Top Picks: The Best ACEN and CCNE Accredited MSN-FNP Programs by Region for 2019-20

Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner is a dream job for many registered nurses. As a practical, people-focused practice and with sub-specialties available to scratch any special medical interest you happen to have, the FNP is one of the most popular patient population options for many RNs ready to earn their master’s and make the move to advanced practice.

But the “advanced” in Advance Practice Registered Nurse isn’t just there for show… you have to work and study hard to earn that status and take on the weighty responsibility that comes with it.

You won’t be doing any of that without first earning a graduate degree, and the Master of Science in Nursing is still far and away the most popular option. The MSN is an intensive educational experience taking you through about 50 credits and 500 clinical hours covering advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, and health assessment and diagnosis, all designed to sharpen your nursing skills to a fine edge and prepare you to practice with a greater level of authority and autonomy.

It should be obvious that the master’s program you choose carries a lot of weight, both when it comes time to crush your national certification exam, and as you look to future career prospects and the possibility of independent practice. And this is exactly why we put together this list of what we think are the very best accredited MSN-FNP programs out there.

Accreditation Was Just the First Filter

Why only programs accredited by CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) or ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing)?

For starters, because those are the two most influential nursing accreditation bodies in the U.S. CCNE is the only accreditation body affiliated with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the main national voice supporting nursing education, while the ACEN is an off-shoot of the National League for Nursing and is the oldest nursing accreditor in the country. Together, they oversee nearly 2000 nursing schools are members, giving them the broadest perspective on current standards in nursing education of any of the specialty accreditation bodies.

But the other reason is that the process of becoming accredited improves the program itself. Both ACEN and CCNE accreditation puts candidate programs under the microscope, checking qualifications like:

  • Faculty and student participation in program governance
  • Accuracy of documents and publications
  • Adequate fiscal resources to meet program goals
  • Credentials of faculty and preceptors

If a school meets their stringent standards, then it clears the first hurdle.

Narrowing it Down to the Very Best MSN-FNP Programs

That still leaves a lot of schools on the board, though. So we got to work narrowing it down to our top 10 favorite programs in each region.

Success Rates on the National Certification Exams

One of the main things a school could do to get in our good graces is post a high pass rate for the national certification exams –the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) FNP board certification exam, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) FNP exam, or both. You’re stuck in neutral until you get your national certification, so when you see a school with a track record that shows a vast majority of graduates going on to ace their exams, it’s a good indicator that you’re looking at a program that takes exam prep and student outcomes seriously, even after graduation.

Convenience and Flexibility

By the very nature of the degree, virtually all MSN programs are geared toward helping working RNs gain advanced skills, and the career prospects and better salaries that come with it. In this sense, just about all MSN programs are structured with the scheduling needs of busy working nurses in mind. While this almost always means some online course material, the real trick is in finding the balance between ensuring students get the kind of hands-on training it takes to assimilate advanced theory in pathophysilology, health assessment and pharmacology, and the right level of convenience and flexibility it takes to see a program through to completion. Most programs these days offer some blend of online coursework and required on-site visits for lab work and practicum, but some schools make an extra effort to make their programs convenient enough to be accessible to even the busiest working nurses, by offering multiple start dates, the flexibility of asynchronous online coursework, a wide network of clinical partners in multiple states, and even the freedom to arrange for an all new preceptor and clinical partnership.

Experiences that Support Specific Career Paths

Earning your MSN is all about raising your level of expertise, and there are an array of different career paths your new advanced nursing skills can lead you down. For some, becoming an NP means stepping into a clinical leadership role in a major hospital, while for others it might mean going solo and opening a small, independent family clinic. Do you want to put your skills to work as a primary care provider in one of the many parts of the country with a chronic shortage of physicians? A program where practicums are expected to be completed in medically underserved communities would be a wise choice… Are you looking to take on a leadership role – and the higher salary that comes with it – at the hospital you currently work for? Clearly, a program tied in with a major hospital system is what you’re after.. Are you looking for an opportunity for travel, personal enrichment and a chance to work with truly diverse patients? A school that has a strong overseas study option might be the best fit for you.

Funding and Research Grants

Funding was another consideration. If schools are getting big grants, that means someone has spent enough time looking at them to decide they are worth the money. That means they are more likely to be worth yourmoney, too. Even more significantly, it means bigger, badder research work taking place there, training in state-of-the-art labs, and having more exposure to the latest technology in medicine today. These are all things any advanced practice nursing student would benefit from.

Scholarships

Speaking of money, we’re looking out for your pocketbook, too. Schools that offered a great value for the tuition rate were more likely to make the list than those that charge a lot but fail to deliver. We also considered the scholarship options available through the program. The more awards open to advanced practice nursing students, the better.

Student Satisfaction

At a time when few things are as valuable as customer reviews for businesses looking to give their clients the best possible product experience, many universities have followed suit. What better way for a school to find out what it’s doing right and where it might be able to improve than to ask the people who just completed a program? Nursing schools know it often only takes some small refinements to achieve the best results with students, so they’re routinely gathering feedback, and when they’ve achieved a high level of satisfaction, they’re publishing the results! What this process really shows is how committed a school is to creating the best possible student experience, so we gave a nod to nursing schools that took the time to survey graduates and post the results.

The Little Extras

Finally, we left room for the little extras, the stuff that’s hard to quantify but nonetheless made a particular program stand out from the pack. It could be a school with heart, one where the mission shines through the curriculum and infuses the community and graduates with spirit and hope. It could be extra specialty program options, focus areas that let you dive into a sub-specialty before you even get to graduation. Or it might be a particularly diverse set of clinical practicum options, giving you choices in a field plagued with a limited number of preceptors.

Location is Relevant in Nursing Education, Even with Online Programs

Nursing schools tend to partner with the clinics and hospitals around them for clinical training. This not only allows clinicals to be aligned with the standards and practices of local providers (including the level of independent practice and prescribing authority allowed by state boards and multi-state compacts), but also allows you to do your practicum with people you might later be looking to for career advancement or networking opportunities.

You’ll also be learning from instructors who often have their own networks in the area or hold positions of clinical authority in addition to their faculty posts. If you’re going to learn the trade, the best way to do it is under the guidance of the folks you might eventually work for or whose references will be respected in the community.

Our Favorite Accredited MSN-FNP Programs by Region

Whatever the special quality is that you’re looking for from the MSN-FNP program you choose, we’re convinced you are going to find the perfect school in your area somewhere on this list.


West Region

Midwest Region

South Region

Northeast Region


 

West Region

 

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Colorado Springs, CO
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Recently awarded an $8 million grant to support nursing education
  • Ranked among the best online graduate nursing programs by US News & World Report
  • 94% AANP exam pass rate
  • Full and part-time options
  • Fall and spring term admissions
  • Can be completed totally online with no required campus visits
  • 47 credits that include 630 clinical hours

The MSN-Primary Care FNP program at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences stands out like a beacon to us, but we’re not the only ones. The Johnson Foundation, a family-based giving network, recently pledged $8 million to support education for tomorrow’s nurses. The school also caught the eye of US News & World Report, who ranked it among the best online graduate nursing programs in the nation. Unlike many online programs that include mandatory campus visits, this is truly an online program – no visits required. You can graduate from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs on a full-time schedule, or take your time as a part-time student and complete it within six years. Choose between fall and spring admissions depending on what is best for your schedule. We got especially excited about the fact that the MSN-FNP program here turns out graduates with some of the best first-time pass rates on the national certification exams of any program out there.

 

Samuel Merritt University
School of Nursing
Oakland, CA
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Track

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: HESI A2
  • 100% employment rate
  • 98% FNP exam pass rate
  • Faculty members are distinguished, experienced, and connected
  • Focuses on meeting the healthcare needs of underserved and multicultural communities
  • Full-time format that can be completed in as little as 20 months
  • This program recruits nurses from diverse backgrounds
  • 49 credits

Perhaps the number one reason the MSN-FNP program at Samuel Merritt University’s School of Nursing stands out is its world-class faulty. You’ll learn from experienced professors with distinguished accolades like the Jeanette Chamberlain Award who serve on boards or otherwise affiliate with organizations like the California Association of Colleges of Nursing, National Institutes of Health, and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. As a full-time student here you can complete the 49-credit program and graduate in just 20 months. We like the fact that you learn alongside nurses with a diversity of backgrounds, and will complete the program well-prepared to provide quality primary care for some of the most underserved communities in America. For three years and counting 100 percent of this program’s graduates go on to work in jobs they love within six months of completing the program – this really speaks to the high demand for advanced practice nurses in California. Add to that the fact that the five-year average first time pass rate on the national FNP certification exam among Samuel Merritt graduates is 98 percent, and you know you got a program that can’t be beat. Wow!

 

University of Nevada, Las Vegas
School of Nursing
Las Vegas, NV
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Track

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • AACN selected faculty for advanced training
  • Scholarships and fellowships available
  • Full and part-time options
  • Clinical courses require just a few on-campus appearances
  • New cohort starts every fall with applications due in the winter
  • 46 credits including 675 clinical hours

You can’t help but be blown away by the exceptional faculty at the UNLV School of Nursing. With advanced invitation-only training from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses under their belts, you know you’ll be learning under the guidance of the very best instructors in the business. We also appreciate the dedication UNLV shows to the success of its nursing students, making scholarship and fellowship opportunities widely available and easy to access. A new group of advanced practice nursing students enroll each fall, and with scheduling options that allow full-time students to complete the program in as little as 16 months, as well as a more relaxed pace for part-time study that allows you to take as many as six-years, there’s an option to suit the needs of any student, no matter how demanding your schedule might be.

 

Northwest Nazarene University
Department of Nursing
Nampa, ID
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Faculty has more than 160 years of combined experience
  • Entry option for ADN-educated RNs
  • Designed for nurses who want to continue working while going to school
  • Four, one-week campus residency requirements
  • 48 credits total

Northwest Nazarene’s Department of Nursing has some unique bragging rights, and it all goes back to the world-class faculty: nowhere else in the region will you find a nursing school whose faculty have more than 160 years of combined experience in the field. Specifically designed for nurses who want to continue working while attending school, we know plenty of RNs in the area will really appreciate how this 48-credit program offers an entry option for associate’s-prepared nurses in addition to the traditional entry route for BSNs. Included in your curriculum are four one-week campus residency requirements where you’ll receive the hands-on training and testing you need to step into your new advanced practice role with confidence, while also getting a chance to work closely with instructors and fellow FNPs in-training.

 

Western University of Health Sciences
College of Graduate Nursing
Pomona, CA
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Program

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • First university in the nation to offer an online FNP program
  • Recently received a funding grant to enroll more FNPs
  • Full-time and part-time options
  • Designed for working nurses with minimum campus requirements
  • 65 credits including 675 clinical hours

You’ve picked the right time to apply to the MSN-FNP program at Western University’s College of Graduate Nursing: it just received a grant from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to increase the number of advanced practice RNs capable of addressing the growing demand for FNPs to serve as primary care providers. Not just any school gets a grant like this, but stakeholders know the MSN program at Western University can deliver. Designed specifically for nurses who want to remain where they are and continue working while they study, it only requires two on-campus weekend sessions each semester. We like that kind of flexibility, which extends to the fact that your 675 precepted clinical hours can be completed in your local community. And the flexibility doesn’t end there. The program is designed to meet the scheduling needs of even the busiest nursing student, allowing you to take up to three years to complete the program on a part-time basis.

 

Regis University
Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professionals
Denver, Colorado
Website

Master of Science, Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Specialization

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • 80% ANCC average three-year pass rate; 86% AANP average three-year pass rate
  • Connections with 69 organizations that provide student volunteer opportunities
  • Curriculum incorporates FNP certification exam preparation
  • New cohort starts every fall
  • Can be completed in six semesters over two years
  • 54 credits that include 630 clinical hours 

Regis University’s Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professionals designed its six-semester MSN program with an eye towards improving the shortage of FNPs who work in rural and underserved communities. You can complete this program’s 630-hour clinical segment in your local community, and decide whether to take advantage of the connections Regis maintains with 69 organizations that offer volunteer opportunities. As a graduate of Rueckert-Hartman College, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running as a newly minted advanced practice nurse since FNP exam preparation is included right in the official curriculum. Scheduling flexibility is also the name of the game here – you’re only required to appear on-campus for five intensive sessions in total, and schedule one live online classroom event per week.

 

University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus
College of Nursing
Aurora, Colorado
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Program

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: GRE required if your GPA is below 3.0
  • Ranked among the Top-10 best online graduate nursing programs by US News & World Report
  • Outstanding first-time FNP certification exam pass rate
  • Graduate full-time in 2.5 years over eight semesters
  • Fall and spring start times
  • 42 credits in total with 630 clinical hours

The CU Anschutz Medical Campus College of Nursing has been offering online degrees since 1998, long before most people even owned a computer, so you better believe they know how to create an effective program and an exceptional student experience. And their MSN-FNP is no exception. In addition to having years of experience, the quality education you get at CU is borne out in numerous accolades, which have included being ranked in the Top-10 for best online MSN programs by US News & World Report in 2017. As a graduate nursing student here, you have the option to start your career in advanced practice with an MSN degree, or to continue on to earn a DNP, both of which offer the FNP concentration.

 

California State University Bakersfield
CSUB Nursing
Bakersfield, CA
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Partnered with many pre-established clinical preceptors, and also allows for new clinical agreements
  • Small class sizes
  • 44 credits that include 585 clinical hours 

The MSN-FNP program at CSUB is your ticket to a career in advanced practice, preparing you to serve as a skilled primary care provider focused on disease prevention, health promotion, and the management of common conditions in patients that range from young children to adults. Since 1996 when the FNP program at CSUB was first established, the school has developed a strong reputation for its emphasis on small class sizes, producing an elite group of only about 100 highly-skilled FNPs during that time. At a time when preceptors are often in short supply in California, creating a bottleneck to clinical training, students at CSUB don’t have that problem. As a student here you can choose to take advantage of the many long-standing preceptor relationships that are already in place, or you can create your own. As FNPs are increasingly being seen as a critical resource for the Central Valley, now more than ever, CSUB wants to see you succeed in your career goals.

 

University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences
College of Nursing
San Marcos, CA
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Program

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Study abroad opportunity
  • Possibility for tuition reduction
  • Graduation possible in 28 months
  • Two three-day on-campus residences with an optional on-campus immersion
  • 50-credit program with 585 hours of practica experience

We can’t help but love the MSN-FNP program at the University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences for the way it combines unique opportunities for international travel and enrichment with convenience and quality. With an opportunity to study abroad in Italy, you’ll have the chance to experience a top-ranked European-style healthcare system, right alongside the majestic beauty of Rome, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, and more. With the President’s Fund for the Advancement of Nursing, a resource established to recognize the MSN program for earning CCNE accreditation, you might even qualify for a reduced tuition rate and gain access to these amazing opportunities for education and travel for less than you might expect.

 

West Coast University
MSN Program
Irvine, CA
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Track

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Highly qualified doctorate and MSN-prepared faculty
  • Graduate in as few as 36 months
  • Six on-site intensives during your second and third years of study
  • 53 credits in total including 650 hours of clinical experience

It’s the faculty at West Coast University that make the MSN-FNP Program here shine. This world-class group of published researchers and professors are highly influential in the field, often invited to speak at conferences throughout the world. Designed to be completed in three years on a trimester schedule, this 53-credit MSN includes 650 hours of clinical experience, and six on-site intensive experiences that range between two and three days each. It’s during these immersive experiences that you’ll become familiar with the meat and potatoes of advanced practice nursing, working with a diverse patient population to provide advanced health assessments and primary care.

Midwest Region

 

University of Missouri-Kansas City
School of Nursing and Health Studies
Kansas City, MO
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • 99% FNP exam pass rate among recent graduates
  • More than 20 years of experience offering online programs
  • Ranked among the top-10 most affordable online graduate nursing programs and 18th-best online nursing program in the nation overall by US News & World Report
  • Scholarships available
  • Full and part-time options available
  • Spring and summer start dates
  • Diverse community partnerships in the Kansas City area
  • 46 credits in total

The MSN-FNP program at UMKC School of Nursing and Health Sciences really stands out among the many great programs available in the Midwest, and has earned some impressive accolades from US News & World Report as a result: it ranks in the top-20 schools nationally for having the best online nursing program, and among the top-10 for having an affordable online. The school’s diverse community partnerships make it easy to find clinical sites in the greater Kansas City area where preceptors are glad to support you in your experiential learning as you prepare for your new role in advanced practice. With more than 20 years of online education experience, UMKC knows how to get results, as is clearly demonstrated in the fact that 99% of recent graduates passed their national FNP exams. You’ll find plenty of scholarships here to help fund your education, which means you could end up with a premier MSN from UMKC for even less than you might think.

 

Saint Louis University
School of Nursing
Saint Louis, MO
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Program

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Ranked among the best online MSN programs in the nation by US News & World Report
  • More than 30 scholarships offered
  • National leader in nursing since 1928
  • Experienced faculty – the majority of whom have a doctoral degree – with a history of advancing research in nursing
  • Offering Missouri’s first fully online MSN program since 2000
  • Full and part-time options
  • Two campus visits required, including one two-day orientation before you start
  • 61 credits

The MSN-FNP program at the SLU School of Nursing first caught our attention for its stated commitment to promoting quality family healthcare to help alleviate poverty, ignorance, injustice, and hunger. This is a philosophy as bold and ambitious as it is altruistic, and really says something about the kind of family NPs SLU is committed to sending out into the community. As a student here, you’ll have access to more than 30 scholarships, and might be able to earn your prestigious MSN from SLU at a lower tuition rate than you’d expect. Saint Louis University has been a national leader in nursing education for nearly 90 years. In fact, it was the first school in the state to offer a fully online MSN program nearly 20 years ago. This program also caught the eye of US News & World Report, which has ranked it among the best online MSN program in the nation.

 

Maryville University
Myrtle E. and Earl E. Walker College of Health Professions
Saint Louis, MO
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Ranks among the best universities in the nation by US News & World Report and Forbes
  • Ranks among the Top-100 private universities for value by Kiplinger’s
  • 100% employment rate for graduates
  • 91% FNP certification exam pass rate
  • Six entry dates into this program every year
  • 47 credits (15 courses), including 745 clinical hours

With an impressive track record showing that 100% of the MSN-FNP graduates from the Walker College of Health Professions at Maryville U go on to jobs they love soon after completing the program, advanced practice nursing students can jump into this program with confidence. And you can double-down on that confidence knowing that 91% of recent grads passed one of the FNP certification exams on their first try. And Maryville University doesn’t just stand out to us as one of the best options out there for earning your MSN. Several national ranking organizations have also named this school among the best private universities in the nation in terms of both value and quality.

 

Ball State University
School of Nursing
Muncie, IN
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Path

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Designated as a center of excellence by the National League for Nursing
  • In 2017: 97% AANP FNP exam pass rate; 100% ANCC FNP exam pass rate
  • Ranks in the top-25 best online graduate nursing programs according to US News & World Report
  • Spring and fall start dates
  • Entry option for ADN-prepared RNs with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees
  • Full and part-time options with graduation possible in as little as six semesters
  • GRE not required for admission
  • 47 credits that include 690 clinical hours and one on-campus orientation

We just can’t say enough about the MSN-FNP program at Ball State U School of Nursing. The fact that it’s on the National League for Nursing’s list for being a Center of Excellence is the first hint that you’re looking at a program of the highest quality. Add to that a 97% pass rate on the AANP’s FNP national certification exam, and a 100% pass rate on the ANCC exam, and it’s clear that Ball State delivers results. There’s even an entry option for ADN-educated RNs with a bachelor’s in a field other than nursing. Convenience comes with a straightforward application process that requires no entrance exams, and two start dates evenly spaced throughout the year.

 

Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
School of Nursing
Indianapolis, IN
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Track

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Ranked the best MSN program in Indiana by US News & World Report, and among the top-30 nationally
  • Full and part-time options available
  • $700,000 in scholarships awarded annually to nursing students
  • Resources for student loan forgiveness options as part of the Nurse Faculty Loan Program
  • GRE not required
  • Fall admission
  • 43 credits that include 600 clinical hours

What school has the best MSN program in Indiana? If you asked US News & World Report, they’d tell you it’s the School of Nursing at IUPUI, and we can see why. You’ll study under the direction of nationally recognized faculty who are keen to provide you with tools for success that go beyond just coursework and clinical training. As a student here, you’ll get personal assistance with things like the Nurse Faculty Loan Program to help you quickly get back into the black after you graduate. But with $700,000 in scholarships awarded to IUPUI nursing students every year, you might get this world-class education without dipping as far into the red as you might think.

 

Lewis University
College of Nursing and Health Professionals
Romeoville, IL
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Specialization

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Ranked among the top-25 best universities in the Midwest by US News & World Report
  • 40 years of experience graduating qualified nurses
  • 120 healthcare partners
  • Arrangements with 54 clinical sites
  • Entry option RNs without a BSN
  • Designed for working nurses who want to keep their job while studying
  • 48 credits

The first thing that stood out to us about the MSN program at the Lewis University College of Nursing and Health Professions were the impressive numbers: 120 healthcare partners… 40 years of excellence in nursing education… 54 clinical sites… and a top-25 ranking among the best universities in the Midwest. But these aren’t just numbers; they represent something much bigger than numbers can adequately express. These elements combine to create an exceptional student experience that delivers results, preparing you to step confidently into your new role as family NP.

 

University of Cincinnati
College of Nursing
Cincinnati, OH
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Ranked 11th best online graduate nursing program in the nation by US News & World Report
  • 93% pass rate on the ANCC FNP certification exam
  • Ranked 7thbest online MSN for veterans by US News & World Report
  • Entry option for RNs who hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree
  • No campus requirements
  • Admission possible each term
  • 50 credits that include 672 clinical hours

When we reviewed the MSN-FNP at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing we found we weren’t alone in being impressed with the quality and value of this program. In fact, US News & World Report named the online MSN here 11th-best in the entire nation overall, and 7th in the nation for veterans specifically. Third party accolades aside, the FNP program at U of Cincinnati also stood out for remarkably high pass rates on the national certification exam, an entry option for ADN-prepared RNs with a non-nursing bachelor’s, the option to start in any term you want, and absolutely no on-campus requirements!

 

Ohio State University
College of Nursing
Columbus, OH
Website

Master of Science, Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: GRE if your GPA is below 3.0
  • Named a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing
  • The College of Nursing was just awarded a $1.39 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Ranked among the best graduate nursing schools in the nation by US News & World Report
  • Full and part-time options available
  • 106 credits with 200-225 preceptor-guided clinical hours

$1.3 million. That’s the amount of a grant just awarded to the College of Nursing at Ohio State University. Much of that funding was earmarked for its family nurse practitioner program under conditions laid out by the US Department of Health and Human Services to increase access to preceptor partnerships for advanced practice nursing students. And even before the benefits of that grant comes to the FNP program, US News & World Report already recognized OSU as having one of the best graduate nursing schools in the nation. Those are just some of the reasons why this program makes our list of the very best MSN-FNP programs in the Midwest.

 

Indiana State University
School of Nursing
Terre Haute, IN
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration

  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • 98% average graduation rate over the past three years
  • 82% average FNP exam pass rate among graduates over the past three years
  • 100% average job placement rate for graduates over the past three years
  • Option for a thesis, culminating project, or evidence-based practice study
  • Spring and fall start times
  • No campus visits required
  • 47-50 credits with 675 clinical hours

How would you like to enroll in an MSN program where you’re virtually guaranteed to graduate and then secure a position you love in your new role as family NP soon after? It might sound too good to be true, but that’s exactly what advanced practice nursing students in the MSN-FNP program at Indiana State University experience. Over the past three years, 98 percent of students in this program have graduated, and 100 percent of those graduates work with families in advanced practice nursing roles. As a student here, you can choose to complete a thesis to give yourself additional career options in the area of research. When it comes time to get started, you’ll find two evenly-spaced start times to choose from each year. And the total number of required campus visits to Indiana State University for the MSN-FNP program is…zero. How’s that for convenience?

 

Spring Arbor University
Online Nursing School
Spring Arbor, MI
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • 100% FNP national certification exam pass rate
  • Full and part-time options available
  • Designed for nurses who plan to work full-time while they study
  • Entry point for associate’s-prepared RNs
  • Supportive Christ-honoring online community
  • Ranked among the best colleges in the Midwest by US News & World Report
  • 55 credits designed in a one-course-at-a-time format

Well, you just can’t get any better than 100%. In large part, earning your MSN en route to becoming an advanced practice nurse is about being prepared to confidently ace the national certification exam before being licensed and stepping into your new role. So when we come across an MSN program turning out graduates with a 100% pass rate on FNP certification exams, we think that deserves a special call-out. This very point has a lot to do with why Spring Arbor U made our list for top MSN-FNP programs in the Midwest. Designed for working nurses – but still offering both full and part-time options – it should come as no surprise that half of Spring Arbor U’s online students are adult learners. SAU also got the attention of US News & World Report, who ranked it among the best regional colleges in the Midwest. To ensure the FNP program is accessible to as many prospective students as possible, the school even has an entry route for RNs with associate’s degrees.

South Region

 

Duke University
School of Nursing
Durham, NC
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Major

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: GRE if your GPA is below 3.4
  • Ranked the best family NP program, second-best graduate school for nursing, and one of the top-10 best online graduate nursing programs for veterans by US News & World Report
  • Ranked the 20th-best nursing school in the world
  • Great networking opportunities, with graduates working in all 50 states and more than 19 different countries
  • $33 million in active research grants as of 2018, including 16 grants from the National Institutes of Health
  • Center for Nursing Research offers unique opportunities for scholarship
  • Extensive connections with the local community for healthcare opportunities
  • Possibility to earn clinical credit at an international site
  • Ranked 10thin the nation for funding and research by the National Institutes of Health
  • Scholarships available for master’s students
  • Opportunity to study abroad through global clinical/cultural immersion experiences
  • Named the best school for men in nursing by the American Assembly for Men in Nursing
  • Possibility to add a specialty in an area such as cardiology, endocrinology, HIV/AIDS, oncology, orthopedics, and pediatric behavior and mental health
  • 49 credits with 728 clinical hours

The MSN-FNP program at Duke’s School of Nursing easily makes our list of the best in the business. It’s almost impossible to name all the accolades and great features this program offers without gushing. The family NP program here is ranked number-one in the nation by US News & World Report, and among the top-10 in the nation for veterans. When it comes to funding and opportunities, the Duke School of Nursing has you covered there too. The National Institutes of Health rank Duke the 10th-best in the nation when it comes to funding and research. This is thanks in large part to the world-class faculty here and features like the Center for Nursing Research, whose depth of resources for nursing students is unmatched. In 2018 alone the school had $33 million in active research grants, a figure that is larger than many schools’ entire nursing program budget. Expertise and generous funding combine to place scholarship opportunities at your fingertips, as well as the option to obtain niche specializations to add onto your FNP major in areas like oncology, HIV/AIDS, cardiology, orthopedics, pediatric behavior and mental health, and endocrinology. Do you want to travel the world while earning clinical credit at an international site? Sure, you can do that at Duke too.

 

University Alabama Birmingham
School of Nursing
Birmingham, AL
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: GRE, MAT, or GMAT
  • Ranked nationally among the top-10 best MSN programs, and among the top-20 best online graduate programs by US News & World Report
  • Designated by the World Health Organization as a Collaborating Center for International Nursing because of the school’s involvement in the Pan American Health Organization
  • Great place to network for opportunities to work and study abroad
  • Nurse-managed clinic offers convenient opportunities to gain experience for those who live in the area
  • Ranks among the top-15 nursing schools nationally for receiving funding grants from the National Institutes of Health according to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research
  • Elective courses offered for further specialization in areas like diabetes management and electrocardiography
  • Can graduate in six semesters as a full-time student starting in the fall
  • Four campus visits required
  • Summer and fall entry options
  • GRE waiver for students with a BSN whose last 60 credits were at least a 3.2 GPA
  • Additional entry option for non-nurses with a bachelor’s degree in any subject
  • 45 credits including 600 hours of direct patient care

There’s no other school on our list that is as enthusiastic about its involvement in the Pan American Health Organization as the University of Alabama. For MSN-FNP nursing students at the School of Nursing, this has the advantage of providing opportunities to work and study abroad. It also gives you the opportunity to meet visiting APRNs-in-training from different countries who are choosing the School of Nursing in Birmingham because of its World Health Organization designation as a Collaborating Center for International Nursing. But a unique international flavor isn’t the only reason this program makes our list; it’s also distinguished by its quality. The MSN program is ranked among the top-10 best nationally, while its online graduate program is ranked among the top-20 best nationally according to US News & World Report. The School of Nursing is also renown for its funding, which translates into quality faculty and stimulating classes. It’s ranked among the top-15 nursing schools in the nation for receiving funding grants from the National Institutes of Health. Unique among most programs, here you can add an extra specialization to your FNP focus in areas like diabetes management or electrocardiography.

 

West Virginia University
School of Nursing
Morgantown, WV
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Program

(BSN-DNP with an MSN-FNP stop-out option)
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Over $1.75 million in research awards and grants
  • Nearly 100% job placement rate
  • Advanced research opportunities, such as studying how to reduce health disparities in rural Appalachia
  • 100% pass rate on the ANCC FNP exam
  • Travel and research abroad opportunities
  • Connections with local, state, national, and international healthcare opportunities
  • Seamlessly continue on to a DNP with 14 additional credits
  • Seven campus attendance requirements in either Morgantown or Charleston
  • Full and part-time options
  • Graduate in as little as six semesters over two years full-time, or take up to 12 semesters over four years part-time
  • 48 credits

The online MSN-FNP program at the West Virginia University School of Nursing is unique among even the best programs of its kind. It’s technically a BSN-DNP program with an FNP concentration, however it gives students the option to “stop-out” along their path and earn an MSN. We like this kind of flexibility, and if you decide later to continue on to earn the DNP, you simply take the 14 additional credits. A couple remarkable statistics also helped the WVU program stand out: a nearly 100 percent job placement rate for graduates and a 100 percent pass rate on the ANCC FNP exam. It’s almost an understatement to say you’re in good hands at the WVU School of Nursing. Add to that a recent award of more than $1.75 million in research grants, plus the opportunity to study abroad, and you might start to think your education is too much fun!

 

University of South Alabama
College of Nursing
Mobile, AL
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Extensive experience delivering course content online
  • Optional sub-specialties in the subjects of cardiovascular, palliative care, nursing education, and clinical lipidology
  • Maintains resources that provide information on national nursing scholarships
  • Option for dual specialization as an FNP and Adult-Gerontological Acute Care NP
  • Fall, spring, and summer admission options
  • Relatively easy application process – GRE/MAT and letters of recommendation are not required
  • Entry option for non-BSN bachelor’s-prepared RNs
  • Possibility of on-campus testing and orientation each semester
  • Graduation possible in seven semesters
  • 45 credits with 600 clinical hours

The MSN-FNP program at the University of South Alabama College of Nursing stands out to us for several important reasons. First, it gives you the option to add a sub-specialty on top of your FNP in the areas of palliative care, nursing education, cardiovascular, or clinical lipidology. This lets you tailor your degree even more to focus on a niche area of practice. You also have the option for a dual specialization that combines your FNP concentration with courses that would make you eligible to also become an Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. We also like the fact that the University of South Alabama bends over backwards to get you admitted. It maintains a scholarship resource database and the admissions application process is relatively easy. The College of Nursing additionally provides an entry path for RNs who don’t have a BSN and lets you choose a fall, spring, or summer start date.

 

East Tennessee State University
College of Nursing
Johnson City, TN
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration

  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • 90.1% pass rate on the FNP exam
  • Nationally recognized for its nurse-managed health centers, rural focus, interdisciplinary programs, and community partnerships
  • Ranked nationally among the best online programs as well as among the best graduate nursing schools in the nation by US News & World Report
  • MSN program operates 13 nurse-managed health centers
  • Full and part-time options
  • Fall, spring, and summer start options
  • Graduate full-time in as little as four semesters
  • 51 credits with 500 clinical hours

You can’t help but be impressed by the fact that recent graduates of the MSN-FNP program at the East Tennessee State College of Nursing demonstrated a better-than-90% pass rate on the FNP exam. The College of Nursing at East Tennessee State is nationally recognized for its rural focus, nurse-managed health centers, community partnerships, and interdisciplinary programs. It also ranks among the best graduate nursing schools in the nation by US News & World Report, and that goes for its online programs too. This program is a clear winner, and if you’re local, you’ll find 13 nurse-managed health centers where you can gain experience. You can’t beat the convenience of full or part-time study options with the choice of starting any semester of the year.

 

Austin Peay State University
School of Nursing
Clarksville, TN
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration

  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • 95% of students report that their preceptors are “excellent”
  • Nursing relationship with the US Army
  • Maintains a directory of job opportunities and scholarships offered by national organizations
  • Entry option for non-BSN bachelor’s-prepared RNs
  • Spring, summer, and fall admission options
  • Offered through a partnership between Austin Peay State University, Tennessee State University, Tennessee Technological University, and The University of Memphis
  • 80% first-time FNP exam pass rate
  • 91% of alumni employed within a year of graduation
  • Employers report regarding the graduates of this program favorably
  • 46 credits

The reputation of the MSN-FNP program at the Austin Peay State University School of Nursing precedes it: Eighty percent of grads nail the FNP certification exam on their first attempt, 91% go on to secure positions they love within a year of earning their degree, and thanks to relationships the school maintains with the best preceptors around, 95% of students describe the guidance and clinical training they receive as excellent. A unique point we appreciate about Austin Peay State University’s School of Nursing is that it maintains a relationship with the US Army to provide unique learning experiences for enlisted nursing students. We’re also impressed with its scholarship directory and the range of convenient options it offers, from an entry point for RNs without a BSN to start dates available every semester.

 

University of North Carolina Wilmington
School of Nursing
Wilmington, NC
Website

Master of Science – Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • 96% FNP exam pass rate
  • 92% job placement rate
  • Ranked among the best regional universities in the South by US News & World Report
  • Ranked among the top military-friendly colleges by Military Times
  • Full and part-time study options with up to five years allowed to graduate
  • Resources for enrollment in student loan rebate programs
  • Fall semester start date
  • 46-47 credits with 600 clinical hours

We’re always impressed when a school has high national certification exam pass rates and high job placement rates. It means you can rest assured that your program does everything it can to prepare you to clear the hurdles necessary to become a nurse practitioner. The MS-FNP program at the UNC Wilmington School of Nursing does just that, boasting a 96% FNP exam pass rate and a 92% job placement rate among recent grads. And we’re not the only ones to notice: Military Times ranked UNC Wilmington as one of the most military-friendly colleges in the nation, and US News & World Report ranks it among the best regional universities in the South. The FNP program also stands out to us for the extra support it offers nursing students, including individual guidance on student loan forgiveness programs.

 

Tennessee Technological University
Whitson-Hester School of Nursing
Cookeville, TN
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Accreditation: CCNE (expected by Fall 2019)
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Employers report a 100% satisfaction rate with Tennessee Tech graduates they’ve hired
  • Scholarships available specifically for nursing students
  • 95% of students said their preceptors were excellent
  • 80% first-time FNP exam pass rate
  • 91% of graduates found jobs in their field within a year of graduation
  • Graduating nurses since 1982
  • 51 credits

Everybody is talking about the MSN-FNP program at the Tennessee Tech Whitson-Hester School of Nursing: employers who hire graduates of this program say they are 100 percent satisfied… 95 percent of students in the program say their preceptors are excellent. Now we’re the ones doing the talking about the FNP program at the Whitson-Hester School of Nursing. As if the survey responses from recent graduates and the employers that hire them weren’t enough, there’s also the fact that more than 90% of recent grads hold advanced practice nursing positions they love, working with families in settings that range from hospitals to small family clinics. We also appreciate the scholarship resources available here, and the fact that students can be confident they’re in good hands with the highly experienced, expert instructors found in the Whitson-Hester School of Nursing.

 

Frontier Nursing University
MSN FNP Program
Hyden, KY
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty Track

  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Historic school, site of the first midwifery program in the nation, founded by Mary Breckinridge
  • New wave of preceptors just signed on with the university
  • Ranked among the best nursing schools and best online graduate nursing programs by US News & World Report
  • Option to continue on to earn a DNP seamlessly with 19 more credits
  • Full and part-time options
  • Entry option for ADN nurses
  • Two short on-campus visits required
  • 61 credits with 675 clinical hours

The MSN-FNP program at Frontier Nursing University is steeped in a historic and very special tradition. This is the original and first school in the nation for nurse midwifery, founded by the legendary Mary Breckinridge in 1925. Much of that original groundbreaking experience and knowledge has been passed down through generations of nursing professionals who carry forward this school’s honorable tradition. This long legacy is still very much alive in the nurse practitioner programs offered here today. What’s more, after earning your MSN you can seamlessly continue on to earn a DNP if you choose. You couldn’t consider enrolling here at a better time, as a new cadre of preceptors has just signed on with the university on the heels of a major nursing conference.

 

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
School of Nursing
Lubbock, TX
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Track

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Designated a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing
  • Faculty-led interprofessional excursions abroad as part of the Global Health Initiative
  • Career Services Center provides job placement assistance
  • Dedicated academic counselors available to support students
  • 93% three-year average FNP exam pass rate
  • Full and part-time options
  • Five on-campus skills labs required
  • 48 credits

Where in Northern Texas can you find an NLN-designated Center of Excellence in Nursing Education and the opportunity to travel around the world with the Global Health Initiative? At the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing in Lubbock – that’s where. The MSN-FNP program here produces skilled NPs ready for their new role in advanced practice, as is clear with the impressive 93 percent average FNP exam pass rate over the past three years. We also couldn’t help but notice Texas Tech’s commitment to student success, during the program and while transitioning out into the job market. As a student here you’ll have access to dedicated retention counselors whose job is to make sure you feel comfortable in the program, and as you look to step into your new role as family NP after graduation, you’ll work with the Career Services Center to ensure a successful transition.

Northeast Region

 

Duquesne University
School of Nursing
Pittsburgh, PA
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • 100% pass rate on the AANP FNP exam
  • Optional concentrations in forensic nursing, nursing education and faculty role, and transcultural nursing
  • Designated a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing
  • Ranked among the best online graduate nursing programs by US News & World Report
  • Three start dates every year
  • No GRE required for admission
  • Two campus visits required during the program
  • 42 credits

The MSN-FNP program at theDuquesne UniversitySchool of Nursing has achieved some really noteworthy accomplishments, and has a reputation to match. For starters, every single one of the most recent cohort that went on to take the AANP’s FNP certification exam cleared the hurdle. It doesn’t get any better than 100%, and you can be sure this tells the story of how committed Duquesne is to the success of its nursing students. We’re also thoroughly impressed with the unique choices this program offers in terms of specialties that can be added to your FNP focus: forensic nursing, transcultural nursing, and nursing education-faculty. The MSN program is ranked by US News & World Report as being among the best online graduate nursing programs in the nation and if that accolade weren’t enough, consider the fact that the Duquesne University School of Nursing is distinguished as a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing, signifying its commitment to excellence in nursing education.

 

Simmons College
School of Nursing and Health Sciences
Boston, MA
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Program

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • 94.2% FNP exam pass rate
  • Entry option for ADN-prepared RNs
  • Clinical placement team to help you find a preceptor in your local community
  • Offering nursing education since 1902
  • Small class size of 15 students
  • Full and part-time options with completion ranging between five and seven terms
  • 48 credits including 672 clinical hours

The first thing that caught our eye about the MSN-FNP program at the Simmons College School of Nursing and Health Sciences is its track record for producing graduates that knock it out of the park on the FNP national certification exam. With a pass rate of 94%, you can be confident this program will leave you well-prepared to clear the exam hurdle and step into your new role as family NP. We also appreciate how Simmons goes out of its way to cater to every type of nursing student interested in pursuing a graduate degree in advanced practice family nursing: you can choose from either a full-time or part-time option, and there’s an entry option for both BSN and ADN-prepared RNs. Simmons College has built a stellar reputation for excellence in nursing education, going back to the beginning of the 20th century. At Simmons you’ll find faculty committed to your success, small class sizes, and a dedicated clinical placement team to help you find a preceptor in your local community.

 

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
Graduate Nursing Program
Standish, ME
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Specialization

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Educational partnerships that offer tuition discounts
  • Entry track for non-BSN nurses
  • Full and part-time options with completion times ranging from two-to-five years
  • GRE or GMAT not required
  • Four start terms every year
  • 48 credits

Where in Maine can you find an advanced practice nursing program for FNPs with a relatively easy admissions process that offers full and part-time options, plus an entry path for nurses without a BSN? At Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, of course. We know what it’s like to be a working nurse trying to earn a graduate degree on your own time, so we really appreciate these kinds of flexible options… and there are more. You can choose between four different start dates every year, and once you start you can take up to five years to complete the program – it doesn’t get any more flexible than that! When it comes time for your clinicals you’ll appreciate the educational partnerships the program maintains, and your pocketbook will too since they offer the opportunity to earn a discount of up to 10% on your tuition!

 

Clarion University
Department of Nursing
Clarion, PA
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Program

  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • 92.7% AANP FNP exam three-year average pass rate; 100% ANCC FNP exam pass rate
  • Ranked one of the best value colleges by Money magazine
  • Ranked among the best online master’s in nursing programs by US News & World Report
  • Full and part-time options, with graduation possible in as little as two years full-time, or as many as six years part-time
  • 34 hours of campus-based requirements for skill labs and a physical assessment
  • Choice of mentored scholarly project or thesis
  • Admission once a year in fall semester
  • Offered as a program in cooperation with Clarion University and Edinboro University
  • 45 credits including 600 practica hours

Money magazine ranks Clarion University as one of the best colleges in the nation by value, and after reviewing the MSN-FNP program at its department of nursing we can see why. Start with a commendable pass rate on FNP exams: a 93 percent three-year average on the AANP exam, and a 100 percent ANCC pass rate for the most recent cohort. We like how this program gives you choices to tailor your education to your schedule and goals. That includes full or part-time options that allow you to take as many as six years to complete the program and the choice to write a thesis if want to maximize your options for further education if you’re considering the possibility of a doctorate.

 

Thomas Jefferson University
College of Nursing
Philadelphia, PA
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family-Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Designated as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing
  • Ranked among the best master’s in nursing graduate schools by US News & World Report
  • Option to add a concentration in community systems administration
  • Full and part-time options, with graduation possible in as little as 15 months over four semesters or as many as five years
  • 36 credits

There aren’t many online MSN-FNP programs that offer the option to add an additional specialty concentration to the existing focus on the family patient population. But the MSN offered through the College of Nursing at Thomas Jefferson University does just that. You can opt to add a concentration in community systems administration that will equip you with nursing management leadership abilities, alongside your advanced-practice FNP direct care skills. This is something that gives you more career prospects and better prepares you to lead in your role as a clinician. And it doesn’t stop there. You can choose a full or part-time study track that lets you graduate in anywhere between 15 months and five years. We’re not the only ones recommending this program either. The National League for Nursing has recognized the college as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education, while US News & World Report has ranked it among the best master’s in nursing graduate schools in the nation!

 

Monmouth University
School of Nursing and Health Sciences
West Long Branch, NJ
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Track

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Distinguished faculty, most of whom have doctoral degrees
  • Entry options for ADN-prepared RNs with a non-nursing bachelor’s
  • Three practica courses
  • 45 credits divided between graduate nursing core courses, APN courses, and FNP specialty courses

The MSN-FNP program at the Monmouth University School of Nursing and Health Sciences stands out for several reasons, and easily earns a place on our list of the best nursing graduate programs in the Northeast. Most of the world-class faculty here hold doctoral degrees, and many have been recognized for excellence in the field. This includes everyone from the program director who recently won two prestigious awards, to an assistant professor who was recognized for her outstanding work in nursing education. And you can’t help but love a program that makes an effort to accommodate all types of nursing students, including an entry-point for ADN-educated RNs with a non-nursing bachelor’s.

 

Pennsylvania State University
College of Nursing
University Park, PA
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Option

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Full and part-time options available
  • Summer and fall admission options
  • Latest technological developments incorporated into online courses
  • 45 credits including 675 clinical hours (classes are divided into core MSN courses, a capstone course that includes a scholarly paper, advanced practice nursing courses, and FNP courses)

The MSN-FNP program at the Pennsylvania State University College of Nursing distinguishes itself from others, starting with some flexible options like full or part-time study and summer or fall admission dates, showing they really understand the scheduling challenges of working RNs trying to earn their graduate degrees. It’s also one of the few universities in the nation to offer online courses in virtual reality. That’s right, virtual reality. Plug in your smartphone to the VR headset and you’ll find yourself sitting in a virtual classroom or looking first-hand at health hazards in a patient’s home with a 360-degree view of your learning environment. This is thanks to an innovative partnership the PSU College of Nursing has developed with World Campus. If you decide to continue on with your education to earn a DNP, you can transition to that program and graduate with an additional 38 credits.

 

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University
School of Nursing
Boston, MA
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • 91% pass rate on national FNP certification exam
  • Spring and summer start date options
  • Offered part-time with graduation possible after six semesters in as little as 24 months
  • Designed for working nurses with clinical segments taking place in your local community
  • 42 credits that include 630 clinical hours

The MSN-FNP program through the School of Nursing at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University offers a curriculum designed for convenience. With classes that are evenly distributed over fall, spring, and summer semesters, you can graduate from this program on a part-timebasis in as little as two years. That’s usually the minimum amount of time it takes to graduate as a full-time student from most MSN-FNP programs. That means you can continue meeting your other work and family life obligations while getting a top tier grad-level education and preparing for your next big career move. And this program certainly doesn’t sacrifice quality of instruction for a speedier completion time either, as evidenced by the fact that the most recent graduating class demonstrated a 91% pass rate on the FNP certification exam! We are impressed.

 

SUNY Stony Brook University
School of Nursing
Stony Brook, NY
Website

Master of Science – Family Health Nurse Practitioner

  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • Faculty excellence
  • Great research opportunities and expertise
  • GRE not required
  • Recently awarded a $2.2 million grant to fund scholarships for nursing students
  • Program starts every summer
  • 45 credits

The MS-Family Health NP program at the Stony Brook School of Nursing stands out for many reasons, but first and foremost is the faculty. Two were recently inducted as fellows of the American Academy of Nursing, one of the highest honors in the nursing profession. Another was recently awarded a grant to provide over $2.2 million in scholarships to nursing students from disadvantaged backgrounds. SUNY Stony Brook University is also unique in that it has a center dedicated to important research in the field of nursing. The Office of Nursing Research and Innovation not only holds a wealth of important information, it also serves as a nexus where you can meet and network with experts in different fields of nursing from around the world.

 

Cedar Crest College
School of Adult and Graduate Education
Allentown, PA
Website

Master of Science in Nursing – Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner

  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Entrance exam requirement: none
  • No clinical experience or GRE required for admission
  • Option to seamlessly continue on to earn a DNP
  • Graduate in three years over eight semesters
  • Longstanding tradition of nursing excellence in education
  • 49 credits that include 728 hours of clinical practica experience (classes divided into MSN core courses, direct care core courses, and FNP specialty courses)

The School of Adult and Graduate Education at Cedar Crest College has made its MSN-Family/Individual Across the Lifespan program accessible, and wants to see you succeed once you’re in. To this end, Cedar Crest College keeps the admissions process simple, neither requiring previous clinical experience nor the GRE. Between the faculty, preceptors, and clinical coordinators, graduates of this program stepping into their new role as family NPs are well prepared to provide excellence in care. You’ll also love the fact that the program makes it easy to go on to earn a DNP, offering a seamless transition track that only requires 29 additional credits . We also appreciate that with this program’s three year pace, you can maintain a family-work life balance while simultaneously completing your graduate studies and preparing for your next big career move.