Online Nurse Practitioner Programs
Online nurse practitioner programs are a flexible option to advance your nursing education. They’re generally targeted toward current professional nurses, especially those with BSN-RN credentials. Online NP programs build on existing knowledge of bedside care. By doing so, they aim to foster the skills and knowledge a nurse practitioner might use every day.
Courses might focus on things like diagnosis, creating treatment plans, and prescribing medication. They may also discuss patient education to support long term health. That doesn’t even touch on the variety of concentration options you might choose. And because you could find all this online, you could fit your education into your life, no matter what shift you work.
What to Expect in Online Nurse Practitioner Programs
Online nurse practitioner programs may take a holistic perspective. They do that by focusing on a unique combination of patient care, diagnosis and treatment, and patient education topics. The specific courses you take in an online nurse practitioner program may vary. Some examples include topics like pharmacology—that is, the study of drugs and how they interact with people—psychology, anatomy, and pathology. Programs may also focus on what it’s like to work in a variety of care settings. Some programs may even offer concentrations focused on treating certain kinds of patients or medical issues. However each share a similar goal, to prepare students to take on advanced nursing practices and treat patients independently or in collaboration with physicians.
Many—but not all—programs ask that prospective students are registered nurses with experience in the field. Programs like that may rely on knowledge earned on the job or in nursing school as a basis for learning. Other programs may be available to help new nurses earn their RN status during their online NP program. Because of
that additional step, those programs may take a little longer to complete. Make sure you're clear on which type of program it is when you're applying, to ensure it's a good fit.
Nurse Practitioner Programs Online Format
Online nurse practitioner programs aim to be flexible. That could be an important factor for nurses. The ability to access your courses from anywhere, on your own schedule, could help you earn a degree while being there for your patients every day. (Or every night, if you work night shift!) Even better, your online program may keep that personal touch you’d find on campus. They could do that through features like discussion boards, social networking, and video streaming.
When selecting nurse practitioner online programs, be sure to find out if there are any offline components. This could be things like lab sciences that you'd need to do at a satellite campus, or even field observations or clinical rotations. Because online programs may not be anchored to a local school, it’s possible you may need to set some of these up yourself, with the support of your program. Schools vary so follow up with preferred programs for details.
Online Nurse Practitioner Programs: Degree Levels
Online nurse practitioner programs may be available at several different degree levels. Each one could incorporate a few different degree types, and be appropriate for nurses of different levels of experience. Program level options generally include the following.
- Online Nurse Practitioner Masters Programs: In many places, you need masters education to work as a nurse practitioner.i As such, many online masters programs aim to help nurses move into that role for the first time. However, some may also be available to help people become RNs for the first time while pursuing their Nurse Practitioner degree.
- Online Nurse Practitioner Doctorate Programs: This could include two types of degrees. The most common may be a Doctor of Nursing Practice or DNP degree, the other being a PhD. Nurse Practitioner DNPs are terminal. That means they’re the highest level of academic degree you could earn in the field. Many programs require an MSN (or Master of Science in Nursing) or a related masters as a prerequisite. But some programs may allow students to earn both masters and doctorate straight through. Those are generally called "BSN to DNP" programs.
- Online Nurse Practitioner Certificate Programs: Certificate programs could be offered at several levels. This includes masters, post-masters, or doctorate. Because they tend to be shorter in duration, certificate programs may focus on specific subjects. That could include specialty areas or even sub-specialties. However, some certificates also help nurses prepare for nurse practitioner certification. That especially includes post-MSN certificates aimed at nurses who completed a different type of masters nursing program.
Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Example Concentrations
One unique aspect of online nurse practitioner programs is that many ask or even require students to choose a concentration. Concentrations typically align with career specialties. They focus on certain types of patients and care settings. As such, the one you select may impact your curriculum in significant ways. Here’s a basic run down of some options you might see.
- Acute Care & Primary Care: These terms are generally appended to other program names. Acute care means the program focuses on treating specific, short-term issues in settings like emergency clinics and hospitals. Primary care refers to long term, day-to-day healthcare like you might get in a doctor’s office.
- Online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Programs: These programs focus on infant health, in primary or acute care settings. This could include ages ranging from premature up to two or three, and may cross over in some ways with pediatrics and family care.
- Online Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs: Pediatrics focuses on children, adolescents, and teenagers. Topics could include stages of growth, psychological development, and the health concerns of children at different ages. Pediatrics programs could be acute or primary care, and may cross over with other specialties like family care.
- Adult Health & Gerontology: Adult health is a relatively broad topic. It ranges from around age eighteen through elder years. Gerontology is somewhat narrower. It focuses on the elderly, and may include topics like aging and end-of-life care.
- Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs: Online FNP programs cover a wide span of patient types and ages. They aim to help students prepare to serve whole families, rather than individual members. They're usually specific to primary care, though acute family care programs may be available.
- Online Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Programs: These programs focus on psychiatric care settings. This could include acute care and residential facilities. Courses may discuss a variety of psychiatric disorders, psychotherapy strategies, medications, and more.
- Online Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Programs: This concentration is unique in that it focuses on a single gender. This could include reproductive health, prenatal and postpartum care, primary care, and more. Other programs might also be available that focus on men's health or all genders.
Nurse Practitioner Certificationi
Some online nurse practitioner programs may be designed to help students prepare to pursue certification. Nurse practitioners generally need to earn a nationally-recognized certification before they seek employment. The specific certification you need could vary by state or practice specialty. As such, the specific requirements may vary. However, it usually includes passing an exam, clinical review, and education. Certification usually has to be renewed. For more information on what this might entail, follow up with your online nurse practitioner programs. You could also get in touch with the organization that issues the certification in question.
Search for Online Nurse Practitioner Programs
Ready to start your search for accredited online nurse practitioner programs? If so, GradSchools.com can help you find NP programs online. Narrow your search using the menu above. Just select your preferred degree level! Then review the sponsored programs. If you want to learn more about a particular program, click on the name! Then reach out to them and get in touch, or even start applying!
University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
The dynamics of today's fast-paced, complex healthcare system requires nursing leaders with the knowledge and expertise to improve the delivery of patient care and positively influence patient outcomes.
Sacred Heart University
The online Post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice program offered by Sacred Heart University infuses practice-focused doctoral education with innovation and practical clinical research and scholarship.
Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
The online Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate offers pediatric primary care nurse practitioners the necessary training to meet the evolving needs of the PNP-AC role. This 3-course, 13-credit program aligns with the Acute Care Pediatr...
- Berrien Springs, MIBerrien Springs, MI
The DNP is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice and offers an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs.
Grand Canyon University
The Chatham University DNP program prepares nurses to practice as leaders in the promotion and use of evidence-based practice in healthcare delivery systems. DNP graduates have skill sets and competencies to function in clinical and executive leadership r...
Advance as a nurse leader, educator, informaticist, or practitioner with Walden’s CCNE-accredited MSN program. One of the largest and most affordable MSN programs available today with a long history of educating nursing professionals, this prog...
Colorado Technical University
CTU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) was developed using the AACN Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. The program starts every 13 weeks. Learn more.
Liberty University Online
As the landscape of advanced practice nursing changes, Liberty University is poised to help you take advantage of new opportunities with its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Nurses in this program learn to translate evidence-based research i...
Demand for preventive care continues to rise in the U.S. - especially now that millions of Americans have access to medical services through the Affordable Care Act. However, with primary care physicians in short supply, more and more individuals and...
Post Graduate Certificate in Nursing with a specialization in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
What if you had the opportunity to take your Nursing career in a whole new direction while leveraging your previous experience? If you already have your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), you can with South University’s Post Graduate Certifica...
Frontier Nursing University
The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) specialty track educates students for advanced practice to improve mental health care and overall health status of communities with a focus on individuals across the lifespan and populations in...
Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) are clinical experts who implement a holistic approach that emphasizes both care and cure.
Florida State University
Thank you for your interest in the Master of Science in MIS program in the College of Business at Florida State University. This program is offered as...
Samuel Merritt University
Prepare for a future as a primary care provider with Samuel Merritt University. Our online Master of Science in Nursing...
University of Newcastle
The Master of Mental Health Nursing is intended for Registered Nurses wishing to undertake a specialist qualification in Mental Health Nursing.
University of New England
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a post-master's degree program in which Monmouth University students gain the skills necessary to influence and improve healthcare infrastructure and outcomes through the delivery of quality care.
University of Texas at Arlington
Our fully online MSN Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program (AG PCNP) prepares advanced practice nurses to manage the health of individuals from adolescence through adulthood.
University of North Dakota
Develop diagnostic and reasoning skills for advanced practice in family primary care nursing. Pay in-state tuition.