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25 Best Online Part-Time DNP Programs For 2021


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Are you a registered nurse who is considering pursuing a degree as a Doctor of Nursing Practice? Do you have concerns about whether you have enough time to go back to school? If so, you could find what you are looking for by choosing from many part-time DNP programs online. In this article, you will find information about some of the best online part-time DNP programs for 2021. Additionally, I will share the benefits of this type of program, information about admission criteria, and give you some insight on what to expect as a student and following graduation.


What Exactly Is A Part-Time DNP Program?


Part-time DNP programs are doctorate nursing programs designed to prepare registered nurses to become experts in clinical nursing care or other focused roles not related to direct patient care. They are designed for students to learn on a part-time basis, giving them the opportunity to earn a terminal nursing degree, but on their own time. Because the programs are part-time, students have flexibility with their schedules and can devote extra time to studies or other responsibilities. The best part-time DNP programs online help students build upon previous nursing knowledge and experience by providing advanced courses in evidence-based practice, leadership, and quality improvement. Like other doctoral nursing programs, part-time DNP programs are typically offered as BSN to DNP or Post-master's programs (MSN to DNP).


7 Benefits of Pursuing Online Part-Time DNP Programs


If you are on the fence about whether you should pursue a DNP degree, considering the long-term benefits could help you make a final decision. The following is a list of benefits associated with pursuing online part-time DNP programs.

1. Create more career opportunities for yourself: A DNP is a terminal nursing degree, meaning it is the highest nursing degree you can achieve. Graduates of accredited online part-time DNP programs understand all aspects of nursing practice, making them valuable to potential employers. Accomplishing a DNP will give you an edge when applying for the job you want.
2. Negotiate higher pay: DNP programs prepare students to develop competencies such as addressing clinical issues and identifying changes within the healthcare industry that can be implemented in patient care. These abilities make a DNP qualified to take on more responsibilities which comes with higher earning potential.
3. Increased potential for long-term job security: The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties is an organization focused on promoting high-quality education for advanced practice nurses. In 2018, the organization announced that all entry-level NP programs would be required to shift from the MSN to DNP by 2025. By choosing to pursue one of the many part-time DNP online programs, like those mentioned in this article, you are taking the initiative to secure the long-term future of your career.
4. Become a leader in the nursing industry: The curriculum of DNP programs focuses on teaching programs that help develop advanced nursing expertise, including Organizational and Systems Leadership. Graduates of the best part-time DNP programs online learn to improve healthcare delivery, patient outcomes, and nursing practices. These qualities will help position you for leadership roles within the nursing industry.
5. The convenience of studying when and where you want: One great benefit of online part-time DNP programs is that you have more control over when and where you learn. Keep in mind, the curriculum of the program can be demanding. However, if you manage your time wisely, you can be successful in school and still have time to do the things you enjoy.
6. Earn the respect of your professional peers: Earning a terminal degree, such as a DNP, takes dedication and hard work. Other healthcare professionals realize the effort it takes to accomplish this degree and are likely to have a great deal of respect for you.
7. Experience personal growth: A career in the nursing industry is a career that challenges you to become the best you can be. Whether you are providing direct patient care, working in an executive leadership role, or educating future nurses, what you do every day will have an impact on someone else’s life. When you become a DNP and learn to embrace the role, you will not only thrive professionally, but you will experience personal growth as well.


How Long Are Online Part-Time DNP Programs?


Part-time DNP programs online vary in the length of time it takes to complete. Students can often complete BSN to DNP part-time programs in as little as thirty-six months. Part-time MSN to DNP programs are shorter, some requiring as little as twenty months of study. Each program and student are different. After making a list of schools you may want to attend, it is a good idea to schedule a time to talk with an academic advisor who can review your transcript. An advisor can gauge how long you should take to complete a program based on the number of credits you have that are transferrable. The following are a few examples of programs offered at some of the universities featured in this article.

George Washington University offers BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP pathway options. The BSN to DNP program can be completed in thirty-six months, while the MSN to DNP program may take only twenty months of part-time study.
At the University of Arizona, students can complete an online Post-Master's DNP program, consisting of thirty-five credit hours, in thirty months.
The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center's BSN to MSN Executive Leadership is designed for part-time students to complete in three years.
At the University of Arizona, students can earn a DNP with a specialization in Informatics in three and a half years.


How Much Do Online Part-Time DNP Programs Cost?


The best accredited part-time DNP programs online can be expensive, ranging from $34,000 to over $100,000. However, the long-term rewards of earning such a prestigious degree are worth it.

The University of Arizona offers a post-master's DNP program that includes 35 credit hours at a rate of $975 per credit hour. The total cost of the program is $34,125.
The BSN to DNP Family Nurse Practitioner path at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is a 72-credit hour program and requires 1,040 clinical practicum hours. Oklahoma state residents pay $506.25 per credit hour, which comes to approximately $36,435.60. Out-of-state students enrolled in the program pay $1,216.35 per credit hour or $97,577.20.
The MSN to DNP program at Monmouth University is a thirty-six-credit-hour program. Tuition is $1,299 per credit hour, which means the cost of the program is $46,764.
Washington State University’s BSN to DNP with Population Health specialty consists of seventy-two credit hours at a rate of $891 per credit hour, or $64,152.


Coursework


Accredited online part-time DNP programs may have some variation in the names of courses they offer. However, the curriculum for all DNP programs focuses on advanced coursework that prepares students to provide expert nursing care in clinical practice.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston offers four concentration pathways for both online part-time DNP programs it offers. Some coursework differs and is specific to the student’s choice of specialization. However, there are core classes that all students take in each program.

◦ The BSN to DNP program is a seventy-nine-credit-hour program. Core coursework includes Advanced Pathophysiology for DNP, Advanced Physical Examination & Differential Diagnosis for DNP, Advanced Pharmacology for DNP, Diagnostic Tests & Procedures for DNP, and Advanced Practice Role in Population Health for DNP.
◦ The MSN to DNP pathway requires students to earn from thirty-four to fifty-one credits. General coursework for all four MSN to DNP options includes Scholarly Foundations for Advanced Practice, Organizations and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking, Evidence-Based Practice Principles, Health Policy, Politics and Ethics, and Data Analysis and Evaluation.

The curriculum for the MSN to DNP program at the University of Virginia requires students to earn thirty-nine credit hours. Coursework includes classes in Applied Statistics for Clinical Practice, Information Systems and Patient Care Technology, Resilient Leadership and Resource Management in Complex Health Systems and Culturally Sensitive Care/Population Health.


Clinical Training


Per the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) guidelines, all DNP students must complete a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical practice hours. It is important to note enrollment in full-time and part-time DNP online programs does not change the minimum requirement. The type of program you enroll in is one of the main factors determining the number of clinical hours you will be required to complete.

BSN to DNP students must complete at least one thousand hours of clinical. Because MSN programs usually require at least five hundred clinical practicum hours, MSN to DNP students may only need to gain an additional five hundred hours to meet minimum standards. However, each nursing school has the right to decide how many clinical hours, if any, a student can use toward their degree. When applying to any DNP program, you must submit copies of your previous nursing school transcripts and documentation of clinical hours. Admission counselors and advisors will take that information, determine the classes and number of clinical hours you will need before beginning a program.

The following are a few examples of the clinical requirements for some of the best online part-time DNP programs featured in this article.

1. The University of Minnesota gives MSN to DNP students credit for verified MSN clinical hours. It also gives one hundred sixty hours of clinical credit for the DNP project. For example, students with five hundred confirmed MSN clinical hours who complete the DNP project are given credit for six hundred sixty clinical hours. In this scenario, the student will need to complete an additional three hundred forty hours of clinical practicum to meet DNP graduation criteria.
2. Northeastern University’s MSN to DNP program requires completing a DNP Scholarly Project and 1,000 scholarly practice hours. Admission counselors perform a gap analysis upon a student's acceptance to the program to determine how many, if any, clinical hours from a previous MSN practicum may qualify toward the scholarly practice requirement.
3. The University of Kentucky offers a BSN-DNP pathway which requires completion of 1,020 clinical practice hours. As with other colleges that offer more than one APRN pathway, clinical course placement varies, depending on a student's chosen study track.
4. At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, prospective students can choose between post-baccalaureate and post-master's online part-time DNP programs. The clinical component for post-baccalaureate students ranges from 1,080 to 1,620 clinical hours. Post-master's students typically need five hundred forty hours.
5. The University of Buffalo also offers part-time online BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP program options. BSN to DNP students must complete 1,020 clinical hours. Post-master's students who hold a current certification are not required to complete direct patient clinical hours. However, they must complete four hundred non-clinical hours, which include consultations, case conferences, mentor meetings, negotiations, patient education, and implementation of a Scholarly Project.


Admission Requirements for Part-Time DNP Programs Online


Each college or university has the authority to set admission criteria for the programs it offers. As you research online part-time DNP programs, you may find some variation in some of the admission requirements. However, most programs have similar general criteria, which include the following.

◦ Possess a current, unencumbered license to practice as a Registered Nurse
◦ Be a graduate of an accredited BSN or MSN program (depending on the program you are applying for)
◦ Submit official transcripts from all post-secondary schools
◦ Have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average from all post-secondary schools
◦ Provide letters of professional references from sources such as supervisors, clinical preceptors, or nursing instructors
◦ Pass state and federal background checks

Listed below are the criteria for some of the best online part-time DNP programs mentioned in this article. The requirements listed should be considered additions to the general admission criteria discussed above.

Ohio State University admission criteria for the part-time online DNP programs include the following:

BSN to DNP

◦ Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an institution accredited by the CCNE, CNEA, or ACEN
◦ Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 grading scale in the last degree program earned that is relevant to the DNP program

MSN to DNP

◦ Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a master's degree in another area is acceptable if the applicant has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing
◦ Individuals who wish to enroll in the Clinical Expert pathway must possess an active APRN certification

Johns Hopkins University, Executive Track part-time online DNP program requires you to meet the following criteria:

◦ MSN from an accredited college or university
◦ Current Resume or Curriculum Vitae
◦ Project Proposal/Personal Goal Statement demonstrating a commitment to their scholarly pursuit and nursing practice
◦ Interview with Faculty
◦ TOEFL or IELTS if English is not your first language

Washington State University’s admission requirements for the part-time online DNP programs include the following:

◦ BSN to DNP applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program.
◦ MSN to DNP applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing or another field AND one of the following:

- Possess an MSN from a program accredited by the CCNE or NLN Accrediting Commission
- A graduate nurse anesthesia degree from a program accredited by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists or the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
- A graduate nurse-midwifery degree from a program accredited by the American College of Nurse Midwives Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education

◦ Submit a written goal statement aligned with the program's focus and philosophy


6 Important Things to Keep in Mind While Choosing the Right Online Part-Time DNP Program


Choosing from the online part-time DNP programs is a significant step toward reaching your goal. If you know what to look for, it can make deciding a bit easier. The following is a list of six essential things to keep in mind when choosing the right program for you.

1. Is the DNP program at the school you are considering accredited? Accreditation is a process used to evaluate the part-time DNP programs offered by nursing schools, making sure they meet state and national standards. The process ensures that courses have the right content and that instructors are using teaching methods appropriate for student success.
2. What are the school’s guidelines to facilitate student/instructor communication? DNP programs are quite rigorous. There will be times when you need to reach out to your instructors to clarify assignments or study content. You will want to know that faculty are available to help you as you navigate through the program. Ask admission counselors how the school facilitates communication between students and instructors and what kind of turnaround time you can expect when you reach out for help.
3. If hands-on patient care clinicals are required, who is responsible for arranging them? It is not uncommon for colleges and universities that offer online DNP programs to allow students to choose clinical sites and preceptors closer to where they live. In this case, students usually tell their academic/clinical advisor where they want to do clinicals and who they would like as a preceptor. The school then decides whether to approve the student's choice. If the school you are considering is among those that expect students to do this, you need to begin planning as soon as you know you are accepted. Early planning and preparation will be helpful in the event you have to make alternative choices for clinical locations or mentors.
4. How experienced is the program faculty? The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) states that DNP program faculty should be participating in active nursing practice. The best full-time or part-time DNP programs online employ professors who are full-time professionals working in adjunct faculty roles. You should be able to visit the website for the DNP program and see a list of faculty. Don't hesitate to look at their social media profiles, especially professional profiles like LinkedIn. DNP programs are not cheap. You deserve to expect to have the most qualified people teaching you.
5. What is the program’s attrition rate? Attrition is a term used to refer to the number of students who drop out of a program before completing it. It is unrealistic to expect any college program to have a one hundred percent completion rate. However, it is very realistic to expect to find accredited part-time DNP online programs with a less than ten percent attrition rate. Issues such as inexperienced or unprepared faculty or acceptance of students who are not well-prepared for such a program can contribute to attrition rates. If a program you are considering has a greater than ten percent attrition rate, you should find out why before committing to that program.
6. What DNP specialties does the school offer? After deciding to earn a Doctorate in Nursing Practice, your next decision is the area of practice you want to choose as your specialty. Some nursing schools offer many specialty options for applicants. Others may offer only a few. Knowing the specialty you want to practice and the age group of patients you prefer to see will help you eliminate the programs that do not align with your goals from your shortlist of options.



FOLLOWING ARE THE 25 BEST ONLINE PART-TIME DNP PROGRAMS IN THE NATION FOR 2021


1. The Ohio State University - Columbus, OH


Program Offered: BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP

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

MSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Clinical Expert and Nurse Executive



2. Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD


Program Offered: DNP

DNP Concentrations Offered: Executive



3. University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston - Houston, TX


Program Offered: BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

MSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Executive, Nurse Anesthetist, and Nurse Informaticist



4. University of Virginia - Charlottesville, VA


Program Offered: MSN to DNP



5. Georgetown University - Washington, DC


Program Offered: BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Dual Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner



6. University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh, PA


Program Offered: BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner

MSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Health Systems Executive Leadership , Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner, and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner



7. University of Arizona - Tucson, AZ


Program Offered: DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP )

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

MSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Executive Health Systems Leadership, Informatics, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner



8. Monmouth University - West Long Branch, NJ


Program Offered: DNP



9. University of Oklahoma - Oklahoma City, OK


Program Offered: BSN to DNP

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, and Executive Leadership



10. Medical University of South Carolina - Charleston, SC


Program Offered: BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner , and Nurse Executive

MSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Nurse Executive



11. University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL


Program Offered: BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Advanced Population Health Nursing, Health Systems Leadership, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, Nurse-Midwifery/ Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner



12. Washington State University - Spokane, WA


Program Offered: DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP)

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

MSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Population Health Nurse



13. University of Missouri - St. Louis, MO


Program Offered: DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP)

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Adult/Geriatric Nurse Practitioner- Primary Care, Family Nurse Practitioner- Primary Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner- Primary Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner- Acute Care, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner- Primary Care, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner- Primary Care, and Leadership in Healthcare Systems



14.The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, NC


Program Offered: BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Health Care Leadership & Administration



15. Rush University Medical Center - Chicago, IL


Program Offered: DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP)

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Advanced Public Health Nursing

MSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Advanced Public Health Nursing, Transformative Leadership: Population Health, and Transformative Leadership: Systems



16. University of Massachusetts Lowell- Lowell, MA


Program Offered: DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP)

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



17. Delta State University - Cleveland, MS


Program Offered: BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: FNP

MSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: FNP



18. University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL


Program Offered: BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP

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



19. University of Rochester - Rochester, NY


Program Offered: DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP)

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (FPMHNP), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (PNP/NNP), and Clinical Nurse Leader



20. University of Minnesota - Minneapolis, MN


Program Offered: MSN to DNP



21. Northeastern University - Boston, MA


Program Offered: MSN to DNP



22. University of Florida - Gainesville, FL


Program Offered: BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Dual Pediatric Acute & Primary Care Nurse Practitioner



23. University of Kentucky - Lexington, KY


Program Offered: BSN-DNP and MSN–DNP

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Executive Leadership in Health Care

MSN–DNP Concentrations Offered: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Executive Leadership in Health Care, and Clinical Leadership in Health Care



24.University of Tennessee Health Science Center - Memphis, TN


Program Offered: DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP)

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

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



25. University at Buffalo - Buffalo, NY


Program Offered: BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP

BSN to DNP Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGNP), and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)



View Ranking Methodology



Career Opportunities After Graduating With This Degree


Graduates from accredited online part-time DNP programs can find career opportunities in a wide range of executive and leadership roles. A few of the positions you may find as a DNP graduate include the following.

Director of Nursing (DON) or Chief Nursing Officer (CNO): DNPs in this role are responsible for the supervision of staff in several nursing departments. As a DON/CNO, you will likely interview job applicants, create schedules, evaluate staff performance, update and educate staff about policies and procedures and handle budgeting within the nursing department.
Chief Nursing Information Officer: In this position, DNPs use informatics to enhance nursing care practices and improve patient outcomes. CNIOs implement solutions related to the delivery of healthcare services and serve as subject matter experts (SME) as part of an interprofessional healthcare team.
Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS): A CNS specializes in specific areas of nursing practice typically defined by a setting, target group of patients, or disease type. Clinical nurse specialists are responsible for diagnosing and treating illness, prevention of illness, disease management, and health promotion.
Patient Care Director: DNPs who become patient care directors supervise programs and initiatives directly related to patient welfare. The primary objective of DNPs in this position is to ensure quality, safe, and affordable healthcare for all clients.


Earning Potential for Graduates of This Degree


After graduating from one of the accredited online part-time DNP programs, earning potential increases. According to payscale.com, the average annual income for a Doctor of Nursing Practice is $103,591. This average wage is exclusive of other benefits or perks, making a total benefits package much more valuable. Perks and benefits may include employer-sponsored healthcare or retirement plans, paid vacation time, paid sick leave, and a stipend for continuing education. With continued experience, DNPs can earn higher salaries than the average reported in the chart below. Other factors that may impact a DNP's wages include the employment position, type of setting, and whether nights, weekends, or holidays are required.

Hourly$49.80
Monthly$8,630
Annual$103,591
(Source: Payscale.com)


Job Outlook for Graduates of This Degree


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates growth in nurse practitioner jobs by thirty-six percent from 2016 to 2026. An aging population who often have chronic health conditions that require expert care is one factor that could impact the increased need for DNPs. Additionally, there is a growing need for qualified faculty for both graduate and undergraduate nursing programs. In fact, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the current shortage of faculty has resulted in over 70,000 qualified nursing school applicants being turned away from programs.


Bottomline


The choice to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree can significantly impact your career and personal life by opening new doors of opportunity. If you have read this article and feel that this could be the next step for you, I encourage you to reach out to one of the best online part-time DNP programs for 2021, like those featured here and begin your journey today.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


Can I work full-time while enrolled in an online part-time DNP program?

Deciding to work part-time, full-time, or to take time off work during the program is a personal choice. It may not be impossible to work full-time while participating in a DNP program. However, it is important to realize that the DNP curriculum, even part-time, can be quite rigorous. Academic advisors may suggest that applicants consider making changes to their work schedules to help prevent becoming overwhelmed.

How do I decide on a DNP specialty before enrolling in a part-time online DNP program?

There are several specialty areas you can choose from, and only you will know what best suits your personal goals. If you are unsure which pathway is best for you, think about the type of work you want to do (teach, research, direct patient care) and what kind of patients you want to care for (infants, children, adults, elderly). If you are interested in a job such as a Chief Nursing Officer or Director of Nursing, the Executive Leadership pathway could be a good option for you. If teaching others gives you a sense of accomplishment, consider the Educational Leadership pathway. Talking with academic advisors at the schools you are considering may offer you some clarity about each specialty's different roles and help you decide the one you want to pursue.

What are some of the highest paying DNP positions available after graduating from an online part-time DNP program?

Healthcare executives with a DNP are among the top twenty-five percent income earners in the healthcare industry. In some areas, healthcare executives who have gained experience can earn almost $200,000 yearly.

Is there a big difference in income-earning potential for APRNs with an MSN and those who earn a DNP?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Doctorally–prepared advanced practice nurses earn an average of eight percent more than their peers who have earned a master's degree in nursing. Prior work experience, the setting where you work, and the geographical location may all influence earning potential.


Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.