Online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Programs

A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who delivers various family-focused healthcare services to patients of all ages, from newborns to seniors. Nurse practitioners have a master’s degree or higher in general or specialty areas such as family, adult gerontology, pediatrics, and neonatal care. FNPs work in many healthcare environments, including community health clinics, private practice, healthcare systems, and universities. 

Depending on the state scope of practice laws, FNPs can practice and prescribe independently, while in others, NPs must work under the direct supervision of a physician. 

The word “family” encompasses patients of all ages and stages, meaning that family nurse practitioners see patients across the age spectrum. Daily, FNPs conduct physical examinations, order or perform diagnostic tests, prescribe medications, create treatment plans, and treat acute and chronic diseases, ailments, and injuries. FNPs provide medical care under the purview of primary care and are considered primary care providers (PCPs). 

The future is bright and growing for nurse practitioners, making it an excellent upward career choice for registered nurses (RNs). Nurse practitioners ranked #1 on the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Health Care Jobs” list for 2022. In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022) predicts that nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives will grow by 46 percent in the coming decade, more than nine times the national average (5 percent). This growth is predicted to add 112,700 new positions between 2021 and 2031 and pay median annual salaries of $120,680. 

Aspiring FNPs with a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) have various accredited online educational programs at the maste’s, doctoral, and post-master’s levels. Prospective students should consider factors such as program length, cost, clinical experiences, and faculty expertise when choosing an online FNP program.

Accredited online family NP programs offer a variety of benefits for aspiring FNPs, patients, and health providers. This guide provides an overview of different types of accredited FNP programs, requirements for admission, clinical supervision hours, and 12 accredited online family nurse practitioner (FNP) programs.

Featured Online Family NP Programs

Wilkes University
MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
Wilkes University
MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner (RN to MS option)
University of Texas - Arlington
MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
University of Texas - Arlington
Post-MSN Certificate - Family Nurse Practitioner
Walden University
MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
Rockhurst University
MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
Rockhurst University
Online FNP Post-Master's Certificate
Sponsored

Types of FNP Degree Programs

Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) provide primary healthcare services to individuals, families, and communities. They are educated and trained to diagnose and treat acute and chronic illnesses in patients of all ages. FNPs also provide preventive care, including immunizations and screenings for disease prevention. In addition, FNPs order, perform and interpret diagnostic tests, such as X-rays and lab work. Finally, they prescribe medications and other therapies to treat patients’ acute and chronic conditions.

There are three main types of FNP programs: master of science in nursing (MSN), doctorate of nursing practice (DNP), and post-master’s FNP certificate programs. The FNP specialization is often offered as a specialization option for degree and certificate programs. Master’s and doctoral FNP programs typically take two to five years to complete, and most post-master’s certificates enable students to complete their program in as few as 16 months. Time to completion depends on full-time or part-time enrollment. 

MSN Programs

MSN programs prepare students for licensure as FNPs. These master’s-level programs typically include coursework in advanced nursing theory, research methods, and clinical practice. Students will also complete a practicum or clinical rotation to gain hands-on experience. To apply, MSN programs require a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

DNP Programs

DNP programs are designed for those who wish to pursue careers in advanced nursing practice. These programs build on the knowledge and skills learned in an MSN program and typically take three to four years to complete. 

DNP programs prepare students for leadership roles in nursing and usually include coursework in informatics, evidence-based practice, and healthcare policy. Some programs admit students with bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degrees, while others require MSN degrees. 

Post-Master’s Certificate Programs

Post-master’s certificate programs are designed for those who have already completed an MSN program but wish to specialize in a particular area of FNP practice. These programs typically take one to two years to complete and include coursework in the chosen specialty area. 

FNP programs are offered on-campus, online, or in a hybrid (blended online and on-campus) format.

FNP Program & School Accreditation

There are two different types of accreditation: programmatic and institutional.

The programmatic accreditation process assesses the educational value of a college or university’s programs to check that they meet high standards. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) oversees baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral-level nursing programs, whereas the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) regulates associate’s, bachelor’s, and doctoral degrees. 

To be eligible for admission into a CCNE-accredited MSN, DNP, or FNP certificate program, nurses must have completed a baccalaureate nursing degree from either a CCNE- or ACEN-accredited institution.

Institutional accreditation, on the other hand, evaluates the whole institution. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) – part of the US Department of Education – endorses seven regional institutional accrediting organizations.

Because many states regulate online education, checking a program’s state authorization or NC-SARA status is vital before enrolling. Additionally, ensure the program accepts students from your home state and that its curriculum satisfies licensing requirements in the places where you would like to seek FNP licensure. Applicants can find this data on school websites or by contacting them directly.

Typical Admissions Requirements for FNP Degrees

Family nurse practitioner programs at the master’s and doctoral levels usually include prerequisite courses and common application materials. All programs have unique admissions requirements, but most programs require the following: 

  • An ACEN- or CCNE-accredited master of science in nursing (MSN) or doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) program
  • One to two years of nursing experience 
  • Application and fee
  • Current, unrestricted United States RN license
  • Current resume or CV
  • GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts
  • Personal statements
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (for international applicants from countries where the primary language is not English)

Supervised Hour Requirements for FNP Degrees

To be licensed and practiced as an FNP, candidates must complete extensive educational and clinical criteria. One of the essential qualities is the completion of supervised clinical hours. Supervised clinical hours guarantee that FNPs get real-world experience by allowing them to work under the supervision of an experienced NP or physician. 

To be eligible for state licensure and professional certification, FNPs must complete a specific number of hours. The rules differ depending on the state and certification, but most programs require that FNPs accrue at least 500 clinical hours. In tandem with other professional nursing organizations, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) requires a minimum of 500 clinical hours. 

Some FNP programs go above and beyond the standard requirement, such as the FNP DNP program offered by Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), which requires 1,000 clinical hours, most of which are earned in the final year of the program. In addition, some programs allow students to apply clinical hours earned in an MSN program towards a DNP degree or post-master’s certificate program.

To learn more about clinical hour requirements and FNP programs, keep reading to learn about 12 online FNP programs with clinical hour components that meet or exceed state licensure and professional certification requirements.

Featured Online FNP Degrees

MSN Programs

Georgetown University

The Georgetown University FNP program is designed for working nurses who want to earn a master’s degree while continuing to fulfill their professional and personal responsibilities. The program has 44 credits and can be completed in 27 months. There are seven total terms, and students must complete 650 clinical hours, including two clinical intensives. 

The FNP program provides registered nurses with the skills and knowledge they need to provide primary care services to families and individuals of all ages. In addition, the program emphasizes evidence-based practice and cultural competence, and graduates are prepared to take the national FNP certification exam. Georgetown University is a renowned institution with a long history of excellence in nursing education, and the FNP program is one of the top programs in the country. 

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Duration: 27 months
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)   
  • Tuition: $2,358 per credit 

Chamberlain University

Chamberlain University’s FNP program is 100 percent online, and in 2019, its graduates had a combined ANCC and AANP pass rate of 90.5 percent—higher than the national average. Once enrolled, students start working with a dedicated team to help identify practicum sites and preceptors. 

In addition, the immersion event allows students to practice their clinical assessment skills and gain real-time instructor feedback before treating human patients in the practicum experiences. As a result, Chamberlain University graduates are well-prepared to provide high-quality, evidence-based care to their patients.

  • Location: Addison, IL
  • Duration: Three years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)   
  • Tuition: $32,035 total

Husson University 

Husson University’s FNP program is an excellent option for nurses pursuing a master’s degree online. The program is 48 credits and includes 540 clinical hours. Classes are flexible and can be accessed 24/7. The courses are 15 weeks long. 

Husson University has a 95 percent passage rate for all nursing programs on national certification exams. Nurses who complete the FNP program will be eligible to sit for either the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam.

  • Location: Bangor, ME
  • Duration: 30 months
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)  
  • Tuition: $682 per credit

Herzing University

The FNP program at Herzing University is an excellent choice for working BSN nurses who want to continue their education. The program is entirely online, allowing students to complete coursework on their schedule. The FNP concentration consists of 48 semester-hours. The clinical requirements include 585 total clinical hours and 500 total patient encounters. The program has six start dates per year.

  • Location: Milwaukee, WI
  • Duration: Five semesters
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 
  • Tuition: $695 per credit 

DNP Programs

Oregon Health & Sciences University 

The family nurse practitioner (FNP) program at Oregon Health & Sciences University offers a unique hybrid distance education format, with on-campus three-day immersions one to two times per term and online coursework. 

The FNP program requires 1,000 clinical hours in addition to comprehensive didactic content. Students in the FNP program typically study 40 hours per week and also have the opportunity to participate in a rural-immersion clinical experience. This program prepares nurses for advanced practice roles in primary care and other settings. FNP graduates are ready to provide high-quality, evidence-based care for individuals and families across the lifespan. 

  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Duration: Three years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 
  • Tuition: $673 per credit (residents); $874 per credit (non-residents)

Simmons University 

Simmons University offers an online DNP program for post-MSN students. The program consists of 30 credits and 1,000 clinical hours. Students can apply hours earned in an MSN program towards the clinical hour requirement. The final research-based deliverable for the DNP degree is focused on family patient care. It is designed to demonstrate mastery of an advanced nursing specialty by improving practice or patient outcomes. 

The Doctoral Symposium for Emerging Nurse Leaders is an annual event where DNP students present their clinically relevant projects. This is a final requirement to complete their DNP degrees. Participation in the symposium provides valuable networking opportunities and allows students to receive feedback from faculty and peers. It also allows them to showcase their skills and achievements to potential employers.

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Duration: 3.5 years 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)  
  • Tuition: $1,440 per credit

University of Illinois Chicago 

The FNP program at the University of Illinois Chicago is delivered in a hybrid format, with foundational courses primarily online and FNP-specific coursework delivered both online and on campus. As a result, the program fully aligns with the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Competencies for Nurse Practitioners and the APRN Consensus Model. 

Upon completion, graduates can sit for the APRN Board Certification exam from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program. With a 100 percent pass rate on the certification exam and a #12 ranking in the U.S. News & World Report list of “Best Nursing Schools,” the University of Illinois Chicago is a top choice for those seeking to pursue a nursing career.

  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Duration: Two to six years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 
  • Tuition: $999 per credit

Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University’s FNP program prepares nurse practitioners to care for individuals across the lifespan. The program consists of 78 credits and 1,000 practicum hours and is offered entirely online with a minimum of eight on-campus immersions. 

Students outside Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana must arrange an additional on-campus day with one of the immersions during each practicum course to complete the faculty site visit requirement. The final DNP project is also required. Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible to take the FNP national certification exam.

  • Location: Spokane, WA
  • Duration: Five years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)   
  • Tuition: $1,100 per credit 

Post-Master’s Certificate Programs

George Washington University

The George Washington University post-master’s FNP certificate is designed for certified nurse practitioners who wish to expand their scope of practice to include family care. 

The program requires 30 credits of coursework, including 17 additional credits for RNs who are not already certified nurse practitioners. In addition, students must complete 500 clinical hours to earn the certificate. Unfortunately, applicants from Alabama, California, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are not currently eligible due to state authorization limitations.

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 
  • Tuition: $1,395 per credit

Georgia College School of Nursing 

The family nurse practitioner (FNP) post-master certificate program at Georgia College School of Nursing is designed for RNs who have completed an MSN degree and are seeking FNP certification. This program is offered in a fully online format with minimal face-to-face on-campus requirements during the program. 

The FNP program is a 32-credit-hour program that students can complete in as little as two years. For students who hold an APRN license and are board-certified in a specialty area, an individualized program of study will be developed by the program coordinator in the School of Nursing after determining the equivalency of courses. 

  • Location: Milledgeville, GA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 
  • Tuition: $294.00 per credit (residents); $1,047.00 per credit (non-residents)

Indiana State University 

The Indiana State University family nurse practitioner graduate certificate program is designed for registered nurses who already hold a master’s degree and wish to continue their education to expand their family nurse practitioner skills. This 26-credit-hour program can be completed entirely online, with clinical placements arranged by the student in the state or states where they are licensed. 

There is no need for on-campus visits, making this a convenient option for busy working professionals. The FNP program is open to eligible in-state and out-of-state applicants; however, it is not available to students in a country other than the United States (including U.S. military and State Department personnel and their family members).

  • Location: Terre Haute, IN
  • Duration: 16 months
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) 
  • Tuition: $438 per credit (residents); $569 per credit (non-residents)

Drexel University 

Drexel University’s online family nurse practitioner (FNP) post-master’s certificate provides experienced nurses who have earned their master of science in nursing (MSN) with the opportunity to prepare for a highly-rewarding career as a certified family nurse practitioner (CFNP). Graduates also become instantly eligible to sit for their Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam through AANP or ANCC. Drexel’s FNP program is ranked #5 on the U.S. News & World Report’s list of “Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.” The program consists of two, 2-day on-campus intensives and the individual flexibility of finding and coordinating clinical sites and preceptorships.

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Duration: Two to three years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,069 per credit

Jobs for FNP Graduates

There are many different jobs that FNP graduates can pursue. Here are three popular job options for FNP graduates. 

Primary Care Provider (PCP)

A primary care provider (PCP) is a medical professional who attends to patients with general health concerns. This may be a physician, a physician assistant (PA), a nurse practitioner (NP), or a family nurse practitioner (FNP). FNPs typically work in primary care settings, such as family medicine practices, pediatricians’ offices, and internal medicine clinics. 

They provide comprehensive care to patients of all ages and treat various health conditions. A PCP’s role in healthcare is to promote preventive care and healthy habits, identify and treat common medical conditions, establish the urgency of a patient’s medical problems, and make referrals to specialists when required. According to Payscale.com (Dec. 2022), the average salary for primary care nurse practitioners was $101,248 based on 1,807 self-reported salary profiles. 

Hospitalist

FNPs who work as hospitalists provide care to hospitalized patients. A primary care provider (PCP) transfers treatment management to a hospitalist when the patient is admitted. The hospitalist communicates with the primary care provider throughout the patient’s hospital stay. 

When a patient leaves the hospital, their primary care provider receives a summary of the patient’s visit and resumes responsibility for the patient’s ongoing care. In addition, they coordinate with the patient’s other doctors and ensure that the patient receives the best possible care while being treated for injuries or illnesses in the hospital. Data from ZipRecruiter (Dec. 2022) shows hospitalists earned $258,248 per year on average. 

Travel Nurse Practitioner (Locum Tenens)

FNPs can also pursue a career as travel nurse practitioners. In this role, they provide primary care and treat various health conditions for families, including adults, adolescents, and children. They may also specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as pediatrics or geriatrics. In addition, short- and long-term travel nurse practitioners can choose to have more control over their schedules, live near family or friends, or explore other parts of the country. 

As for the schedule, a locum tenens travel nurse practitioner’s schedule might include shift work, part-time employment, or contracts ranging from a few weeks, months, or even up to a year. As a result, travel NPs enjoy a great degree of schedule autonomy and location independence. According to ZipRecruiter (Dec. 2022), locum tenens nurse practitioners earned $150,665 annually.

Rachel Drummond, MEd

Rachel Drummond, MEd

Writer

At NursingColleges.com, 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.