What Are the Best Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Programs?

Learn what schools with family nurse practitioner programs can offer you, whether you're already a registered nurse or seeking a nursing career. Keep reading to discover three good schools, program and clinical training options and areas of concentration within the field. Schools offering Family Nurse Practitioner degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Family Nurse Practitioner Program?

Finding a program affiliated with a strong teaching hospital will provide you with multiple opportunities to learn from working nurses and other health professionals. You might want to look for a school with special programs or research institutes addressing needs of populations you'd like to serve. Programs and hospitals that have gained national recognition for excellent care or groundbreaking research often receive funding from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This leads to added benefits for students in terms of research opportunities, career development and other opportunities.

FNP programs often offer the Master of Nursing, the Doctor of Nursing Practice or both degrees. Some schools allow entry to students without a nursing background, while others do not. If you currently work and need to attend part-time, be aware that some schools only offer a full-time curriculum.

Three Top FNP Schools

Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland

The OHSU hospitals were among only 158 in the U.S. with national specialty rankings. OHSU hosts over 50 research centers and institutes, including the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network and the Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute.

You can enroll in the FNP program leading to either a Master of Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice. The FNP program offers some distance learning opportunities. If you already possess a master's degree in nursing, you can enroll in the post-master's option leading to the DNP, offered in a hybrid format with short, on-campus intensives each term.

Many FNP students work part-time while studying. The program also offers a rural health track; options for clinical rotations include Indian Health Centers or county health departments. The following family nurse practitioner programs are available:

  • Master of Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

University of Illinois in Chicago

The College of Nursing at UIC has consistently been among the top three nursing colleges in amount of funding received from the NIH. The FNP program is administered through the College of Nursing's Public Health Nursing program and only leads to a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

You may apply to the FNP DNP program if you are already a registered nurse with a bachelor's degree in nursing, or if you already have a bachelor's degree in a separate field. You can also apply if you already hold a master's degree in nursing. The length of your program will depend upon your previous schooling.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill

At UNC, you must already be a registered nurse to enter the program. There are several options for entry. If you already have a bachelor's degree in nursing, you can enroll directly in the MSN program. If you have an associate degree or diploma in nursing or a bachelor's degree in an area outside of nursing, you can enroll in the RN to MSN program. If you already have a master's degree, you can enroll in a part-time post-master's certificate program to specialize as a family nurse practitioner.

You'll have a variety of practice sites to choose from in central North Carolina and throughout the state, including family practices, occupational health clinics, geriatric sites, pediatric clinics and HMOs. You could focus on global health or community practice. You may also take courses outside of the School of Nursing.

  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

More Top Schools for Family Nurse Practitioners

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
University of Pennsylvania4-year, PrivatePhiladelphia, PA$39,000
University of California--San Francisco4-year, PublicSan Francisco, CA$13,000
Johns Hopkins University4-year, PrivateBaltimore, MD$56,000
University of Michigan--Ann Arbor4-year, PublicAnn Arbor, MI$23,000
University of Maryland--Baltimore4-year, PublicBaltimore, MD$16,500
University of Washington4-year, PublicSeattle, WA$16,500
Columbia University4-year, PrivateNew York, NY$48,000
Duke University4-year, PrivateDurham, NC$55,000
Vanderbilt University4-year, PrivateNashville, TN$48,000
Emory University4-year, PrivateAtlanta, GA$43,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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:

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