17 Best Online MSN-WHNP Programs – 2023
Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Are you a registered nurse interested in a career in women’s health? Does the idea of having your own practice or working alongside other practitioners to care for women interest you? If so, have you considered pursuing your dream through MSN-WHNP programs? The thought may have crossed your mind, but you are unsure where to begin. Perhaps you wonder, “What are the best online MSN-WHP programs?”
If this sounds like you, this is the article for you! As you continue reading, you will find information about the 17 best online MSN-WHNP programs for 2023, including start dates, costs, and examples of classes and practical training. You can use the information in this article to decide if an online women’s health nurse practitioner program is the right path to help you achieve your professional goals.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THE GOAL OF AN ONLINE MSN-WHNP PROGRAM?
The goal of online MSN-WHNP programs is to prepare students with a Master of Science in Nursing degree specializing as Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners. The programs offer instruction in nursing theory and clinical practice relevant to women’s health issues across the lifespan. MSN-WHNP online programs aim to provide students with the opportunity to earn a graduate degree and become women’s health nurse practitioners with the convenience of online learning.
5 MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS AND ABILITIES YOU WILL GAIN IN AN ONLINE MSN-WHNP PROGRAM
The best online MSN-WHNP programs prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to provide high-quality patient care. Skills and abilities students obtain in these programs range from therapeutic communication techniques, the use of electronic health records, the ability to write prescriptions and diagnose clients to leadership and collaboration skills. The following are five of the most important skills and abilities you will gain in an MSN-WHNP online program.
1. The ability to use evidence-based practice in patient care:
Women’s health nurse practitioners use evidence-based practices to provide effective patient care supported by scientific evidence. EBP helps practitioners make optimal decisions about client care, which helps improve patient outcomes.
2. The ability to diagnose and treat women’s health issues:
Online MSN-WHNP programs prepare students to assess, diagnose, and treat common acute and chronic issues relevant to women's health. Recognizing women's health issues and determining an appropriate care plan is a crucial skill for WHNPs.
3. The ability to lead an interdisciplinary team:
As a women’s health nurse practitioner, you will probably work in some leadership capacity. Whether you work in independent practice, in a hospital, or other facilities, you must make decisions about patient care, including delegating responsibilities to other staff. MSN-WHNP online programs will prepare you to take on leadership roles so you can effectively lead women’s healthcare teams.
4. The ability to perform women’s health screenings:
In an online MSN-WHNP program, you will develop many new skills. Part of your role will involve performing routine women’s health screenings, such as pap smears, HPV screenings, and more.
5. The ability to demonstrate cultural competence when providing care and within the interdisciplinary team:
One of the most important skills or characteristics of great nurses is the ability to demonstrate cultural competence
. As a women’s health nurse practitioner, you will treat patients from diverse backgrounds with different beliefs about and approaches to women’s health issues. Your interdisciplinary team may consist of people from different backgrounds as well. In an MSN-WHNP online program, you will learn ways to demonstrate cultural competence in practice, which will help improve provider/patient relationships and relationships within the healthcare team.
4 MAIN ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE MSN-WHNP PROGRAMS
If you are considering earning your degree through online MSN-WHNP programs, you may wonder what advantages the programs have to offer. It is always wise to compare the pros and cons of any college program to determine the best plan for achieving your goals. The following are four main advantages of online MSN-WHNP programs.
1. Online MSN-WHNP programs give you opportunities to become part of life-changing events in your patients’ lives:
One of the great things about being a women’s health nurse practitioner is that you get to share in some of the most exciting times of women’s lives. For example, you may have a patient with a history of fertility issues who learns she is expecting a baby. The joy that comes with being part of these moments is truly rewarding and makes becoming a WHNP worth it.
2. You have greater influence to advocate for patients:
MSN-WHNP online programs prepare you with the knowledge and skills you need to become an effective advocate for women’s health. Although all nurses advocate for patients, your advanced degree, WHNP certification, and experience open more doors for your voice to be heard, which means you can be instrumental in advocating for better healthcare for women.
3. Graduates of online MSN-WHNP programs have increased job security:
One of the most important factors people consider when choosing a career is whether there is potential for long-term job security. The need for qualified women’s health providers continues to grow, which means you can expect to find excellent job opportunities with long-term security.
4. You have the potential to earn an excellent income!:
On average, women’s health nurse practitioners earn more than $100,000 yearly. Additionally, many WHNP jobs come with generous benefits packages. Some benefits packages are worth tens of thousands of dollars, which means your total compensation is excellent!
2 MAIN DISADVANTAGES OF ONLINE MSN-WHNP PROGRAMS
While there are certainly advantages to MSN-WHNP online programs (and many would say the good outweighs the bad), there are some disadvantages to online learning. The following are the two main disadvantages of these programs.
1. Not all patients have “happy endings”:
There are many perks to being a women’s health nurse practitioner, but there are also issues that no one wants to face. One of the most difficult parts of being a WHNP is realizing you cannot fix everything for everyone and that some patients will never get the good news they hope for. Your job may involve breaking the news to a client that becoming pregnant will never be a possibility for her or that the cells found on a pap smear came back cancerous. Situations like this may make you question whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages or vice versa.
2. The line between personal and professional issues can be easily blurred:
Compassion and empathy are essential characteristics of any healthcare professional, including women’s health nurse practitioners. Instructors in MSN-WHNP online programs will teach you the importance of staying professional and not getting emotionally involved with patients and their situations.
However, no matter how many lectures you hear or what “tricks” you think you have to help you remain objective, sometimes the line between personal and professional feelings blurs. You may find it challenging to care for patients with different beliefs. For example, if you are opposed to abortion, having a client who requests one could pose an issue for you. Remaining objective and separating your personal feelings from professional behaviors takes time and practice, but you can overcome this advantage and build good practitioner/patient relationships.
WHEN DO MSN-WHNP ONLINE PROGRAMS START?
Start dates for online MSN-WHNP programs are determined by the schools offering the programs. Most schools offer classes based on the number of available faculty, classrooms, and clinical sites. Some schools offer one start date each year, while others offer three or more. Below is a list of the start dates for five of the best MSN-WHNP online programs in the country!
The online MSN-WHNP program at Duke University
offers start dates in the spring and summer
• Emory Nursing School’s
MSN-WHNP online program begins in the fall semester
of each academic year.
• Vanderbilt University’s
School of Nursing offers start dates in the spring, summer, and fall semesters
for its online MSN-WHNP program.
The University of Alabama
at Birmingham offers fall and summer
start dates for the MSN-WHNP online program.
At the University of Cincinnati
, the online MSN-WHNP program has start dates in the spring, summer, and fall
semesters each year.
HOW MANY CREDITS ARE THERE IN MSN-WHNP ONLINE PROGRAMS?
The curriculum for online MSN-WHNP programs varies. Most programs require students to complete between 40 and 60 credits. Your previous academic history and number of transferrable credits will determine the credits you need in an MSN-WHNP online program. The following are a few examples of credit requirements for some of the nation's top programs.
The online MSN-WHNP program at Duke University
features a 45-credit-hour curriculum
. Credits are earned through MSN Core, the “Four Ps,” WHNP Clinical Courses, and Nurse Practitioner Intensive (NPI) courses.
At Emory University
, students in the MSN-WHNP online program complete a minimum of 44 credits
. Although it is not required, it is highly recommended that students in the program take the Advanced Forensic Nursing class, which is an additional 3-credit hour class.
• Vanderbilt University’s
online MSN-Women’s Health Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner program has a 40-credit hour curriculum
The online MSN-WHNP program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
features a 45-credit hour study plan
At the University of Cincinnati
, students in the MSN-WHNP online program complete 49 credits
HOW LONG ARE MSN-WHNP ONLINE PROGRAMS?
MSN-WHNP online programs can last from one year to three years or longer, depending on the program and whether you enroll part-time or full-time. The following are examples of the length of some of our featured programs.
The online MSN-WHNP program at Jefferson Davis University
is available in part-time or full-time formats. The program can take as little as two years or up to five
. However, part-time students typically take three years to graduate, and full-time students usually complete the program in two years.
• Duke University’s
MSN-WHNP online program takes full-time students two and a half years
to complete. Part-time students take three and a half to four years to graduate.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center's
MSN-WHNP online program takes three years
The online MSN-WHNP program at Vanderbilt University
can be completed in one year or three semesters if you enroll full-time. Part-time students take six semesters or two years to graduate. These schedules include summer sessions.
The MSN-WHNP online program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
can be completed in six or seven semesters
(two to two and a half years).
HOW MUCH DO MSN-WHNP ONLINE PROGRAMS COST?
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing from MSN-WHNP online programs is how to pay for your degree. The programs can cost as little as $15,000 to more than $125,000. Your current level of education, the number of credits you need to earn the degree, and whether you receive scholarships or grants are factors that determine your out-of-pocket costs. The following are examples of the cost of five of the top online MSN-WHNP programs in the nation.
At Georgetown University
, tuition for the online MSN-WHNP program costs $2,358 per credit hour. The program features a 44-credit hour curriculum totaling $103,752
Tuition at Georgia College and State University
costs $405.50 per credit hour. The MSN-WHNP online program consists of 40 credits, which makes the total program cost $16,220
• Duke University’s
online MSN-WHNP program costs $1,984 per credit hour. Students complete 56 credits, which means tuition for the program costs $111,104
The MSN-WHNP online program at Emory University
costs $1,224 per credit hour. The program requires students to complete 36 credits. Therefore, students pay approximately $44,064
Tuition at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
costs $682 per credit. The curriculum has 45 credits, making the total cost $30,690
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM GPA REQUIRED TO GET INTO ONLINE MSN-WHNP PROGRAMS?
Online MSN-WHNP programs require candidates to meet minimum grade point average requirements to be admitted. Most schools require at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale. However, this may vary among schools. As you research programs and verify the admission requirements, be sure to clarify if the GPA must be a cumulative average for all college coursework, an average for a previous nursing degree, or the overall average for a specific number of recent credits. A few examples of minimum GPA requirements for some of the nation's top programs are as follows.
Prospective students seeking admission to the University of Colorado
Anschutz Medical Campus online MSN-WHNP programs need a minimum 3.0 GPA
for all previous college coursework.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
requires a 3.2 GPA
for the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. Students with a GPA less than 3.2 are required to complete the GRE and submit scores to be considered for conditional admission.
• Northwestern University of Louisiana
also requires candidates to have a cumulative college grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
At Kent State University
, applicants may be admitted to the MSN-WHNP online program with a cumulative college GPA of 3.0
. Candidates with a low GPA may receive conditional admission if other criteria are met.
• Texas Women’s University
requires candidates to have a 3.0 GPA
for the last 60 semester credits of undergraduate coursework and all previous graduate coursework.
WHAT ARE THE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR ONLINE MSN-WHNP PROGRAMS?
Admission to top MSN-WHNP online programs can be competitive. In addition to meeting minimum grade point average requirements, candidates must align with other admission criteria. Below you will find admission requirements for five of the nation’s best online MSN-WHNP programs.
• Vanderbilt University
requires applicants to create an admission file
to begin the application process. Prospective students must provide a Statement of Purpose, official transcripts from any college or university ever attended, and have a 3.0 college GPA. Candidates must submit three letters of professional recommendation and a written essay and must complete all prerequisites, including a Statistics course. A current RN license and a BSN degree earned from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited nursing program are also required.
• Admission to the online MSN-WHNP program at Texas Women’s College
is contingent upon meeting the following criteria. Applicants must have a license to practice as a professional registered nurse in the United States, hold a bachelor's degree in nursing from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university, and have a minimum 3.0-grade point average from the last 60 semester credits of undergraduate study and a 3.0 for all graduate studies. Prospective students must submit a professional resume or curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, and a Statement of Intent.
At the University of Alabama at Birmingham
, online MSN-WHNP applicants must hold a BSN from a regionally accredited school and a nationally accredited nursing program and possess an active, unrestricted license to practice as a registered nurse. You must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 for the most recent 60 semester hours, provide three letters of professional recommendation, and submit official transcripts from all colleges or universities you attended.
• Admission criteria
for the MSN-WHNP online program at the University of Cincinnati
include the following. Applicants must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing earned at a regionally- and CCNE- or ACEN- accredited nursing school, an overall BSN grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and an active, unencumbered RN license. Prospective students must submit official transcripts from any college or university attended, two or three letters of professional or academic recommendation, a professional resume, and a Goals Statement. All applicants need at least one year of work experience as a professional registered nurse.
The University of South Alabama
online MSN-WHNP program has the following admission requirements
. Applicants must be permanent residents of the U.S. and possess a current registered nurse license with no restrictions. Candidates must be in good standing with all academic institutions and nursing programs and provide official transcripts from any college or university where credits were earned. Two years of RN experience relevant to women's health is also required.
WHAT KIND OF COURSES WILL YOU TAKE IN ONLINE MSN-WHNP PROGRAMS?
Online MSN-WHNP programs feature in-depth, rigorous curriculum plans. Although the classes offered vary from one school or program to the next, accreditation standards ensure the content is similar. The following are a few examples of some classes offered at some of the programs featured in this article.
Suppose you pursue the online MSN-WHNP program at Duke University
. In that case, you will take classes
including Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan, Advanced Practice Nursing in Perinatal Care Patients, Clinical Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nursing, Advanced Practice Nursing in Women’s Health Across the Lifespan, and Population Health in a Global Setting.
At Thomas Jefferson University
, the MSN-WHNP online program features a 36-credit hour curriculum
. Students take classes such as Pathophysiology of Human Disease/Pathologic Aspect of Disease, Diagnostic Reasoning & Clinical Decision-Making for Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioners, Comprehensive Assessment for Clinical Decision-Making, Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics, and Leadership & Critical Decision-Making.
Students in Emory University’s
online MSN-WHNP program study classes
, including Embryology & Developmental Anatomy, Advanced Physiology & Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan, Advanced Health Assessment, Management of Acute & Chronic Illnesses, and Healthcare Quality & Patient Safety.
The rigorous curriculum for the MSN-WHNP online program at the University of Cincinnati
includes the following classes
: Primary Episodic Illness in Women, Healthcare Policy for the Advanced Practice Nurse, Integration & Professional Issues for Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners, Advanced Reproductive Dynamics, and Theoretical Basis for Clinical Reasoning.
At the University of Alabama at Birmingham
, students pursuing the online MSN-WHNP program take classes such as
Evidence-Based Practice Design & Translation, Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Assessment & Diagnostic Reasoning for Advanced Nursing Practice, Population Health in Advanced Practice Nursing, and Advanced Women's Healthcare Nursing I, II, & III.
WHAT KIND OF PRACTICAL TRAINING WILL YOU UNDERGO IN ONLINE MSN-WHNP PROGRAMS?
All nursing programs have a clinical component, including online MSN-WHNP programs. The number of clinical hours required varies among schools and is determined in compliance with state and federal guidelines. Most master's nursing programs include at least 500 clinical practicum hours, including specialty-relevant rotations. The following are examples of the practical training required at five of the top programs featured in this article.
• Emory University's
online MSN-Women's Health Nurse Practitioner program includes 630 clinical practicum hours
. The school offers clinical placement assistance and access to several clinical sites to facilitate quality learning opportunities. Clinicals occur in inpatient and outpatient settings. You will have opportunities to participate in service-learning projects. Clinicals practicum hours are completed over four semesters, with the majority of clinicals completed in the fourth semester of the program.
Students enrolled in the online MSN-WHNP program at Vanderbilt University
complete at least 630 clinical hours
. Vanderbilt’s clinical placement staff work with you to find suitable placements and preceptors as close to your geographic area as possible.
At the University of Alabama at Birmingham
, MSN-WHNP online students must complete 10 credit hours of clinical practicum, totaling at least 600 hours of hands-on patient care
. Clinical practicum requirements are met in hospitals and outpatient settings such as OB/GYN clinics, community health centers, and women's health centers. Students may complete clinicals in their hometown with approval from the clinical director.
The online MSN-WHNP program at the University of Colorado Denver
includes 630 clinical practice hours
. Clinical requirements are completed through four clinical practicum experiences spread between the first and second years of the program. Clinical placements are offered in the metro Denver area and throughout Colorado as well as other states. Students enjoy rotations at sites, including private offices, inpatient and outpatient facilities, faculty practices, public health clinics, and other facilities offering reproductive health services.
Students at the University of Cincinnati
complete 672 clinical hours
. Clinicals are divided into three practicum experiences with corresponding clinical courses. You will participate in managing and caring for women across the lifespan, including antepartum and postpartum periods, primary gynecologic, and perinatal services. The university offers clinical placement assistance to ensure quality training experiences.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MSN-WHNP PROGRAMS IN THE NATION?
(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 17 Best Online MSN-WHNP Programs in the nation for the year 2023.)
VIEW OUR RANKING METHODOLOGY
3 BEST JOBS FOR GRADUATES OF ONLINE MSN-WHNP PROGRAMS
There are many job opportunities for graduates of MSN-WHNP online programs. You may choose to work in a hospital or other inpatient facility, women's health clinic, fertility clinic, or in private practice. The following are three of the best jobs for WHNPs.
1. Family Planning Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner:
In this role, WHNPs counsel, examine, diagnose, and treat women seeking family planning services. Some duties in this job include routine screenings such as breast cancer screening and pap smears, counseling about and prescribing contraceptive medications, and performing pregnancy tests and ultrasounds.
2. Correction Facility Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner:
Women incarcerated in prisons, jails, and border facility detainees often require women's health services. WHNPs who work in corrections may work in county, state, or federal institutions providing medical treatment services to female clients. This job involves providing routine women's health services and gynecologic and obstetric care.
3. Private Practice WHNP:
Many women’s health nurse practitioners work in private practices, either independently or in collaboration with other women’s health practitioners. Some job responsibilities include routine gynecologic exams and testing, women’s health screenings, and patient education regarding women’s health issues, medications, and treatments.
WHAT STARTING SALARY CAN NEW GRADUATES OF THIS PROGRAM EXPECT?
The starting salary for graduates of online MSN-WHNP programs is $68,350 per year. This pay is equivalent to $32.86 per hour, $1,314 per week, or $5,700 per month.
WHAT AVERAGE SALARY CAN GRADUATES OF MSN-WHNP ONLINE PROGRAMS EXPECT?
The average salary for a graduate of MSN-WHNP online programs equals $48.81 hourly, $1,952 weekly, and $8,460 monthly. This pay averages $101,517 annually.
10-YEAR JOB OUTLOOK FOR GRADUATES OF MSN-WHNP ONLINE PROGRAMS
The 10-year job outlook for graduates of MSN-WHNP online programs is excellent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates should see an increase in available jobs by at least 45.67% between 2021 and 2031.
|(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)|
BONUS! IS THE COST OF AN ONLINE MSN-WHNP PROGRAM WORTH THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)?
If you are seriously considering getting your degree through MSN-WHNP online programs, you probably want to know if your investment will be worth the return. Online MSN-WHNP programs can cost as little as $15,000 to more than $125,000. The average WHNP salary is $101,517, which indicates you could see a profit within just a few years of graduating. Additionally, the more experience you gain, the higher your earning potential. These factors indicate the cost of an online MSN-WHNP program is worth the return on investment.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
Choosing to return to school, get a higher degree, or transition your career can feel intimidating, especially if you are unsure which questions to ask or where to start. If you want a women's health nurse practitioner career but cannot commit to campus-based learning, one of the pressing questions is likely, "What are the best online MSN-WHNP programs?”
Throughout this article, we discussed the 17 best online MSN-WHNP for 2023 and shared information about them. Comparing the advantages and disadvantages, the time it takes to earn the degree and program costs is a great way to choose the right program. If this is a career you genuinely want, I encourage you to research the programs to find those that align with your goals and start today!
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).