Family Nurse Practitioner Programs
Congratulations! You have made the decision to become a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). When you achieve this certification, you will be in one of the most sought after positions in the job market. You will be able to decide where you want to work, whether you want to work for yourself or someone else, and what kind of patients you want to care for. Now, the biggest decisions you will have to make is to decide where you should go for your graduate education.
What does a Family Nurse Practitioner do?
As the population ages and the number of Family Practice physicians decreases, the Family Nurse Practitioner has become crucial in filling that void. Family Nurse Practitioners usually practice in a clinic setting offering family medicine services to patients of all ages. And this is one of the great aspects of being an FNP — you can treat all sorts of patients in various settings without being forced into a single narrow focus!
Do you want to take care of cardiac, or urology, or pediatric patients? You can do that with certification as an FNP.
Do you want to work in an inner city clinic, or a nurse owned clinic, or a Fortune 500 company or a student health center? You can do that and more with a Family Nurse Practitioner certification.
Best Family Nurse Practitioner Programs
If you are already a Registered Nurse (RN) and you are looking for schools for advanced degrees (Master’s or Doctoral levels), there are several sources that may help you decide which nursing school is best for you. An often overlooked source is the National Institute of Health which is a government agency that gives grants to schools and universities based on a very strict selection process – only exceptional programs get funds through this agency. One of the best known sources is the annual US News and World Report rankings of top schools.
When you decide to specialize in an advance nursing program, the rankings of the “best” nursing schools change. For example, if you want to become a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and take care of families across the life span, the US News and World Report’s ranking is as follows:
- University of California: San Francisco in San Francisco, CA
- University of Washington in Seattle, WA
- University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA
- University of Michigan: Ann Arbor in Ann Arbor, MI
- Columbia University in New York, NY
- Oregon Health And Science University in Portland, OR
- Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD (tied for 7th)
- Yale University in New Haven, CT (tied for 7th)
- University of Maryland: Baltimore in Baltimore, MD
- Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN
But you really don’t have to limit yourself to a “bricks and mortar” school for your graduate degree. If you are self-motivated and can work independently, you might choose online family nurse practitioner programs. The critical point to remember when selecting any advanced degree program is that the program MUST be accredited in order to apply for the Nurse Practitioner credentialing exam with one of the major credentialing organizations. The programs listed here are all accredited.
- South University offers an online Master’s degree to prepare you to become a Nurse Practitioner. Established in 1899, South University offers advanced degrees in nursing in an online atmosphere. Call an advisor at 1.800.688.0932.
- University of Phoenix offers a number of Master’s degrees including health education, health informatics, and dual degrees in nursing and business. The University of Phoenix allows you to take a three session orientation workshop free of charge to find out if this kind of learning works for you. Call for information at 1.866.766.0766.
- Walden University offers the MSN in informatics, leadership and education. In addition, Walden University also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Walden University is an accredited online university that offers a collaborative learning environment; expert faculty; and high-quality online degrees, certificates, and individual courses. Call an Enrollment Advisor at 1.866.492.5336.
- Brandman University offers Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees in Adult health, family psychiatric, gerontology, neonatal, and pediatric nursing. Brandman University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, certificates, teaching credentials and extended education programs online and at campuses throughout California and Washington. Call an Enrollment Assistant at 1.800.746.0082
- Kaplan University offers an MSN in nursing education, informatics and administration. Kaplan will also allow you to take classes for free during an introductory period in order to see if this way of learning is right for you. Call an advisor at 1.866.318.6315
- Capella University offers an MSN in nursing education and offers an advanced degree for a student with a Bachelor’s degree but without a nursing license. Capella provides education designed for working adults who want to make a difference in their lives, their careers, and their communities. Learn more about the Capella online doctoral, master’s, MBA, undergraduate, and certificate programs—and get answers to your questions about Capella and online learning—by speaking with an enrollment counselor at 1.888.227.3552.
If you decide to do an online program, be sure to understand if there is a hands-on clinical component that you must complete — and the school’s requirements for completing the clinical.
Deciding on a Family Nurse Practitioner Program
Your choice of nursing schools for a Master’s degree as an FNP will be based on two factors:
- Location – Is there a nursing school with a Family NP program close to you that you can attend? Or will you have to do some of your studies online? Or are you prepared to move to a city with a graduate school with an appropriate program?
- Cost – How much money do you have that you can spend on your education? Can you qualify for grants? Often, as a graduate nursing student, you can teach while you complete your graduate degree.
Full US News and World Report Rankings can be found by signing up at the US News website.
Sources for Further Reading
Finding the right school: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/right-school?s_cid=content-center:college-hp
Tips for finding financial aid: http://www.allnursingschools.com/nursing-careers/article/nursing-scholarships-grantsTags: nursing prerequisites, nurse practitioner programs, nurse practitioner schools