3 Best Nurse Practitioner (NP) Programs in Washington, D.C.

Take your nursing career to the next level with the best Nurse Practitioner (NP) programs in Washington, D.C. Programs

Article fact-checked by our Editorial Team.

Whether you're a practicing nurse seeking to advance your career or generally curious about the role of Nurse Practitioners (NPs), you've come to the right place. Discover the best NP Programs in Washington, DC as we explore their nuances, costs, salary expectations, and more.

What Is an NP Program in Washington, D.C.?

An NP Program is a graduate-level educational pathway designed to prepare registered nurses (RNs) for advanced practice roles in various healthcare settings. These programs aim to expand the clinical and theoretical knowledge base of RNs, enabling them to provide a higher level of care, including diagnosis and treatment of health conditions, prescribing medications, and implementing treatment plans. Offered as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), or Post-Graduate Certificate, these programs focus on several specialties, such as Family Practice, Psychiatric-Mental Health, Adult-Gerontology, Pediatrics, and Women's Health, among others.

D.C. NP Coursework

While specific courses may vary depending on the institution and specialty chosen, common coursework includes:

  • Advanced Pathophysiology: Understanding the physiological processes and changes that lead to various disease states.
  • Advanced Pharmacology: Comprehensive study of pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacotherapeutics for advanced nursing practice.
  • Advanced Health Assessment: Skills and techniques for comprehensive physical and psychosocial assessments across the lifespan.
  • Primary Care: Principles and practices of primary healthcare, focusing on prevention, diagnosis, and management of common acute and chronic health conditions.
  • Evidence-Based Practice: Methods for integrating research findings into clinical practice to improve patient outcomes.
  • Health Policy and Advocacy: Examination of health policy, laws, and ethical considerations affecting healthcare delivery and practice.
  • Specialty Courses: Depending on the chosen specialty, coursework may focus on specific populations (e.g., pediatrics, adult-gerontology, women's health) or areas of practice (e.g., psychiatric-mental health, emergency care).

D.C. NP Clinical Training

Clinical training is an integral component of NP programs in Washington, providing students with hands-on experience in diagnosing and managing health conditions under the supervision of experienced healthcare providers. Clinical training includes:

  • Direct Patient Care Hours: A minimum number of clinical hours are required for graduation and certification, typically ranging from 500 to 1,000 hours, depending on the program and specialty.
  • Diverse Settings: Clinical rotations may take place in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, primary care clinics, specialty clinics, long-term care facilities, and community health centers.
  • Specialty Practice: Clinical experiences are aligned with the student's chosen specialty, offering opportunities to practice advanced nursing skills and apply theoretical knowledge in real-world settings.
  • Interprofessional Collaboration: Exposure to and participation in collaborative care teams, working alongside physicians, pharmacists, social workers, and other healthcare professionals.

Best NP Programs in Washington, D.C. - Online & On-Campus

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most with the addition of graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rates of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. Georgetown University

Georgetown University offers comprehensive NP programs through its School of Nursing, designed to prepare RNs for advanced practice roles in various healthcare settings. The university provides both MSN and DNP degrees, as well as Post-Graduate Certificate programs, catering to a wide range of career goals and educational backgrounds.

NP Specializations Available:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
    • MSN: 44 credits and 650 clinical hours, available part-time with two Objective Clinical Intensives.
    • BSN-DNP: 69 credits and 1,000 clinical hours (650 FNP, 350 DNP), available full- or part-time with two Objective Clinical Intensives.
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP)
    • MSN: 40 credits and 600 clinical hours, offered part-time only with three Objective Clinical Intensives.
    • BSN-DNP: 69 credits and 1,000 clinical hours (700 AG-ACNP, 300 DNP), offered full- or part-time with three Objective Clinical Intensives.
  • Nurse-Midwifery/Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (NM/WHNP)
    • MSN: 49 credits and 1,000+ clinical hours, offered part-time only with three Objective Clinical Intensives.
    • BSN-DNP: 74 credits and 1,100 clinical hours (600 WHNP, 200 NM, 300 DNP), available full- or part-time with three Objective Clinical Intensives.
  • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)
    • MSN: 44 credits and 784 clinical hours, offered part-time only with two Objective Clinical Intensives.
    • BSN-DNP: 69 credits and 1,000 clinical hours (600 WHNP, 400 DNP), available on a full- or part-time basis with two Objective Clinical Intensives.

Program Highlights:

  • Tuition Rates: $2,550 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Education 
  • Online Learning: Georgetown University's NP programs are offered online, providing flexibility for working professionals. The programs blend online coursework with in-person clinical intensives, allowing students to gain hands-on experience.
  • Board Certification Preparation: Graduates are prepared to sit for board certification exams in their specialty area, including exams offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANP), the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB), and the National Certification Corporation (NCC).
  • Clinical Hours: Depending on the specialization, students are required to complete between 600 to 1,100 clinical hours, providing them with extensive hands-on experience in their chosen field.
  • Objective Clinical Intensives: These in-person sessions offer students the opportunity to apply their online learning in a clinical setting, enhancing their practical skills and readiness for advanced nursing roles.

2. The George Washington University

The George Washington University School of Nursing offers a highly ranked Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, recognized for its academic excellence, innovative teaching methods, and leadership in nursing education. The program is designed to prepare registered nurses for advanced practice roles in various healthcare settings, emphasizing a blend of online learning with in-person training on campus.

NP Specializations Available:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP)
    • MSN: 48 credit hours and 600 clinical hours 
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-PCNP)
    • MSN: 48 credit hours and 600 clinical hours 
    • RN-MSN: MSN: 54 credit hours and 600 clinical hours 
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
    • MSN: 48 credit hours and 600 clinical hours 
    • RN-MSN: MSN: 54 credit hours and 600 clinical hours 
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
    • MSN: 50 credit hours and 600 clinical hours 

Program Highlights:

  • Tuition Rates: $1,530 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Education 
  • Hybrid Learning Model: The program offers a progressive blend of online courses and in-person training at simulation centers, providing a flexible yet comprehensive learning experience.
  • Flexible Format: Designed to accommodate working professionals, the program offers specialties in a hybrid format, combining online coursework with some on-campus experiences for testing and training.
  • Exceptional Faculty: Students learn from nationally recognized leaders in nursing, who are committed to inspiring and engaging students to improve global healthcare.
  • Clinical Hours: Some specialties require the completion of a set number of clinical hours, ensuring students gain hands-on experience in their field of study.

3. Catholic University of America

The Catholic University of America offers a DNP program through its Conway School of Nursing, designed to prepare nurses for advanced and executive roles in the evidence-based practice environment. The program is structured to provide two pathways to the DNP degree, catering to both post-bachelor's and post-master's students, emphasizing leadership, advanced practice, and the application of research to clinical practice.

NP Program Pathways:

  • Post-Bachelor's DNP
    • Targeted at students who have earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
    • The program accelerates careers in DNP Advanced Practice, preparing clinicians to lead change at the systems level.
    • Completion of this pathway takes 3 to 4 years, contingent on the study schedule being full or part-time.
  • Post-Master's DNP
    • Designed for students who have previously earned a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.
    • The length of the coursework is 24 months, focusing on preparing APRNs, Nurse Leaders in Health Systems, and Nurse Educators to lead change in complex healthcare environments.

NP  Specializations:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care
    • BSN-DNP; 68-71 credit hours
  • Family NP 
    • BSN-DNP; 69-71 credit hours
  • Pediatric Primary Care
    • BSN-DNP; 67-69 credit hours
  • Dual Primary and Acute Pediatric Care 
    • BSN-DNP; 71-73 credit hours

 BSN to DNP students are required to complete between 1050 to 1410 clinical hours, depending on the specialty selected. Credit hours for the post-graduate certificate pathway will be dependent upon previous master's coursework and clinicals completed. 

Program Highlights:

  • Tuition Rates: $52,190 estimated annual full-time cost of admission. 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Education 
  • On-Campus Experiences: The program includes week-long on-campus experiences for certain specializations, enhancing the hands-on learning experience.
  • Board Certification Preparation: Graduates are eligible to sit for certification board exams, preparing them for advanced practice roles in their chosen specialty.

Prerequisites & Requirements of NP Programs in Washington, D.C.

NP programs in Washington have established a set of prerequisites and requirements to ensure students are prepared for the rigors of education and practice.

D.C. NP Prerequisites

Before applying to an NP Program in Washington, prospective students must typically meet the following prerequisites:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): Applicants must hold a BSN from an accredited nursing program. Some programs may offer bridge options for registered nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN).
  • RN License: Candidates must possess an active and unencumbered RN license. While the license does not necessarily need to be from Washington, DC, applicants must be eligible for licensure in DC if they plan to practice there.
  • Clinical Experience: Most NP programs require applicants to have a certain amount of clinical experience, often one to two years, preferably in a field related to their intended NP specialization.
  • Minimum GPA: A minimum undergraduate GPA, usually around 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, is required, although this can vary by program.
  • Prerequisite Courses: Applicants may need to have completed specific undergraduate courses with a grade of "C" or better. These courses often include statistics, health assessment, and human anatomy and physiology.

D.C. NP Requirements

Once admitted, students in NP programs in Washington must fulfill the following requirements to graduate and become eligible for certification and licensure as an NP:

  • Completion of Graduate Coursework: Students must complete all required coursework, which typically includes advanced pharmacology, advanced health assessment, advanced pathophysiology, and specialty-specific courses.
  • Clinical Hours: NP students are required to complete a certain number of supervised clinical hours in their specialty area. The exact number can vary but is often between 500 and 1,000 hours.
  • Capstone or Thesis Project: Some programs may require a capstone project or thesis that demonstrates the integration of academic knowledge and clinical practice.
  • Minimum GPA: Students must maintain a minimum GPA throughout the program, often 3.0 or higher, to graduate.
  • Certification Exam: After completing the NP Program, graduates must pass a national certification exam in their specialty area, such as the exams offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

NP Concentrations in D.C..

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in Washington D.C. can choose from various specializations, each playing a crucial role in healthcare. Here are some of the most popular:

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Family Nurse Practitioners are central to family healthcare, providing comprehensive services across all ages. They go beyond treating illnesses to promote preventive care and wellness, establishing themselves as key figures in both health education and patient advocacy.

Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

Specializing in women's health, WHNPs provide tailored care across different life stages, including reproductive health and menopause transition. Their comprehensive approach extends to family planning, gynecological health, and empowering women through education and preventive care.

Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)

AGNPs focus on health needs from early adulthood through old age, expertly managing acute and chronic conditions. They advocate for preventive health and education tailored to the aging population, playing a key role in promoting healthy aging.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)

NNPs specialize in the care of newborns, particularly those with health complications or premature births. Working in neonatal intensive care units, they are vital in providing specialized care and support to affected families, significantly impacting neonatal outcomes.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)

PNPs are dedicated to the health of children from infancy through adolescence, focusing on preventive health, routine wellness checks, and developmental assessments. They are instrumental in disease prevention and act as supportive partners to families in managing their children's health.

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

PMHNPs lead in mental health care, addressing a wide range of mental disorders through comprehensive treatment and advocacy. They work to destigmatize mental health issues, promote mental well-being, and ensure holistic support for those facing mental health challenges.

Each NP specialization in D.C. offers unique expertise, enhancing patient care and emphasizing preventive health, education, and advocacy within their focus areas.

NP Role and Responsibilities in D.C.

Job responsibilities for Nurse Practitioners (NPs) can vary based on factors like specialty, healthcare setting, and state regulations. However, their core responsibilities typically include:

Primary NP Responsibilities:

  • Conduct comprehensive physical examinations.
  • Order and analyze diagnostic tests, such as X-rays and lab results.
  • Diagnose and manage a broad spectrum of acute and chronic health conditions.
  • Prescribe medications and outline treatment plans.
  • Educate patients on health maintenance, treatment options, and self-care strategies.

Costs of NP Programs in Washington D.C..

The costs of Nurse Practitioner (NP) programs in Washington D.C. vary widely based on the institution, location, and program type.  Here are key factors to consider regarding the financial aspects of NP programs in D.C.:

  • Tuition: This is typically the largest expense. Public universities often charge less than private institutions, and in-state tuition can be considerably lower than out-of-state rates. Some programs charge per credit hour, while others may offer a flat rate per semester.
  • Fees: Additional costs may include application fees, registration fees, technology fees, lab fees, and other miscellaneous fees required by the institution, which can significantly increase the total cost.
  • Books and Supplies: NP programs require costly textbooks and medical supplies such as stethoscopes and lab coats, which can add up over the duration of the program.
  • Clinical Costs: Students might need to cover expenses related to their clinical placements, including travel if the clinical sites are not close to their home or university.
  • Certifications and Licensing: Upon completion of the NP Program, graduates must pass a certification exam that carries a fee. There are also costs associated with obtaining a state license to practice.
  • Living Expenses: Consider the cost of housing, food, and transportation, especially if the program demands full-time commitment that restricts working hours.

Additional expenses might include health insurance, costs for maintaining technology, travel and accommodations for campus visits, and ongoing education to keep licensure current after graduation. It is advisable to contact the institutions directly for precise information on the costs of their NP programs.

Salary Expectations of NP Programs in Washington, D.C.

According to the most recent salary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average NP salary in the District of Columbia is $134,850. This is higher than the national average of $124,680.

In the District of Columbia, there are approximately 730 NPs employed, earning a mean annual salary of $131,270 or $ 63.11 an hour. 

The top-paying states for NPs are:

  • California: $158,130
  • New Jersey: $143,250
  • Massachusetts: $138,700
  • Oregon: $136,250
  • Nevada: $136,230

Industries that have the highest levels of NP employment:

  • Office of the Physicians: 122,830
  • General Medical & Surgical Hospitals: 58,080
  • Outpatient Care Centers: 23,760
  • Office of Other Health Practitioners: 10,950
  • Home Health Care Services: 7,460

Earnings can be influenced by educational background, years of professional experience, employer, demand for NP specialty, working hours, location, and more. To get a clearer picture of potential earnings, it's important to consider your specific situation and the compensation structure of your employer.

NP Salary By State: 

StateTotal EmployedHourly MeanAnnual Mean
District of Columbia730$63.11$131,270
New Hampshire1,510$60.47$125,780
New Jersey6,640$68.87$143,250
New Mexico1,650$62.29$129,560
New York17,670**
North Carolina8,040$55.03$114,450
North Dakota570$54.78$113,940
Rhode Island1,390$60.21$125,250
South Carolina3,960$52.47$109,130
South Dakota810$55.58$115,610
West Virginia1,640$51.34$106,790

Are NP Programs Worth It in Washington, D.C.?

Deciding whether an NP Program is worth it in Washington requires considering its various advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of NP Programs in D.C.

  1. Increased Demand for Healthcare Services: With a dense population and a significant influx of workers and tourists, Washington has a high demand for healthcare services. NPs play a crucial role in meeting this demand, especially in primary care and specialty areas.
  2. Competitive Salaries: NPs in Washington tend to earn competitive salaries compared to the national average, reflecting the high cost of living and the demand for their services. This can make the financial investment in an NP Program more worthwhile.
  3. Diverse Patient Population: The city's diverse population offers NPs the opportunity to work with a wide range of patients, enhancing their skills in culturally competent care and broadening their clinical experience.
  4. Opportunities for Professional Growth: Washington is home to numerous prestigious healthcare institutions, research facilities, and policy-making bodies. NPs have ample opportunities for professional development, leadership roles, and involvement in healthcare policy.
  5. High Level of Autonomy: Depending on the specific regulations in place, NPs in Washington may enjoy a high level of practice autonomy, including the ability to prescribe medications and manage patient care independently, which can be professionally rewarding.

Cons of NP Programs in D.C.

  1. High Cost of Living and Education: The cost of living in Washington is significantly higher than the national average, and this extends to the cost of higher education. Prospective NP students may face substantial tuition fees and living expenses.
  2. Competitive Job Market: While there is a high demand for NPs, the job market in Washington can be competitive, especially for new graduates or those seeking positions in highly specialized fields.
  3. Stressful Work Environments: The fast-paced and high-pressure healthcare environments in Washington can be stressful, with NPs often handling complex cases and making critical decisions.
  4. Regulatory Challenges: NPs must navigate a complex regulatory environment, with laws and practice authority varying significantly across state lines, including nearby Maryland and Virginia. This can limit practice settings and roles for NPs.
  5. Balancing Work and Study: For RNs working while pursuing an NP degree, balancing work, study, and personal life can be challenging, especially given the demanding nature of healthcare jobs in the city.

Ultimately, whether an NP Program in Washington is right for you depends on your career goals, financial situation, and values placed on its pros and cons. However, if advanced practice nursing, increased autonomy, greater impact on patient care, and increased salary expectations are important to you, an NP Program is certainly worth it.

Importance of Attending an Accredited NP Program in Washington, D.C.

Picking an accredited NP Program in Washington is important for several reasons:

  • Quality Assurance: Accreditation guarantees that the program adheres to stringent standards in education, curriculum, faculty expertise, and student support services. This rigorous process ensures that graduates are well-equipped to navigate the complexities of modern healthcare practice.
  • Eligibility for Certification and Licensure: Completing an accredited program is typically required to sit for national certification exams and to obtain state licensure as an NP. Lacking accreditation, graduates might encounter significant obstacles in starting their practice.
  • Employment Opportunities: Employers often show a strong preference for, or exclusively hire, graduates from accredited programs. This preference is due to the assurance that candidates have received a quality education that prepares them for the demands of advanced practice roles.
  • Professional Development: Accredited programs offer students the latest advancements in nursing education, research, and clinical practice, fostering an environment of continuous learning and professional growth.
  • Educational and Career Progression: Degrees and credits earned from accredited programs are recognized and respected by other educational institutions and professional organizations, which is crucial for nurses looking to further their education or specialize in a particular area.

Organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) are instrumental in upholding the high standards of NP programs.

NP Scope of Practice in Washington D.C..

As you consider a career as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Washington D.C., it's vital to understand both the broad framework of national certification and the specific practice freedoms afforded by D.C.'s full practice authority. This combination not only sets the stage for your licensure but also opens up expansive opportunities in your healthcare career.

Your Roadmap to National NP Certification

Achieving national certification is a crucial step, marking your expertise in your chosen specialty and serving as a key to licensure. The major certifying bodies you should be aware of include:

Navigating the D.C. NP Landscape

In the District of Columbia, NPs enjoy full practice authority, a privilege that aligns with the model recommended by the National Academy of Medicine and the National Council of D.C. Board of Nursing. This means you can evaluate patients, diagnose conditions, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and initiate and manage treatments—including prescribing medications and controlled substances—under the exclusive licensure authority of the state board of nursing.

While D.C. offers full practice, eleven states maintain restricted practice, and fifteen have reduced practice regulations, as defined by the AANP, which could limit NP scope in critical aspects of patient care management. 

Thinking Ahead: Your Career and Mobility

This full practice authority in D.C. ensures that as an NP, your professional responsibilities and autonomy are maximized, allowing you to practice independently and at the top of your training. This setting is advantageous, especially when compared to states with reduced or restricted NP practice regulations.

Preparing for Your NP Future

While national certification is a common requirement across the U.S., D.C.'s unique practice environment emphasizes the importance of choosing an NP Program that prepares you for full autonomy. If you plan to practice in D.C. or other full-practice states, it's essential to align your education and credentials accordingly. Additionally, understanding the APRN Compact and how it facilitates licensure across different states can enhance your career flexibility and mobility.

Staying adaptable and well-informed are crucial for your success as an NP in Washington D.C. Fully understanding the NP Program you choose is key — ensure it prepares you not only for D.C.'s standards but also for any state where you might envision working. Reviewing regulations and staying abreast of changes in nursing practice laws will empower you to have a dynamic and fulfilling career as an NP.

NP Programs Near Me

Discover NP programs in a state near you:



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the pass rates for NP certification exams for graduates from Washington programs?

Pass rates for NP certification exams can vary by program and year. Most accredited NP programs in Washington aim for high pass rates and often publish these statistics on their websites or in program materials. Prospective students should inquire directly with the program for the most recent and specific pass rate information.

Are there online NP programs available in Washington?

Several institutions in Washington, offer online NP programs designed to provide flexibility for working nurses. These programs typically offer theoretical coursework online but require in-person clinical practicums, which can often be completed in the student's local area or at approved sites near Washington.

How many credit hours are required to complete an NP Program in Washington?

The number of credit hours required for NP programs in Washington can vary depending on the specific program and specialty track. Generally, MSN programs require between 35 to 50 credit hours, while DNP programs may require more, often between 65 to 95 credit hours, including both coursework and clinical hours.

Can I attend an NP Program in Washington on a part-time basis?

Many NP programs in Washington offer part-time enrollment options to accommodate students who are working professionals. Part-time programs allow students to spread their coursework and clinical hours over a longer period, providing greater flexibility but extending the time to degree completion.

How do NP programs in Washington incorporate nursing leadership and APRN roles into their curriculum?

NP programs in Washington integrate nursing leadership and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) roles throughout their curriculum by including courses on healthcare policy, ethics, leadership, and interprofessional collaboration. These programs aim to prepare graduates not only for clinical excellence but also for leadership roles in healthcare settings, emphasizing the development of skills necessary for advocacy, policy-making, and organizational leadership within the healthcare system.

Edited by Erin Lee

Editorial Team / Admin

Erin Lee has 12 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, Procedural, Care Coordination, LNC.

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