Author: Carol Dolan
Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
Reading Level: Grade 9
Read Time: 11 minutes, 52 seconds
Original Publication Date: February 2021
An online post-master’s nurse practitioner certificate allows one to take the certifying exam. Graduates can make a difference in this exciting and growing field of healthcare. With a wide scope of practice, nurse practitioners are a valued part of the healthcare team. This list of affordable and flexible online programs can help guide them as they shape their career and financial goals.
Employment for nurse practitioners is growing at a much faster rate than average. Likewise, the need for nurse practitioner programs around the country has grown. One of these certificate programs may be what you’re looking for. Students may continue to work in their current jobs and continue to care for other responsibilities. This article lists the most affordable online post-master’s nurse practitioner programs. Check out these programs to find a nurse practitioner program that meets your budget and educational goals and gets you on your way in this growing field.
Methodology for Top 10 Affordable Online Post Master’s Certificate Nurse Practitioner Programs
This ranking lists the ten most affordable online post-master’s nurse practitioner certificates. It includes accredited online programs that may include some brief required time on campus. These programs are from an initial pool of 34 online post-master’s certificate nurse practitioner programs. Programs were ranked according to in-state tuition costs from the College Navigator website. School profile information came from individual school program websites. Contact your school of interest for the most current program and tuition information.
10. Herzing University
Menomonee Falls, WI
Tuition and Fees: $10,450
Herzing University offers an online post-master’s certificate nurse practitioner program. It can lead to certification as a:
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
The program can be finished in as little as 16 months of study. With six start dates each year, it’s always the right time to start this online post-master’s certificate. This certificate includes 675 clinical hours. Herzing University pledges to help you secure clinical placement right near your home. Applicants may transfer up to 24 credits to this curriculum. Students can pursue this online post-master’s certificate program part-time or full-time. Graduates of this program are prepared to take their national exam to practice as nurse practitioners.
- Helpful student support staff
- Program design can be difficult to navigate
9. Grand Canyon University
Tuition and Fees: $11,638
Grand Canyon University has an online post-master’s certificate program. It prepares graduates to work as Family Nurse Practitioners. They provide primary care for people across the lifespan. Students can choose a concentration in chronic disease management or acute care. This program has an emphasis on advanced health assessment and disease prevention. Students can specialize and work in a particular life stage, such as pediatrics. Students may pursue further studies in postsecondary nursing instruction. This post-master’s FNP program prepares graduates to provide primary care to diverse patient populations. GCU’s post-master’s certificate prepares future NPs for the Family Nurse Practitioner Board certification exam.
- Challenging curricula
- Supportive faculty
- Some issues with the online platform have been reported
- Lack of transparency has been reported
8. Eastern Kentucky University
Tuition and Fees: $10,308 (in-state); $13,944 (out-of-state)
EKU’s online program promises to position graduates as expert healthcare providers and leaders in their field. The program features creative online learning strategies. Students of online post-graduate certificate Programs are highly engaged. 98% pass their national certification exams on the first attempt. Graduates are experts in their clinical areas. They prepare to deliver evidence-based care for acute and chronic health conditions in various professional settings. Students may transfer up to 9 credit hours. 23-32 credits are required to graduate and qualify to sit for the certifying exam. EKU’s high student satisfaction rate is no surprise. There are:
- No required campus visits
- Convenient 8-week courses
- Spring, summer, and fall start dates
US News & World Report ranked EKU among the top 50 online graduate nursing programs in the US.
- No campus visits required
- Lack of faculty support reported
7. University of Southern Indiana
Tuition and Fees: $10,607 (in-state); $20,250 (out-of-state)
The University of Southern Indiana offers an online post-master’s NP certificate. Students receive a broad knowledge base and clinical experience. Graduates are ready to provide health care services to people across their lifespans. The FNP:
- Promotes and protects health
- Focuses on disease prevention
- Management of acute and chronic illnesses
This program requires 665 clinical hours that are completed in the student’s community. Students will be expected to:
- Demonstrate advanced practice clinical decision-making processes
- Utilize critical thinking skills
- Interpret test data to formulate a diagnosis and develop a plan of care for patients
Students graduate prepared to sit for the certifying exam successfully.
- Small class sizes
- Financial aid can be difficult to navigate
6. PennWest Clarion
Tuition and Fees: $9,288 (in-state); $10,026 (out-of-state)
The PennWest Clarion has an online post-master’s FNP. It prepares students to become primary care providers in a wide variety of settings, including:
- Community health centers
- Private practice
This 45-credit program includes 600 clinical practice hours. Students may be eligible to transfer up to 9 credits, saving both time and money. Graduates of this program qualify to sit for the certifying exam.
- FNP program is highly ranked
- Lack of faculty support has been reported
- Some lack of class accessibility has been reported
5. Ball State University
Tuition and Fees: $11,642 (in-state); $30,340 (out-of-state)
Ball State University offers an online post-master’s NP program. It trains Family Nurse Practitioners to provide primary health care across the lifespan. Supervised clinical hours are completed in a variety of settings. They provide care for adults, children, women, and families. Students find their own preceptors and clinical supervisors in their own geographic areas. Graduates may practice in:
- Private practice
- Educational settings
- Hospice centers
- Hospitals, clinics
- Private and public health departments
Graduates of this online post-master’s program are eligible to sit for certifying exams.
- Great student support network
- Lack of diversity in both faculty and student populations
4. University of South Alabama
Tuition and Fees: $8,624 (in-state); $17,048 (out-of-state)
This online post-master’s certificate program offers a variety of specialties. This includes emergency care and dual specialties. Specialties include:
- Adult-Gerontological Acute Care NP
- Adult-Gerontological Primary Care NP
- Dual Role (Family NP/Adult-Gerontological Acute Care NP)
- Dual Role (Family NP/Emergency NP)
- Emergency NP, Family NP, Neonatal NP
- Pediatric Acute Care NP
- Pediatric Primary Care NP
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
- Women’s Health NP
Online coursework enables students to continue working while completing requirements. Clinical hours may be completed in the student’s home community. Check out USA’s post-graduate subspecialties as well.
- Supportive faculty
- Some specialties do require on-campus Clinical Skills Intensive (CSI)
3. Spring Arbor University
Spring Arbor, MI
Tuition and Fees: $8,488
Spring Arbor University offers an online post-master’s certificate. It is designed with the working professional in mind. Students can take courses one at a time and can choose from:
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
These online certificates combine a robust academic program with a Christ-centered worldview. It is designed to fit into a busy work schedule; students can plan to study approximately 10-15 hours per week. Online classes contain 20-25 students, enabling students to interact. This program uses a 7-1-7 model, which is a 7-week course followed by a 1-week break. Check out this affordable post-master’s program to see if this is the program to help you to expand your career.
- A lot of student interaction
- Some lack of online student support has been reported
2. Texas Woman’s University
Tuition and Fees: $7,806 (in-state); $15,050 (out-of-state)
Texas Woman’s University has an online post-master’s certificate (PMC) Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program. It is an engaging and innovative online program. The programs are designed to advance clinical skills and expand expertise. Students develop knowledge and form professional relationships through an onsite intensive and clinical experience. This program promises students will gain an understanding of advanced practice nursing. It will deepen knowledge in key areas such as:
- Patient Assessments
- Treatment Methods
- Applied Research to Develop Competencies
Students will graduate with the resources needed for advanced medical assessment, analysis, and diagnosis. They build the professional skills needed for success as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Students enrolled in this affordable online FNP program must attend one on-campus residency experience. Graduates complete nine courses, with six of them requiring clinical hours. TWU helps students with clinical placement, offering support in every aspect.
- A top-ranked nursing program
- Has a high student satisfaction rate
- Program is not 100% online
- Inattentive advisors have been reported
1. Angelo State University
San Angelo, TX
Tuition and Fees: $7,246 (in-state); $14,590 (out-of-state)
Angelo State University offers the most affordable program on the list. It is completed totally online with the least on-campus requirements. Clinical hours are required for this affordable online post-master’s program. ASU maintains an impressive 100% pass rate for the FNP certification exam.
- Excellent student support network
- Challenging curriculum
- Admissions process can be difficult to navigate
- Some on-campus visits may be required
Nurse practitioner programs are offered in a number of specializations, including:
• Family Nurse Practitioner
• Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
• Nurse Midwife
Nurse practitioners are part of a growing field in healthcare. There is a wide scope of practice that is well paid for their expertise. Nurse practitioners care for the whole person and often their family. They are well trained to provide care in a wide variety of settings.
With the ever-changing healthcare landscape, patient, family, and community health needs are changing at a rapid pace. Nurse practitioners help bridge the gap in the complex system. With the aging of the population, there is an increased need for preventative care and services.
Students in online post-master’s certificate programs can choose from many specialties. The chosen specialty dictates some of the course content. Students can expect to graduate with the necessary skills and knowledge. They will assess, diagnose and manage patients throughout their lifespan and along the continuum of health. Students graduate with the advanced clinical skills and knowledge to take the certifying exam in their specialty.
Most programs will allow students to work while pursuing this certificate. While completing clinical hours, students many times find that they need to work less, but this often depends on the individual.
The median pay for full-time nurse practitioners in 2019 was $115,800. The projected growth in this field is 45%, which is much faster than the average of 4% for all occupations.
Depending on the specialty, many work at physicians’ offices, hospitals, and outpatient clinics. Other possibilities include prisons or government agencies, among other places.
Communication is key to helping balance online classes with work. Communicate with your employer, support network, family, and friends. Focus on your goal so you don’t give up mid-way. Take time to write it down. It will help you remember why you are doing it. Set up a schedule at the start of each semester, marking your calendar with school and work responsibilities to keep you on track and keep you disciplined. Maximize your downtime to make the most of your time. This includes using vacation and PTO time strategically. Be present in whatever you are doing. If you are at work, don’t think about class and assignments. When studying, don’t think about work issues. Stay present and focused on helping you be balanced.
Nurse practitioners often treat patients across the lifespan, depending on their specialty. Common job responsibilities include: Diagnosing and treating acute illnesses, infections and injuries, writing medication prescriptions, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, educating patients about managing their health, and designing patient treatment plans.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is a professional organization for nurse practitioners. The AANP provides professional resources, continuing education, and networking opportunities. They advocate for the profession, representing and advocating for the profession at the state and national levels.
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