Colleges for Nurse Practitioners

Find tips for selecting a school with programs that will prepare you for a career as a nurse practitioner. Learn about degree programs, specialization areas and online learning options. Schools offering Family Nurse Practitioner degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Aspiring nurse practitioners can choose from a number of postsecondary education options. Specializations and clinical subspecialties are particularly important when choosing a program, though advanced nursing studies are common to all.

How Can I Become a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice nurses who have obtained advanced education through a master's, post-master's or doctoral degree program. To qualify for admission to an NP program, you'll need to have earned a bachelor's degree in nursing and obtained licensure as a registered nurse. Some schools offer dual degree programs that confer both a bachelor's and master's degree. You can pursue a master's degree, post-master's certificate or doctoral degree in advanced practice nursing to qualify you for licensure as a nurse practitioner. Many states require you to obtain an advanced nursing license to become a nurse practitioner.

Which Schools Offer Nurse Practitioner Master's Degree Programs?

Nurse practitioner master degree programs are available at plenty of universities, such as:

  • The University of Rochester houses a Master of Science - Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (FPMHNP)
  • Walden University provides a Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner program
  • Villanova University has a Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner

Which Schools Offer Nurse Practitioner Post-Master's Certificate Programs?

You can find a nurse practitioner post-master's certificate programs at many different schools. Here are some sample programs:

  • University of Cincinnati hosts a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Post-Master's Certificate program online
  • University of Massachusetts delivers an online Post Master's Nurse Practitioner Certificate program
  • Vanderbilt University has Nurse Practitioner Post-master's Certificate programs in emergency nursing and pediatric nursing

Which Schools Offer Nurse Practitioner Doctoral Degree Programs?

There are a diverse range of institutions which allow students to earn a nurse practitioner doctoral degree. See the ones listed here:

  • University of San Francisco provides a Family Nurse Practitioner Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program
  • University of Pittsburgh has a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program
  • University of Maryland offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program

What Should I Look For in a School?

Advanced practice nursing programs usually offer you the option to specialize your practice. Common specializations in NP programs include family health, neonatal care, acute care, psychiatry and oncology. In addition, you can choose a clinical subspecialty, such as immunology, dermatology or gastroenterology. When deciding on a school, you might want to consider the types of specializations offered and whether clinical rotations include practicums in your chosen discipline. Not all NP programs are created equal, though; to ensure you receive education that meets industry standards, certification qualifications and state licensing requirements, check to make sure the programs you're considering have been accredited.

Do Schools Offer Online Programs?

If you work or have scheduling conflicts, you can find some schools that offer online classes. However, most have clinical requirements that need to be completed at the campus or a health care facility, such as a hospital or clinic. Schools with online programs might require some campus attendance for specific coursework, planning sessions and instructor meetings. You might be able to meet clinical practicum requirements through your work with your current employer.

What Can I Learn?

Most of your classes will depend on the specialty you choose; however, certain courses are common to many programs. Some examples of core coursework include ethics, nursing policies, informatics, advanced nursing practices and pharmacology. Your clinical training develops your patient interaction skills as you take health histories, perform physical examinations, diagnose common afflictions, prescribe medications and provide education and counseling. The remainder of your courses might cover topics in women's health, pediatric procedures, cardiology, acute care or mental health issues.

Graduate education for nurse practitioners will take the form of a master's degree, post-master's certificate, or a doctoral degree. Any of these will further your understanding of nursing and provide critical clinical experience, though students must choose an appropriate specialty and ensure the institution they attend is accredited.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

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  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

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  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    • Doctoral

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  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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