Family Nurse Practitioner Programs

What is a Family Nurse Practitioner?
A Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) is an advanced practice nurse who has obtained a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) degree, along with advanced clinical training in family care. Family Nurse Practitioners focus on preventative care and health promotion. They perform many of the same duties as family physicians and are trained to diagnose and treat a variety of acute and chronic health conditions in patients of all ages.

Admission Requirements for Family Nurse Practitioner Programs

Although specific admission criteria may vary among different schools, for the most part admission requirements include the possession of a bachelor’s degree from a school that has received accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. In most cases a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 will be required. Applicants must also hold a current and unrestricted RN license in the state where they practice. Specific programs may also require applicants to submit scores from the Graduate Record examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies test (MAT), along with official undergraduate college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

Accreditation of Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

When researching master’s programs be sure the program has received accreditation by one of two agencies: the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Each of these agencies has been recognized by the U.S. Department as the official accreditation bodies for nursing education in the United States.  Accreditation is important as it signifies that you will receive a quality education as determined by program curriculum, faculty experience and publishing background, and clinical opportunities.

Family Nurse Practitioner Curriculum

Students who attend on a full time basis can expect to complete the program in about eighteen to twenty four months. There are also accelerated programs that will allow you to complete the program sooner by taking a heavier course load each semester and attending during the summer session. Programs may also be taken on a part time basis for working nurses which extends the time necessary to finish by one or two years.

Most family nurse programs will include core coursework in such subjects as research methodology and statistics, health policy planning, medical ethics, community health and public nursing, nursing informatics, as well as management principles in nursing.

Once core coursework is completed students will then take classes in their specialty area. A sample Family Nurse Program curriculum is provided below.

Core Coursework:

§                     URS501 Perspectives in Advanced Nursing Practice

§                     NURS504 Advanced Human Pathophysiology

§                     NURS506 Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice

§                     NURS603 Individual, Family and Community Systems

§                     NURS604 Evidence Based Nursing Practice

§                     NURS633 Advanced Holistic Health Assessment

FNP Track Coursework:

§                     NURS503 Pharmacology for Advanced Practice

§                     NURS643 Primary Care of the Child Bearing Family

§                     NURS636 Primary Care I

§                     NURS637 Primary Care III

§                     NURS690 Practicum in the Nurse Practitioner Role


Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition costs will vary depending on type of school you attend. Those who enroll an in-state school will pay less than those who attend an out-of-state school or private university. For example, the cost to attend an in-state tuition is about $12,000 with out-of-state tuition about  $15,000. Tuition at private colleges and universities will cost approximately $60,000. Online schools, having reduced overhead costs, also tend to offer lower tuition costs than many private institutions.. Related expenses include textbooks, supplies (e.g. uniforms), lab fees, commuting expenses, as well as Internet usage (especially for those attending an online program).

There are various types of financial aid available in the form of scholarships, grants, and student loans.  The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for each type of aid.  Working nurses may also be eligible for tuition assistance from their employer. Graduate nursing students may be eligible for additional assistance through a variety of federally-based programs. Below is a sampling of assistance offered through the Bureau of Health Professions:*

❚ Nurse Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs support current students and new graduates. These programs include:

● Loan Repayment: This program will repay up to 85% of loans taken during nursing study. In return you will need to work in a healthcare facility or geographic location which is experiencing a critical shortage of nurses for a minimum, or serve as a faculty member for at least three years.

● Scholarship: Scholarships are available to full time nursing students. Upon graduation, recipients are required to work in a healthcare facility facing a critical shortage area for a minimum of two years.

❚ The Faculty Loan Repayment Program provides loan forgiveness for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who agree to work as faculty at eligible health professions schools for no less than two years.

Top Accredited Family Nurse Practitioner Training Programs for in the United States

University of California-San Francisco

University of Washington

University of Pennsylvania

University of Michigan—Ann Arbor

Columbia University

Oregon Health and Science University

Johns Hopkins University

Yale University

University of Maryland-Baltimore

Vanderbilt University

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

University of Alabama—Birmingham

Duke University

Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing

University of Pittsburgh

University of Colorado – Denver

University of Chicago-Illinois

University of Kentucky

Georgia Southern University

Rush University

Emory University

Ohio State University

University of Virginia