Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2024

Nurse practitioners save lives and help people while pulling six-figure salaries. If that sounds like a good deal, check out these top online NP programs to begin your nursing career.
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portrait of Gayle Morris, MSN
Gayle Morris, MSN
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Gayle Morris has over two decades of nursing practice with a clinical focus in rehabilitation medicine. She has published and lectured throughout her career. Morris founded Indiana's first conference for school teachers focusing on the medical needs ...
Updated on April 10, 2024
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Elizabeth M. Clarke, MSN, FNP, RN
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Elizabeth Clarke is a board-certified family nurse practitioner. Her experience spans emergency departments, cardiac units, pediatric urgent care, and occupational health settings. She earned her bachelor of science in nursing and master's in nursing...
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Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Transitioning from registered nurse (RN) to nurse practitioner (NP) can enhance your career, finances, and professional expertise.

Fortunately, you don't have to put your life on pause to pursue a nurse practitioner degree. Learn more about the benefits of online master's degrees, what to expect, and our top-ranked nurse practitioner programs.

Nurse Practitioner Programs You Should Consider

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Best Online MSN Nurse Practitioner Programs

We use trusted sources like Peterson's Data and the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#1 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2024

Maryville University of Saint Louis

  • Saint Louis, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

This fully online MSN program from Maryville University of Saint Louis gives you five concentration options. You can specialize in family care (18 credits), pediatric care(15 credits), psychiatric care (21 credits), acute care gerontology (18 credits), and primary care gerontology (12 credits) for your nurse practitioner degree.

Thanks to the 24/7 online learning model, you can complete your coursework anytime. Some courses you'll find in the core curriculum are health promotion, advanced pharmacotherapeutics, and leadership and quality. You can complete clinicals in your local area.

Program Snapshot

  • Cost per Credit: $525
  • Program Length: 20 to 32 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 41-50
  • On-Campus Requirement: No
  • School Status: Private
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.24% (2023)
  • Program Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$24,766
Out-of-state
$24,766
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,346
Out-of-state
$14,346
Retention Rate
82%
Acceptance Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
10,596
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
84% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2024

MCPHS University

  • Boston, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

MCPHS's family nurse practitioner MSN is an online 24-month part-time program. You can complete the program's clinical requirements within your community rather than going on campus. In your second year, you'll complete three rotations during which you will learn to diagnose and treat patients of all ages.

Submit all college transcripts, one professional letter of recommendation, a photocopy of your RN license, and a resume with your application. The program only accepts students from eligible states, so make sure to check that your state qualifies.

Program Snapshot

  • Cost per Credit: $1,110
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 42
  • On-Campus Requirement: No
  • School Status: Private
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 79% (2022)
  • Program Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$34,700
Out-of-state
$34,700
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$22,950
Out-of-state
$22,950
Retention Rate
79%
Acceptance Rate
98%
Students Enrolled
7,304
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
#3 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2024

Cedarville University

  • Cedarville, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cedarville's Christian MSN family nurse practitioner program is taught from a biblical worldview. You can take coursework in part-time and full-time options. You're required to complete 600 clinical hours required for the FNP degree and travel will often be required for clinical courses.

To be eligible to apply, you are required to have a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, an RN license, and a bachelor of science in nursing, preferably with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. You're also required to have completed nursing statistics and nursing research courses in your undergraduate program. Otherwise, you'll need to complete them during the grad program.

Program Snapshot

  • Cost per Credit: $680
  • Program Length: 7-8 semesters
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 45-48
  • On-Campus Requirement: No
  • School Status: Private
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.3% (2023)
  • Program Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$33,174
Out-of-state
$33,174
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,864
Out-of-state
$9,864
Retention Rate
86%
Acceptance Rate
62%
Students Enrolled
4,643
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#4 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2024

Simmons University

  • Boston, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online MSN family nurse practitioner program from Simons University has full-time, part-time, and extended options. Lectures are hosted multiple times per week, allowing students to choose to attend as their schedule sees fit.

The program requires 672 clinical hours as well as a research project. You're also expected to take a campus immersion, which is usually held over the course of three and a half days before the first term in the program.

Program Snapshot

  • Cost per Credit: $1,235
  • Program Length: 24-32 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 48
  • On-Campus Requirement: Yes
  • School Status: Private
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90% (2022)
  • Program Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$41,872
Out-of-state
$41,872
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$21,384
Out-of-state
$21,384
Retention Rate
86%
Acceptance Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
5,984
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
#5 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2024

Samuel Merritt University

  • Oakland, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Samuel Merritt University's family nurse practitioner MSN program looks for professionals interested in working in multicultural settings with limited access to healthcare and working with underserved populations. To apply, you must be a resident of Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, or Virginia. 

Coursework will be online, but you still must complete two on-campus intensives in person at the Sacramento campus, as well as 630 clinical hours and 420 internship hours. It is preferred — but not required — that you have RN experience prior to the program.

Program Snapshot

  • Cost per Credit: $ 1,560
  • Program Length: 20-24 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 49
  • On-Campus Requirement: Yes
  • School Status: Private
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 78.35% (2022-2023)
  • Program Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$48,270
Out-of-state
$48,270
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$53,946
Out-of-state
$53,946
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,048
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
16% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
#6 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2024

Mount Carmel College of Nursing

  • Columbus, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The family nurse practitioner MSN from Mount Carmel College of Nursing is designed to prepare you to provide primary care to individuals of all ages. While coursework can be completed online, the program requires 500 clinical hours and scheduled immersions. 

To be considered for admission, you must have a BSN with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and have taken courses in statistics and research with a grade of C or better. One year of clinical experience is also recommended.

Program Snapshot

  • Cost per Credit: $850
  • Program Length: 18 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 48
  • On-Campus Requirement: Yes
  • School Status: Private
  • Program Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$22,134
Out-of-state
$22,134
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$19,168
Out-of-state
$19,168
Retention Rate
58%
Acceptance Rate
52%
Students Enrolled
790
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#7 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2024

D'Youville College

  • Buffalo, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The family nurse practitioner MSN from D'Youville College requires students to complete 700 clinical hours. The program is available online and on-campus. Online classes will require some in-person intensives at the Buffalo, New York campus.

This program is designed to meet licensure requirements in New York State. To apply, you must hold a BSN degree with at least a 3.0 GPA, have active RN licensure in New York or Ontario, and a CPR certification with a psychomotor component. You can transfer up to nine credits and get your degree sooner. 

Program Snapshot

  • Cost per Credit: $1,110
  • Program Length: 2-3 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 40
  • On-Campus Requirement: Yes
  • School Status: Private
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80.3% (2021)
  • Program Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$28,968
Out-of-state
$28,968
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$19,170
Out-of-state
$19,170
Retention Rate
73%
Acceptance Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
2,619
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
84% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#8 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2024

Rockhurst University

  • Kansas City, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Rockhurst University's online MSN in family nurse practitioner is 49 credits and is offered in two specializations: family practice and adult gerontology acute care. You can go for the dual-track option, specializing in both areas in a 62-credit program.

This program is delivered by Saint Luke's College of Nursing and Health Sciences. You can complete the coursework entirely online. The program requires one two-day campus immersion in Kansas City and one virtual immersion.

Program Snapshot

  • Cost per Credit: $734.69 
  • Program Length: 24 to 36 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 49
  • On-Campus Requirement: Yes
  • School Status: Private
  • Program Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$39,500
Out-of-state
$39,500
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$16,524
Out-of-state
$16,524
Retention Rate
77%
Acceptance Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
3,626
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#9 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2024

George Washington University

  • Washington, DC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner MSN program at George Washington University uses a curriculum that draws from nursing science, neuroscience, behavioral change theories, motivational theories, and other psychotherapeutic frameworks to prepare nurses to diagnose and treat chronic mental illness. 

The part-time program requires 600 clinical hours. The Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning summer course has on-campus requirements. You can start the program in the fall or spring semester.

Program Snapshot

  • Cost per Credit: $1,450
  • Program Length: 3 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 50
  • On-Campus Requirement: Yes
  • School Status: Private
  • Program Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$57,894
Out-of-state
$57,894
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$32,850
Out-of-state
$32,850
Retention Rate
91%
Acceptance Rate
50%
Students Enrolled
26,457
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#10 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2024

Saint John Fisher College

  • Rochester, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The Online Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner Program from Saint John Fisher College will prepare students to pursue the FNP certification. As part of the program, you must complete one in-person immersion at the Rochester, New York campus, as well as 600 clinical hours. 

You'll complete coursework in information systems, policy, research, and epidemiology. You'll also have a capstone project and a seminar to prepare you for the NP Comprehensive Exam. The program is offered in part-time and full-time options.

Program Snapshot

  • Cost per Credit: $1,094
  • Program Length: 24-28 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 46
  • On-Campus Requirement: Yes
  • School Status: Private
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.3% (2021)
  • Program Accreditation:  Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$35,352
Out-of-state
$35,352
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$18,054
Out-of-state
$18,054
Retention Rate
87%
Acceptance Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
3,539
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

How We Rank Schools

To create this ranking, BestColleges sourced the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. We then ranked each school according to the top variables college students selected in our College Choice and Admissions Survey. To learn more, check out our full rankings methodology or read the summary below.

To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
  • Student outcomes (30%)
  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

Is a Nurse Practitioner Master's Degree Worth It?

NP master's programs can unlock your career potential as a nurse. NPs are some of the most specialized and highly paid nursing professionals in healthcare. They have more autonomy and authority than registered nurses and can work as primary care providers in some states.

NPs typically specialize in a patient population, such as children, older adults, and those who need psychiatric mental health services. So, if there is a patient population you're passionate about, becoming an NP can help you take even better care of them.

On top of that, patients tend to love NPs. A 2020 study in the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners indicates that NPs perform as well or better than physicians when it comes to patient outcomes and clinical safety.

“I chose to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner so I would have the tools, knowledge, and scope of practice to help patients in so many more ways than I could as a nurse. I feel like I make so much more of a difference as a nurse practitioner, and I have more control over how much I can help patients.”

Kayla Potter, DNP

Benefits of Getting a Nurse Practitioner Degree

  • Increase your expertise and salary potential: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual pay for nurse practitioners was $126,260 in 2023.
  • Choose from high-paying career options: Nurse practitioners in home health services earned an average annual wage of $146,850, according to the BLS. Those in outpatient care centers earned an average annual wage of $139,860.
  • Benefit from a growing demand for the role: The BLS projects the nurse practitioner field will grow by 38% from 2022-2032 — more than four times faster than other healthcare practitioners.

3 Reasons for Getting Your Nurse Practitioner Degree Online

  • Save time: The flexibility of online nurse practitioner programs — many of which offer asynchronous classes and accelerated courses — allows you to complete coursework as quickly or as slowly as you want.
  • Save money: Going to school online means you won't have to move, commute, or pay on-campus fees. Tuition for online students may also be more affordable, depending on the school.
  • Keep working: No need to put your nursing career on hold. Pursuing a master's degree online makes it possible to hold down a job (and keep building up invaluable experience) while studying.

How Much Does an Online Nurse Practitioner Master's Cost?

Some nursing schools charge less for online NP programs. Online program costs can vary depending on whether you attend a public or private school, travel to attend on-campus events, or pay in-state or out-of-state tuition. Despite the expense, becoming an NP helps you access advanced job opportunities and higher salaries.

Average Annual Cost of a Master's Degree, 2021-2022

Public Institution

$12,596

Private Institution

$28,017

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

How Long Does an Online NP Program Take?

NP candidates entering an online master of science in nursing (MSN) program with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) can expect to graduate in 1-2 years. The typical timeline depends on your previous education and whether you are a full-time or part-time student.

The graduation timeline for part-time NP students or those enrolled in a direct-entry MSN program with an unrelated bachelor's degree can be longer. However, these accelerated programs require students to attend full-time, allowing them to graduate in as little as five semesters.

An online NP program can require 35-50 credits, depending on the program. The required clinical hours vary depending on the specialty and the school, ranging from 200-600 hours with a preceptor.

How Much Money Can You Make With a Nurse Practitioner Degree?

The median annual salary for a nurse practitioner was $126,260, according to the BLS, offering a strong return on your investment. NP salaries vary depending on your workplace, geographical location, and specialty.

Nurse practitioners working in home healthcare services have the highest annual average wage of $146,850, reports the BLS. NPs working in offices of other health practitioners make the lowest average annual wage of $121,250.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Nurse Practitioner Master's Degree?

The job outlook for NPs is, frankly, amazing. The BLS projects nurse practitioners will be one of the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. from 2022-2032.

With rapid growth driven by an increasing demand for preventative and aging healthcare services, NPs should have no problem finding a good job anywhere in the country.

“Learning is a lifelong process in nursing, and pursuing a master's opens so many new opportunities and career paths.”

Kayla Potter, DNP

Common Jobs as a Nurse Practitioner

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Read More: Nursing Salary: How Much Does a Nurse Practitioner Make?

Types of Nurse Practitioner Programs

RN-to-MSN/ADN-to-MSN Programs

RN-to-MSN and ADN-to-MSN programs allow RNs with associate degrees in nursing to earn their MSN degrees without first earning their BSNs.

Some RN-to-MSN programs award you a BSN degree en route to the MSN. Programs for nurse practitioners typically include approximately 60 credits of coursework and clinical practice hours. You can often earn your MSN degree in 2-3 years.

BSN-to-MSN Programs

BSN-to-MSN programs prepare students with BSN degrees for both clinical and non-clinical roles.

Programs for aspiring nurse practitioners typically include 30-60 credits of coursework and 600-700 hours of clinical practice. Full-time students can earn their MSN degrees in two years.

Direct-Entry MSN/Accelerated MSN Programs

Direct-entry and accelerated MSN programs cater to college graduates who studied subjects other than nursing. Some programs allow you to earn a BSN while you work toward your MSN, while others do not.

If you enroll in a direct-entry MSN program, you can earn your RN license, MSN degree, and NP certification within three years.

Nurse Practitioner Certificate Program

Nurse practitioner certificate programs allow you to prepare for certification in a specialty other than the one you pursued while earning your degree.

NP certificate programs typically include 18-35 credits of coursework and 500-700 hours of supervised clinical practice. Many NP certificate programs take approximately 1-2 years to complete.

Licenses and Certifications

To become an NP, you must hold an active RN license, pass the NCLEX-RN exam, pass the national certification boards for your specialty, and meet your state's requirements.

You can apply for licensure as an APRN once you have earned your MSN and completed other state-specific requirements.

In most states, NPs must take national certification exams to be eligible for licensure. Prospective NPs take exams to gain certification in their areas of expertise.

Everything Else You Need to Know About a Nurse Practitioner Degree

What do nurse practitioners do?

NPs assess and diagnose health conditions, order and interpret medical tests, prescribe medication, and collaborate in patient care across diverse settings. They provide high-quality, cost-effective, individualized care to patients and families, comparable to the quality physicians and physician assistants offer.

Most NP programs require at least 1-2 years of bedside nursing experience. MSN-prepared nurses function more independently than bedside nurses.

The highest-paying roles for NPs include neonatal, family, and emergency. Factors that influence salary include geographical location, workplace environment, and specialty.

Yes, some programs allow you to work part-time while completing an online NP program. Most accelerated programs require that students do not work while going to school. Candidates with a BSN completing an online MSN may be able to take classes part-time.

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges.com. Page last reviewed November 22, 2023.

With Contributions By:

Portrait of Kayla Potter, DNP

Kayla Potter, DNP

Kayla Potter is a doctorally-prepared psychiatric nurse practitioner. She started her private telehealth practice — Lioness Healing and Wellness — to be able to bring much-needed mental health services to her small hometown of Culpeper, VA, and the surrounding areas. Dr. Potter loves to learn and has been a student for most of her life — she has two bachelor's degrees (psychology and nursing) from Longwood University and James Madison University, and a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) from George Mason University. Her primary area of interest is in perinatal and maternal mental health. In her free time, Dr. Potter loves to spend time with her husband and three kids, paint, and CrossFit.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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