November 3, 2023

Top Accelerated Nurse Practitioner Programs

Top Accelerated Nurse Practitioner Programs

An accelerated nurse practitioner (NP) program offers a fast-track option for students who want to become advanced practice nurses. There are accelerated NP programs for every type of nurse – whether you have a non-nursing bachelor's degree, an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

Although some universities offer a quicker route to becoming an NP, most don’t refer to their programs as “accelerated NP programs.” So for the purpose of this article, we will discuss NP programs that offer students a faster way to complete their studies than most other programs. 

Fast Facts About Nurse Practitioners

Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse practitioners earn a median income of $121,610 annually or $58.47/hr. 

Program Length

2-5 years, depending on the program and how fast the student completes their coursework.

Requirements

  • ADN, BSN, or a non-nursing bachelor's degree from an accredited school
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Healthcare experience through volunteering or a prior career
  • Completion of prerequisite courses for admission

Top 10 Accelerated Nurse Practitioner Programs

Choosing an accelerated NP program is a huge decision that requires careful consideration. Fortunately, Nurse.org put a list together of some of the best accelerated nurse practitioner schools.

We consider many factors in our ranking methodology, such as:

1. University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

The University of Rochester offers an accelerated master’s in nursing program for non-nurses. This program requires that students have worked or volunteered in healthcare before applying to the programs and that students have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their first bachelor's degree. 

After official acceptance into the program, students gain admission to two programs:

  • A 12-month accelerated BSN, and 
    • An MSN program within their chosen specialty:
    • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care
    • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care
    • Family
    • Family Psychiatric Mental Health 
    • Pediatric

Additional information:

2. Herzing University*

Herzing University* offers an online accelerated bridge program for nurses to become one of the following nurse practitioner specialties:

  • MSN- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN- Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The university offers programs for current ADN-prepared RNs, who do not hold a BSN. This program takes as little as 28 months to complete.  

For those with a BSN, Herzing also offers students a BSN to NP program online that takes about 24 months to complete.

Additional information:

  • Application Deadline: Rolling Admission
  • Tuition: Varies per campus and degree
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Contact Phone Number:  800-596-0724
  • Email Information: Live chat
  • Online Options Available: Yes

 3. Chamberlain University

Chamberlain University offers nurses an opportunity to earn an MSN and sit for national NP certification in as few as eight semesters. The program is also available online, except for in-patient clinical work.

Chamberlain has 23 campus locations across the nation and offers four NP specialty tracks, including:

  • Family nurse practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP): Acute Care
  •  Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP): Primary Care
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Additional information:

  • Application Deadline: Rolling Admission
  • Tuition: $675-690/credit hour
  • Accreditation: 
  • Contact Phone Number: 877.751.5783
  • Email Information: Contact form
  • Online Options Available: Yes

4. University of Illinois, Chicago, and Urbana, Il

The University of Illinois offers a full or part-time DNP program to become one of ten different NP specialties. All didactic coursework is online, and clinical work rotations take place in locations near the university. The program can be completed as quickly as two years or as long as six years, depending on the chosen focus area, full-time or part-time enrollment, and the degree level where the student starts the program. 

NP focus areas include:

  • Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner
  • Adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner
  • Family nurse practitioner
  • Neonatal nurse practitioner
  • Nurse-midwifery
  • Nurse-midwifery/Women’s health nurse practitioner
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner acute care
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner primary care
  • Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner
  • Women’s health nurse practitioner

The DNP programs are offered at six campuses across the state of Illinois.

Additional information:

  • Application Deadline: Jan 15 (for fall only)
  • Tuition: $999/credit hour
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Contact Phone Number: 312-996-7800
  • Email Information: con@uic.edu
  • Online Options Available: Hybrid

5. Georgetown University*

Georgetown University* offers a highly acclaimed online family nurse practitioner (FNP) program that students can complete in as quickly as 27 months. 

Students experience real-world experience through a blend of live online classes, coursework, and in-person clinical placements. The university has a vast network of healthcare settings at over 3700 locations in 49 states. 

Additional information:

  • Application Deadline: Rolling Application
  • Tuition: $2,358/per credit hour
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Contact Phone Number: 877-910-4692
  • Email Information: Contact form
  • Online Options Available: Yes

6. Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University offers a quicker path for students with a non-nursing bachelor's degree to start working as nurse practitioners. The university offers a PreSpecialty MSN program that includes a three-semester BSN program followed by subsequent NP specialty coursework. Full-time students may then complete NP coursework in as little as three semesters. 

NP specialty areas include:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner 
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner/ AGPCNP
  • Nurse-Midwifery/Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner 
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner 
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Additional information:

  • Application Deadline: Oct 15th
  • Tuition: $1,883/credit hour
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Contact Phone Number: 615-322-4400
  • Email Information: VUSN-Admissions@vanderbilt.edu
  • Online Options Available: Yes

7. The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University offers an MSN program for non-nurses with a bachelor’s degree in another field to become NPs in as little as three years. This program is an excellent option for non-nurses to become an NP faster than most programs. 

Graduates earn an MSN in one of the following specialty tracks:

  • Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Most specialties take about nine semesters full-time to complete.

Additional information:

  • Application Deadline: Aug 1 (for the following summer)
  • Tuition: 
    • In-state: $9,681/semester
    • Out-of-state: $22.982/semester
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Contact Phone Number: 614-292-4041
  • Email Information: nursing@osu.edu
  • Online Options Available:  Hybrid

8. Northeastern University, Burlington MA

Northeastern University has BSN and MSN programs in Burlington, MA, and Charlotte, NC.  This university offers a way for non-nurses to earn a BSN in as little as 16 months and an MSN in another two to three years, depending on how quickly students complete the program.  

This university recommends that since students start with no nursing experience, they gain experience as a nurse before starting their MSN to become an NP. 

Specialty tracks include:

  • Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner
  • Adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner
  • Neonatal nurse practitioner
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner
  • Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner

Additional information:

  • Application Deadline: Varies depending on the program
  • Tuition: $1,730/credit hour
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Contact Phone Number: 866-892-3819
  • Email Information: bouvegrad@northeastern.edu
  • Online Options Available: Yes

9. Samuel Merritt University

Samuel Merrit University has made a name for itself in the Golden State for advanced nursing education. Not only does it have one of the top CRNA programs in California, but it also offers a five-semester online family NP program.

Family NP students must already have a BSN and an unencumbered license. However, the university website reports that they will also evaluate nurses with a bachelor's degree in another field on a case-by-case basis. 

Samuel Merritt’s online FNP program is approved for nurses residing in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Virginia

Additional information:

  • Application Deadline: 
    • Nov 1 (Spring)
    • March 1 (Summer)
    • July 1 (Fall)
  • Tuition: $1,486
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Contact Phone Number: 866.629.0655
  • Email Information: online @crm.samuelmerritt.edu
  • Online Options Available: Yes

10. Walden University*

Students can earn an MSN and become family nurse practitioners at Walden University* through several different tracks. However, the quickest route is through their BSN to FNP program, which may take as little as 27 months.

NP specialties offered include:

  • Family nurse practitioner
  • Adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner primary care
  • Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner

The university also offers RN-MSN and BSN-DNP routes; however, they take much longer to complete.

Additional information:

  • Application Deadline: Rolling Application
  • Tuition:  $42,108
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Contact Phone Number: 844-634-3209
  • Email Information: Contact form
  • Online Options Available: Yes

About Accelerated Nurse Practitioner Programs

Accelerated NP programs prefer students with healthcare experience through work or volunteering.

Program Length

Depending on the program, these programs are typically three to five years in length. Students without a BSN usually complete a one-year accelerated BSN and then take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to earn licensure to practice as a registered nurse before starting their graduate-level studies.

Degrees

All accelerated NP programs are unique. Some require a master of science in nursing (MSN), while others require a doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) for graduation eligibility.

Experience

It is also important to remember that even if universities offer programs with an accelerated portion, such as an accelerated BSN, students must gain some experience in the field before moving into their advanced practice studies. 

FAQs About Accelerated Nurse Practitioner Programs

    • How fast can I become an NP?

      • You can become an NP in two to seven years, depending on your education level. Nurses with a BSN can become an NP in as little as two years in an MSN program or three years in a DNP program. Non-nurses may require as little as three years for an MSN or five years for a DNP, depending on the program.
    • Which nurse practitioner specialty is easiest?

      • All nurse practitioner specialties are challenging in different ways, and what is harder for one student may be a little easier for another. Due to the sheer amount of class and clinical material covered, all NP programs are intensive and rigorous. You must look at each specialty's graduation requirements to determine whether a specialty is right for you.
    • Is becoming a nurse practitioner hard

      • Becoming a nurse practitioner is difficult because the material is more advanced than undergraduate nursing coursework. NP students are learning how to care for patients in a provider role which requires a significantly increased amount of responsibility.
    • What type of NP is most in demand?

      • The most common type of nurse practitioner is a family practice NP. That is most likely due to the flexibility that the specialty provides. FNPs provide comprehensive care for individuals and families of all ages and genders. They also provide healthcare for a wide range of diseases and body systems. Family nurse practitioners often work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and private practices.

     

    Nurse Practitioner Career Overview >> Nurse Practitioner Salary Guide >> Highest Paying NP Specialties >>

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