Best Colleges Online - Most Affordable Degrees-01In this article, we profile the top 15 most affordable online nurse practitioner programs with specializations for 2019.

Employers value specializations, especially in healthcare-related fields like nursing. A specialization means you’ve acquired training and skills in an area that may be valuable to your employer. In the nurse practitioner field, specializations include family nurse practitioner (FNP), geriatric and adult nursing, pediatric nursing, psychiatric mental health nursing, and women’s health. Many online nurse practitioner programs now offer specializations that can also be earned via distance learning.

Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations

We looked at over 100 colleges and universities listed by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator that offered online nurse practitioner programs. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying the following criteria: Accreditation from regional or national governing agencies, the offering of at least one specialization in addition to an online nurse practitioner degree, school or program ranking from at least one major publication such as U.S. News and World Report, and graduate tuition and fees less than $42,000 per year. We listed the top 15 online nurse practitioner programs according to raw affordability.

Below is our list of the most affordable online nurse practitioner programs with specializations of 2019.

#15 – Regis College

Online Master’s in Nursing

Weston, Massachusetts

Website

Regis College - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Online nurse practitioner programs are affordable at Regis College.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $41,015

Regis College ranks as one of the most affordable online nurse practitioner programs of its kind in the country. The program provides several practitioner concentrations such as family nurse, pediatric nurse, psychiatric mental health nurse, women’s health nurse, and adult geriatric nurse. All coursework is delivered entirely online for maximum convenience and flexibility. In addition, students are not required to take the GRE or GMAT exams for admission, giving them more time to work on other parts of their application without the burden of exam preparation. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and is designated as a Center for Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing. U.S. News and World Report ranks Regis #132 in best online graduate nursing programs.

#14 – University of Rochester

Online Master’s in Nursing

Rochester, New York

Website

University of Rochester - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Ranked & accredited! University of Rochester’s online nurse practitioner programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $40,328

Students seeking an online nurse practitioner specialization from a top-ranked national university are likely to find University of Rochester a plausible option to pursue graduate studies. Housed within the nationally renowned School of Nursing, candidates may choose from specialties such as adult gerontology acute care, adult gerontology primary care, family nurse, family psychiatric mental health, pediatric nurse, and pediatric/neonatal nurse. Admission requirements include current RN license, transcripts, two letters of recommendation, professional statement, resume, writing sample, and TOEFL scores for international applicants. U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of Rochester #33 in national universities and #35 in best graduate nursing schools.

#13 – Saint Louis University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Saint Louis, Missouri

Website

Saint Louis University - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Gerontological specializations – Saint Louis University’s online nurse practitioner programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,994

Saint Louis University offers a nurse practitioner online degree for current registered nurses seeking to become nurse practitioners. In addition to online coursework, the program offers maximum flexibility through its various enrollment options. Students meet with an advisor and can chart out an individualized full-time or part-time enrollment pathway to completion. Specializations include adult gerontological acute care, adult gerontological primary care, pediatric primary, family, and family psychiatric mental health. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. U.S. News and World Report ranks Saint Louis University #74 in best nursing schools master’s and #106 in national universities.

#12 – Frontier Nursing University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Hyden, Kentucky

Website

Frontier Nursing University - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Flexible curriculum! Frontier Nursing University’s online nurse practitioner programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,921

Frontier Nursing University offers one of the most cost-efficient online nurse practitioner programs of its kind. Students can expect a rigorous and flexible curriculum from this university that specializes in nursing education. In addition to the regular master’s in nursing program, students with associate degrees in nursing are welcome to apply to the ADN/MSN bridge program. Candidates can choose from pathways including nurse-midwife, family nurse practitioner, women’s health nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. In addition, candidates of the program can go on to pursue a doctor of nursing degree without applying a second time. U.S. News and World Report rank Frontier Nursing University #47 in best online graduate nursing programs.

#11 – Rowan University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Glassboro, New Jersey

Website

Rowan University - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Ranked and affordable – Rowan University’s online nurse practitioner programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,360

Rowan University provides candidates with an online nurse practitioner specialization degree for current registered nurses seeking to complete a master’s degree and become a nurse practitioner. Students can choose from specialty tracks including adult gerontology acute care or family nurse practitioner. In addition to online coursework, students complete a minimum of 600 clinical hours. Core MSN classes may include advanced health assessment, advanced nursing research, integrated information technology in health care, and leadership and care delivery environment. U.S. News and World Report ranks Rowan University in multiple categories for 2019 including #176 in best nursing schools master’s and #171 in best national universities.

#10 – Maryville University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Saint Louis, Missouri

Website

Maryville University - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Pediatric or gerontological specializations! Maryville University’s online nurse practitioner programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,646

Maryville University’s nurse practitioner online degree provides candidates with five nurse practitioner programs to choose from that all feature online coursework, no campus visits, and clinical hours in the student’s own community. The five specializations include family nurse, adult gerontology primary care, adult gerontology acute care, pediatric, and psychiatric mental health. Core classes may include evidence-based practice in nursing, health care policy, health promotion and disease prevention, professional role development, and theoretical foundations in nursing practice. Applicants are not required to submit GRE or GMAT scores for admission. U.S. News and World Report ranks Maryville University #109 in best online graduate education programs.

#9 – Chamberlain University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Downers Grove, Illinois

Website

Chamberlain University - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Accessible online! Chamberlain University’s online nurse practitioner programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,940

Chamberlain University provides one of the most affordable and accessible online nurse practitioner programs of its kind in the industry. The program’s coursework is delivered entirely online with no mandatory login times or group work. There are no campus visit requirements other than an immersion weekend. In addition, students may complete all of their clinical hours in their own communities. Courses may include advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology fundamentals, advanced pharmacology for care of the family, and leadership and role of the advanced practice nurse. Students will be well prepared to sit for national exams at the end of the program.

#8 – Purdue University Global

Online Master’s in Nursing

Indianapolis, Indiana

Website

Purdue University Global - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Affordable online nurse practitioner programs – Purdue University Global.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,414

Purdue University offers interested candidates an affordable and convenient online nurse practitioner specialization program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Students can choose from several degree pathways such as adult gerontology acute care, adult gerontology primary care, executive leader, family nurse primary care, and nurse educator. Students who successfully complete the curriculum will be prepared to sit for national certification exams. Courses are generally 10 weeks in length and require 15 hours per week on average. Sample courses include advanced nursing roles, epidemiology and health promotion, and promoting optimal models and systems for health care delivery. U.S. News and World Report ranks Purdue #56 in national universities.

#7 – Clarkson College

Online Master’s in Nursing

Omaha, Nebraska

Website

Clarkson College - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Ranked and accredited! Clarkson University’s online nurse practitioner programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,178

Clarkson University offers a rigorous and flexible nurse practitioner online degree designed for current registered nurses. The program offers five specialty tracks including two for nurse practitioners (adult gerontology primary care and family nurse practitioner). There are typically three start dates per year, so candidates do not have to wait to start their coursework. Core classes include application and evaluation of theory in nursing, applied statistics, health care delivery systems and managed care, nursing law and ethics, and research design and methods. U.S. News and World Report ranks Clarkson University #102 in best national universities for its 2019 ranking cohort.

#6 – Concordia University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Mequon, Wisconsin

Website

Concordia University - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Flexible online courses! Concordia University’s online nurse practitioner programs with specializations.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,848

Concordia University offers one of the most affordable and flexible online nurse practitioner programs of its kind designed to teach registered nurses the skills to become licensed nurse practitioners. The 41-credit program features three concentrations including family nurse practitioner, primary care adult gerontology nurse practitioner, and nurse education. Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA, current RN license, successful completion of undergraduate statistics course within five years, resume, three letters of support, and transcripts. Courses may include advanced evidence based nursing practice, healthcare policy issues in advanced nursing, and theoretical foundations of advanced nursing roles and interpersonal collaboration. U.S. News and World Report rank Concordia University #97 in best online graduate nursing programs.

#5 – The University of Alabama

Online Master’s in Nursing

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Website

The University of Alabama - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Ranked and accredited – University of Alabama’s online nurse practitioner programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,780

The University of Alabama offers a unique online nurse practitioner specialization featuring a dual concentration in psychiatric mental health and family nurse practitioner. The program prepares students to sit for both certification exams. Students can also sit for individual certifications if they choose. Currently, the nurse practitioner concentration program is open to residents in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. In addition to online coursework, the program offers part-time or full-time enrollment. The program is designed for current registered nurses seeking graduate coursework. Admission requirements include 3.0 UGPA, bachelor’s degree in nursing, unencumbered nursing license, and transcripts. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Alabama #12 in best online graduate nursing programs.

#4 – Ohio University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Athens, Ohio

Website

Ohio University - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Highly affordable! Ohio University – online nurse practitioner programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,720

Ohio University’s nurse practitioner online program ranks as one of the most affordable and convenient of its kind. The program offers three concentrations including nurse educator, adult gerontologic acute care, and psychiatric mental health. Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Coursework includes AGACNP management of common adult health problems, applied clinical pharmacology for the AGACNP, assessment and management of mental health disorders for advanced nursing practice, and neurobiological and theoretical bases for psychiatric mental health in advanced nursing practice. U.S. News and World Report ranks Ohio University #149 in best nursing schools master’s.

#3 – Southeastern Louisiana University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Hammond, Louisiana

Website

Southeastern Louisiana University - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Lots of concentrations! Southeastern Louisiana University’s online nurse practitioner programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,781

Southeastern Louisiana University offers one of the most unique consortium-based online nurse practitioner programs in the country, bringing together faculty and resources from four universities to create a single program. The partner institutions include McNeese State, Nicholls State, Southeastern Louisiana State, and University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The program provides a great deal of flexibility, as all coursework is conducted online. Students can enroll either part-time (3-6 credits per term) or full-time (9+ credits per term). Concentrations include family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and nurse educator. U.S. News and World Report ranks Southeastern Louisiana University #107 in regional universities South.

#2 – Angelo State University

Online Master’s in Nursing

San Angelo, Texas

Website

Angelo State University - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
Ranked and affordable – Online nurse practitioner programs at Angelo State University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,696

Through its Department of Nursing, Angelo State University offers an online nurse practitioner specialization including family nurse practitioner and nursing education. Admission and entrance criteria include bachelor’s degree in nursing, overall 3.0 minimum GPA, undergraduate statistics course of 2.0 or higher, reside in Texas, an unencumbered RN license, three letters of support, resume, and personal statement. Courses may include advanced health assessment, evidence based practice and theory for advanced nursing, informatics and health care technology for advanced nursing, population health epidemiology for advanced nursing, and research foundations for advanced nursing. U.S. News and World Report ranks Angelo State #88 in best online graduate nursing programs.

#1 – The University of Texas

Online Master’s in Nursing

El Paso, Texas

Website

The University of Texas - Top 15 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs with Specializations
#1 most affordable – University of Texas – online nurse practitioner programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,170

Online nurse practitioner programs like the one at University of Texas El Paso provide students with advanced nursing training to prepare them for successful careers as nurse practitioners and leaders. The UTEP program offers four concentrations including family nurse practitioner, pediatric primary care nurse practitioner, adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, and pediatric acute care nurse practitioner. The program includes 46-49 online credits that can be completed over two years along with 675-775 clinical hours. U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of Texas El Paso in multiple categories including #230 in national universities and #132 in best online graduate nursing programs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What specializations are available in online nurse practitioner programs?

Becoming a nurse practitioner requires extremely advanced nursing knowledge and skills within the context of the types of care and patients they care for. As such, online nurse practitioner programs provide a wide array of specializations for students to choose from based upon their interests and career trajectories.

The most common specialties found in online programs include acute care nurse practitioner, adult gerontology nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, psychiatric nurse practitioner, and women’s health nurse practitioner.

Acute care nurse practitioners treat patients in need of short-term or temporary care often in settings such as outpatient clinics, emergency rooms, and outpatient centers. Online programs will often divide this specialty into gerontology and pediatric acute care.

Gerontology nurse practitioners diagnose, treat, and educate older patients with common health problems. They can be found working in settings such as specialty settings where older patients go for care.

As the name states, family nurse practitioners work with families to meet their diverse health needs. They engage in direct care, education, diagnosis, and treatment. Similar to family nurse practitioners, women’s nurse practitioners treat, diagnose, and educate women on their specific health needs.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners focus on providing patients with mental health services. They provide diagnosis, treatment, and prescribe medication when necessary.

What is the job outlook for individuals graduating from online nurse practitioner programs?

When analyzing data provided by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the numbers show a very positive outlook for those graduating from online and on the ground nurse practitioner programs. There are a variety of variables that create an environment for growth in the occupation during the period of 2016-2026, during which the occupation could grow by a staggering 31 percent, a full 24 percent more than the average of all other occupations.

One of the main drivers of accretion is the increased demand for healthcare services by the aging baby boomer population as they continue to get older and subsequently need more care. In particular, the outlook for gerontological nurse practitioners is particularly strong given the sheer numbers of baby boomers. Additionally, as preventive care continues to be an important piece of the health care industry, nurse practitioners play an integral role as they are able to engage in many of the same treatment, assessment, and other healthcare duties and modalities that physicians can, but often at a lower labor cost.

Job candidates willing to relocate will see their chances of employment increase even more. New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Ohio are the top five states that employ nurse practitioners with a total combined 54,000 positions.

How much can I potentially earn graduating from one of the online nurse practitioner programs on this list?

Given the importance of the job duties combined with the difficulty of earning a master’s degree as a nurse practitioner, it is no surprise that the pay far outpaces average annual earnings of most other occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of all occupations is $38,640 per year. Contrast that with the average annual pay of nurse practitioners, which comes in at $107,030, and it is easy to see why the degree has always been a popular choice in the health care field.

As with other occupations, years of experience, industry, geographic location, and other economic variables all play salient roles in pay amounts and structures. The lowest 10% of earners make $78,300 per year, while the highest 10% of earners make $150,320 annually.

Industry and health care setting are major contributors to salary. Personal care services and community housing and food organizations pay on average $135,000 per year but have less than 300 openings. Among the major industry types, outpatient care centers the highest average salary at $116,550 per year followed by specialty hospitals with an average annual salary of $114,880. Physician offices, which employ by far the highest number of nurse practitioners (84,720), pay on average $107,530 per year.

What are the admission requirements for online nurse practitioner programs?

Online nursing practitioner programs have stringent admission program requirements given the high level occupational skills needed to be successful on the job combined with their importance and prestige within western culture. Additionally, the difficulty of the content taught within these types of programs is very high and requires students to work extremely hard. As with most college and university admission requirements, there are several factors that impact the level of selectivity and number of requirements candidates must adhere to. Components such as rank and reputation of the institution, number of open slots, and other similar variables impact admission.

Most programs are designed for current registered nurses. As such, students are required to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program along with an unencumbered nursing license. Additionally, students must be CPR certified and pass a background check. Most programs will also require students to have successfully passed an undergraduate statistics course within the past five years with a grade of “C” or better. Other common application components include two to three letters of recommendation.

Top programs will require higher undergraduate grade point averages and top GRE or GMAT scores. More competitive programs will require students to have an undergraduate grade point average of 3.5 or above compared to lower tier programs that have GPA thresholds of 2.5 or above. Many programs do not require test scores or have test score waivers that are easy to qualify for.

How long do online nurse practitioner programs take?

Online nurse practitioner programs take anywhere from 2-6 years to complete. Program parameters combined with the needs and desires of individual students all combine to impact the length of time it takes to complete a program. Because nurse practitioners are required to complete several hundred hours, typically 600 or more, this adds to the total time it takes to complete. The shortest programs can be completed in approximately 15-18 months. These programs are for RNs with a bachelor’s degree and are able to enroll full-time and complete a heavy rotation of clinical hours per week.

Academic background can play a major part in how long it takes to complete a program. Programs that accept students with associate nursing degrees have to take far more classes and complete more clinical hours than their peers with bachelor’s degrees.

The most salient variable impacting length of time to completion is enrollment level. Since most online master’s in nursing programs are designed for working professionals, considerable leeway is given in terms of course loads, with most students completing the classes and clinical hours within three years. Programs allow up to five or six years for students who want to take the minimum course load per term and who may have to take a term off during their time in the program.

BCO Staff
June 2019

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This concludes our list of the 15 most affordable online nurse practitioner programs with specializations.