10 Best Online Nurse Practitioner (NP) Programs That Find Preceptors

Discover the best online nurse practitioner (NP) programs that find preceptors. Learn more about the prerequisites, requirements, salary expectations after graduation, and more. Programs

Updated   Published
Article fact-checked by our Editorial Team.

In the dynamic world of healthcare, nurse practitioners (NPs) have become increasingly important as primary care providers, bridging the gap between registered nurses (RNs) and physicians.

As the demand for NPs continues to grow, so does the need for comprehensive educational programs that not only equip students with advanced clinical knowledge but also facilitate their transition into the real world of patient care. Recognizing this, many online NP programs have stepped up to offer preceptor placement services, ensuring students receive the mentorship and experience they need.

Learn more about the best online NP programs that find preceptors as we explore their structure, benefits, prerequisites, and more. Whether you're an aspiring NP or an RN looking to advance your career, we've got you covered.

What Is an NP Program That Finds Preceptors?

NP programs that find preceptors are specialized educational tracks designed to assist NP students in securing clinical preceptors for their required clinical rotations. Finding a preceptor can be a challenging task for many NP students, as it involves locating experienced NPs or physicians willing to mentor and guide them through the clinical aspect of their training. Programs that offer assistance in this area can be invaluable for students, ensuring they receive the necessary hands-on experience to become competent and confident healthcare providers.


The coursework in NP programs is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in advanced nursing practice. This includes:

  • Advanced Pathophysiology: Understanding the complex physiological processes and how diseases affect the body.
  • Advanced Pharmacology: Knowledge about drug classifications, mechanisms of action, and appropriate prescription practices.
  • Health Assessment: Skills to conduct comprehensive and focused physical, psychosocial, and health assessments.
  • Disease Management: Strategies to manage chronic and acute illnesses in various patient populations.
  • Research and Evidence-Based Practice: Utilizing current research to inform practice and improve patient outcomes.

Clinical Training

Clinical training is a crucial component of NP programs, providing students with real-world experience under the guidance of a preceptor. This training includes:

  • Hands-on Patient Care: Students will diagnose, treat, and manage patients' health conditions.
  • Clinical Decision Making: Developing the ability to make informed decisions based on patient assessments and evidence-based practices.
  • Interprofessional Collaboration: Working alongside other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive patient care.
  • Procedure Skills: Learning various procedures, such as suturing, biopsies, and joint injections.
  • Preceptor Mentorship: Gaining insights and feedback from experienced NPs or physicians to refine skills and knowledge.


The duration of NP programs that find preceptors can vary based on several factors:

  • Program Type: Whether it's a Master's (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.
  • Full-time vs. Part-time: Full-time students typically complete the program faster than part-time students.
  • Specialization: Some specializations may require additional clinical hours, extending the program's length.
  • Program Requirements: The number of required clinical hours and coursework can influence the program's duration.
  • Student's Prior Experience: Some programs offer accelerated tracks for registered nurses with significant experience.

In general, most NP programs range from 2 to 4 years, with MSN programs typically taking 2 to 3 years and DNP programs taking 3 to 4 years to complete.

Best NP Programs That Find Preceptors

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most while selecting schools 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. Duke University School of Nursing  - Durham, NC

Duke University School of Nursing is renowned for its commitment to excellence in nursing education, research, and practice. The school offers various MSN Nurse Practitioner programs tailored to meet the diverse needs of its students and the healthcare community.

Clinical Placements: Duke University School of Nursing recognizes the importance of real-world clinical experience. They have a structured preceptor program where experienced professionals mentor NP students, providing them with hands-on learning opportunities in various clinical settings.

Program Highlights:

  • Diverse NP specializations including Family NP, Pediatric Acute and Primary Care NP, Neonatal NP, Adult-Gerontology Acute and Primary Care NP, Psychiatric Mental Health NP, and Women's Health NP. 
  • Most NP specializations can be completed in just 2.5 years. 
  • Emphasis on evidence-based practice and leadership.
  • Access to state-of-the-art simulation labs and research facilities.
  • Opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. 
  • The estimated annual tuition for graduate students is $65,120. 
  • At the completion of the NP Program, students will be awarded an MSN NP degree. 

2. Yale University School of Nursing - Orange, CT

Yale School of Nursing (YSN) is known for its rigorous academic programs and commitment to improving global health. With a rich history and a forward-thinking approach, YSN prepares its students for advanced nursing roles.

Clinical Placements: YSN's preceptor program is integral to its clinical education. Experienced clinicians mentor NP students, offering them invaluable real-world clinical experiences. The school collaborates with over 600 clinical and courtesy faculty to extend its curricula into more than 500 clinical sites.

Program Highlights:

  • Comprehensive NP programs include Family NP, Psychiatric-Mental Health NP, Adult Gerontology Acute and Primary Care, Pediatric NP Acute and Primary Care, and Women's Health NP. 
  • The majority of the NP programs can be completed in just 2 years at a full-time pace, with part-time study plans available for some of the NP specialties. 
  • Accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. 
  • The estimated annual tuition at Yale is $68,462. 
  • At the completion of the NP Program, students will be awarded an MSN NP degree. 
  • Emphasis on research, policy, and leadership in advanced nursing practice.
  • Opportunities for global health experiences.
  • Interdisciplinary approach to healthcare education.

3. The Ohio State University College of Nursing - Columbus, OH

The Ohio State University College of Nursing is dedicated to transforming health and improving lives through top-tier teaching, research, and innovation. The college offers a range of NP programs designed to produce leaders in the field.

Clinical Placements: The College of Nursing's preceptor program is a testament to its commitment to hands-on clinical education. Preceptors play a pivotal role in shaping the clinical experiences of NP students, offering them insights and expertise from the field.

Program Highlights:

  • NP specialty pathways include the FNP, NNP, and PMHNP. 
  • Accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. 
  • Tuition rates are $9,682 per semester for OH residents and $22,982 for non-residents. 
  • Emphasis on evidence-based practice, leadership, and innovation.
  • Access to cutting-edge research facilities and opportunities.
  • Strong community partnerships for enhanced clinical experiences.
  • The university offers an array of pathways for nurses to enter the NP programs, including the BSN to MSN, BSN to DNP, and Post-Master's Study. 

4. Vanderbilt University - Nashville, TN

Nestled in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt University is a distinguished nursing education hub. Vanderbilt actively links MSN students with preceptors through its clinical program, ensuring hands-on and enriched clinical experiences.

Program Highlights:

  • Choose from 14 MSN options, each with specialized NP tracks to align with career goals.
  • Explore interdisciplinary learning with Vanderbilt's dual degree program, MSN/MTS-DIV.
  • Accommodate diverse needs with flexible MSN programs, including distributed course delivery and distance learning.
  • Vanderbilt holds accreditation from CCNE and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
  • Vanderbilt's nurse-midwifery program is fully accredited by ACME, reflecting excellence in midwifery education.

5. Georgetown University - Washington, DC

Located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University is a cornerstone for producing highly skilled family nurse practitioners. Georgetown's clinical program connects MSN students with preceptors for practical clinical experiences.

Program Highlights:

  • Georgetown FNP students achieved an outstanding 100% average ANCC School Certification Rate and an impressive 98.4% average AANPCB School Certification Rate in 2021.
  • Nursing programs at Georgetown University hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), ensuring the highest educational standards.
  • The MSN-FNP program requires at least 650 clinical hours, ensuring comprehensive hands-on training for students.

6. Marymount University - Arlington, VA

Marymount University, located in Arlington, VA, is a major center for nursing education. The clinical program actively links MSN students with preceptors, ensuring hands-on and enriched clinical experiences free of charge.

Program Highlights:

  • Marymount University offers a 100% online MSN-FNP program designed for working nurses.
  • Students can graduate in just over two years, fully prepared to sit for the AANP or ANCC FNP certification.
  • Marymount University's program ensures a comprehensive learning experience with 750 clinical hours required for graduation.
  • Accreditation through the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). 

7. Texas Woman's University - Denton, TX

Texas Woman's University serves as a premier institution for nursing education. For MSN-FNP students, the clinical placement process takes the burden of finding clinical placements or a preceptor in the program. 

Program Highlights:

  • With 14 courses amounting to 45 credit hours, Texas Woman's University ensures a comprehensive curriculum for its nursing students.
  • The program allows students to finish in 2 years full-time or 2.5 to 3 years part-time.
  • The program is accredited by CCNE and SACSCOC and upholds the highest standards in nursing education.

8. University of Central Florida - Orlando, FL

The University of Central Florida offers a comprehensive DNP program, providing an advanced pathway for aspiring family nurse practitioners. The clinical placement coordinator for the graduate program manages student assignments to clinical sites and preceptors, eliminating the need for students to find their own placement.

Program Highlights:

  • The hybrid online FNP-DNP degree at the University of Central Florida offers a flexible learning experience, blending online coursework with intensives twice a year. 
  • The required on-campus DNP Intensive occurs in both the fall and Spring semesters and provides enhanced learning opportunities.
  • To graduate, students need to complete 74 credit hours, including a total of 1,020 clinical hours.
  • A noteworthy achievement is that 100% of UCF NP students passed the national certification exam.
  • Working full-time is not recommended for full- or part-time DNP FNP students. 
  • The MSN and DNP programs at the University of Central Florida are CCNE-accredited. 

9. Walsh University - North Canton, OH

Located in North Canton, Ohio, Walsh University is a cornerstone for nursing education. When enrolled in the Walsh MSN-FNP program, you can rely on the support of a clinical placement coordinator who will work tirelessly with you to secure suitable clinical sites and preceptors for your clinical courses.

Program highlights: 

  • Walsh University boasts AANP passing rates above the national average.
  • Complete the MSN-FNP program in as few as two years while continuing to work, allowing for a balance between education and professional commitments.
  • The program offers a competitive cost of $745 per credit hour.
  • The MSN-FNP program at Walsh University includes three clinical rotations, providing 750 clinical hours.
  • Walsh University commits to align with the 2021 AACN Essentials standards.
  • Holds accreditation through the CCNE. 

10. Wilkes University - Wilkes Barre, PA

Wilkes University, located in Wilkes-Barre, PA, offers comprehensive clinical placement support for students in the MSN-FNP program.

Program Highlights:

  • Flexible online MSN-FNP program, accommodating the needs of nursing professionals.
  • The program reports consistently achieving board exam pass rates above the national average.
  • Wilkes University's MSN-FNP program is CCNE accredited, meeting the highest standards of nursing education.
  • Complete the program in 2.3 years, balancing efficiency and a thorough educational experience.
  • The program requires 584 clinical hours, ensuring a comprehensive hands-on learning component.

Prerequisites & Requirements

To enroll in online NP programs that find preceptors, prospective students must meet specific prerequisites and requirements.


Before applying to an NP Program that assists in preceptor placement, candidates typically need to fulfill the following prerequisites:

  • BSN: Holding a BSN degree from an accredited institution is the cornerstone for advanced nursing studies.
  • RN License: An active and unencumbered RN license is crucial, as it demonstrates the candidate's eligibility and competence in the nursing field.
  • Clinical Experience: At least 1-2 years of RN experience is often required. This hands-on experience, especially in acute care or specialized settings, ensures that students have a practical understanding of patient care.
  • Academic Standing: A competitive GPA, typically 3.0 or above, in undergraduate studies reflects the student's dedication and capability to handle rigorous academic challenges.
  • Advanced Courses: Some programs may require completion of advanced courses in areas like statistics, anatomy, or physiology as a foundation for NP studies.
  • Professional Development: Participation in workshops, seminars, or conferences related to nursing can be an added advantage, showcasing the candidate's commitment to continuous learning.

Admission Requirements

Once the prerequisites are met, applicants must also satisfy the following program-specific requirements:

  • Transcripts: Official records from all post-secondary institutions previously attended.
  • Standardized Tests: Some programs may request Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, though this is becoming less common.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Typically, 2-3 references from clinical supervisors, academic professors, or professional peers.
  • Personal Statement: An essay that outlines the applicant's career aspirations, motivation for choosing the NP pathway, and reasons for selecting the specific program.
  • Background Check: Many programs require a comprehensive criminal background check to ensure patient safety during clinical rotations.

Pros & Cons of NP Programs That Find Preceptors

NP programs that offer preceptor placement come with a set of advantages and disadvantages. The following is a breakdown of the pros and cons.

Pros of NP Programs That Find Preceptors

Streamlined Clinical Placement Process: One of the most significant benefits is the ease of securing clinical placements. Students don't have to navigate the often challenging process of finding experienced mentors on their own.

  • Quality Assurance: These programs often have established relationships with experienced preceptors and healthcare facilities, ensuring students receive high-quality clinical training.
  • Time Savings: Students can focus more on their studies and clinical practice rather than spending time and energy searching for preceptors.
  • Networking Opportunities: Being placed with established professionals in the field can provide students with valuable networking opportunities, potentially leading to job offers post-graduation.
  • Structured Learning: With preceptor placements, students often benefit from a more structured and standardized learning experience, ensuring they meet all clinical requirements.
  • Reduced Stress: The assurance of a preceptor placement can significantly reduce the stress and anxiety associated with the uncertainty of finding clinical mentors.

Cons of NP Programs That Find Preceptors

Potential Additional Costs: Some programs might charge extra fees for preceptor placement services, increasing the overall cost of education.

  • Limited Choice: Students might have limited input in choosing their preceptors or clinical sites, which could lead to placements that might not align with their specific interests.
  • Geographical Constraints: The placements might be in locations that are not convenient for the student, leading to potential travel or accommodation expenses.
  • Varied Learning Experiences: While the program ensures a placement, the quality of learning can vary based on the preceptor's teaching style, expertise, and the clinical setting.
  • Less Initiative Required: Since the program handles placements, students might miss out on the learning experience and initiative-building that comes from seeking out and securing their own preceptorships.
  • Potential Mismatch: There's always a chance of personality clashes or differing teaching and learning styles between the student and the preceptor, which can impact the clinical learning experience.

Costs & Salary Expectations

Pursuing an NP Program that offers preceptor placement can involve various costs. While the exact figures can vary based on the institution, program type, and location, here are general considerations:

  • Tuition Fees: The primary expense for most students, tuition fees cover the academic instruction provided throughout the program. These fees can vary based on whether the institution is public or private, in-state or out-of-state, and the program's duration and reputation.
  • Clinical Placement Fees: Some programs may charge an additional fee for facilitating clinical placements or preceptor matching services, given the added value and convenience they provide.
  • Books and Supplies: This includes textbooks, reference materials, and other essential resources for coursework. Additionally, students may need to invest in medical equipment like stethoscopes, lab coats, and clinical tools.
  • Technology and Online Access Fees: For programs that offer online courses or require digital resources, there might be charges for software licenses, online platform access, or technology support.
  • Lab Fees: Certain courses, especially those with hands-on lab components, may have associated lab fees to cover the cost of equipment, materials, and facility maintenance.
  • Graduation Fees: Some institutions charge a fee for graduation processes, which can cover costs related to ceremonies, diplomas, and administrative tasks.
  • Licensing and Certification Exam Fees: Post-graduation, students will need to take licensing or certification exams. Preparing for and taking these exams can involve costs, including study materials, exam registration, and potential retake fees.

Salary Expectations

NPs are not only finding personal satisfaction in their roles but are also enjoying substantial financial rewards. The latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) highlight the attractive compensation NPs receive. Here's a breakdown:

  • Median NP Salary: $121,610 annually, which translates to $58.47 hourly.
  • Entry-Level NP Salary (Lowest 10%): Annually, they earn $87,340 or an hourly rate of $41.99.
  • Top Earners (Highest 10%): These NPs take home an impressive $165,240 per year or $79.44 per hour.

While the BLS provides a general overview, it doesn't delve into the nuances of NP specialties. For a more detailed look, ZipRecruiter's data sheds light on the average salaries for various NP specializations:

NP Career Outlook

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and their fellow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are on the rise, as per Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. The workforce, which stood at roughly 323,900 in 2022, is set to expand by a robust 38% by 2032, adding about 123,600 new roles.

This surge is fueled by the aging and expansion of the population. NPs, who first came on the scene in the 1960s for pediatric care, now provide a wide array of services, including in mental and geriatric health. As population dynamics shift, the reliance on and necessity for NPs are poised to climb.

NP Salary by State

Compare several careers with our comprehensive nursing salary guide.

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

NP Scope of Practice Regulations

The extent of independence and duties in the Nurse Practitioner (NP) role is closely interlinked with state-specific legal frameworks governing their scope of practice. In various states, NPs are permitted to practice autonomously, whereas others require them to work under the supervision of a healthcare professional or a medical doctor (MD).

It's crucial for prospective NP students to investigate these state-dependent rules. Importantly, some Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) NP programs might not meet the prerequisites for practicing in certain states. Aligning your career goals with the appropriate NP role demands a thorough comprehension of the scope of practice laws in the state where you intend to work. Foreseeing these details is key to ensuring that your chosen NP Program is in sync with your professional ambitions post-graduation.
Here are vital factors to consider:

  • State Licensing: To work as an NP in a specific state, acquiring a license in that state is necessary. Should you relocate or aim to practice in a different state, applying for a new state license is usually required.
  • State Scope of Practice Regulations: The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) classifies states by their NP practice environments:
    • Full Practice: In most states, NPs have the autonomy to evaluate patients, diagnose, order tests, interpret results, and initiate treatment plans, including prescribing medications, without physician oversight.
    • Reduced Practice: NPs in these states face at least one scope of practice restriction, requiring collaborative practice agreements, supervision, or other forms of collaboration with healthcare providers throughout their careers.
    • Restricted Practice: NPs in these states operate under significant constraints, with laws mandating continuous supervision, delegation, or team management by another healthcare provider. 
  • Certification: Obtaining state licensure qualifies you to practice as an NP, but certification is specific to your specialty. If you're certified in a specialty (e.g., family, pediatrics, acute care), you must practice within that specialty's bounds unless you acquire additional certifications.

When planning to practice as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in a state different from where you intend to complete your NP Program, it's crucial to research the Board of Nursing or equivalent regulatory body in that state, as well as the NP school you plan to attend. This will help you understand the specific prerequisites and scope of practice for NPs in that particular state and ensure your NP Program will align with these regulations. 

Importance of Attending an Accredited NP School

Selecting an accredited NP Program is essential for several reasons, as outlined below:

  • Quality Assurance: Accreditation signifies high educational standards.
  • Skill Development: Programs foster comprehensive healthcare competencies.
  • Innovation: Curriculum includes the latest healthcare research and practices.
  • Clinical Hours: Accreditation confirms fulfillment of clinical requirements.
  • Certification/Licensure: Graduates meet criteria for advanced practice credentials.
  • Career Prospects: Accredited program degrees are preferred by employers.
  • Credit Transferability: Credits are recognized for further educational advancements.
  • Professional Credibility: Indicates training in line with national standards.
  • Financial Aid Eligibility: Accreditation is key for accessing federal student aid.

Nurses looking into NP programs should choose programs accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) for these benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do online FNP programs differ from on-campus ones in terms of clinical practicum?

  • Both online FNP programs and on-campus versions aim to prepare students to become primary care providers. However, online FNP programs often offer more flexibility in terms of coursework, while still ensuring nursing students receive the necessary clinical practicum experiences, often facilitated through preceptor placements in areas like mental health, women's health, and health promotion.

What should I consider when looking at the credit hour requirements of an online MSN program?

  • When evaluating an online MSN program, consider the total credit hour requirements in relation to the program's duration, curriculum depth, and any specialization tracks. It's also essential to factor in how these credit hours are divided between coursework and clinical practicum, ensuring a comprehensive nursing education.

How important is the pass rate for NP programs in determining their quality?

  • The pass rate, especially for licensure and certification exams, is a significant indicator of a program's effectiveness in preparing its students for a successful nursing career. High pass rates often reflect rigorous academic standards, quality preceptor placements, and a strong emphasis on real-world clinical training.

Are there specializations within NP programs that focus on areas like mental health or women's health?

  • Many NP programs offer specialization tracks tailored to specific areas of care, such as mental health, women's health, or primary care. These specializations allow students to dive deeper into specific areas, preparing them for roles that cater to particular patient populations.

How crucial is CCNE accreditation for online NP programs?

  • CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) accreditation is vital as it ensures that the NP Program meets specific academic and professional standards. Prospective nursing students should prioritize programs with CCNE accreditation, as it can influence factors like program reputation, enrollment eligibility, and future career opportunities.

AD DISCLOSURE: This page may contain affiliate links. These links are designed for allnurses to generate revenue at no cost to you. The websites you visit are operated by third parties and have no influence in our recommendations, which are grounded in research.

Editorial Team / Admin

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

23 Articles   168 Posts