Top 10 Online Nurse Practitioner Programs
August 30, 2016
If you’re considering online nurse practitioner programs to advance your career, we’ve compiled a list of the best of the best available! These rankings are purely based on the overall quality of education and does not take other important factors into account, such as tuition rates.
With the healthcare industry increasingly adding more open positions to the job market, the demand for more nurses with advanced degrees is continuing to rise as well. Healthcare employers are looking to nurse practitioners to fill the gap in care created by the current physician shortage, and attractive benefits and salaries are motivating more nurses to take on the role.
Top 10 Online Nurse Practitioner Programs:
Georgetown University is one of the leading institutions in the United States and among the most recognizable to hiring managers and healthcare organizations in practically all areas of study, particularly nursing.
If you’re a highly-achieved and driven student who’s put the effort in over the years, Georgetown should definitely be on your list if you’re searching through online nurse practitioner programs.
If you’re looking to specialize, Georgetown offers four different paths, including:
- Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP)
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (NM/WHNP)
- Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Program (WHNP)
Johns Hopkins University, another highly-prestigious institution in the United States, also offers online nurse practitioner programs in several different concentrations as well as post-degree certificate programs. However, before being accepted, students must have completed courses in anatomy, biostatistics, human growth and development, nutrition, microbiology, and physiology.
Master’s programs available through John’s Hopkins include:
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Health Systems Management
- Health Systems Management/Clinical Nurse Specialist
Post-degree certificates offered by the university include:
The Medical University of South Carolina offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program online that’s intended to “prepare students for the advanced professional practice role as a primary care nurse practitioner in the areas of adult, family or pediatrics.”
The program overall will enable students to:
- Integrate scientific findings for the continual improvement of nursing care.
- Develop and utilize leadership skills, with an emphasis on ethical and crticial decision-making.
- Apply quality principles and research outcomes in a variety of practice settings.
- Maintain and utilize patient-care technologies to deliver superior care.
- Develop and utilize many other skills directly involved in the maintenance of healthcare organizations and patient care.
St. Xavier University is a private institution in which all online nursing courses are kept in a database online for ease-of-access by students. It’s one of only 9 NLN-designated Center for Excellence in Nursing Education in the nation and has received the award for three consecutive terms, along with other universities like Johns Hopkins.
SXU offers two paths in graduate-level nursing, including:
- Clinical Leadership – focuses on care coordination, quality improvement, outcome evaluation, leadership, communication, and risk assessment in a practice environment.
- Executive Leadership – similar to nursing administration, this path focuses on the overall strategic approach and critical thinking involved in running a healthcare organization.
Graduate nursing programs at the University of South Carolina on the master’s and DNP level are delivered online, with some clinical courses requiring students to visit the Columbia, SC campus and check-in with faculty on periodic intervals.
Master’s programs offered include:
- Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner – Family (PMHNP-Family)
- Nursing Administration – Organizational Leadership
The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) program at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst offers future nursing leaders the preparation to design, provide, manage, and coordinate healthcare promotion, risk reduction, disease prevention, and illness management services in a clinical setting.
The program applies research-based information and the efficient use of resources to improve patient outcomes and directly effect change within healthcare organizations. Additionally, the course is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and effectively addresses the competencies and knowledge directed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing for Master’s Education.
The University of Colorado at Denver has been developing their online nurse practitioner programs for years and has a litany of specialties to offer students seeking to go further in nursing, including certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs.
While they offer several graduate programs, there is only one RN to BS program in offered.
UC-Denver offers four graduate-level degree programs include:
- Master of Science in Nursing Leadership
- Master of Science in Nursing Informatics
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- Doctor of Philosophy (PHD) in Nursing
The university also offers several certificates and minors:
- Certificate in Palliative Care (Hybrid)
- Health Care Informatics Certificate
- I-Lead Nursing Leadership and Health Care Systems
- Nursing Education Certificate
- Veteran and Military Health Care Certificate
FSU’s MS Nurse Leader program is designed to prepare nurses to assume higher-level practice and leadership roles within a clinical setting. The program focuses on combining the complexities of clinical leadership, quality improvement, clinical outcomes management, patient safety, resource management and interprofessional care coordination to improve health outcomes.
Their MS Nurse Educator program is intended for those who wish to pursue careers in patient education, staff development, and pre-licensure nursing education programs in educational settings. The content is centered around the teaching-learning process and focuses on the theoretical foundations of nursing education, curriculum development, instructional design and strategies, and assessment and evaluation.
The Duke University School of Nursing offers a myriad of programs and specialties geared toward those who want to take the next step in the nursing field, including both MSN and DNP programs using distance-based and online learning. The school adopted the practice of distance learning over two decades ago, and has continually worked to improve and offer more programs than the competition.
Master of Science in Nursing degree options include:
- Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner – Acute Care
- Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Acute Care
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care
- Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
- Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Paths to Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees offered by Duke include:
Another highly-prestigious U.S. university, George Washington University offers a MSN – online program for professionals holding a bachelor’s degree who intend to further develop their skills in the field.
The program at GWU also offers several areas to specialize in, including:
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Nursing Leadership and Management
- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Each specialty focuses on interdisciplinary teamwork and effective communication across health settings and systems of care.
- As detailed on the program site, expected outcomes include:
- Demonstrating leadership based on advanced knowledge.
- Promoting and improving quality in the workplace through quality improvement practices.
- Synthesizing knowledge of nursing practices, theories, and research.
- Demonstrating continued professional development though ongoing education.
- Building a professional network including collaboration and teamwork.