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Family Nurse Practitioner School

Do I need to attend an accredited school to become a family nurse practitioner?

The American Nurses Credentialing Center requires attendance at an accredited program in order to be eligible to take the national certification examination. The agencies that accredit family nurse practitioner programs are the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) and the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Additionally, in order to become licensed in your state of residence, the program must be approved by your state’s Board of Nursing. Being state approved and being accredited by the NLNAC or CCNE are not the same thing, so make sure that the program you select meets both of these requirements.

Do all nursing programs train nurses to become family nurse practitioners?

Not all programs offer master’s or doctoral degrees. Programs through local community colleges will typically not offer programs beyond practical or associate’s level educations, and four-year universities may offer bachelor’s degrees but not have master’s programs.

What if I already have a nursing degree?

There are programs that are oriented both towards students entering the profession with no nursing background, and students who are building on an earlier nursing degree. Often described as bridge programs, a nursing program that is structured around a student who already has an associate’s or bachelor’s degrees develops a curriculum that advances education that has already been completed so as to minimize duplication.

Are there schools that offer accelerated family nurse practitioner programs?

For individuals who want to pursue careers as FNPs and who already have baccalaureate degrees, there are accelerated MSN programs. Existing degrees held by would-be FNPs don’t necessarily have to be in nursing in order to meet eligibility requirements for accelerated programs, but if the bachelor’s degree is in a non-science or allied health field, there will likely be some pre-requisites in the area of biology, anatomy and physiology that need to be completed.

The accelerated degrees fit four years worth of bachelor’s and master’s degree nursing-specific education into three years. These programs are very aggressively paced, and they often schedule classes year-round. They include the same high quality coursework and demanding clinical rotations that a regular program does.

Are there schools that offer full family nurse practitioner programs available online?

Yes. For individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree, there are online programs where the coursework, examinations and homework are offered through web-based platforms. Accelerated versions of online programs are also available, and these maintain the same condensed coursework schedules as the traditional campus-based programs do. Online accelerated programs are most often scheduled, while some other online programs may allow a student to self-pace. Due to the demanding coursework and the sheer volume of information that must be taught, tested and built upon, the online accelerated programs often set a schedule that the student must keep pace with.

Clinical contact hour requirements are the same in an online program as they are in a campus-based program. Most online programs will have a coordinator available to help students find local medical facilities in which they can meet their practical contact requirements through clinical exposure to family nurse practitioner jobs.

Family Nurse Practitioner Schools