Graduates of nursing programs may seek out advanced degree programs that can help with changing the scope of their career. The most common degree program for nurses with this desire may be the found at the master's level and focus on family nursing practice.

This degree program can be a great way for professionals to become more involved in the primary care of individuals and families, with an extra focus into preventative care and diagnostics. Our team of educational experts has reviewed degree programs for family nurse practitioners across the country to assist you on your journey to a better education and a better future.

Students that are intrigued with becoming family nurse practitioners can pursue master's level programs that contain the focus they need. Most FNP degree programs are found within MSN programs at reputable colleges all over the country. The consistency of these programs can be unique depending on the school you choose and may require anywhere from 1 to 3 years to complete from the bachelors level.

An interesting aspect of this degree program is the ability to engage in expedited learning programs that were designed to get professionals in the field faster than traditional programs. You can read more about ADN to MSN degree advancement programs in the sections below.

Common Family Nurse Practitioner Courses To Expect

fnp in actionThe courses that you enroll in can help sculpt your ability to help people as a family nurse practitioner in the field. Since FNPs may be responsible for caring for a very diverse set of clients, there are many different courses that may be included in these degree programs.

While reviewing the requirements and results of FNP degree programs can be a great way to learn more about the profession, digging deeper into the curriculum can help you learn more about the actual topics that are required to be an active professional in this field.

Our team has taken a look at several different FNP programs across America to pull common topics together for you to browse. As you can see from the results below, there are several topics that can help better shape your understanding of the diagnostic and nursing-specific ideas that are used regularly by family nurse practitioners. Take a look at some of the common courses below.

Advanced Psychopharmacology

This course is designed to help students gain a more thorough understanding of the pharmaceuticals available for different psychological and psychiatric conditions. Learning the different names, dosage requirements and drug interactions of medications within this group can help professionals be more vigilant about what is prescribed to patients under their care.

The Health Care System

This broad course may take into consideration the need for adequate health systems across the U.S. Overall health of the country, current healthcare systems, quality and changing technologies may be a large portion of the subject matter in this course. Students can investigate methods of positive change for the system in which they work.

Primary Care Across the Lifespan

Students taking this course can learn more about the common health-related issues present in individuals in all age groups. This can include maternal and child health, neonatal care, adolescent care and geriatric care. The end result of this course can be a wide range of clinical skill that can be applied during the daily care of patients in a clinical setting.

Advanced Health Assessment

In this course, students can learn the process by which healthcare professionals administer assessments to a large variety of patients. The subject matter of this course can allow students to perform health assessments on patients within all age groups and for clinical problems of a wide variety.

Clinical Decision Making

The purpose of this class is to help students understand the cognitive processes that are involved with the diagnosis and treatment of ailments in a clinical setting. Students can learn more about the clinical decision making skills that are required at this stage of nursing and the possible effects of both positive and negative decisions.

Estimated Length and Cost of the FNP Degree

The cost of educational programs for family nurse practitioners may also be just as diverse as estimated length. As you may view in the list below, some of the most reputable schools for FNP programs have very different costs and completion times. Other factors to consider when reviewing costs are fees, the cost of books and hidden costs such as technology access fees.

  • Simmons College: Online FNP Program – $1345 per credit hour – 2 to 3 years completion time
  • The University of Southern California: Online MSN – NP Track – $1,800 per credit hour – 21 month completion time
  • Maryville University: Online MSN – FNP Track – $797 per credit hour – 28-32 month completion time

While most people enroll in programs under the assumption that they can finish in about 2 years, there are actually many diverse options in terms of length for your FNP program. The most common applicant to FNP programs is a bachelors-level nurse with an interest in advancing their degree.

For people at this level, MSN-FNP programs may be able to be completed within 1 to 2 years on average. Degree advancement programs such as the BSN to MSN program can help students quickly obtain a higher level degree without having to commit to the entire 2 year program duration.

How Much Does A Family Nurse Practitioner Make?

There are numerous opportunities available to FNPs that have committed themselves to the direct care of others within their communities. The salary data below is for some of the most popular career fields for FNPs across the U.S.

Completing your degree program and obtaining your license as a family nurse practitioner can be an exhilarating experience. Once you have completed this step, you might already have a pretty good idea of where you want to utilize your skills, such as in emergency care, primary care or even education.

Common Questions About The Family Nurse Practitioner Degree

Can I enroll in a FNP program with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree?

While most FNP programs require applicants to hold a current nursing license, there are programs available in the U.S.that are open for students from different degree fields. The University of Rochester current has an accelerated master’s program for non-nurses, which is a great option for people searching for a route into the field of nursing.

How much work experience should I have before enrolling in a FNP program?

Depending on which school you are considering in enrolling in, the answer to this question can vary. Some universities require that you have a minimum of 1-2 years of work experience as a registered nurse, while others may require upwards of 4-5 years. You should always do a thorough review of your chosen university prior to enrolling.

What does the online FNP program look like?

Many students choose online FNP programs due to their ease of access and convenience. Online degree programs usually require students to take part in classroom discussions, projects and examinations conducted through an online platform. Most courses require that students log in and complete work at least 1 to 2 times a week in order to be considered actively involved. Online programs are very similar to traditional courses in terms of consistency and duration, but have a much more flexible format for those that are interested in convenience with their education.

Can I become a FNP with just a license or are there additional steps to take before working in the field?

Becoming licensed is an important step to pursuing a career in this field, but not the only step required. In order to receive the appropriate credentials for this career field, graduates must also become certified within their specialty of choice. For FNPs, the American Nurses Credentialing Center is the primary source.

Will I be able to maintain my current job while in FNP programs?

This is a common question for upcoming students, especially since the work experience requirement is so important for acceptance to some universities. However, most schools recommend that students obtain part-time or internship positions while enrolled rather than working a full-time position. It is very important to be as current as possible with nursing practice when enrolled in these programs so that the material melds well with what you already know.

Mapping The Path From MSN to Nurse Practitioner

There are different educational routes available to students that are interested in becoming nurse practitioners. In the U.S., those wishing to become nurse practitioners must first obtain either a Master of Science in Nursing or a Doctor or Nursing Practice degree from an accredited university prior to receiving licensure or certification. If you are just beginning your journey at the college level or already have a degree in nursing, you might be interested in the different paths available for you to pursue. Check out this quick mini-guide below to see which route you should take to obtain the career level you are seeking.

  • ADN to MSN: Although the requirements for nurses have changed over the years, there are still many nurses in practice that have only an associate-level degree. Colleges have responded to this statistic by providing specific educational programs that are designed to advance nursing degrees from the associate level to master’s level over the course of only a couple of years. Depending on where students enroll, they may be able to enroll in degree advancement programs that can allow students to first obtain their BSN before moving directly into the MSN curriculum. The average completion time for ADN to MSN programs is 3 years for most students.
  • BSN to MSN: Graduates that are currently working as registered nurses at the bachelor’s level may be seeking a higher degree for better job opportunities or the ability to maintain their own set of patients in a clinical setting. Educational programs that were designed to help advance degrees from the BSN level to MSN level can be found at a large number of online universities all over the country, allowing more nurses the opportunity for better career success. These programs can typically be completed in 1 to 2 years for students enrolled full-time.

Comparison of Pre-requisite and Graduate Level Courses

If you are considering FNP degree programs and have reviewed the requirements for completing one, you might have some questions pertaining to the courses that you may be required to take throughout the process.

Most FNP degree programs may have a list of prerequisite courses that students must take prior to being approved into the program. These courses may include Psychology, Anatomy/Physiology and Chemistry. These courses are foundation elements for upcoming nursing professionals that should understand the human body and its many functions. Students that can analyze normal body chemistry and environmental and psychological factors may be more effective in diagnosing and treating certain disorders and diseases.

The prerequisite courses outlined in the program requirements are a very important part of the building process of FNP programs. Learning about the basic elements of the human body can be increasingly helpful as you move into nursing-focused courses later in the program.

The basic concepts of human nutrition and cognition are important keys to understanding how people become ill and how well they may respond to different treatment options.

In addition to prerequisite courses, students may also be required to take a certain set of graduate level courses that are specifically related to their degree specialization. In master’s level programs, students may take courses that outline and describe common physical ailments in people aged 45 and older.

Also, there may be courses that are specific to pregnant women and new mothers. These graduate courses were designed to help students gain expertise in many different areas of nursing that are relevant to providing primary care to individuals and families.

Overall, there are 166 Family Nurse Practitioner programs that are all at the Masters level (Master of Science in Nursing, or MSN). Out of all of the Family Nurse Practitioner programs in our online database, 134 FNP programs are CCNE accredited, and 16 FNP programs are ACEN accredited. You can view the full list at our sister website on Family Nurse Practitioner Programs.