Grad School Hub - Most Affordable Online Programs-01
Working nurses don't have time to go back to school; that's why they need access to online Master's in Nurse Practitioner degrees. These advanced degrees allow a nurse to specialize in a particular field and enhance their knowledge of nursing. The degrees are also important because employers are demanding candidates with advanced educational experience.

Nurses work full-time; in fact, many work overtime. They simply do not have space in their schedule to attend a traditional campus program. Online programs work best for these nurses because they not only have the freedom to choose when and how they study, but they also are able to afford these programs easier than traditional programs. This ranking will provide professionals with all the necessary information needed in order to make a decision on which online master's in nurse practitioner is right for them.

Methodology

The National Center for Education Statistics served as the source of information that was used to create this ranking. Using the site's College Navigator database, an initial pool of 90 schools were identified offering online degrees. The final 10 schools, which are listed below, were chosen based on their in-state graduate tuition rate.

Ranking Low-cost Online Nurse Practitioner Master's

10. Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, Arizona

Online Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner

Website

Tuition: $9,000

The online Master's of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner from Grand Canyon University is designed for experienced nurses in the profession to advance their career. The MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). This hybrid program requires two on-campus experiences for students during the duration of the degree program. Students in the program are required to complete 675 hours of supervised clinical practice in addition to their coursework. For students who already have an established MSN degree, Grand Canyon University offers a Post-Master of Science in Nursing; Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate. The MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner will encompass all levels of healthcare for individuals of all ages and locations, especially the underserved urban and rural populations.

9. Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

Online Master of Science in Nursing, Nurse Practitioner

Website

Tuition: $8,928

Nurses who choose Old Dominion University for their online Master's in Nurse Practitioner will find a program that was built to give them the education they need in a convenient format. The MSN at ODU is accredited by the Collegiate Commission on Nursing Education and is further approved by the Virginia Joint Boards of Nursing and Medicine. It is delivered in a hybrid format; students will complete most of their coursework online but will need to spend time on campus in order to undergo training and testing. The final clinical comprehensive exam must also be taken on campus; this degree is best suited for nurses who are located in the state. Courses are on-demand offerings, meaning that nurses will have the option to study when their schedule allows. Practicums are also required for this degree; students will take part in three practicums during the course of the degree program. Other requirements include 51 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Family and Community Primary Care Assessment, Primary Care Approaches for Children, and Health Promotion and Maintenance.

8. University of Southern Indiana

Evansville, Indiana

Online Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner

Website

Tuition: $8,418

The University of Southern Indiana provides working nurses with a Master's in Nurse Practitioner online degree that is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. This degree can be earned mostly online with the exception of the clinical practicums; these will be completed in a student's area of residency. Several courses also require a two-day residency on campus. The curriculum focuses on the primary care of individuals and families, which is reflected in the course offerings. Students will find that this degree can be completed in three years with full-time study or four years of full-time study. In order to graduate, students will need to complete 42 credit hours of coursework, 665 clinical hours, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Nursing Leadership in Health Systems, Roles for Advanced Nursing Practice, and Evidence-Based Practice for Advanced Nursing.

7. Austin Peay State University

Clarksville, Tennessee

Online Master of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner

Website

Tuition: $7,686

Austin Peay State University delivers an online Master's in Nurse Practitioner that comes with three concentrations: Administration, Education, and Family Nurse Practitioner. It is possible for students to complete an MSN-RN with this program; this must be approved by the faculty and prerequisites must be completed prior to a student entering the program. All courses are offered online and there are no residency requirements, although students should make time in their schedule for the practicums, which are required for this degree. The degree is comprehensive and will take three years of full-time study in order to complete; part-time students have up to five years to meet graduation requirements. To earn this degree, students will need to complete 46 credit hours of coursework, a practicum, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Theoretical Foundations, Health Care Policy, and Advanced Role Development.

6. University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Online Master of Science in Nursing: Online Family Nurse Practitioner Program

Website

Tuition: $7,612

Nurses interested in an online Master's in Nurse Practitioner will be interested in the University of North Dakota. This is a hybrid degree that incorporates asynchronous and synchronous courses with a one-week residency every term in a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on advanced family nursing practice. Nurses who complete the degree will be prepared to sit for the National Certification exams that are offered through either the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Center. This degree, while exhaustive and includes three practicums, can be completed in two-and-a-half years with full-time study. Students can expect to complete 59 credit hours of coursework, 600 clinical hours, an independent research project or thesis, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Essentials in Epidemiology, Maternal and Child Health in Primary Care, and Family Nursing.

5. Georgia College

Milledgeville, Georgia

Online Master of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner

Website

Tuition: $7,400

Georgia College offers an excellent nurse practitioner master's online degree for practicing nurses in Georgia. This program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is approved by the Georgia Board of Nursing. Students should note that all clinical hours must be done in the state under the supervision of a department-approved preceptor. This degree also provides students with the opportunity to train as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, which is the only concentration available within the degree. As a hybrid cohort program, students should expect to take no less than eight residency trips to the campus, including two one-week immersions. Graduation requires 40 credit hours of coursework, clinical hours, a practicum, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Nursing Theory: Principles and Applications, Ensuring Healthcare Safety Quality, and Primary Care of Women.

4. University of Central Missouri

Warrensburg, Missouri

Online Master of Science: Family Nurse Practitioner

Website

Tuition: $7,014

Nurses who apply to the online Master's in Nurse Practitioner at the University of Central Missouri will find a program that was built to help them achieve their goal of completing an advanced degree. This is a program that requires students complete their clinical hours within the state of Missouri; it is not a degree built for out-of-state candidates. Upon completion of the degree, students will be eligible to sit for the National Certification exam. As with many nurse practitioner degrees, this degree requires three practicums that must be supervised by a preceptor. Other requirements for the degree include 44 credit hours of coursework, clinical hours, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Organizational Leadership in Complex Health Systems, Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nursing, and Health Care Policy and Advocacy.

3. Alcorn University

Lorman, Mississippi

Online Master of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner

Website

Tuition: $6,888

Alcorn University offers professionals the chance to earn an online nurse practitioner master's degree from a well-respected nursing school. The courses in this degree are delivered to students as live courses online, meaning students will have to be present for the lectures; these will be later archived for future reference. Students will also need to complete at least 600 clinical hours in a healthcare facility in their area with the supervision of an approved preceptor. It is possible to complete this degree in three years with full-time study; most nurses take four years to complete all of the requirements. Students will need to complete 44 credit hours of coursework, 600 clinical hours, a thesis or clinical project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Clinical Management Theory, Introduction to Human Genetics, and Primary Care of Children and Mothers.

2. Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi, Texas

Online Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner

Website

Tuition: $6,767

Students at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi are offered a chance to become eligible to sit for the Advanced Practice Registered Nurses Exam. It is an online cohort degree that was formulated to be taken part-time in order to allow full-time nurses the chance to be a part of the program. Students will take no more than two courses at a time and can complete all requirements for this degree in three years. This degree does have practicum requirements, which students can complete under the supervision of a preceptor that is approved by the department. Other requirements include 49 credit hours of coursework, 630 clinical hours, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Health Assessment and Differential Diagnosis, Wellness and Health Promotion, and Diverse Care Environments.

1. University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Online Master of Science in Nursing, Nurse Practitioner Concentration

Website

Tuition: $6,750

Nurses looking for a cheap nurse practitioner master's degree will be in good hands with the University of Alabama. This is a hybrid degree that is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and provides two concentrations: Mental Health and Primary Care. It is possible for students to take on both concentrations, which will lead to them spending an additional year within the program. Nurses must be able to study full-time in order to take on this degree; part-time is not currently available. Students can expect to complete 53 credit hours of coursework, 1,050 clinical hours, and a comprehensive written and oral exam; there is also an option for completing a thesis. Sample courses include Issues in Community Health for Rural Populations, Psychiatric Treatment Modalities, and Advanced Health Assessment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Online Master's in Nurse Practitioner Degree?

An online Master's in Nurse Practitioner can open the doorway to some interesting career options for nurses. Because this is a professional degree, there are not as many options outside of nursing, but the ones that exist within the field are incredible opportunities.

Most professionals will reenter the nursing field as a Nurse Practitioner. This is the main design of the degree and it is the most popular career path forward. These nurses work in specialized fields within a healthcare setting, school, or even in the government.

Another option is that of a nurse administrator. This is a position that is often earned after a few years of work experience as a nurse. Nurse administrators are responsible for overseeing an entire team of nurses within their specialty and handle all of the management and administrative tasks for that particular department.

Nurse consultants are also found within the field and are often hired because of their background as a nurse practitioner. These are freelance nurses who come into a facility to improve one or more aspects of the day-to-day operations, such as risk management, budgeting, or communication.

How Much Can You Earn in this Field?

The average salary for a nurse practitioner is about $95,000. This can range, however, from $90,000 to $125,000. Experience accounts for the highest salaries, as does the type of specialty that a nurse holds, with some, such as cardiac nurses, earning more than $140,000 in some states.

The starting salary for a nurse practitioner with an MSN may be as low as $75,000, especially if they have not yet sat for National Board certification as a nurse practitioner. However, after certification is completed, that salary rises to around $85,000. The actual salary, plus potential benefits, can vary by size of healthcare facility and setting.

Nurse administrators, which is a position available in this field, often average between $60,000 and $200,000 a year. Many nurse practitioners move into administration after five to ten years of work experience and are well paid for their experience.

What are the Various Disciplines of a Nurse Practitioner?

A nurse practitioner deals first and foremost with nursing, medicine, and healthcare. They are primary care practitioners that are responsible for seeing all patients who come into their healthcare facility or clinic and make initial assessments prior to the doctor's arrival. They are the first professionals that individuals encounter when going to a doctor's appointment and are extremely knowledgeable about their area of expertise.

Nurse practitioners often have their own specializations as well. This can range from psychiatric mental health, family, maternal care, and more. This means the secondary disciplines that these nurses focus on will be those particular subfields of medicine.

All nurses, regardless of specialization, will also come into contact with other disciplines, such as management, leadership, organizational leadership, psychology, law, human resources, technology, and more. Because all of these disciplines make up small parts of a nurse's day, they must be considered as viable parts of the nursing field.

Are Online Nursing Programs Available to All Out-of-State Students?

Not all online nursing programs are available to out-of-state students. There are several reasons for this, but the main reason is that some states do not recognize out-of-state graduate nursing programs as a gateway for students to sit for National Certification exams as a nurse practitioner.

Nursing is not federally regulated; this is a job that falls to the state Board of Nursing. This is the board that decides what the standards are for that particular state and its nurses. Only the Board of Nursing can make a determination as to what online programs will be applicable when a student decides to sit for licensure.

This also becomes an issue for practicums, which are also known as clinical hours. Many programs require that students complete their clinical hours, which can range from 600 to 1,000 hours, in the same state as the school is located. This is part of the state's requirements for licensure.

At this time, there are several states who will not recognize nursing programs from any other state. A full list is not available, so students are advised to check with their state to see what the requirements are to become eligible for the Advanced Practice Registered Nurses certification exam.

Most program websites will let students know up front which states will and will not accept their programs. This is also sometimes listed as states in which the program cannot admit students from. If the information isn't available, students should call the nursing school directly to inquire if their home state will accept the program.

What are Some of the Requirements Needed for this Degree?

An online graduate degree in nursing practitioner is a professional degree and therefore it has some specific requirements that are standard among graduate schools. Students should note that while not meeting every requirement will keep them out of a program, it is rare that a school will offer conditional acceptance. Professionals are advised to research application requirements prior to applying.

The first requirement is simple: students must hold a bachelor's degree in nursing from a regionally accredited university. Most schools also require that the program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education as well. This is done to ensure that all students begin the program with the same level of education.

Students must also possess a valid nursing license in order to enter into these programs. This is mandated because the completion of this degree is to award advanced certification to nurses who already work in the field. Nursing licenses are also necessary because some states will not accept an online degree from another state. Students must check with their state's Board of Nursing to ensure that a program will be applicable.

Finally, schools require at least one full year's worth of work experience in the field. Students must be working nurses in order to enter most of these programs, with some schools requiring at least two years of experience and a letter of recommendation from a supervisor. This is because advanced nursing practice courses assume that professionals have real-world experience and will not go over basic fundamentals.

Nurse practitioners play a large role in the healthcare system in America. Without them, patients would not receive medical care as quickly or as professionally as they do so now. While traditional programs still exist, professionals should also consider earning an online Master's in Nurse Practitioner; this will allow them to continue to contribute to America's healthcare system while earning a degree to advance their career.

GSH Staff
July 2018

This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Master's in Nurse Practitioner Online for 2018.