2020 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

By the OnlineU team | Updated 5/19/2021
2020 Most Affordable Nurse Practitioner (NP) Masters Degrees Badge
By the OnlineU team | Updated 5/19/2021

The 24 schools on this list offer the most affordable online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs with nurse practitioner specializations. At #1, University of Southern Indiana offers an online Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner for $5,105 per year. Second-ranked Middle Georgia State University has an annual tuition of only $5,610, as compared to the $17,000 average for MSN programs. Online MSN students study patient care theories and techniques and apply their coursework during clinical experience in a field setting. These degree programs prepare students for further national certification exams after graduation so they can become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Below, we provide information about choosing a program, the cost of an online NP master's degree, and careers in the field.

You can read more about our ranked schools below or browse our rankings of the most affordable online master's programs. View our methodology or learn more about OnlineU.

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 $5,105
# 2 #2 $5,610
# 3 #3 $6,060
# 4 #4 $6,300
# 5 #5 $6,600
# 6 #6 $6,930
# 7 #7 $7,345
# 8 #8 $7,460
# 9 #9 $7,501
# 10 #10 $7,800
# 11 #11 $8,049
# 12 #12 $8,208
# 13 #13 $8,293
# 14 #14 $8,370
# 15 (tie) #15 (tie) $8,470
# 15 (tie) #15 (tie) $8,470
# 17 #17 $9,000
# 18 #18 $9,200
# 19 (tie) #19 (tie) $9,450
# 19 (tie) #19 (tie) $9,450
# 21 #21 $9,617
# 22 #22 $9,856
# 23 #23 $9,936
# 24 #24 $10,200
#1
#1
Annual Tuition: $5,105
Annual Tuition: $5,105
Annual Tuition: $5,105

The University of Southern Indiana's online Master of Science in Nursing is available with concentrations in Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. The programs require between 42-44 credits, including core credits, clinical credits, and concentration credits. While the didactic work takes place online, students must fulfill a clinical preceptorship at a mutually... agreed upon site. An on-campus orientation and occasional two-day on-campus visits are also required.

Online coursework is available 24/7 through the Blackboard learning management system. The platform allows students to work independently, submit assignments, and access video lectures, quizzes, discussion forums, and texts. Resources include IT support, career services, mental health counseling, academic tutoring, and disability resources. USI also offers financial assistance, payment plans, and a Financial Care Team dedicated to helping students experiencing financial distress.

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA and an active nursing license that meets Indiana state requirements. Prospective students should submit an application, academic transcripts, a current resume, a statement of professional goals, and two references. Though not required, it is recommended that students have at least one year of professional clinical practice within the last five years.

  • Online Degrees: 4
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Acceptance Rate: 94%
  • Average SATs: 980 -1180
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 620
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,183
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (812) 464-8600

Example Classes: Advanced Concepts of Pathophysiology, Healthcare Informatics for Advanced Nursing Practice, Nursing Leadership in Healthcare Systems, Population Based Care and Health Policy, Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Practice Nursing

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitiioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
#2
#2
Annual Tuition: $5,610
Annual Tuition: $5,610
Annual Tuition: $5,610

Middle Georgia State University offers a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Adult/Gerontology Acute Care. The program is online, except for two day-long intensives that occur each semester. The two-year program includes 43 credits of coursework and 630 clinical hours. Students can complete clinical requirements at a Georgia hospital after gaining approval from their program coordinator. Through the online coursework and clinical experience, students learn advanced nursing skills,... management techniques, and Six Sigma principles.

Courses are delivered through the Brightspace/Desire2Learn online platform. Coursework includes papers, interactive assignments, discussion forums, and video lectures. Students can work on assignments at their convenience, but some classes require synchronous learning. As the program follows a cohort model, students move through the curriculum at the same pace. Online students receive technical support, writing resources, mental health counseling, and assistance from academic advisors.

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA and have one year of professional practice. They must also be licensed in the state of Georgia. Application materials include a statement of professional goals, a resume, a background/drug check, three letters of recommendation, an APA document, and proof of malpractice insurance. Following consideration of applicants’ portfolios, prospective students complete an interview with the department.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 31%
  • Acceptance Rate: 94%
  • Average SATs: 880 -1080
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,417
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 181
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (478) 471-2700

Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment/Diagnostic Reasoning, Advanced Pharmacology/Therapeutic Interventions, Leadership/Management & Healthcare Policy, Project Management in Healthcare, Quality/Safety/Improvement Processes, Research and Evidence Based Practice

Online Master's Degrees

  • MS in Nursing - Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
#3
#3
Annual Tuition: $6,060
Annual Tuition: $6,060
Annual Tuition: $6,060

Stephen F. Austin State University hosts an online Master of Science in Nursing for currently registered nurses. The degree requires 43 credits and 720 clinical hours, and participants can complete clinical requirements at or near their workplace. The program is designed to prepare graduates for the FNP certification examination. Courses are delivered on a part-time schedule, allowing students to continue their professional responsibilities while earning their degrees. Students are expected to attend... an on-campus orientation and two skills-building seminars.

The D2L Brightspace learning management system hosts the curriculum for this online program. Students watch pre-recorded lectures, use video conferencing software, submit written assignments, take quizzes, and participate in classroom discussions. Virtual learning is combined with real-world, experiential learning, and instructors are trained in distance education delivery. The on-campus simulation laboratory allows students to hone their skills using advanced teaching technology. Graduate nursing students have access to financial aid, academic advisors, IT support, library services, disability accommodations, and student organizations.

To apply to the MSN program, students must submit an online application, transcripts, a one-page essay, a professional resume, three letters of recommendation, and a copy of their nursing license. Students should have a bachelor’s degree in nursing with at least a 3.0 GPA and have a minimum of one year of full-time professional nursing experience.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1180
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,048
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 729
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (936) 468-2011

Example Classes: Advanced Pharmacology, Contemporary Health Care Ethics, Nursing Theory for the Advanced Practice Role, Statistical Analysis, The Politics of Health Care

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
#4
#4

Purdue University Global

Indianapolis (IN)
Annual Tuition: $6,300
Annual Tuition: $6,300
Annual Tuition: $6,300
  • Online Degrees: 10
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 75%
  • Graduation Rate: 32%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 26,655
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 8,094
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (317) 208-5311

Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning, Advanced Nursing Roles, Epidemiology and Health Promotion, Health Policy, Ethical, and Legal Perspectives of the Health Care System, Promoting Optimal Models and Systems for Health Care Delivery, Scientific and Analytic Approaches to Advanced Evidence-Based Practice

Online Master's Degrees

  • MS in DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
  • MS in DNP Executive Leader
  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Population
  • MS in DNP Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • MS in DNP Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Adult - Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
#5
#5
Annual Tuition: $6,600
Annual Tuition: $6,600
Annual Tuition: $6,600
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 221
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 321
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE
  • Phone #: (201) 692-2000

Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Nursing: Primary Care I, Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, Intro to Advanced Nursing Philosophies, Theories, Roles & Issues, Theory Development and Advanced Research

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
#6
#6
Annual Tuition: $6,930
Annual Tuition: $6,930
Annual Tuition: $6,930
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 31%
  • Acceptance Rate: 42%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,050
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 162
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (678) 466-4000

Example Classes: Health Care Policy, Health Promotion & Problems of Adults and Their Families, Health Promotion and Problems of the Elderly & Their Families, Health Promotion of Children and Their Families, Population Health and Emerging Disease

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
#7
#7
Annual Tuition: $7,345
Annual Tuition: $7,345
Annual Tuition: $7,345
  • Online Degrees: 3
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 77%
  • Acceptance Rate: 72%
  • Average SATs: 1190 -1360
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 140
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,469
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (803) 777-7000

Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning+, Application of Basic Statistics for Nursing Practice and Service Management, Clinical Application of Population Analysis, Diagnostic Interpretation and Therapeutic Modalities, Introduction of Acute Care Adult and Gerontological Health Problems, Pharmacological Management of Pediatric, Adult and Gerontological Patients Across the Lifespan

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Online)
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (Online)
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Online)
#8
#8
Annual Tuition: $7,460
Annual Tuition: $7,460
Annual Tuition: $7,460
  • Online Degrees: 3
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 63%
  • Acceptance Rate: 79%
  • Average SATs: 1110 -1280
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 18
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 731
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (800) 342-0471

Example Classes: Advanced Nursing Assessment, Applied Pharmacology, Ensuring Healthcare Safety Quality, Psych Mental Health Nursing I

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
#9
#9

Delta State University

Cleveland (MS)
Annual Tuition: $7,501
Annual Tuition: $7,501
Annual Tuition: $7,501
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 38%
  • Acceptance Rate: 87%
  • Average SATs: 950 -1190
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 148
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 466
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (662) 846-3000

Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Healthcare Policy and Politics, Advanced Nursing Research and Evidence Based Practice, Differential Diagnosis in Primary Care, Informatics in Clinical Practice, Role Synthesis (Nurse Practitioners)

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
#10
#10
Annual Tuition: $7,800
Annual Tuition: $7,800
Annual Tuition: $7,800
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 19%
  • Acceptance Rate: 90%
  • Average SATs: 750 -900
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,084
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 205
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (229) 430-4600

Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Nursing Research, Nursing Theory Developement, Primary Care of Adults, Primary Care of Women

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
#11
#11
Annual Tuition: $8,049
Annual Tuition: $8,049
Annual Tuition: $8,049
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Acceptance Rate: 84%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 394
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 748
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (660) 543-4111

Example Classes: Advanced Health Appraisal, Advanced Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan, FNP Primary Care of Children, FNP Women's Health, Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
#12
#12
Annual Tuition: $8,208
Annual Tuition: $8,208
Annual Tuition: $8,208
  • Online Degrees: 4
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 25
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 221
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (309) 655-2201

Example Classes: Analysis of Evidence-Based Practice, Biostatistics, Information Systems & Technology for Transformation of Health Care, Organizational Management & Leadership in Health Care Systems, Principles of Gerontology in Advanced Nursing Practice, Roles & Issues in Advanced Practice Nursing

Online Master's Degrees

  • MSN - Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
#13
#13

Midwestern State University

Wichita Falls (TX)
Annual Tuition: $8,293
Annual Tuition: $8,293
Annual Tuition: $8,293
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 42%
  • Acceptance Rate: 81%
  • Average SATs: 940 -1100
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 856
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 475
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (940) 397-4000

Example Classes: Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics, Diagnostics for Mental Disorders, Pathological Processes for Advanced Nursing Practice, Population Health in Graduate Nursing, Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice Across the Lifespan

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
#14
#14

United States University

National City (CA)
Annual Tuition: $8,370
Annual Tuition: $8,370
Annual Tuition: $8,370
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 0%
  • Graduation Rate: 0%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 59
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 661
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: WSCUC
  • Phone #: (619) 876-4250

Example Classes: Advanced Health and Physical Assessment Across The Lifespan, Advanced Pathophysiology Across The Lifespan, Advanced Pharmacology Across The Lifespan, Health Promotion, Education, and Disease Prevention Across The Lifespan, Nursing Leadership and Health Policy, Primary Health of Acute Clients/families Across the Lifespan

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
#15
#15
Annual Tuition: $8,470
Annual Tuition: $8,470
Annual Tuition: $8,470
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Acceptance Rate: 53%
  • Average SATs: 870 -1100
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 737
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 781
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (706) 507-8800

Example Classes: Diagnostic & Clinical Reasoning for Advanced Practice Nurses, Health Promotion of Adults, Health Promotion of Elderly, Health Promotion of Women and Children, Heath Care Delivery Models, Economics and Policy, Scientific Underpinnings of the APN Role

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
#15
#15
Annual Tuition: $8,470
Annual Tuition: $8,470
Annual Tuition: $8,470
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Acceptance Rate: 67%
  • Average SATs: 940 -1120
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 624
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 124
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Example Classes: Diagnostic & Clinical Reasoning for Advanced Practice Nurses, Health Care Delivery Models, Economics and Policy, Health Promotion of the Elderly, Health Promotion of Women And Children, Scientific Underpinnings of the APN Role

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
#17
#17
Annual Tuition: $9,000
Annual Tuition: $9,000
Annual Tuition: $9,000
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 43%
  • Acceptance Rate: 50%
  • Average SATs: 1080 -1250
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,928
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,504
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (850) 474-2000

Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Pharmacology, Care of the Child and Family, Integration of Evidence in Advanced Nursing Practice, Population Health Promotion and Management, Women's Health

Online Master's Degrees

  • MS in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
#18
#18
Annual Tuition: $9,200
Annual Tuition: $9,200
Annual Tuition: $9,200
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1200
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 188
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 334
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (281) 649-3000

Example Classes: Advanced Diagnostics, Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Skills Primary Care, Growth and Development Across the Lifespan, Leadership for Quality, Safety and Health Policy, Theory Integration

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
#19
#19

Rivier University

Nashua (NH)
Annual Tuition: $9,450
Annual Tuition: $9,450
Annual Tuition: $9,450
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Acceptance Rate: 68%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 327
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 423
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE
  • Phone #: (603) 888-1311

Example Classes: Advanced Health Policy, Advanced Role of the Nurse, Biostatistics for the Health Sciences, Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare, Quality Healthcare Improvement, Research Capstone Advisement

Online Master's Degrees

  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
#19
#19
Annual Tuition: $9,450
Annual Tuition: $9,450
Annual Tuition: $9,450
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Average SATs: 1010 -1190
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 594
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,023
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (256) 765-4100

Example Classes: Advanced Clinical Pathophysiology, Advanced Nursing Pharmacology, Advanced Physical Assessment, Diversity, Ethics, Health Promotion, & Informatics in Patient-Centered Care, Evidence Based Practice and Research, Health Policy, Social Issues, & Theory

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
#21
#21
Annual Tuition: $9,617
Annual Tuition: $9,617
Annual Tuition: $9,617
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Acceptance Rate: 51%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1250
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,200
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 729
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (377) 482-1000

Example Classes: Advanced Practice Nursing: Family Health I, Applied Statistics for the Health Sciences, Business, Leadership and Health Policy for Nurse Practitioners, Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning for Advanced Practice, Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Practice Nursing, Population-Based Primary Care

Online Master's Degrees

  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
#22
#22
Annual Tuition: $9,856
Annual Tuition: $9,856
Annual Tuition: $9,856
  • Online Degrees: 4
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Acceptance Rate: 74%
  • Average SATs: 1070 -1270
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 5,373
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,602
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (740) 593-1000

Example Classes: Advanced Maternal and Child Care, Advanced Pathophysiology in Nursing Practice, Assessment and Intervention for Families, Primary Care of Adults and Older Adults, Psychotherapeutic Treatment Modalities for Advanced Nursing Practice, Theoretical Basis of Practice

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Educator
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
#23
#23

Clarkson College

Omaha (NE)
Annual Tuition: $9,936
Annual Tuition: $9,936
Annual Tuition: $9,936
  • Online Degrees: 5
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 55%
  • Acceptance Rate: 62%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 129
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 480
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (402) 552-3100

Example Classes: Advanced Physical Assessment, Behavioral Health Care for Practitioners, Evidence-Based Practice Research Project I, Health Care Delivery Systems/Managed Care, Pharmacology for Practitioners, Primary Care of the Geriatric Client

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - RN to MSN - Adult–Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - RN to MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult–Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
#24
#24

Gonzaga University

Spokane (WA)
Annual Tuition: $10,200
Annual Tuition: $10,200
Annual Tuition: $10,200
  • Online Degrees: 4
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 86%
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Average SATs: 1190 -1350
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,113
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,113
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU
  • Phone #: (509) 328-4220

Example Classes: Advanced Pathophysiology, Clinical Prevention for Diverse Populations, Contemporary Healthcare Environment, Primary Care: Adult/Geriatric, Primary Care: Gender Based, Theoretical Foundations for Healthcare Improvement

Online Master's Degrees

  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Second MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Second MSN - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Choosing an Online NP Program

Earning an Affordable and Respected Online Nurse Practitioner Degree

It's possible to become a nurse practitioner (NP) through fully online programs, aside from the clinical experience requirements. We list 24 affordable online master's degrees here, most with fully online coursework, but they all require students to put knowledge into practice in a real-world facility. Nursing students are often drawn to the flexibility afforded by online education, including asynchronous coursework and multiple start dates throughout the year. Many schools also allow students to complete their clinical hours in a facility near them, even if it's in a different state from the school's home campus.

Prospective students may wonder if an online nurse practitioner degree will be as respected as one earned through an in-person program. The answer is increasingly yes: online degrees are becoming less stigmatized as more students take courses and complete entire programs at a distance. One 2019 survey of HR professionals found that 61% of respondents saw no difference between online and on-campus degrees. Accreditation is the most important factor — if a program is accredited, then the school has demonstrated that it upholds nationally recognized quality standards.

We list 24 affordable online master's degrees here, most with fully online coursework, but they all require students to put knowledge into practice in a real-world facility.

What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing a Program?

The first factor to consider is whether a master's degree with a nurse practitioner concentration is a good career move. Registered nurses have good job prospects, especially master's-prepared APRNs. Employment prospects for APRNs, classified as healthcare diagnosing or treating practitioners by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), are projected to grow by 10% through 2029. APRNs also average $9,000 more a year than RNs at the bachelor's degree level.

Another important factor in any school search is accreditation. Schools should be nationally and regionally accredited, and their nursing programs must be certified by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). It also may be useful to consider each online program's design and how it aligns with your learning style. Synchronous versus asynchronous learning, comprehensive student support, and clinical opportunities in your area are all important factors for student success in an online MSN program.

Common Online Nurse Practitioner Courses

Students may take the following courses while pursuing their master's degrees. While course names will vary at different schools, the topics below are commonly covered in nurse practitioner programs.

  • Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning: This course teaches experienced nurses advanced techniques for assessing and diagnosing patients beyond recording personal and family medical histories. Students will apply a reasoning process to the problems patients present in order to find the ultimate causes. These skills are crucial to any nurse practitioner, so assessment and diagnostic courses are required in all programs featured on our rankings list.
  • Advanced Healthcare Policy and Politics: This course outlines major trends in healthcare policy, including those affected by social demographics, politics and legislation, and the corporate and economic landscape. The nation's general health depends on a wide range of factors, and students will examine how these variables can impact their practice. They'll also discuss the effects of policy advocacy by professional nursing organizations such as the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
  • Advanced Pharmacology: This course teaches nurses about medications used to treat patients. Students learn pharmacological delivery methods, how drugs affect different systems in the body, and potential adverse effects of particular courses of treatment. Prescribing medications is an essential part of a nurse practitioner's job, and all advanced nurse practitioner tracks require a similar course.
  • Project Management in Healthcare: This course is designed to help advance practice registered nurse (APRN) managers run their projects efficiently and on budget. Professors apply research and methods from the business world to a healthcare context through discussions of strategic planning, process analysis, and quality assurance.
  • Research and Evidence-Based Practice: Good practice requires good data, along with trained analysts to interpret that data. In this course, students learn quantitative and qualitative techniques to analyze evidence from case studies, with the goal of improving nursing practice by identifying the best interventions for given situations.

How to Become an NP More Quickly

The entire process of becoming an NP takes about six or seven years, on average, including four years for a bachelor's degree and two to three for a master's degree. There are some ways to accelerate this.

The process: A prospective nurse practitioner must earn a master's degree in nursing, complete clinical requirements, and hold an APRN license before sitting for an NP certification exam.

How to accelerate the process:

  • Enroll in an RN-to-MSN program: RNs without bachelor's degrees may be able to accelerate the process by enrolling in an RN-to-MSN program, which combines BSN and MSN courses into one intensive pathway. Some schools offer online RN-to-MSN programs, including Clarkson College, which is a school on our most affordable NP programs list. The length of these programs varies by school. For example, the University of Arizona claims its RN-to-MSN path can take 24 months at full time, whereas Clarkson College estimates about three-and-a-half years (10 semesters, with three semesters a year including a summer term).
  • Take larger course loads in a traditional MSN program: Traditional online MSN programs require 40-45 credit hours of coursework, and students may be able to take an extra course each term if they want to accelerate the process. Students who are willing and able to forgo a year or two of work may be able to take more credits per term if their advisor approves. Given legal regulations about working hours for nurses, it may not be possible to accelerate the completion of clinical requirements by much.

Should I Pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) After My Master's Degree?

Currently, a master's degree and relevant nurse practitioner certification opens up a large number of job opportunities in a rapidly-growing field. However, since 2004, the AACN has pushed to make a DNP the entry-level requirement for nurse practitioners. This reflects a call for more stringent credentialing in the complex healthcare industry. A doctoral degree is an investment in money, effort, and time, and includes over 1,000 required clinical hours. Whether pursuing a DNP will be worth it for a student will depend on their professional goals and how much time and money they are able to commit. Nursing schools have academic and career services professionals who can help students weigh the costs and potential benefits of a DNP.

Is Nurse Practitioner Graduate School Harder Than Undergraduate Nursing School?

Whether a student finds NP school more difficult than nursing school depends on the individual. Students learn many new concepts over the course of a four-year bachelor's degree program, and many undergraduates have no previous nursing experience. Because of this, the material can feel overwhelming both in the classroom and during clinical rotations. This would seem to suggest that nursing programs are more difficult. But faculty in master's programs usually expect better performance from graduate students because they already have a well of knowledge and experience to draw from. Most MSN students are also working either full-time or part-time during their intensive 2-3-year program, and this can make it more challenging to complete the degree requirements.

Cost of an Online NP Master's Degree

An online MSN program from an accredited institution will average about $17,000 annually. Online courses often come with technology fees that their on-campus equivalents lack, but are still generally more affordable. The schools on this page have lower tuition rates than the average cost of an MSN program. In addition, four of the schools also earned spots on the rankings list of online nurse practitioner master's degrees with the best return on investment (ROI). ROI is a more comprehensive look at cost, factoring in future earnings versus debt.

Students may also wonder about the cost of a family nurse practitioner (FNP) program. This is the most common NP certification, so many schools on our list offer affordable online FNP programs. This includes the top-ranked University of Southern Indiana and 22 others. Among these 23 programs, the average annual tuition is $8,160 for an MSN with FNP concentration. Each institution also charges fees on top of tuition. For example, the University of Central Missouri's cost calculator adds $511.50 in general fees and $77.25 in technology fees to the cost of online tuition each semester.

Funding an Online Nurse Practitioner Program

The cost of an accredited MSN program doesn't need to be a barrier for students. Here are some ways to make a master's degree more affordable:

  • Employer education assistance: Some organizations partially subsidize their employees' graduate education on the condition that they continue to work for the employer for a set period. Students can exclude up to $5,250 a year from their taxable income if they receive such assistance.
  • Federal financial aid: The government offers loans and grants for graduate students. Loans require repayment after graduation, at more favorable interest rates than most private lenders offer. Grants don't require repayment as long as the student maintains certain academic standards. Work-study programs may be available, which allows a student to work for their school or other institution in exchange for tuition assistance. We've put together a FAFSA Guide that provides additional information.
  • Grants: These programs offer money for students conducting original research, such as the AANP's $5,000 grant for evidence-based study to benefit nurse practitioners. Sigma, a professional nursing organization, details other grant opportunities on its website.
  • Military programs: Each service branch offers a form of tuition assistance, alongside special programs like loan forgiveness for certain veterans. Military spouses may also qualify for tuition funding.
  • Scholarships: Students generally don't need to repay these benefits as long as they maintain a certain GPA. Scholarships can be awarded based on a student's need or merit, and are sponsored by government agencies, private organizations, or schools. One government scholarship is the Nurse Corps Scholarship program, which covers tuition and fees and provides a monthly stipend to recipients. Another option is the AfterCollege/AACN $10,000 Scholarship Fund, a collaboration between two private organizations that disburses one $2,500 award each quarter. Some scholarships are intended for students from specific backgrounds, such as the American Indian Nurse Scholarship Program or National Black Nurses Association scholarship.

NP Careers: Opportunities and Considerations

What Are Some Nurse Practitioner Specializations?

Here are a few of the many specializations a nurse practitioner can pursue, including one of the most common and two of the highest paying.

  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist: Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia and monitor patients undergoing surgery or sensitive procedures. These professionals are among the highest paid in nursing, with a median salary of $174,790 per year. The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists certifies nurses for this career track.
  • Family nurse practitioner (FNP): FNPs work in a wide range of settings with patients of all ages. Their duties have expanded over the years to include many services once performed exclusively by family-practice doctors: physically examining patients, ordering tests, diagnosing illnesses, and (in most states) prescribing medication. A few different organizations offer FNP certifications, including the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
  • Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP): These practitioners diagnose and treat the full spectrum of mental health disorders among patients of all ages. They may work in private practice, hospitals, or inpatient facilities, where they provide emergency psychiatric care to distressed patients. The AANP certifies PMHNPs.

Salary Outlook for NPs

Students and current nurses may be curious about the benefits that come from reaching the NP level, especially because the education and experience requirements are more stringent than for other types of nursing. One of those benefits is higher average wages than nurses at the associate or bachelor's levels. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median pay for NPs as $117,670 compared to $75,330 for registered nurses (RNs).

Median Annual Salary of NPs and RNs Bar Graph

As with many occupations, the average salary for NPs varies by location. Forbes crunched data from the BLS and concluded that NPs tend to earn more in states with a higher cost of living (COL). It's not a one-to-one correlation. For example, NP salaries are highest in California and sixth highest in Hawaii, though Hawaii is the most expensive state and California is third. Similarly, NPs earn the lowest salaries in states with low COL, with Alabama offering the lowest wages.

Salaries also vary by work setting. The BLS breaks down NP salaries by industry, which gives some idea of wages in different work settings. The top-paying industry category is Community Food and Housing ($139,140 annual mean wage), which is part of the BLS's broader Health Care and Social Assistance sector. But there are only an estimated 200 of these jobs nationwide; the highest-paying industry with a significant workforce is outpatient care centers, whose 19,000 nurses earn a mean annual salary of $119,920.

Finally, NP salaries differ by specialization and level of education. Certified nurse anesthetists generally earn the most of any specialty, with a median annual wage of $174,790. They tend to earn more in hospitals than in other settings. Education also matters: DNP-prepared nurses earn about $8,000 more per year than MSN-prepared nurses on average, so students should consider the salary benefits of continuing their education after a master's degree.

Is Being an FNP Worth It?

Students may wonder whether becoming an FNP will be worth it, because the process is time intensive and requires a financial commitment. FNP is the most common NP specialty, accounting for two-thirds of all NP certifications. Because of this, the question of whether becoming an FNP will be worth it is not far off from the question of whether being an NP is worth it.

Because FNPs comprise such a large proportion of the NP population, general BLS data on NPs is a fairly good proxy for FNP-specific data. Therefore, it's safe to say that salary and job prospects are strong for FNPs, with median annual earnings of about $110,000 and a staggering 45% growth rate through 2029.

FNPs are primary-care providers to patients across the lifespan, so they have wider flexibility to practice than more narrow specializations such as psychiatric mental health or adult-gerontology. They can practice all over the country in a wide variety of settings from private clinics to large university hospitals. Because they are generalists, FNPs will qualify for more jobs than most other specialties, but the competition for each job will be greater because there are more of them.

So is an FNP career worth it? Nursing is a relatively high-paying profession with a steady supply of jobs, which is particularly true for FNPs. For those who want to mitigate two large and related stressors in their lives — financial worries and unemployment — an FNP certification may be a good goal. Each individual needs to consider the cost of the degree in money, stress, and time that could have been spent on other pursuits. If the estimated payoff seems worth these costs, then becoming an FNP is worth the effort.

Can You Become an NP Without a Nursing Degree?

No, you cannot become an NP without a nursing degree. NPs must have either an MSN or DNP to sit for an NP board certification exam in a particular specialty. However, it's not always necessary to have a BSN before applying to an MSN program. Direct-entry MSN programs allow students who've earned a bachelor's degree in another subject to take an accelerated series of BSN classes before moving on to advanced nursing coursework.