DNP Degree – Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs

“When you’re a master’s-prepared NP of any kind, you’re focused on doing the job of that role. Once you get the DNP, you start to think about that role in light of the whole healthcare system.”


The doctor of nursing practice (DNP) is a terminal degree for nurses seeking to advance their practice and improve patient outcomes. DNP programs prepare nurses for advanced clinical practice and research roles. Many online DNP programs offer specializations in family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. 

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (ANCC) confers certifications to nurse practitioners and recommends that all aspiring advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) pursue a DNP degree. A study published by the ANCC showed that 66 percent of the 384 nursing colleges surveyed offered programs that resulted in a DNP degree, including BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP programs. 

For RNs with bachelor’s degrees and those with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees aspiring to become RNs, there are numerous accredited online DNP programs available. Most DNP programs include coursework in advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, pharmacology, and clinical hours.  

Known as a clinical or practical doctoral degree, DNP curriculums emphasize evidence-based practice, informatics, quality improvement, and leadership skills. As a result, DNP-prepared nurses have the knowledge, experience, and credentials to assume clinical or administrative roles in acute care, primary care, community health, and nurse leadership settings. In addition, the DNP prepares nurses for advanced practice roles such as nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist.

Depending on the program, earning a DNP can take anywhere from two to six years. However, the investment of time and money can pay off in the form of increased job opportunities and higher earnings. For example, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2024) shows that advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, will be in demand, growing at a rate of 38 percent. This equates to 123,600 new positions from 2022 to 2032. Positions for NPs alone are expected to see 45 percent growth. 

How can a DNP degree advance one’s nursing career? DNP programs prepare RNs for more advanced roles as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse executives, improving patient outcomes in today’s complex healthcare systems. While there are many nursing titles and credentials, the DNP degree has become the standard for those wanting to be prepared to maximize their career advancement opportunities.

There are many excellent DNP programs available, so how does one choose? The first step is to consider the desired career outcome. For example, do you want to focus on clinical practice or a specialty population? The second factor to consider is whether or not a program is accredited. Finally, aspiring students should consider whether they want to attend classes in an on-campus, hybrid, or online format. 

Read on to learn more about online DNP programs, including types of programs, accreditation, admission requirements, clinical supervision hours, 15 online accredited DNP programs, careers for DNP graduates, and the difference between DNP and PhD programs.

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Meet the Expert: Carol Savrin, DNP, CPNP,R, FNP-BC, FAANP, FNAP

Dr. Carol Savrin stands out as a distinguished faculty member at Case Western Reserve University, blending extensive expertise in nursing practice and education with a commitment to advancing healthcare across all age groups. Holding dual certifications as a pediatric nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner, she channels her passion into teaching advanced practice nursing with a focus on pediatric and family programs, alongside championing combination tracks, inter-professional initiatives, and the DNP program. Her dedication extends beyond teaching to active research in adolescent health promotion and diet and advocating for inter-professional collaboration to enhance patient outcomes. 

Dr. Savrin’s contributions have earned her recognition as a fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, highlighting her role as a leader in shaping nursing education and promoting a collaborative, holistic approach to healthcare. How has graduating from a DNP program enhanced your career?

Dr. Savrin: When you’re a master’s-prepared FNP or NP of any kind, you’re focused on doing the job of that role. Once you get the DNP, you start to think about that role in light of the whole healthcare system. 

A master’s-prepared FNP or NP initially focuses on executing a specific role effectively. However, earning a DNP broadened my perspective and made me consider my role within the healthcare system and its wider impact. This shift in thinking can lead to new opportunities, including administrative positions, while still contributing to primary care. Essentially, advancing my education to a DNP level has enriched my professional scope, influencing both my direct patient care and my role in the healthcare system as a whole. What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring DNP student?

Dr. Savrin: The main point we emphasize at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing (FPB) at Case Western Reserve University is that our impact extends beyond individual patients to affect the broader healthcare system, enhancing overall healthcare through our gained knowledge. 

The DNP differs from a PhD in nursing; while the PhD focuses solely on research in a specific area of passion, potentially spanning a lifetime, the DNP is geared towards applying clinical knowledge to improve patient care within the system, aiming for systemic change. This approach is not about focusing narrowly but rather about making immediate, practical contributions within healthcare settings. My experience, particularly in the health department, illustrates how a DNP can influence a system, even on a smaller scale, to benefit patient care more directly and swiftly than long-term research might.

What is a DNP?

DNPs are advanced practice nurses who have completed extensive coursework and clinical training beyond the traditional nursing program. They are prepared to provide the highest level of patient care and often specialize in primary care, women’s health, or neonatal intensive care. In addition to direct patient care, DNPs are essential in research and education. For example, they may develop and implement new protocols or train other nurses on best practices.

DNP and PhD: What’s the Difference?

The short answer is that DNPs focus on clinical and practical applications while PhDs are research-focused. 

There are two types of nursing doctoral programs: the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) and the PhD in nursing. Both programs prepare nurses for advanced practice roles, but the two degrees have critical differences. 

The DNP is a clinical degree that prepares nurses for leadership roles in direct patient care. Most DNP programs above focus on applying patient-care theories in practical healthcare settings.

By comparison, the PhD is a research-focused degree that prepares nurses for careers in academia or policy. For example, the University of Central Florida offers a PhD in nursing, preparing graduates to conduct research, integrate research, teaching, and leadership, and make interdisciplinary contributions in academia that advance healthcare globally.  

There are also differences in the length and curriculum of the two programs. DNP programs typically take 2-6 years to complete, while PhD programs can take up to seven years. And while both degrees require coursework in research methods and statistics, the PhD curriculum also includes nursing theory and history coursework.

So which type of degree is the right choice? The DNP is ideal for pursuing leadership roles in direct patient care. However, the PhD is better for careers focusing more on nursing research or academia.

Please note: CCNE only accredits DNP programs. Other research doctorates, such as PhD and DNSc programs, are not eligible for CCNE accreditation. 

Types of DNP Degree Programs

Registered and aspiring nurses can choose from several DNP programs, including entry points for various degrees. Here are some of the different kinds of DNP programs. 

RN-to-BSN Programs

The RN-to-BSN program is designed for registered nurses who hold an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and want to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) to apply for BSN-to-DNP nursing degrees.  

BSN-to-DNP Programs

Another option is the BSN-to-DNP program, designed for those who already have a bachelor of science in nursing and want to earn two degrees in one program: an MSN and a DNP.  

MSN-to-DNP Programs

The MSN-to-DNP program is designed for job seekers with a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree who want to earn a DNP.

Accelerated BSN-to-DNP Programs

Accelerated BSN-to-DNP programs are for bachelor’s degree holders in non-nursing fields who want to complete a BSN, MSN, and DNP quickly. 

Special Populations: BSN-to-DNP or MSN-to-DNP Programs

BSN-to-DNP programs are available to those with BSN degrees and focus on nursing concentrations in special populations. These programs prepare graduates to become family nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, and pediatric nurse practitioners. 

Other DNP specialty areas include: 

  • Acute care
  • Adult-gerontology (primary and acute care)
  • Family 
  • Neonatal 
  • Pediatrics
  • Primary care
  • Psychiatric-mental health (pediatric and adults)
  • Women’s health

Aspiring DNP students should carefully research each type of program to determine which type best meets their educational backgrounds and professional goals.

DNP Program & School Accreditation

There are two types of accreditation: programmatic and institutional. Programmatic accreditation is specific to a certain type of degree or training program, while institutional accreditation applies to the entire school.

Programmatic Accreditation

Programmatic accreditation is a process through which a specific educational program is evaluated by an external body to ensure that it meets specific standards. For example, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits baccalaureate and master’s-level nursing programs, and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits all types of nursing programs ranging from diploma to doctorate and certificate programs. 

Institutional Accreditation

This type of accreditation is contrasted with institutional accreditation, which assesses an entire school or college as a whole. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) has approved six regional institutional accrediting organizations: 

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

There are many reasons why students should attend an accredited program. Sometimes, it may require licensure or certification in a specific field. In other cases, it may be seen as a way to give students and employers confidence that the program meets high standards. In the case of nurses, to be eligible to sit for the NCLEX exam, which is needed for nurse licensure in all 50 states, one must graduate from a programmatically accredited nursing program.

State Authorization 

Another critical factor to consider when researching online programs is state authorization status. Students pursuing online degrees that require licensing from state governing boards, such as nursing, should verify a program’s authorization through the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). For example, a student who lives and plans to work as a nurse in a specific state must check to see if an educational program offered out of state is NC-SARA authorized. This confirms whether a program is compatible with the state board of nursing licensing requirements. 

Typical Admissions Requirements for DNP Degrees

DNP admissions requirements vary by program, but here is a checklist of common documents: 

  • Bachelor’s degree (in nursing or a non-nursing field)
  • Clinical hours or work experience 
  • Essay responses
  • Interview
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts with prerequisite coursework (human anatomy & physiology, biology, chemistry, etc.)
  • Scholarly work samples
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores above a minimum (for applicants whose native language is not English)
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher

Supervised Hour Requirements for DNP Degrees

Most DNP programs require a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours. Students must complete clinical hours under the supervision of a licensed nurse practitioner or physician. The CCNE requires a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate hours for accredited DNP programs.

In some cases, programs may require up to 2,000 clinical hours of previous experience for admission. For example, the BSN-to-DNP program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMA) requires verification of 2,000 clinical hours before enrolling in specific coursework.

Featured Online DNP Degrees

Many online DNP programs are available, making it possible to pursue a doctoral degree while continuing to work full-time. Here is a list of some of the best online DNP programs available, including RN-to-BSN (which positions nurses for DNP admissions), BSN-to-DNP, MSN-to-DNP, accelerated BSN-to-DNP, and concentrations for special populations: BSN-to-DNP.

Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Eastern Kentucky University 

The online RN-to-BSN program at Eastern Kentucky University allows registered nurses to earn their bachelor of science in nursing in 25 to 28 credits. The accelerated path will enable students to graduate in 12 months, and the traditional path gives students more time to focus on their job and family. 

The program is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the best universities offering online degrees. In addition, its convenient eight-week terms and personalized advising make it easy for busy nurses to complete the program. 

  • Location: Richmond, KY
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 

Western Governors University 

The Western Governors University RN-to-BSN program is designed for working registered nurses who have an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or nursing diploma and need a flexible RN-to-BSN degree program that fits their schedule. This online nursing degree can help graduates improve patient outcomes and community health and enhance their job security. 

The RN-to-BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and can help students prepare for magnet designation at hospitals. With affordable, competency-based courses, this degree program can be completed in as few as 12 months. 

  • Location: Campuses across the US
  • Duration: 12 to 24 months
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 

Drexel University 

The online ADN-to-BSN concurrent enrollment program at Drexel University is an excellent way to pursue a career in nursing. By completing the ADN-to-BSN program at a local community college, students can earn an associate’s degree and complete their remaining BSN coursework at Drexel. This program is ideal for students who want to complete their BSN quickly and efficiently. Upon passing the NCLEX-RN, students will be eligible to earn their BSN within two terms. 

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Duration: Two to three years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)  

Online BSN-to-DNP Programs

George Mason University

The 72-credit George Mason University BSN-to-DNP online program allows nurses to become experts as nurse practitioners and administrators. Graduates are eligible for certification from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). 

In addition, the program offers two concentration options: adult gerontology nurse practitioner and family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. The BSN-to-DNP program is designed for busy professionals who want to earn their degrees while working. Students can complete the program in as little as three years, and courses are offered online and on-campus. 

  • Location: Fairfax, VA
  • Duration: Three to five years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)  

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida’s bachelor of science in nursing to a doctor of nursing practice program is a hybrid-online program that prepares nurses for advanced practice in acute care. The 76-credit program focuses on providing a solid scientific foundation for practice. The flexible schedule emphasizes evidence-based practice, leadership, and organizational analysis, and requires 1,080 clinical hours. 

The program also includes a research component. The DNP project is integral to the program and allows students to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world problems. The hybrid-online format of the program allows students to complete the program at their own pace while still being able to interact with faculty and classmates in a highly engaging learning environment.

  • Location: Orlando, FL
  • Duration: Nine to 12 semesters
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)   

University of St. Augustine

The DNP program at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences is designed to give working nurses additional education and training in key competencies such as systems leadership, healthcare policy, interprofessional collaboration, nursing research and evidence-based practice, and health information systems. The DNP degree is among the highest level of nursing programs available and prepares individuals for advanced nursing practice.

USAHS offers two doctoral nursing leadership paths: BSN-entry and MSN-entry. BSN-entry DNP students pursuing the family nurse practitioner (FNP) role must complete one on-campus clinical intensive. 

  • Location: St. Augustine, FL
  • Duration: 2.5 to four years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 

Duke University

The Duke University School of Nursing offers a highly-regarded DNP program for individuals with a bachelor’s in nursing who are interested in advanced clinical practice. In earning this hybrid degree, students acquire skills and tools that enable them to become APRN specialists. In addition, DNP graduates can assess published evidence to inform their practice, improve care systems and enhance patient outcomes. The program is designed for working professionals, with online courses and four on-campus executive sessions annually. 

Students also have the opportunity to engage with faculty members with a wealth of experience in advanced clinical practice and leadership. Overall, the DNP program at Duke University’s School of Nursing provides an exceptional educational opportunity for nurse practitioners seeking career advancement.

  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Duration: Three years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 

Indiana University

The Indiana University DNP program offers a unique dual degree track, combining the MSN and DNP degrees for 67 credits and 1,000 clinical hours. Hybrid coursework focuses on leadership in healthcare systems, clinical decision-making, population health management, and evidence-based practice. The program is mainly online, with two on-campus intensives and synchronous video-conferencing classes. 

Students move through the program in a cohort model, fostering strong professional connections. Clinical hours are also required to complete the DNP degree. This DNP program provides nurses with the advanced skills and knowledge needed to excel as leaders in the healthcare field.

  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Duration: Three years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 

Arizona State University

The Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University offers a DNP degree in a hybrid format, requiring students to travel for orientation at the beginning of the program and twice or three times per semester. The 84-credit program also includes 1,125 clinical hours with focused placement arranged in Maricopa County, Arizona. ASU is also authorized to offer distance education by participating in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. 

This DNP program provides a unique opportunity for advanced practice nurses looking to expand their knowledge and skills in the field.  With a focus on clinical experience and hands-on learning, graduates will be well-equipped to lead change and improve healthcare outcomes within their communities.

  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Duration: Three years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

University of Massachusetts – Boston

At the University of Massachusetts-Boston, students can earn a doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) degree online and on campus. The program requires 70 credits, with 1,065 clinical hours for those pursuing a BSN-to-DNP track. Those entering with a master’s degree in nursing can complete their DNP with 31 credits and 400 clinical immersion hours focused on DNP essentials. 

Coursework focuses on leadership, quality improvement, population health, and informatics. Students also have the opportunity to choose one nursing elective to supplement their studies. This thorough curriculum prepares graduates for advanced leadership roles within the healthcare industry.

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Duration: Five years 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Regis University

Regis University offers an innovative online DNP program to nurses looking to further their education and advance their careers. With the option for both on-campus and online classes, the program is designed for various schedules and learning styles. Students can specialize in neonatal care or psychiatric mental health, and Regis also provides unique pathways focused on serving rural and underserved communities. 

The DNP program at Regis incorporates preparation for national certification exams, with graduates consistently achieving high pass rates. Advanced leadership training is also available through the ALHC specialization track. As Colorado’s only Jesuit Catholic university, Regis integrates spiritual care into their DNP curriculum. The DNP program incorporates interprofessional education and collaborative practice, creating well-rounded leaders in the nursing field. 

  • Location: Denver, CO
  • Duration: Four to five years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Ohio University

The Ohio University DNP program offers a variety of concentrations for advanced clinical or executive practice. This fully online program, with only a few required on-campus intensives, allows students the flexibility to continue working while advancing their education in their chosen field. 

The DNP degree can open up many opportunities for nurses to expand their skills and knowledge in advanced clinical or administrative roles. The online components offer the convenience of remote learning, with the added benefit of occasional virtual instructor meetings and web conferences to support and facilitate peer interaction. As a DNP graduate from this program, nurses can expect to be highly recognized by employers and prepared for leadership positions in the industry.

  • Location: Athens & Dublin, OH
  • Duration: Six semesters
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

University of Tennessee Knoxville

The University of Tennessee Knoxville offers an online doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree program to prepare nurses for leadership roles in the healthcare industry. DNP students can specialize in various fields, including family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health, and nurse anesthesia. 

The DNP program incorporates a flexible blended format, allowing face-to-face and online learning experiences. Students are taught to use evidence-based practice, evaluate and implement health policy, and develop new clinical systems. Graduates will have the skills necessary to impact healthcare outcomes for individuals and patient populations positively.

  • Location: Knoxville, TN
  • Duration: Four to five years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Online MSN-to-DNP Programs

In addition to the on-campus MSN-to-DNP program offered at Case Western Reserve, here are some online program options:

Duke University

Duke University’s School of Nursing offers an online MSN-to-DNP program to prepare nurses for advanced nursing practice. The program outcomes reflect the integration and application of the knowledge and skills obtained in the program. The program prepares nurses to use translational science and analytic methods to develop, identify, implement, and evaluate best practices to improve healthcare and healthcare systems. 

Nurses in the program will act as practice scholars to design, direct and evaluate system changes to promote safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered care. The program also prepares nurses to partner with others to develop interprofessional teams that communicate effectively.

  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Duration: Three years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)  

Liberty University 

Liberty University’s MSN-to-DNP program is widely recognized for its academic quality, affordability, and accessibility. Students can complete this online DNP program 2.5 years while accessing state-of-the-art digital resources to complete coursework from anywhere in the world. Classes meet in eight-week terms, and students can transfer up to 50 percent of credits earned from other institutions. Courses include advanced nursing research, applications of evidence-based care, and clinical prevention and biostatistics. 

  • Location: Lynchburg, VA
  • Duration: 2.5 years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)  

Bradley University

Located in Peoria, Illinois, Bradley University offers an online MSN-to-DNP program with a concentration in leadership. This program does not require campus residencies and can be completed in nine semesters or three years. Applicants to this program must have an MSN degree from an NLNAC-, ACEN-, or CCNE-accredited program. 

Faculty in this program are highly experienced professionals with several years of nursing leadership. Graduates from this program work in home healthcare agencies, academic institutions, and advocacy groups. 

  • Location: Peoria, IL
  • Duration: Three years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)   

Online Accelerated BSN-to-DNP Programs

Concordia University Wisconsin

Concordia University Wisconsin’s rigorous online BSN-to-DNP program consists of 70 credits, and students can complete 1,008 practicum hours in three or five years. The program’s primary emphasis is on clinical practice, with coursework covering a broad range of topics such as evidence-based practice, healthcare policy, and advanced nursing research. 

All coursework is completed online, with some on-campus visits required. Most courses in the program are offered in an accelerated eight-week format, with a few classes taking 16 weeks. 

  • Location: Mequon, WI
  • Duration: Three to five years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 

Simmons University

The online DNP program at Simmons University prepares nurse leaders for today’s changing healthcare landscape challenges. The post-master’s curriculum is tailored for those who wish to enter or advance in a career in nursing leadership and combines theory with evidence-based research and practical experience. 

Through live, online classes, students can learn from and collaborate with professionals from various disciplines. The program culminates in a research- or practice-based final project, providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to impact the nursing field. 

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Duration: Two years 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)  

Special Populations: DNP

Xavier University

The online DNP program at Xavier University is a post-master’s degree program focusing on population health. The eight-semester program is entirely online; students take three to seven credits per semester. A total of 1,000 clinical immersion hours are required as students progress through the program. 

Students may accept up to 500 clinical immersion hours from a master’s program or advanced certification toward the 1,000 immersion hours. The program is designed for nurses from various practice settings who want to become leaders in addressing the complexity of healthcare outcomes in the 21st century.

  • Location: Cincinnati, OH
  • Duration: 2.5 to three years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)   

Maryville University 

Maryville University offers an online BSN-to-DNP degree with five concentrations in adult-gerontology acute care and primary care NP, family, pediatric, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Maryville University’s online BSN-to-DNP program is designed for experienced nurses pursuing the highest nursing practice and education credentials. 

The program can be completed in as few as 40 months and focuses intensely on the scientific underpinnings of nursing, healthcare policy, and organizational management. Students in this program can graduate with a well-rounded view of nursing leadership that can help them make a difference in any area of interest. The accelerated online format allows working nurses to continue their education without disrupting their careers, and the Maryville faculty are committed to providing accessible, high-quality education to all students.

  • Location: St. Louis, MO
  • Duration: 3.5 years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)  

University of North Dakota 

The online post-master’s doctor of nursing practice program from the University of North Dakota prepares graduates for leadership in the nursing field. The DNP courses are designed for nurses who strive to achieve better outcomes for individuals, families, and underserved or vulnerable populations. DNP faculty members at UND leverage their professional experience to ensure students get a degree relevant to their challenges as nursing leaders.

  • Location: Grand Forks, ND
  • Duration: 2.5 years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)  

University of Texas Medical Branch

The University of Texas Medical Branch offers an online doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program with a BSN to DNP pathway for registered nurses looking to advance their careers and expand their skill sets. The DNP program is the first and only one in Texas to offer a dual family nurse practitioner (FNP) and acute care nurse practitioner (ACGNP) track. 

Admission requirements include an accredited BSN degree, a minimum GPA, and at least one year of recent clinical experience as a registered nurse. The flexible online curriculum allows working nurses to continue pursuing their education while maintaining their current employment. Clinical practice experiences are tailored to each individual’s educational and professional interests, with opportunities in the FNP and AGACNP tracks. This DNP program provides nurses with valuable professional growth and advancement opportunities.

  • Location: Galveston, TX
  • Duration: 12 semesters
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

University of South Alabama

The University of South Alabama offers an online BSN to DNP program for advanced nursing practice roles. Students can choose from various specialty areas, including women’s health, nursing informatics, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. 

This 69- to 87-credit program provides comprehensive training for DNP students. In addition, faculty assist students in locating appropriate clinical sites where they can gain hands-on experience in their chosen specialty. This program is an excellent option for current BSN holders looking to further their careers in the nursing field.

  • Location: Mobile, AL
  • Duration: Ten to 12 semesters
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Georgetown University

With a DNP degree from Georgetown University’s online BSN-to-DNP program for RNs with a BSN in nursing, individuals can advance their careers and become eligible to sit for board certification examinations in their chosen specialization. This program, which offers four specializations in adult gerontology, family, dual nurse-midwifery/women’s health, and women’s health nurse practitioner, requires 69 to 74 credits and 1,000 to 1,200 clinical hours. The program also includes two or three clinical intensives. 

In addition, Georgetown University offers a post-master’s DNP program for APRNs or nurses in advanced nursing roles with a master’s degree. With this DNP degree from Georgetown University, graduates can enhance their expertise and pursue leadership roles in the nursing field.

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Duration: 33 months
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Jobs for DNP Graduates

Upon graduation, DNP graduates can pursue unique and specialized nursing positions in clinical roles, leadership, policy, and education. Here are three of the most popular DNP careers:

  • Nurse Practitioner – DNP graduates can work as nurse practitioners, providing primary and specialty patient care as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). 
  • Nurse Executive – DNP graduates can find work as nurse executives (similar to healthcare administrators), overseeing the operations of healthcare facilities and representing the nursing profession at the C-suite level. 
  • Nurse Educator – DNP-prepared nurses are qualified to teach at the collegiate level and conduct research. 
Rachel Drummond, MEd

Rachel Drummond, MEd


At, Rachel Drummond has applied her extensive experience in education and mindfulness to elucidate the importance of self-care for nursing students since 2022. Through her writings, she underscores the role of mental and physical well-being in fostering resilient and compassionate healthcare professionals.

Rachel is a writer, educator, and coach from Oregon. She has a master’s degree in education (MEd) and has over 15 years of experience teaching English, public speaking, and mindfulness to international audiences in the United States, Japan, and Spain. She writes about the mind-body benefits of contemplative movement practices like yoga on her blog, inviting people to prioritize their unique version of well-being and empowering everyone to live healthier and more balanced lives.