May 30, 2024

Top Nurse Practitioner Programs 2024

If you are beginning to explore becoming a nurse practitioner (NP), you likely have many questions about which programs will provide you with the best education and position you for the greatest level of success.

That's why we've ranked the top nurse practitioner programs for 2024. We ranked the overall top programs, as well as top programs by individual specialty, to help you choose the right program for you.

Popular Online Nurse Practitioner (NP) Programs

Sponsored
Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Grand Canyon University

GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has a nearly 35-year tradition of preparing students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. GCU offers a full spectrum of nursing degrees, from a pre-licensure BSN degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Walden University
Walden’s online programs for nursing meet rigorous standards for academic quality and integrity, and the School of Nursing teaching faculty all hold doctorates. With three degree completion options, you can choose a bachelor’s in nursing path that makes sense for your busy, unpredictable schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY, RI and CT. Certain programs have additional state restrictions. Check with Walden for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

 

Top Nurse Practitioner Programs for 2024

School

Graduate Nursing Degrees Offered

Number of Graduate Nursing Students

Tuition 

Emory University

MSN, DNP

829

$2,082 per credit hour

Johns Hopkins University

MSN, DNP

498

$1,881 per credit hour

Duke University

MSN, DNP

457

$2,166 per credit hour 

Ohio State University

MSN, DNP

368

In-state: $972.50 per credit hour

Out-of-state: $1,172.50 per credit hour

University of Pennsylvania

MSN, DNP

375

$6,866 per credit hour

Vanderbilt University

MSN, DNP

715

$1,997 per credit hour

University of MIchigan - Ann Arbor

MSN, DNP

102

In-state: $1,513 per credit hour


Out-of-state: $3,093 per credit hour

New York University (Meyers)

MSN, DNP

536

$41,544 annual tuition

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

MSN, DNP

103

$1,019 per credit hour

George Mason University

MSN, DNP

19

In-state: $629 per credit hour


Out-of-state: $1,543 per credit hour

University of Alabama at Birmingham

MSN, DNP

870

$682 per credit hour

University of California - San Francisco

MSN, DNP

274

In-state: $12,762 per year

Out-of-state: $25,007 per year

University of Washington

MSN, DNP

79

In-state: $19,251 annually


Out-of-state: $33,354 annually

*Source U.S. News and World Report

Top Nurse Practitioner Programs by Specialty

There are approximately 500 academic institutions in the United States that offer accredited nurse practitioner (NP) programs, and all of them provide the training and education needed to ensure you are ready and able to move forward as an NP. 

If you are interested in pursuing your education at one of the NP programs that have distinguished itself in the most popular NP specialty areas, we have compiled a list of the top five programs for each, as judged by U.S. News and World Report.

Top Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Programs 

1. Duke University – Durham, North Carolina

Tuition: $2,166 per credit hour 

Duke University’s Adult-Gerontology Acute Care offers intensive courses, state-of-the-art simulation techniques, and immersion in clinical rotations for patients across all acute care settings, including urgent care and emergency departments, hospitals, intensive care services, and step-down units in academic, community, or critical access environments.  Applicants are required to have at least one year of acute care nursing experience. 

2. Vanderbilt University – Nashville, Tennessee

Tuition: $1,997 per credit hour

Vanderbilt University’s Adult-Gerontology Acute Care program is taught by doctorally prepared faculty using traditional classroom settings, live-streamed videos, online educational activities, simulated experiences, and clinical training. The program offers specialization in cardiology, critical care, nephrology, pulmonology, endocrinology, trauma, rehabilitation, and other areas. 

3. University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia, PA

Tuition: $56,262 per year

The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care program at the University of Pennsylvania provides a 15-month full-time curriculum as well as a two-year and three-year plan of study for students who wish to attend the program part-time. The clinical courses include classroom case studies and clinical preceptorships that focus on physical assessment and pathophysiology, health maintenance, and the management of common acute and chronic health problems.

Popular Online Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University
GCU’s RN-BSN program is tailored to meet the needs of the RN adult learner and to maximize the strengths that the working RN already possesses. Transfer up to 90 credits and earn a BSN in as little as 12 months. GCU’s online classes allow you to study at the times that work for your schedule while still enjoying a close connection with your classmates and instructor via online discussions.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Walden University
Walden’s online programs for nursing meet rigorous standards for academic quality and integrity, and the School of Nursing teaching faculty all hold doctorates. With three degree completion options, you can choose a bachelor’s in nursing path that makes sense for your busy, unpredictable schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY, RI and CT. Certain programs have additional state restrictions. Check with Walden for details.

Georgetown University
Nursing@Georgetown delivers Georgetown University’s MS in Nursing program online, preparing RNs with a BSN to pursue certification in an APRN specialty. Students can earn their degree in as few as 19 months.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY and WA.

Seton Hall University
Seton Hall University’s College of Nursing, founded in 1937, provides a wide variety of undergraduate and nationally ranked graduate programs that prepare students for leadership in the nursing industry. We are pioneers in evidence-based practice, servant leadership and cutting-edge technology, and encourage our students to integrate their values into their daily nursing practice. College of Nursing students spend most of their time at Seton Hall’s Interprofessional Sciences Campus in Nutley, New Jersey. This integrated and interprofessional environment allows for a unique and innovative team-based approach to medical education. This gives a large advantage to our student’s ability to work collaboratively, improve patient care and be better prepared for entering the healthcare profession. Seton Hall’s College of Nursing is recognized by U.S. News and World Report as having one of the top programs in the nation for Online Graduate Nursing Programs, ranking 17th in the nation, making it the top online graduate nursing program in New Jersey in 2020. All nursing programs at Seton Hall are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding AL, CA, KS, LA, OR, TN, WA, WY

4. Emory University- Atlanta, GA

Tuition: $2,082 per credit hour

Emory University’s Adult/Gerontology Acute Care program focuses on both the care of acutely ill and complex chronically ill patients and their families. Areas of specialty include critical care, trauma surgery, general surgery, plastic surgery, and hospital medicine. 

5. Ohio State University - Columbus, OH

Tuition: In-state: $972.50 per credit hour, Out-of-state: $1,172.50 per credit hour

OSU’s AGNP program is entirely online and was developed based on the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Competencies guidelines as defined by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF). Students must have one year of full-time work experience in an acute care setting to be eligible for the program. 

>> Show Me Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Top Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Programs

1. Duke University - Durham, North Carolina

Tuition: $2,166 per credit hour

The Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP path at Duke is an MSN program that provides opportunities for short-term courses or clinical work in international sites and options for choosing an area of specialization, including cardiology, endocrinology, oncology, orthopedics, and HIV. 

2. Ohio State University - Columbus, OH

Tuition: In-state: $972.50 per credit hour, Out-of-state: $1,172.50 per credit hour

The AGPC NP program at OSU provides students with the same education and opportunities online as those that attend the brick and mortar institution at a fraction of the cost. Students focus on clinical experiences, interprofessional collaboration and evidence-based practice skills throughout the program prior to graduation. 

3. Emory University- Atlanta, GA

Tuition: $2,082 per credit hour

Emory University’s Adult/Gerontology Primary Care program focuses on both the care of acutely ill and complex chronically ill patients and their families. Areas of specialty include critical care, trauma surgery, and hospital medicine. Students may also pursue a dual MSN/MPH degree through the School of Nursing and the Rollins School of Public Health. 

4. Case Western Reserve University - Cleveland, OH

Tuition: $2,308 per credit hour

The NP program at Case Western requires 41 hours of coursework and 600 clinical hours. Generally completed in 18 months the courses are offered online for maximum flexibility. The program focuses on health promotion, disease prevention and comprehensive gerontological assessment.

5. University of California-San Francisco - San Francisco, CA

Tuition: In-state: $12,762 per year, Out-of-state: $25,007 per year

According to the university website, the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) specialty at UCSF promotes and sustains health in the community and workplace, with particular emphasis on culturally diverse and high-risk populations. Graduates from the program go on to practice in community and hospital-based primary care clinics, patient’s homes, skilled nursing facilities, and other long-term health care settings.

>> Show Me Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Top Family Nurse Practitioner Programs

1. Duke University - Durham, North Carolina

Tuition: $2,166 per credit hour

The Duke University FNP program is offered both in-person and online. It prepares its graduates to serve as the primary health care provider for patients of all ages and across all primary care settings. Much of the program’s focus is on preparation for advanced clinical practice throughout patients’ lifespans and across the health continuum. Includes pediatric and perinatal care courses and the ability to do clinical work in international sites. 

2. Ohio State University - Columbus, OH

Tuition: In-state: $972.50 per credit hour, Out-of-state: $1,172.50 per credit hour

Currently, there are two FNP tracks available to students at OSU. The on-campus track is available to students with a BSN and those in the Graduate Entry Program. There is also an online distance learning program. Students must indicate which program they are applying for and unfortunately can not change once the program has been started. 

3. Vanderbilt University - Nashville, Tennessee

Tuition: $1,997 per credit hour

Vanderbilt University’s Family Nurse Practitioner program teaches a family-oriented approach focused on health promotion and maintenance. While the program offers a traditional didactic approach, it is particularly well suited to self-directed learners who can absorb a significant amount of information in concentrated form.  

4. Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Tuition: $2,082 per credit hour

Emory University’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program prepares graduates to meet the needs of individuals across their lifespans. The program has a strong focus on community-based primary care, offering multidisciplinary experiences in both the classroom and through clinical settings, including rural and migrant populations. The program places students in more than 40 community-based sites and private practices to ensure a wide range of exposure and experience. 

5. University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, California

Tuition: In-state: $12,762 per year, Out-of-state: $25,007 per year

The University of California -San Francisco’s Family Nurse Practitioner program is focused on preparing nurse practitioners to be leaders in clinical care, research, and policy. It provides extensive hands-on experience working with a wide range of patient populations with complex healthcare needs, across the lifespan and in a variety of clinical settings. Post-Master’s certificates are available and require 5 quarters of coursework and an additional 560 hours of clinical practice. 

>> Show Me Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs

Top Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Programs 

1. Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Tuition:  $2,166 per credit hour

The Duke University Pediatric NP program provides training through all areas of primary health care for children of all ages, including health maintenance and prevention, chronic and acute pediatric illnesses, behavior issues and patient/family education. Clinical practice provides one-on-one experience and is facilitated through work in school-based health clinics, hospital ambulatory settings, health departments, and community pediatric practices. 

2. Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, Maryland

Tuition: $1,939 per credit hour

Become a DNP-prepared pediatric primary care nurse practitioner while taking advantage of resources found only at Johns Hopkins. Students enhance their relationships with Johns Hopkins’ internationally acclaimed faculty, who have broad experience in advanced clinical practice, leadership, and patient safety. They will also build up your network with the other emerging leaders among your cohort and alumni.

3. Rush University - Chicago, Illinois

Tuition: $1,344 per credit hour

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PC PNP) program prepares students to function in a variety of primary care settings, taking care of children from infancy through young adulthood. The online program can be accomplished in two to four years on either a full-time or part-time basis. 

4.  University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Tuition:

  • In-state: $79,632
  • Out-of-state: $145,467

The Doctor of Nursing Practice Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Iowa provides students with a blended learning experience of academics and carefully selected clinical experiences to ensure the highest quality learning experience.  The university has a 100% certification exam pass rate as well as a 100% job placement rate for graduates. The length of the program is 3-4 years.

5. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Tuition: $1,997 per credit hour

Vanderbilt University’s Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care program is taught by doctorally prepared faculty with diverse and real-world pediatric NP experience. The university offers a thorough and comprehensive curriculum that combines traditional classroom settings, clinical training, and simulation experience to teach pediatric care knowledge and critical thinking skills.   

>> Show Me Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Top Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Programs

1. Duke University- Durham, North Carolina

Tuition: 12,166 per credit hour

The Duke University Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner program provides the skills needed to deliver psychiatric mental health care to all ages, with an emphasis on underserved communities and rural settings. The program offers immersion in the clinical environment, including emergency departments, inpatient facilities and intensive care services, VA facilities, and residential mental health care facilities. Graduates receive certification in telepsychiatry and options for certification in veterans’ health. It also offers a Post-Graduate certificate program for those who are already nurse practitioners. 

2. Vanderbilt University -  Nashville, Tennessee

Tuition: $1,997 per credit hour

Vanderbilt University’s Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program was one of the first of its kind in the country. It includes education on treatment for individuals, families, or groups with common, acute, or chronic mental health programs.

Vanderbilt's program provides its graduates with the training to prescribe appropriate medications, psychotherapy, crisis intervention, case management, and consultation in a variety of settings. The program offers low faculty-to-student ratios, mentoring, and personalized attention. 

Popular Online Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Programs

Sponsored
Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Walden University
Walden’s online programs for nursing meet rigorous standards for academic quality and integrity, and the School of Nursing teaching faculty all hold doctorates. With three degree completion options, you can choose a bachelor’s in nursing path that makes sense for your busy, unpredictable schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY, RI and CT. Certain programs have additional state restrictions. Check with Walden for details.

Liberty University
At Liberty, you’ll benefit from 30+ years of learning, growing, adapting, and innovating for the distance learner — and more than a decade of researching the needs of the online student. You can be confident that we’ve taken the time to learn what’s important to you.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Wilkes University

The R.N. to M.S.N program is for registered nurses with associate degrees who want to become nurse practitioners. It focuses on advanced clinical skills, professionalism and evidence-based practice. Our integrated exam preparation courses provide dedicated study resources, leading to impressive passing rates consistently above the national average and graduate success.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

3. University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia, PA

Tuition: $6,866 per credit hour

The PMHNP program at U. Penn is offered in person and can be completed in as little as 14 months. While the full-time option has one start date, if you choose to attend part-time, there are three available start dates. The PMHNP program offers a holistic approach that blends neuroscience with psychotherapy and psychopharmacology. 

4. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill  - Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Tuition: In-state: $12,762 per year, Out-of-state: $25,007 per year 

UNC-Chapel Hill’s Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program prepares its graduates to provide for the psychiatric and mental health care needs of individuals, families, groups, and communities throughout the lifespan and in a broad range of practice and community settings.  The program emphasizes cultural sensitivity and the ability to understand and integrate mental and physical health problems. Students are encouraged to complete their clinical hours in their own communities.

5. Yale University - Orange, CT

Tuition: $49,018 per year

The Psychiatric–Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program at Yale University prepares students for advanced practice in the provision of psychiatric–mental health services to individuals across the lifespan and their family members. This is a master’s degree program that takes two years of full-time study to complete.

How Do You Become Certified as a Nurse Practitioner?

After completing an accredited nurse practitioner program, you'll need to become certified in whatever NP specialty you have chosen. There are different certification organizations depending on what you're specializing in. They include:

  1. American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP)
  2. American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)
  3. American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  4. American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  5. National Certification Corporation (NCC)
  6. Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)

Each certification board has different requirements, though all require you to have completed an accredited nurse practitioner program and pass a certification exam.

Can You Earn a Nurse Practitioner Degree Online? 

Remote learning has become increasingly popular, and online NP programs at both the MSN level and the DNP level are offered through many of the country’s top Nurse Practitioner programs. 

This has allowed nurses to continue to work and support or care for themselves and their families while at the same time furthering their education and professional opportunities. 

While online NP programs are becoming more popular, all NP programs require in-person clinical hours. This means that core courses can be offered online, but you will be required to complete a specific number of hours in person at an approved clinical site with a preceptor. 

How Much Do Nurse Practitioner Programs Cost? 

The costs of nurse practitioner programs vary depending on numerous variables, including whether you choose to attend an in-state public program or a private university, whether you will need to relocate to attend a full-time program where you will need room and board, and whether you are taking the program on a part-time, per-credit basis or a full-time tuition basis.  

The costs for MSN nursing programs can easily reach $60,000 to $100,000, with DNP programs costing almost twice that as a result of the additional coursework required. 

Fortunately, there are numerous opportunities for full-time students to take advantage of financial aid such as the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) program and nursing scholarships, and for those who are studying part-time or online while working to seek tuition reimbursement from their employers. 

NP Program Prerequisites & Requirements

When you're applying to nurse practitioner programs, the prerequisites and requirements will vary depending on the school, but you can expect to generally need the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited college or university
  • An active RN license and work experience, including a specified number of clinical hours
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA (usually a 3.0 or higher)
  • Letters of recommendation (academic and professional)
  • Application essay
  • Current resume or CV
  • GRE scores

Applicants will also need to have taken specific prerequisites, which may include:

  • General Chemistry
  • Human Anatomy and physiology (with labs)
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology
  • Statistics

Popular Online Nurse Practitioner (NP) Programs

Sponsored
Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Grand Canyon University

GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has a nearly 35-year tradition of preparing students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. GCU offers a full spectrum of nursing degrees, from a pre-licensure BSN degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Walden University
Walden’s online programs for nursing meet rigorous standards for academic quality and integrity, and the School of Nursing teaching faculty all hold doctorates. With three degree completion options, you can choose a bachelor’s in nursing path that makes sense for your busy, unpredictable schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY, RI and CT. Certain programs have additional state restrictions. Check with Walden for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Nurse Practitioner Program FAQs

  • Which nurse practitioner is most in demand? 

    • Many NP specialties are in demand, but adult gerontology primary care NPs may be especially needed in the next few years as the baby boomer generation continues to retire and age.
  • Which NP program is best? 

    • Duke University has one of the highest-ranked NP programs in the country. 
  • What is the easiest nurse practitioner program? 

    • NP programs are rigorous and require a great deal of time and dedication. Programs are not “easy” as coursework includes advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, and advanced health assessment. 
  • Where is the highest need for nurse practitioners? 

    • Florida, Texas, New York, California, and Ohio are all projected to have a high need for NPs in the next decade, with new jobs being added and current doctors due to retire.
  • Is the NP market oversaturated? 

    • Some cities may see an oversaturation of NPs as it has become increasingly popular over the years; however, there is still a very high demand for NPs as a whole. 
  • Is a PA higher than a nurse practitioner? 

    • A Physician Assistant (PA) is not “higher” than an NP. Both PAs and NPs are mid-level practitioners. In fact, NPs can practice independently in more states than PAs can. 
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