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Top 10 Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

The healthcare industry continues to add more open positions to the job market. In fact, health care now represents the nation's largest employer.

That also means an increased need for nurses with advanced degrees, often earned through online nurse practitioner programs.

Nurse practitioners fill an essential role when it comes to the gap in care created by the current physician shortage. As a result, these positions come with attractive salaries and benefits packages.

What do these salaries look like? Nurse practitioners make, on average, $107,480 per year. They work in a variety of locations, from doctor's offices to outpatient care centers and hospitals.

If you're considering a departure into this field, it starts by acquiring the necessary higher education. How do you go about finding the best online nursing school for your specific needs?

Keep reading for our full breakdown of the top ten nurse practitioner programs in the US.

1. Duke University

When it comes to the best online nurse practitioner programs, you can't go wrong with Duke University. Located in Durham, North Carolina, it remains one of the leading healthcare institutions in the nation.

Opened in 1859 as the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, it became Duke in 1924. That's when James Buchanan Duke expanded the school in memory of his father.

How does their online mater's in nursing compare to other programs found throughout the country? It incorporates a hybrid learning delivery method, making it among the best online NP programs in the country.

Candidates to attend on-campus intensives for two to five days in Durham. Then, classes take place at least once per semester. Students complete clinical hours remotely in any facility that meets the university's requirements.

Programs Offered at Duke University

What's more, Duke comes with an incredible amount of flexibility and versatility in terms of areas of specialization. These tracks of learning include online FNP programs as well as:

  • Adult-gerontology nurse practitioner - acute care
  • Adult gerontology nurse practitioner - primary care
  • Women's health nurse practitioner
  • Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner

What else should you keep in mind about Duke? The school is affiliated with the United Methodist Church but welcomes students of all faiths.

Last but not least, Duke students love their academic experience. The university boasts return rates of 97 percent after the first year.

Duke also works hard to keep students on track. Ninety-five percent completing of undergrads receive their degree in four years.

2. Vanderbilt University

Founded in 1873 by Cornelius Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. It ranks as one of the best value schools in the US according to US News & World Report.

In terms of the university's nursing graduate school, it ranks as one fo the best nursing programs in the nation, too. Their master's nursing program include distance learning.

Candidates participate via video conferences with their professors and classmates. Their online program includes entry options for students with associate degrees in nursing as well as bachelor's degrees in nursing and the areas.

Programs Offered at Vanderbilt University

They enjoy 12 different nurse practitioner programs. They include:

  • Adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner
  • Adult-gerontology primary care
  • Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner - intensivist
  • Women's health nurse practitioner - WHNP
  • Women's health nurse practitioner/adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner - dual focus

To earn a two-year degree with part-time enrollment, students must complete 37 credit hours.

3. Georgetown University

Established in 1789, Georgetown University sits in the heart of Washington, D.C. It's the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the country. As a result, it draws inspiration from the Jesuit philosophy of creating graduates dedicated to serving others.

Located on 104 acres, the school features a gorgeous campus that accommodates thousands of students each year. The university awards 6,500 degrees annually.

For those enrolled at Georgetown, you can take weekly classes through video conference. Coursework can be completed on any internet-connected device, and students have flexibility when it comes to fitting it into their schedule.

Clinical hours can be completed remotely, like Duke University, at medical facilities near where students live. Students in some specialized areas of study must also attend on-campus intensives several times during the program.

Using WeWork spaces around the world, students can study using high-speed internet. At these facilities, they also have access to printing, mail handling, and other amenities.

Because of the nature of distance learning, Georgetown works hard to create a sense of community among learners through online networking events and appointments.

In terms of class size, students enjoy a student-to-faculty ratio of a 12-to-1. They also gain access to recorded lessons that they can re-watch anytime.

Programs Offered at Georgetown University

The university offers four online nurse practitioner programs, including:

  • Family nurse practitioner
  • Adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner
  • Women's health nurse practitioner
  • Nurse-midwifery with women's health nurse practitioner

Before being accepted to the program, students need bachelor's degrees in nursing.

These should come from programs accredited through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. They also need to hold active RN licenses.

4. Ohio State University

Ohio State University ranks as one of the top 20 public universities in the nation according to US News & World Report. Located in Columbus, Ohio State's online nursing program ranks second in the country.

Most of the program's classes are completes online, and degree candidates complete clinical hours remotely. That said, some specialty programs may require short on-campus seminars three times during the program.

Programs Offered at Ohio State University

Areas of specialization include:

  • Family nurse practitioner
  • Neonatal nurse practitioner
  • Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner

Ohio State offers entry points for students with RN licenses. They also have tracks for those with bachelor's degrees in other areas of study.

5. University of Southern California

Located in sunny Southern California, the University of Southern California was established in 1879 by Judge Robert Maclay Widney. The first class included just 53 students and ten professors.

Of course, it now sits in one of the largest urban areas in the US, Los Angeles, and boasts more than 20,000 undergraduate students and 27,000 graduate students.

For students interested in pursuing a master's in nursing linen, they offer family nurse practitioner programs.

Students attend classes via live video conferencing and enjoy small student-to-teacher ratios. They must also participate in two on-campus intensives before completing their degree programs.

Areas of Clinical Specialization for the University of Southern California

They can complete clinical hours in local healthcare centers in any of the following areas:

  • Integrated family practice
  • Childbearing and pediatric patients
  • Adults patients with complex conditions
  • Adult patients

Before graduation, students must complete a total of 784 clinical hours. The university relies on a clinical placement team to help students find the right program in their community.

To be accepted to the program, you'll need a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing. You also need a minimum GPA of 3.0 from an accredited school.

6. University of Connecticut

The Storrs Agricultural College first opened its doors to students in 1880. Since that time, the school has experienced massive growth. As a result, it became the University of Connecticut in 1939.

Located in Storrs, Connecticut, it's one of the top 20 public universities in the US.

Connecticut's school of nursing offers an online master's degree. The degree comes with a practitioner concentration in neonatal nursing.

For full-time students, the 44-credit program can be completed in five semesters. For part-time students, it generally takes between six and seven terms.

Clinical hours get completed at a facility near the learner's home. Before completing practicum requirements, students need a minimum of two years of full-time experience in the nursing field at a level-three neonatal intensive care unit.

Courses Offered at the University of Connecticut

Courses that you'll take include:

  • Nursing Research in Advanced Practice
  • Statistical Methods in Nursing
  • Advanced Pharmacodynamics and Implications for Nursing Actions: Neonatal Section
  • Application of Genetics to Healthcare
  • Advanced Neonatal Embryology/Physiology

To be accepted to the program, you'll need to provide three letters of recommendation along with current resumes and transcripts. They also require essays describing your interest in neonatal nursing and GRE or GMAT scores.

7. The University of Alabama

Located in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama opened in 1831. Situated on a beautiful 1,200-acre campus, it allows online students to receive high respected degrees no matter where they lie.

Students can choose between a 40 and 42 credit concentric. Dual-concentration students must complete 53 credit hours.

Part-time students with one specialization can complete the program in eight semesters. Full-time students usually finish within five semesters. For those seeking a dual-concentration degree, it requires eight semesters of full-time schoolwork.

Programs Offered at the University of Alabama

Online nurse practitioner programs are available in:

  • Primary care
  • Mental health
  • Dual concentration in primary care and mental health

To be edited to the program, you need to hold a bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited university. You should also have a minimum GPA of 3.0. All coursework can be completed online with clinical requirements done remotely.

Because of the geography of Alabama, the program focuses on rural care, which is a critical need in the area and surrounding states.

8. Michigan State University

Established in 1855, Michigan State University is located in East Lansing. It offers online nurse practitioner programs for students who can attend on-campus intensives at least five times per semester.

The programs include clinical hours earned in community-based facilities, online courses, and on-campus components. Based on the cohort method, they group students into classes with the same classmates throughout the program.

That way, they develop a greater sense of community and support among peers. Each cohort begins in the fall, and students can choose to go part-time or full-time.

Programs Offered at Michigan State University

The university offers two nurse practitioner areas of concentration:

  • Family nurse practitioner
  • Adult-gerontological nurse practitioner

For consideration in the program, you'll need a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a bachelor's degree from an accredited nursing program. The program also admits new nurses with no years of clinical experience.

During the admissions process, the university chooses finalists to complete interviews with faculty before inviting students to join the program.

9. George Washington University

George Washington University was established in 1821 by the US Congress. It remains among the largest universities in the Washington, DC area with more than 26,000 students in attendance.

Their nurse practitioner degrees combine on-campus training simulations with online classes and remote clinical hours. Students must earn 48 credit hours and 650 clinical hours before completing their degree.

Although students don't need to live on campus, they should have the ability to attend several intensives during their studies. These intensives last between one and three days each.

The university helps students find acceptable medical facilities near their homes to complete all clinical hours.

Programs Offered at George Washington University

George Washington provides four online nurse practitioner programs. They include:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse PractitionerAdult-Gerontology Acute Care
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Students should hold a bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited institution and should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. They'll also need to provide two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and copies of current RN licenses.

10. Clarkson College

Clarkson College started educating nurses in 1888. becoming Nebraska's first nursing school. It established a separate campus by 1908, transforming into Clarkson College.

Located in Omaha, it focuses on creating medical professionals and graduates who are compassionate and highly-trained.

Most learning can be completed online, but you'll need to plan a few trips to the campus. The program requires the completion of 47 credit hours, with classes covering everything from nutrition to nursing law and ethics.

Programs Offered at Clarkson College

They offer two program options to aspiring nurse practitioners:

  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner

To be accepted, you'll need to hold a bachelor's degree in nursing from a school accredited through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Students also need a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a valid RN license. They must also submit an essay and complete an acute care skills assessment form.

Now that you know which universities and colleges offer the best programs, explore more reasons to earn your graduate nursing degree online.

The Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

When it comes to finding the best online nurse practitioner programs for your lifestyle and budget, the ten schools above offer the finest when it comes to remote education.

Interested in finding out more about the best nurse practitioner programs in the country? Keep reading for our breakdown of the best colleges and universities for healthcare degrees.