• To stand eligible for the MSN-FNP program, you must have at least two years of clinical experience as a registered nurse.

9) Ohio University - Athens, OH

Programs Offered: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) & Post Graduate Certificate

Ohio University - School of Nursing’s online FNP training comes with two different program options that aim at promoting the good health of individuals and their families. Nurses are trained with the required skills to provide comprehensive preventive and primary care. Both programs offer the opportunity of enrolling either in fall, spring, or summer.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): This 41-credit hour master's program that will take you a total of six semesters to complete includes three on-campus intensives and 650 hours of clinical training. To qualify for this program, you need to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The coursework is a combination of didactic as well as clinical courses. While the didactic courses provide you with in-depth knowledge, the clinical courses will let you hone your skills by putting the knowledge gained into practice. Post completion of this degree, to obtain the credential of a certified family nurse practitioner, you must pass the AANP or ANCC certification exam.

Post Graduate Certificate: This 19-credit Post-Master’s FNP Certificate program is ideal if you are a master’s degree holder with a clinical nursing experience of at least one year or if you are an APRN with a specialization in another area and have a keen desire to expand your career by adding the FNP credential. To ensure that the coursework does not hinder your nursing work schedule, this program is designed for part-time students only.

Key Highlights

• Work experience is an important admission criterion for both these programs; you should have at least two years of full-time work experience as an RN within the last five years.
• You will be taught by acclaimed faculty who are highly motivated to help students become confident FNP professionals, capable of serving patients of all age groups.

10) The George Washington University - Washington, DC

Programs Offered: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Post Graduate Certificate, & Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

For nurses with a keen desire to provide high-quality preventive and primary care to children and adults of all ages, George Washington University offers a hybrid family nurse practitioner program with three pathways to choose from. Each of these pathways is a mix of online coursework, on-campus training in state-of-the-art simulation labs at VSTC, and on-site clinical experience in a clinical setting of your choice.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): This 48-credit program with the option of both full-time and part-time enrollment is designed for registered nurses interested to advance their education and become family nurse practitioners. Your coursework will cover courses such as concepts in population health, nursing leadership, evidence-based practice for health care researchers, biostatistics for health care researchers, and FNP - lifespan primary care/diagnosis/management. The curriculum also includes 700-hours of clinical training where you will put your skills to practice.

Post Graduate Certificate: This part-time program starting once a year in summer is designed for nurses who currently hold an MSN or a higher degree and are looking to add an FNP specialization to their list of credentials. The 30-credit curriculum, along with online didactic courses, will include two on-campus simulation sessions and 500 hours of clinical training.

*If you are a certified nurse practitioner, then you can earn this certificate by completing just 17-credits.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): This 81-credit online program focusses more on practice and is a perfect alternative to research-focused DNP-FNP programs. The program is offered with two different entry options; you can take it post your BSN or after earning your MSN. It starts only once a year in the fall semester and comes with both full-time and part-time options. Clinical training amounting to a total of 1000 hours is an important part of the curriculum and will include both direct and indirect patient care experience.

Key Highlights

• To fulfill the clinical experience requirements, although the college will help you by providing a list of clinical sites in your geographical location, it is your responsibility to select a clinical setting and find a preceptor. You can also expect a visit from a member of the faculty to your clinical site to ensure your progression is as per the required outcome.
• A couple of days before their graduation, all FNP students are required to take part in the On-Campus End of Program Skills Assessment. This event is organized to ensure students have attained the desired outcome by displaying their assessment, reasoning, and patient handling skills, all of which are vital to becoming a successful family nurse practitioner.