The truth about becoming a nurse practitioner is not something you jump into by happenstance because a lot of life-shifting decisions have to be factored into consideration, especially in relation to the top best nurse practitioner programs.
Hence, whether you are considering any nurse practitioner programs you may wish to attend or it is just your desire to have an associate’s degree in nursing even as a registered nurse, here is a perfect informational guide to getting on board.
However you look at it, you are only a few steps to the path of success and especially in that position where you could provide more in-depth care to your patients or teach others who may want to become nurses.
Table of contents
Who is Nurse Practitioner?
Nurse Practitioners are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses who are well-respected by their peers, admired by their patients, and have a high level of job satisfaction. However, to become one, you must first enroll in a nurse practitioner program.
A master’s degree is required for the position, and it is becoming increasingly common for nurse practitioner students to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.
Suppose you’re thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner. In that case, you probably have many questions about which nurse practitioner programs will give you the best education and position you for the most success.
And if this sounds appealing but the challenge becomes about the time commitment required for another nursing degree. In that case, this article will provide information on some of the best nurse practitioner programs in 2022.
What must I consider in choosing any nurse practitioner program?
Here are five factors that every prospective nurse practitioner student should consider when deciding where to pursue their NP education.
Certificate pass rate.
Begin with the end in mind when embarking on any significant life endeavor. Your goal, in this case, is to become a certified nurse practitioner.
So, when researching NP programs, find out what percentage of graduates pass the national nurse practitioner certification exam.
This gives you an idea of the level of education that NP students receive in the program. Ideally, you should enroll in a program with a pass rate of 90% or higher; 95% or higher is even better.
Assistance with Clinical Placement
You will be required to complete hundreds of hours of clinical training as part of your nurse practitioner program. An MD, NP, or PA will supervise your clinical hours.
As a student, you will accompany this person, known as a “preceptor,” in their daily practice. Some nurse practitioner programs assign students to clinical preceptors, while others allow students to find these people independently.
Job Placement Rate
You intend to find work after finishing your NP program, correct? Inquiring about the percentage of NP program graduates finding employment soon after graduation can provide insight into your post-graduation prospects.
Job placement offers information about the job market in a specific area and how employers perceive graduates of your program of interest.
Although not all schools closely track job placement rates for their graduates, NP program directors and career guidance counselors should be able to provide you with a general idea of how the school’s NP program graduates fare.
Quality schools will tell you that almost all of their graduates find employment as nurse practitioners within six months of graduation.
Flexibility in your coursework can significantly impact your overall satisfaction as an NP student. Consider your preferred learning style and time constraints when deciding which NP program to attend.
Do you learn better in a traditional classroom setting or have the discipline to complete an online program? Again, will work and family obligations make attending classes on campus difficult, or is your schedule reasonably open?
Again, umerous flexible education options are available to students interested in becoming nurse practitioners.
You will most likely be able to find a school that meets your needs, ranging from online programs to hybrid online/on-campus programs and programs offered in a block format.
Depending on the school, nurse practitioner programs can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000. In the end, all of these programs lead to the same job.
Considering cost could save you tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the stress of years of student loan payments.
How Much Does a Nurse Practitioner Program Cost?
The cost of a nurse practitioner program is a bit of a loaded question. To begin with, there is a range depending on the degree you currently hold and the type of degree you wish to pursue.
Another factor influencing your costs is whether you attend a program as an in-state or out-of-state resident. This is so because some nurse practitioner programs will give students who live in the same state as the program a discount.
If you already have a BSN and want to get an MSN at a nurse practitioner school, tuition can range from $81,810 to $185,280. Let’s assume you want to go straight from a BSN to a DNP. A BSN to DNP program will cost between $26,490 and $254,260.
If you already have your MSN and want to pursue your DNP, you can expect to pay anywhere between $17,660 and $169,510.
What are the benefits of the nurse practitioner program?
Nurse practitioner programs have expanded and grown in importance over time. Nowadays, a career as a nurse practitioner provides a great deal of flexibility and authority in practice, making it a rewarding professional and personal path.
Below are the benefits of the nurse practitioner program.
Although many jobs are becoming obsolete due to technological advancement, nurse practitioners are unaffected. There will always be a need for nurse practitioners to provide face-to-face patient care.
This adds stability and security to an already secure field of work.
The job market for nurse practitioners looking to advance their careers has never been better. While healthcare jobs are known for their stability and demand due to the constant need for healthcare services, the employment rates for nurse practitioners are even more promising.
Nevertheless. the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), which includes nurse practitioners, will increase by 45 percent between 2019 and 2029.
This is a higher percentage than the national average for all occupations, demonstrating the importance of this position.
Depending on the environment in which they choose to work, nurse practitioners may be able to select the length of their shifts. These shifts can range from eight to ten or twelve hours in emergency rooms, which are open 24 hours a day.
Shifts can be scheduled during the day, in the evenings, or late at night. NPS who work in clinics that offer three twelve-hour shift workdays can have the rest of the weekdays off, giving them plenty of flexibility and time away from work to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
In the United States, a nurse practitioner’s scope of practice is divided into total, reduced, and restricted practice. With full practice authority, NPs can legally evaluate and diagnose health conditions and prescribe and initiate treatments and medications.
Because practice authority is regulated at the state level, whether a nurse practitioner can practice without the supervision of a physician is determined by whether their state laws allow for full practice.
While some states restrict the practice, most allow nurse practitioners to work independently. Full practice is permitted in US states and territories: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, etc.
Building a genuine connection with patients
While physicians are the primary caregivers in most healthcare settings, other roles such as nurse practitioners (NPs), have begun to gain more independence as the demand for primary care providers grows.
Because of their excellent care and holistic approach, patients frequently choose nurse practitioners as their primary care providers. Nurse practitioners can build genuine relationships with their patients and provide sincere service because they spend more time with them and often care for them through various stages of their lives.
Because of the impact they have on people’s health, healthcare workers are among the most respected and appreciated professionals. They are both healers and educators on health-related issues, so they truly make a difference in the lives of their patients.
This makes the role of a nurse practitioner extremely rewarding because their work is praised and recognized, they are fairly compensated, and they can truly appreciate their job due to its importance to other people’s well-being.
15 best nurse practitioner programs
Below are the best nurse practitioner programs in 2022, and they include,
1. Ball State University- Muncie
Ball State University, known for producing high-quality nurse practitioner programs, can advance your entry-level nursing career to advanced practice in primary care. Among the nation’s top online RN to NP programs, Ball States’ NP program will leave you with a strong commitment and passion for improving healthcare and serving the community.
On that note, to qualify for Ball’s RN to MSN-NP program, you must have an ADN and a non-nursing bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. The graduate courses total 47 credits, with six credits in the research core, eight credits in the nursing core, and 33 credits in FNP-specific classes.
You will be eligible to take the FNP certification exam and earn the credential of a certified FNP once you have completed the program.
2. Ohio State University- Columbus
This is one of the best places for nurse practitioner programs. You can get certified in your chosen area of emphasis by choosing between the FNP, PMHNP, or NNP tracks.
Although you complete your NP education via distance, OSU Medical Center’s teaching hospitals and community partnerships provide various clinical learning experiences, ensuring you do not miss out on the critical real-world learning component.
You must complete at least 65 credits in the MSN core, advanced practice core, and specialty-specific courses to graduate.
Interestingly, the program teaches you about advanced nursing practice innovation, pathophysiology, health policy and advocacy, advanced health assessment, pharmacology, health promotion and disease prevention, and your role as an advanced practice nurse in your chosen population foci.
3. Vanderbilt University- Nashville
At this university, not only can you earn the NP credential via distance learning, but Vanderbilt’s nurse practitioner program offers the most specializations of any well-known online RN to nurse practitioner program.
In addition to online classes that can be taken from the comfort of your home, the college allows you to complete your clinical experience in your city.
If you enter this program with an associate degree, you must complete two semesters of baccalaureate equivalent courses before beginning the MSN core and specialty-specific courses.
And after completion of the bridge courses, the MSN-NP courses will total approximately 40 credits.
4. Loyola University New Orleans
Pursuing your nurse practitioner program from Loyola University, New Orleans, ranked as one of the best online RN to NP programs, can be a wise decision.
The college is well-known for its excellent online education and is ranked among the best graduate nursing programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
Whether an RN with or without a bachelor’s degree in another field, you can select a path that meets your academic needs and graduate with marketable advanced practice nursing skills.
The program prepares you to provide advanced primary care to individuals and families across the lifespan. The MSN-NP program necessitates 48 credits and 720 practicum hours.
5. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
The college provides two options for RNs with an ADN or nursing diploma: an RN to MSN program and an RN-Bridge program. The RN to MSN program is intended for students with an associate degree but no baccalaureate degree.
You are eligible for the bridge program if you have an ADN/diploma and a non-nursing baccalaureate degree. The bridge program requires you to take BSN equivalent courses but does not award you a BSN, whereas the RN to MSN program awards you two degrees, a BSN and an MSN.
Both paths require you to complete core MSN courses before beginning FNP courses. After completing the 49 graduate credits, you will be proficient in advanced practice, health, and medicine research methods.
6. Western University of Health- Pomona
Suppose you are a working nurse who wants to complete your graduate education by enrolling in one of the best RN to nurse practitioner programs in California.
In that case, you should look into the RN to MSN program offered by the Western University of Health Sciences.
With complete online coursework, weekend campus intensives, and clinical training near your home, this program is a popular choice for students from Pomona and students from small counties and rural areas throughout the state.
The program prepares you to provide advanced primary care to individuals and families throughout their lives. Online activities such as discussion forums, group projects, and presentations are required for web-based learning.
7. Carson-Newman University-Jefferson City
The college’s nurse practitioner program, ranked as one of the country’s most affordable RN to NP online programs, can prepare you for this in-demand advanced practice role through online coursework, with only one three-day residency session required throughout the program.
The clinical practicum, an essential part of your training, is coordinated by the college’s placement specialist, who matches you with a preceptor and a clinical site that meets your specific needs.
This placement assistance can be very beneficial because it allows you to focus on your courses while saving time and effort in searching for clinical sites and preceptors.
8. Regis College- Waston
Regis College’s online RN to nurse practitioner programs are one of the largest in Massachusetts, with several concentration options.
Nurse practitioner graduates not only pass the certification exam with high pass rates but also leave the program with exceptional skills in critical thinking and advanced practice nursing, allowing them to make a difference in healthcare locally and globally.
Furthermore, the college’s close-knit and caring environment supports your career goals and allows you to form long-lasting connections with faculty and peers.
9. Graceland University- Lamoni
If you want to finish your NP education from a well-known RN to NP online program that confers the MSN-NP degree and awards a BSN, you should look into Graceland University’s program.
Depending on your chosen track, you will enter with an associate in nursing and leave with advanced practice skills in family health, adult/gerontology acute care, or psychiatric mental health.
Unlike most other online RN to NP programs, this one provides an opt-out after a BSN if you want to leave the program after earning your baccalaureate degree.
10. Simmons College- Boston
Do you envision yourself providing advanced nursing care to individuals and families throughout their lives? If so, Simmons College can help you realize your dream by advancing your associate degree in nursing to the master’s level.
The college’s MSN pathway, ranked among the best online RN to nurse practitioner programs in the country, has three start dates and accepts applications on a rolling basis.
Simmons, producing quality nurses since 1902, prepares students for this demanding career by emphasizing clinical training and providing them with learning opportunities throughout Boston’s prominent healthcare centers.
11. East Tennessee State University- Johnson City
The RN to nurse practitioner programs at East Tennessee State University emphasize interdisciplinary education and the improvement of rural health.
The college prepares you for success on the certification exam and in various healthcare settings, with two specialization options in psychiatric mental health and family health.
Furthermore, the online college allows working RNs to choose between part-time and full-time options. As an NP student, you will have numerous opportunities to hone your professional skills through extensive simulation or real-world learning experiences at the college’s seven nurse-managed health centers.
12. Samford University- Birmingham
Suppose you are looking for the best online RN to nurse practitioner programs in Alabama. In that case, you should learn about Samford University, which offers the state’s only such pathway, advancing an ADN-prepared RN’s career to the master’s level entirely through online classes.
Throughout the two to three years of this program, your academic goals will be supported by caring faculty who will give you the one-on-one attention you need to make your online studies a successful learning experience.
However, if you intend to continue your doctoral studies, the college allows for a smooth transition into its DNP program without the hassle of reapplying.
13. Concordia Wisconsin-Mequon
Concordia University’s faith-based online RN to nurse practitioner programs in family health and adult-gerontology care have the potential to transform your nursing career. The program seamlessly advances your ADN to the advanced practice level, with flexible schedules that can easily fit into your busy life schedule.
Again, thanks to improved decision-making skills and evidence-based knowledge, you will be prepared to provide Christ-centered nursing care as a graduate.
14. University of Michigan-Flint
The University of Michigan’s nurse practitioner program is one of the few online RN to NP programs in the country, providing registered nurses with two options for furthering their nursing careers.
Whether an RN with or without a bachelor’s degree, you can quickly pursue a master’s or doctorate through distance learning. You can earn this while maintaining your current job, and you can earn your degree with minimal campus visits and clinical experience completed in your community.
Excellent pass rates on the NP certification exams, excellent faculty support, and access to meaningful academic and research resources are just a few reasons this college is so popular.
15. Bradley University-Peoria
Bradley University’s RN to MSN program is for you if you want to complete your nurse practitioner program without any campus or residency requirements.
However, the program prepares you to provide high-quality primary care online, allowing you to select your preceptors and complete clinical in your community.
As the demand for primary care providers grows, this program can help you advance your nursing education and prepare you to enter the NP workforce while not interfering with your current life schedule.
Again, you will be able to treat patients without the supervision of a physician after graduation, as many states now allow NPs to practice autonomously.
It is now clear where to get the best nurse practitioner programs. All these programs mentioned above will qualify you to become an expert in this field. Various people who embarked on it have enjoyed some of the benefits.
Kindly visit these schools for further information.
There are some sensitive factors that must be considered before choosing any nurse practitioner program and they are outlined in this order;
Certificate of pass rate
Assistance with clinical placement
Job placement rate
Let’s assume you want to go straight from a BSN to a DNP. A BSN to DNP program will cost between $26,490 and $254,260. If you already have your MSN and want to pursue your DNP, you can expect to pay anywhere between $17,660 and $169,510.
There are countless benefits of taking up a nurse practitioner program and there are as follows;
Building a genuine connection with patients
- https://www.nursingprocess.org – Best online RN to MP programs 2022
- https://www.thriveap.com – Top five things to consider in choosing an NP program
- https://www.pacific-college.edu – Benefits of being a nurse practitioner
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