10 Fastest Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Programs in 2024

Do you plan on advancing your nursing career? Check out the top 10 fastest FNP programs in 2024, including job overview and salary expectations.
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In the ever-evolving field of healthcare, the demand for family nurse practitioners (FNPs) continues to grow.

For those aspiring to become FNPs, numerous programs are available across the United States. However, the duration of these programs can often be a deciding factor for many students. Balancing the demands of work, family, and education can be challenging, and therefore, fast-track programs are highly sought after.

The following programs offer a quicker route to becoming an FNP while maintaining high education standards, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared to excel in their careers.

Fastest FNP Programs in 2024

The schools listed have been chosen using allnurses' methodology approach, which involves surveying readers to ascertain their key criteria in school selection. This process also takes into account factors such as graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, cost, program delivery format, duration, and admission rates from numerous distinguished nursing schools throughout the United States.

1. Vanderbilt University 

Graduates from Vanderbilt University specializing as Family Nurse Practitioners, are equipped to deliver comprehensive primary healthcare to individuals of all age groups, placing a strong focus on promoting health and maintaining well-being. The program is located in Nashville, TN, and is designed to direct students for success through individualized attention and a blend of learning inside and outside the virtual classroom, all within just 12 months.

Vanderbilt's FNP Program Overview:

  • Credit Hours: 37-40
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Degree Earned: MSN
  • 2024 Tuition: $1,939 per credit hour
  • Format: Hybrid
  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 

2. National University 

The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialization at National University readies advanced practice nurses to oversee healthcare for individuals and families throughout their entire lifespan. The FNP pathway offered is a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) for BSN-prepared nurses. National University is located in San Diego, CA, and offers a fast-track nurse practitioner program that prepares students for advanced practice nursing within 12 to 18 months. The program has produced many evidence-based care providers who have contributed to the state's health and well-being.

National's FNP Program Overview:

  • Unit Hours: 89
  • Duration: 13-18 months
  • Degree Earned: MSN
  • 2024 Tuition: $442 per unit hour 
  • Format: Hybrid
  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Accreditation: CCNE

3. Anderson University 

Located in Anderson, SC, the FNP program at AU enables students to fulfill the role of an FNP in various healthcare settings, including clinics, hospitals, and industrial environments. The main goals of the school are to deliver care to patients with empathy and proficiency. The university prepares students for advanced practice nursing in as little as 15 months. The program is Christ-centered and excellence-driven, equipping future nurses with patient-centric skills. It is available only on a full-time basis, with an on-campus seminar once a semester for 2-3 days.

Anderson's FNP Program Overview:

  • Credit Hours: 47
  • Clinical Hours: 600
  • Duration: 15 months
  • Degree Earned: MSN
  • 2024 Tuition: $780 per credit hour 
  • Format: Hybrid
  • Location: Anderson, IN
  • Accreditation: CCNE

4. Union University 

The FNP program at Union University centers on the care of patients across their lifespan, with an emphasis on managing acute and chronic conditions as well as promoting health. Located in Jackson, TN, UU offers two online fast-track nurse practitioner programs, allowing students to specialize in either family health or in psychiatric mental health. Students can complete the program in 16 months as a blended program between online and on-campus learning. Admission is once a year, starting in the fall.

Union's FNP Program Overview:

  • Credit Hours: 46
  • Clinical Hours: 560
  • Duration: 16 months
  • Degree Earned: MSN
  • 2024 Tuition: $712 per credit hour
  • Format: Hybrid
  • Location: Option to attend Jackson, Germantown, or Hendersonville campuses in TN.  
  • Accreditation: CCNE

5. University of Nevada, Las Vegas 

The UNLV School of Nursing's Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is tailored to furnish students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and aptitude for the secure, adept, and successful advancement in nursing practice. It offers two NP programs that prepare you for national NP certification in just 16 months. These programs start in the fall each year and are offered mainly online, with a few on-campus sessions required for orientation and clinical practice.

UNLV's FNP Program Overview:

  • Credit Hours: 46
  • Duration: 16 months
  • Degree Earned: MSN
  • 2024 Tuition: $3,691 per semester (NV residents); $12,762 (non-residents)
  • Format: Online or in-person learning 
  • Location: Las Vegas, NV
  • Accreditation: CCNE

6. South College 

The MSN FNP program at South College sharpens critical thinking and analytical skills vital in today's healthcare, with courses focusing on primary care for all age groups, from infants to adults. Located in Knoxville, TN, South College's FNP program is a blended format that easily fits into the lives of busy working nurses. The length of the program depends on the pathway the students take. BSN-MSN track takes 18 months full-time, while RN-MSN will take 30 months full-time depending on the academic background. Lastly, RN-BSN-MSN track takes the longest at 36 months full-time.

South's FNP Program Overview:

  • Duration: 30 months
  • Degree Earned: MSN
  • 2024 Tuition: $5,500/semester for 8-20 credit hours
  • Format: Online or in-person
  • Location: Knoxville, TN
  • Accreditation: CCNE

7. Saint Thomas University 

In the STU Online FNP Master's program out of Miami Gardens, FL,  students are taught to develop the confidence to make independent critical judgments at all healthcare levels, including health promotion, illness prevention, and the diagnosis and management of individuals, families, and communities. This program prepares FNPs for a promising career in a short duration of 18 months. The program also integrates theory and practice, ensuring that students graduate with leadership and analytical skills. The 47 credits of coursework begin with MSN core courses and progress to FNP-specific courses.

STU's FNP Program Overview:

  • Credit Hours: 47
  • Duration: 18 months
  • Degree Earned: MSN
  • 2024 Tuition: $585 per credit hour with a total tuition estimate of $28,770
  • Format: Online
  • Location: Miami Gardens, FL 
  • Accreditation: CCNE

8. Georgetown University 

Located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University School of Nursing's FNP program is tailored for BSN-qualified registered nurses seeking advanced practice roles. It combines online coursework, virtual classes, and in-person OCIs to prepare nurses for diverse clinical settings, with a focus on health promotion and disease prevention. The program takes 19 to 27 months to complete, emphasizing holistic, patient-centered care. Outstandingly the graduate ANCC and ASNPCB FNP certification pass rate was 100% in 2023.

Georgetown's FNP Program Overview:

  • Credit Hours: 44
  • Clinical Hours: 650
  • Duration: 19-27 months
  • Degree Earned: MSN
  • 2024 Tuition: $2,550 per credit hour
  • Format: Online with two on-campus intensives
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Accreditation: CCNE

9. Herzing University Milwaukee 

Herzing University in Menomonee Falls, WI, offers multiple pathways through its MSN Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) programs, tailored to meet the needs of nurses with varying educational backgrounds. Each program is delivered online, providing the flexibility to study with multiple start dates throughout the year.

Herzing's FNP Program Overview:

  • Degree Earned: MSN
  • Pathways: 
    • MSN-FNP; for bachelor's prepared nurses
    • Accelerated MSN-FNP; for associate prepared nurses
    • Post Master's FNP; for master's prepared nurses
  • Credit Hours: 
    • 48 MSN-FNP
    • 64 Accelerated MSN-FNP
    • 33 months Post Master's FNP
  • Duration: 
    • 20 months MSN-FNP
    • 24 months Accelerated MSN-FNP
    • 16- 20 months Post Master's FNP
  • 2024 Tuition: $735 per credit hour
  • Format: Online
  • Location: Menomonee Falls, WI
  • Accreditation: CCNE

10. Brenau University 

The primary objective of Brenaue University in Gainesville, GA, is to prepare FNPs who can function as competent healthcare providers, cultivate strong decision-making abilities, and exhibit excellent communication and expertise in their chosen field. Brenau University's FNP program incorporates online coursework, clinical practicum, and Saturday classes for hybrid students. 

Brenau's FNP Program Overview:

  • Credit Hours: 49
  • Duration: 20 months
  • Degree Earned: MSN
  • 2024 Tuition: $824 per credit hour 
  • Format: Hybrid
  • Location: Gainesville, GA
  • Accreditation: CCNE

 

What Is an FNP Program?

An FNP program represents an advanced educational trajectory designed for registered nurses (RNs) aspiring to deliver comprehensive healthcare services to individuals and families across their lifespans. FNPs operate in diverse settings such as clinics, hospitals, and private practices, equipped to diagnose and treat health conditions, prescribe medications, and educate patients on disease prevention and health management.

FNP Coursework 

Family nurse practitioner program coursework encompasses advanced practice nursing core classes, specialized courses focusing on family health, and elective options enabling students to tailor their education. 

Core subjects often delve into advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, and health assessment, while specialized courses cover areas such as pediatric care, women's health, adult and geriatric care, and chronic disease management. This curriculum builds on the foundational knowledge and skills acquired during undergraduate studies and professional experience.

FNP Clinical Training 

Integral to the FNP program is clinical training, providing hands-on experience in delivering patient care. This training occurs in supervised clinical settings, allowing students to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations. Clinical hours, mandatory for program completion, commence early in the program. Students collaborate closely with preceptors, seasoned practitioners guiding them through the clinical learning process. The training encompasses diverse aspects of family health, ensuring students are adept at serving varied patient populations.

Clinical Hour Requirements for FNP Programs

MSN FNP students are required to fulfill a minimum of 750 direct patient care clinical hours, aligning with the standards set by the National Task Force for Quality Nurse Practitioner Education. DNP FNP students face a more rigorous obligation, mandated to complete 1,000 clinical hours, in accordance with the guidelines established by the CCNE.

Diverse Pathways to FNP

The journey toward becoming an FNP offers various educational pathways, including an MSN, a Post-Graduate Certificate, or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Each pathway has distinct structures, preparing FNPs for advanced practice in family-centered care.

1. Traditional Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Tailored for RNs seeking advanced proficiency in family-centered care, the MSN FNP program spans 2-3 years, equipping FNPs for roles in direct patient care, consultation, and potential leadership in diverse healthcare settings.

2. Post-Graduate Certificate

A condensed option typically completed in 1-2 years, the post-graduate certificate allows nurse practitioners to specialize in family-centered care and expand their skill set.

3. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The DNP FNP, the highest clinical degree, extends over 3-4 years, combining advanced clinical training with a focus on quality improvement, evidence-based practice, and leadership in healthcare. Beyond the MSN level, this program readies FNPs for leadership roles in various healthcare settings.

FNP Prerequisites & Requirements

Enrollment in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) programs requires thorough preparation and a strong nursing background. Prospective students must meet a range of prerequisites and admission criteria to demonstrate they have the essential knowledge and skills for both academic success and a professional career in nursing.

FNP Program Prerequisites

  • Educational Requirements: A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited school is usually necessary. RNs holding an associate degree may need to enroll in bridge programs to qualify for FNP coursework.
  • RN Licensure: Candidates must hold active, unrestricted RN licensure in the state where they plan to undertake clinical training.
  • Clinical Experience: A specified amount of clinical nursing experience is required to ensure adequate practical exposure before taking on more complex responsibilities.
  • Academic Standards: Applicants are generally expected to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher from their undergraduate studies.
  • Prerequisite Courses: Some foundational courses, like statistics, anatomy, or physiology, must be completed prior to admission. Foundational course requirements will vary by institution. 

FNP Admission Criteria

  • Application: Applicants must submit a comprehensive application detailing their personal, educational, and professional background.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all attended post-secondary institutions must be provided, showing the candidate's academic performance.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Two to three letters from professional or academic referees should support the applicant's readiness for advanced nursing practice.
  • Personal Statement: A narrative essay should articulate the candidate's career goals, reasons for choosing the FNP specialty, and how the program matches their aspirations.
  • Resume/CV: A detailed resume or CV is required, listing the applicant's work experience, certifications, honors, and relevant activities.
  • Interview: An interview, either in person or online, assesses the candidate's fit for the program and their commitment to the FNP role.
  • Background and Drug Screening: A criminal background check and drug screening are necessary to uphold patient safety and professional standards in healthcare.

These requirements ensure that candidates are well-prepared to embark on the demanding yet rewarding pathway to becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner.

FNP Job Description

An FNP is a highly trained healthcare professional who provides comprehensive healthcare services to individuals of all ages. They typically hold an advanced degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and are licensed to practice independently in many states.

In their role, FNPs focus on holistic, patient-centered care. They consider a patient's physical health and also their mental and emotional well-being and social and environmental factors that could impact them. FNPs are known for their emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention, educating patients on how to maintain their health and prevent disease.

In addition to their clinical duties, FNPs often take on leadership, research, and education roles within the healthcare field. They advocate for their patients and the nursing profession, working to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes.

FNP Responsibilities

An FNP's responsibilities may include:

  • Patient Assessment: FNPs conduct thorough primary health care assessments, which include taking detailed health histories and performing physical examinations.
  • Diagnosis: They diagnose various health conditions, from acute illnesses like infections and injuries to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Treatment Planning and Management: FNPs develop and manage patient treatment plans, including prescribing medications, ordering physical therapy, or recommending lifestyle changes.
  • Preventive Care: They provide health promotion and disease prevention services, such as immunizations and routine screenings. Furthermore, they educate patients about healthy lifestyle choices to prevent disease and promote wellness.
  • Patient Education: FNPs are crucial in educating patients and their families about managing their health conditions. They provide information about medication, diet, exercise, and disease management.
  • Coordination of Care: They often serve as the primary point of contact for patients, coordinating care among the interdisciplinary healthcare team, which includes physicians, specialists, and therapists.
  • Follow-up Care: FNPs provide ongoing care, monitoring patients' progress, adjusting treatment plans as necessary, and providing follow-up care after hospitalizations or surgeries.
  • Record Keeping: They maintain detailed and accurate patient records, documenting all aspects of patient care, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.
  • Research: Some FNPs may also research to advance nursing knowledge and practice.

It's important to note that the specific job description of an FNP can vary depending on the setting in which they work, such as a hospital, clinic, private practice, or community health center.

FNP Program Cost Considerations 

Entering a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program comes with varying financial commitments. Here's a detailed exploration of key considerations when assessing the costs associated with an FNP program:

  • Tuition: The cost of tuition varies depending on the nature of the institution (public or private) and the student's residency status. Notably, out-of-state students may encounter higher charges at certain educational institutions.
  • Program Pathway: Opting for a post-graduate certification pathway to become an FNP might appear more cost-effective than pursuing a full MSN or DNP program. The streamlined coursework focuses solely on the NP concentration. However, it's crucial to recognize that obtaining a post-graduate certificate follows the completion and payment of an MSN NP Program.
  • Books and Supplies: This category encompasses expenses for textbooks, medical supplies, and other educational materials, with costs ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  • Technology Fees: Online or hybrid programs may come with additional fees for technology, software, or online resources.
  • Lab Fees: Certain courses may have associated lab fees for materials or equipment use.
  • Miscellaneous Fees: This category includes application fees, graduation fees, and other administrative expenses.
  • Living Expenses: Pertaining to day-to-day living costs such as food, utilities, and personal expenses, this is especially significant for those who won't be working or need to relocate for their FNP program.
  • Certification Fees: Beyond tuition, there are also certification fees for FNP-BC (Board Certified). Understanding the full spectrum of financial aspects ensures a comprehensive approach to planning for an FNP program.

FNP Salary Expectations

As per data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse practitioners earn a median annual salary of $125,900, equivalent to $60.53 per hour. Geographic location also significantly determines salaries, as FNPs in certain states earn significantly more or less than the national average.

The top-paying states for NPs are:

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

Even though the BLS does not break down salary figures by nurse practitioner specialty, data from ZipRecruiter reveals that Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) earn an average annual salary of $127,976, translating to around $62 per hour.

The top-paying states for FNPs are:

  • New York: $145,970
  • Vermont: $143,737
  • Pennsylvania: $133,677
  • Washington: $131,348
  • New Hampshire: $130,537

FNP Career Outlook

Since their establishment in 1960 to improve pediatric patient care access, the role of Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) has expanded significantly to address broader healthcare needs. FNPs are crucial in bridging the access-to-care gap, particularly as the population ages and the healthcare workforce faces retirement. Their ability to adapt to various healthcare settings meets evolving patient needs, ensuring comprehensive and accessible primary care. As the healthcare industry continues to transform, FNPs are increasingly recognized as essential in meeting critical healthcare demands.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts a 38% growth in APRN employment from 2022 to 2032, with an estimated 123,600 new job openings for nurse practitioners. FNPs are expected to play a key role in providing preventative and primary care in areas already under significant strain. According to BLS data, nurse practitioners hold the majority of employment positions compared to other nursing roles, highlighting the significant impact of FNPs in the healthcare system.

FNP Program Accreditation

Choosing an accredited Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program is crucial for several vital reasons:

  • Guarantee of Educational Quality: Accreditation ensures the program meets stringent academic standards, including curriculum rigor, faculty expertise, and quality of clinical training.
  • Development of Robust Skills: Accredited programs provide comprehensive training that prepares graduates to excel in the fast-evolving healthcare sector.
  • Incorporation of Latest Advances: These programs continuously integrate contemporary research and innovations, aligning with advancements in healthcare.
  • Clinical Training Standards: Accreditation assures that the program includes sufficient clinical hours necessary for attaining an advanced degree like an MSN or DNP.
  • Foundation for Credentialing and Licensure: Degrees from accredited programs are typically required for obtaining professional certifications and state licensure.
  • Competitive Edge in Employment: Graduates from accredited programs are often preferred by employers for their assured high-level training.
  • Credit Recognition: Academic credits from accredited programs are more readily accepted in further nursing education endeavors.
  • Professional Recognition: Completing an accredited program signifies adherence to national standards in nursing education.
  • Eligibility for Financial Aid: Accreditation can be necessary to qualify for federal financial aid to support educational costs.

Prospective FNPs should prioritize enrollment in programs accredited by esteemed bodies like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). This accreditation is crucial for enhancing educational opportunities and career prospects.

FNP Scope of Practice & Certification

The level of independence and professional responsibilities undertaken by Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) is shaped by state regulations, dictating the scope of practice. Some states afford FNPs the autonomy to practice independently, while others mandate supervision by a healthcare provider or MD.

When selecting an FNP program, it is essential to take into account these state-specific regulations. Certain APRN FNP programs may not meet the qualifications for practice in specific states. To align your career aspirations with the most fitting FNP role, a thorough understanding of the scope of practice regulations in your intended work state and the specific duties associated with the FNP specialty you plan to pursue becomes imperative. This insight ensures that your chosen FNP program is in harmony with the practice environment you aim to join after completing your studies.

National Certification for FNPs

National certification remains a uniform requirement for Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs), serving as a testament to their skills and qualifications. The main organizations providing certification for Family NPs are the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Obtaining this certification is crucial for FNPs to validate their expertise and dedication to delivering superior healthcare.

Are the Fastest FNP Programs Worth It?

Fastest Family NP Programs are tailored for individuals keen on swiftly advancing their education and career. However, their rapid pace demands strong dedication and can shape the overall learning experience. Here's an exploration of the advantages and challenges these programs present.

Pros of Fast FNP Programs

  1. Accelerated Completion: These programs are perfect for students eager to finish their studies quickly and begin practicing, speeding up the transition into the workforce.
  2. Cost Efficiency: Graduating sooner can significantly cut the total costs of tuition and related expenses, making it an economically appealing choice.
  3. Deep Immersion: Fast-track programs provide a concentrated learning environment, allowing students to thoroughly engage with the material without the extended breaks found in traditional settings.
  4. Career Progression: For currently employed nurses, these programs offer a quick route to career advancement, potentially leading to increased earnings and earlier leadership opportunities.
  5. Focused Curriculum: Designed for efficiency, these programs concentrate on the crucial skills and knowledge necessary for success as a Family NP, eliminating superfluous courses.

Cons of Fast FNP Programs

  1. Intense Pressure: The swift pace can be demanding and stressful, burdening students with a heavy workload that might compromise other personal commitments or work-life balance.
  2. Reduced Clinical Exposure: Although these programs fulfill the minimal clinical hour requirements, the condensed schedule could limit the time available for thoroughly acquiring and applying clinical skills.
  3. Learning Style Compatibility: The rapid progression may not accommodate all learning preferences, potentially affecting the depth of knowledge and practical application in clinical contexts.
  4. Networking Limitations: The shortened duration might constrain chances to form valuable professional relationships and network with peers and faculty, which are crucial for long-term career development.
  5. Burnout Potential: The rigorous demands of fast-track programs can lead to burnout, impacting both academic achievements and personal health.

Deciding if the fastest Family NP programs are right for you hinges on your personal situation and career aspirations. If you thrive in fast-paced educational settings and need to expedite your professional journey, they might be ideal. Alternatively, if you prefer a more traditional pace, consider exploring our guide to the 30 Best Family NP Programs, detailed by specialty to suit various needs.

All FNP Programs - Online, On-Campus, & Hybrid

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What kind of support services are available for FNP students during the program?

Many FNP programs offer a range of support services to help students succeed. These can include academic advising, tutoring, career counseling, mental health services, and access to learning resources such as libraries and online databases. Additionally, some programs provide mentorship opportunities with experienced nurse practitioners

Q: Can I work part-time while enrolled in an FNP program?

While it is possible to work part-time during an FNP program, it can be challenging due to the demanding nature of the coursework and clinical requirements. Students should consider their ability to balance work, study, and personal commitments and may need to adjust their work hours accordingly.

Q: Are there online FNP programs available?

Many institutions offer online FNP programs to accommodate working professionals and those who require flexible schedules. These programs typically combine online coursework with local clinical placements, allowing students to gain practical experience in their communities.

Q: Do FNPs get paid well?

FNPs are among the higher-paid professionals within the APRN category. However, salaries can vary significantly depending on geographical location, years of experience, specialty, and the specific setting in which they work. It's also important to note that some APRN specialties may command higher salaries. For example, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) are often among the highest-paid APRNs due to the high level of responsibility and specialized skills required in their role.

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Editorial Team / Admin

Julia Liou has 4 years experience as a RN and specializes in Postpartum/Public Health.

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