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Master of Science

Family Nurse Practitioner
(BSN to MSN)

OVERVIEW

Become a Nurse Practitioner—Online, On Your Schedule


 

A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is a registered nurse with specialized educational and clinical training in family practice. They evaluate patients, diagnose them, write prescriptions, and bring a comprehensive element to healthcare. Nurse practitioners have a higher degree of classroom and clinical training than registered nurses or public health nurses, although becoming an RN is a prerequisite to becoming an FNP.

NOTE: Due to the clinical requirements of this degree program, the FNP is currently NOT available to students who have a permanent residence in the following states: California, District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington.

Students must have a permanent and active license from a state that is not listed above, must complete the internships in that state, and intend to obtain initial APRN licensure in that state. See more state-specific information related to nursing licensure. Compact licenses must be endorsed by your state of residence. More about compact licenses.

Is the MSN FNP program not the right fit? Compare our health leadership degrees here or explore these programs:

Most students will earn this degree in 

2½ years

While you may move more quickly through core coursework, the duration of the clinical components of this program are set.
 

Tuition per six-month term is

$4,250

This includes tuition and all associated program fee costs. Tuition and fees charged per 6-month term—rather than pay per credit—helps students control the ultimate cost of their degree.  

This is a highly competitive program.

Currently, WGU's Family Nurse Practitioner degree program is accepting applications from a limited number of students. The required FNP Skills Workshop and Clinical Internship in this degree make it a highly practical and demanding program of study.

Next Start Date:
Varies

We have limited space. If admitted, WGU will grant a start date based on a variety of factors.

COURSES & COMPETENCIES

Family Nurse Practitioner Courses

The WGU MSN-FNP curriculum is evidence-based. It's designed to make you an effective and caring nurse practitioner and healthcare provider. Competencies you will master as you earn this online nursing degree are consistent with the NONPF (National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties) standards for nurse practitioners.

This is not an acute or emergency care practitioner program. WGU's mostly online program provides the knowledge and competencies needed to sit for the national FNP certification exam and obtain state licensure. Learn more about nurse licensure and certification.

This program consists of the following courses, which you will typically complete one at a time as you make your way through your program, working with your Program Mentor each term to build your personalized Degree Plan. As soon as you’re ready, you’ll pass the assessment, complete the course, and move on. 

You will complete your MSN FNP degree mostly online. Your program will consist of six online core courses that are part of all WGU MSN programs. We call this our “MSN Core”.

The curriculum includes nurse practitioner core and family nurse practitioner specialty online courses. Next, you will complete specialty online courses comprised of different clinical requirements for the FNP program. During the term before you begin your clinical internship courses, you’ll complete the FNP Skills Workshop. This is an immersive learning experience conducted virtually at this time. Keep in mind, travel might be required in the future. During the skills workshop, you will be taught all your ambulatory skills, such as casting, splinting, suturing, and biopsies. Your program will culminate with the clinical internship courses involving 650 direct patient care clinical hours in your home community, as available. 

MSN Core
Nurse Practitioner Core
Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty

16 Courses

Program consists of 16 courses

At WGU, we design our curriculum to be timely, relevant, and practical—all to ensure your degree is proof you really know your stuff. 

Field Experiences

Special requirements for this program

While most of your coursework will be completed online, your nurse practitioner program includes some requirements—including clinical internships—that must be completed in a facility near you, and the university will work with you through the approval process. 

“Our partnership with WGU enables our employees to advance their education affordably without interrupting their careers.”

—John Steele, Senior Vice President of Human Resources
HCA Healthcare

Why WGU?

Valued

Top accreditations mean that your FNP degree is respected by employers and peers. You will get a quality education that is valuable in the industry.

Flexible

You can continue working at your full-time job or maintaining your responsibilities while pursing your FNP degree. You don't have to log-in to classes and there aren't due dates. You are in charge of your degree.

Alumni Network

When you enroll in this nursing master's program at WGU, you join an impressive network of healthcare professionals. Over 18,000 students earned healthcare degrees from WGU in 2020 alone, and are hard at work, changing the lives of patients and impacting communities.

Accredited, Respected,
Recognized

One important measure of a degree’s value is the reputation of the university where it was earned. When employers, industry leaders, and academic experts hold your alma mater in high esteem, you reap the benefits of that respect. WGU is a pioneer in reinventing higher education for the 21st century, and our quality has been recognized. 

 

COST & TIME

An Affordable Nurse Practitioner Program

By charging per term rather than per credit—and empowering students to accelerate through material they know well or learn quickly—WGU helps students control the ultimate cost of their degrees. For the family nurse practitioner MSN degree, students can accelerate through the MSN core courses, cutting down their overall cost, before moving forward to the specific time-set FNP coursework. 

Note: The MSN FNP program may not be completed in fewer than 2 years.

 

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More Details
Tuition
$4,250
Learning Resources Fee
+ $145
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+ $1,250

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Health Professions Fee
$350

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A Nursing Master's Degree Is Within Reach

There is help available to make paying for school possible for you:

The average student loan debt of WGU graduates in 2019 (among those who borrowed) was less than half* the national average.

Most WGU students qualify for financial aid, and WGU is approved for federal financial aid and U.S. veterans benefits. 

Many scholarship opportunities are available. Find out what you might be eligible for.
 

FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE

An Online Family Nurse Practitioner Degree Program Built for a Busy Nurse’s Schedule

Competency-based education puts working nurses in the driver’s seat of their education. As a busy nurse, you need a degree program that's more than simply online—you need a nursing program that truly reflects the realities of your work life and experience. At WGU, your progress is driven by your ability to prove what you’ve learned. How—and how quickly—is largely up to you.

Once you’ve mastered the defined competencies (knowledge and skills), you prove what you know through tests, papers, projects, or other assessments. Demonstrating mastery is how you pass a course, so learning what it takes to be outstanding in your career as an effective nurse practitioner is at the heart of WGU’s M.S. Nursing–Family Nurse Practitioner curriculum. Other universities' online M.S. programs may give you the convenience of distance learning; WGU's competency-based online programs take that flexibility further—many steps further!

"I learned a lot about doing research, which has helped me tremendously in my new position. You learn so much with this degree.”

—Jennifer Granger Brown
M.S. Nursing

The standard pace of the program will take 2.5 years to complete. Students who successfully complete the standard 5-term pace are committing an average of 30 hours per week to their studies. But, if you choose, you may be able to accelerate through the MSN Core, finishing the program in 2 years. Alternatively, you can choose to complete the clinical hours part time, finishing the program in 6 terms or a total of 3 years.

Students must complete 650 direct patient care clinical hours. The standard pace of the program is to spend 3 to 4 days a week in clinical hours, until you total 650 hours. If you choose to complete the clinical hours on a part-time basis, then you will spend 1 to 2 days a week in clinicals, until you total 650 hours.

CAREER OUTLOOK

A Family Nurse Practitioner MSN Prepares You to Deliver Primary Care with a Comprehensive Perspective

Once you have completed this mostly online M.S. Nursing–Family Nurse Practitioner degree program, you will have the knowledge and skills to be an outstanding nurse practitioner. You'll be in demand because you'll be prepared to take your extensive nursing experience and transform it into specific patient-care as a healthcare provider. Graduates of this program will be prepared to practice in primary care settings serving as primary care providers. This is not an acute or emergency care FNP program.

Working as a nurse practitioner is a rewarding career where helping others is at the forefront. As an FNP, you’ll provide care to families, improving patient outcomes while serving your community. A rewarding career starts with a respected degree which is what you get at WGU. Our FNP education prepares each graduate to work independently in delivering healthcare to individuals and families. You will be able to work at your own pace, potentially finishing your degree more quickly than you would through family nurse practitioner programs at other nursing schools. If you enjoy caring for others, you may find a career as a family nurse practitioner particularly rewarding.

Return on Your Investment

45%

Projections indicate that employment of nurse practitioners will grow 45% by 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

—U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

WGU's MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner Grads Can Expect Rewarding Careers

When you become a family nurse practitioner you can work in a variety of settings. This program can prepare you to work as a primary care FNP in:

  • Outpatient primary care and specialty clinics
  • Family practice clinics
  • Urgent care clinics
  • Women's health clinics
  • Community service centers
  • Pediatric clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Retail health centers
  • Corporate wellness centers
  • Telehealth clinics
  • Community health centers
  • Rural health centers
  • Federal qualified health centers
  • Chronic pain

WGU Grads Hold Positions With Top Employers

Hospitals and clinics around the country know the benefit of a master's degree from WGU, so your nursing degree is valuable.

ADMISSIONS

Admissions Requirements Unique  to our M.S. Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner Degree Program

To be considered for this program, you must:

  • Possess a bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN) from an accredited institution. NOTE: Students that hold an MSN will not be eligible to apply for the MSN-FNP pathway.
  • Possess a current, active, unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license from AND a permanent residence in an approved state. Students must complete the internships in their state of residence/license and intend to obtain initial APRN licensure in that state. Compact licenses must be endorsed by your state of residence. (The FNP is currently not available for students in California, District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, and Washington.)
  • Submit a criminal background check through American Databank. Additional fees may apply.
  • Submit a professional resume or CV outlining your academic, professional, and service history.  
  • Submit an application essay. You must submit a 3- to 4-page student statement detailing your experience in nursing and explaining why you want to become an FNP. This document helps us understand your unique situation and personal goals.
  • Provide three letters of recommendation from: 

1. A supervisor or manager who directly supervised you in a clinical setting.
2. A professor, faculty member, or academic advisor who can provide meaningful input regarding your academic record.
3. A Board Certified practicing healthcare provider (APRN, NP, PA, MD, DO) who has served as a mentor or whom you have shadowed, preferably in the specialty to which you are applying. Note: A registered nurse cannot serve as the practicing provider for this recommendation source.

- Anatomy / Physiology I  w/lab (equivalent to 4 semester hours)
- Anatomy / Physiology II  w/lab (equivalent to 4 semester hours)
- Statistics (equivalent to 3 semester hours)
- Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan (equivalent to 3 semester hours)
- Pharmacology (equivalent to 2 semester hours) 
Note: All courses must be awarded a C- or above to meet this requirement. At this time, WGU is not accepting transfer credit for the Master of Science - Family Nurse Practitioner program.

  • Have one year of clinical experience and be actively working as an RN at the time of application. *This requirement is strongly preferred, as these will be competitive factors in the admission decision-making process.

Get Your Nurse Practitioner Enrollment Checklist

Download your step-by-step guide to enrollment.

Get Your Questions Answered

Talk to an WGU Enrollment Counselor.

Safety Notice

WGU and the College of Health Professions (CHP) are committed to the health, safety, and well-being of all patients, community members, and key stakeholders that interact with WGU students at various clinical/host sites. Interactions might include direct patient interaction, observation experiences, laboratory experiences, project development, or conducting research.  Standard compliance verification for students in applicable CHP programs is required to protect the public, meet CHP program expectations, reasonably assure compliance with state regulatory board requirements, meet WGU’s contractual and legal obligations with clinical partners, and support WGU’s mission to prepare students who will be qualified to enter their desired field. Compliance items may include, but are not limited to, background checks, immunizations, and drug screens as needed.

Due to the clinical requirements of this degree program, the FNP is currently NOT available to students who have a permanent residence in the following states: California, District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington.

More About the FNP Program

Details About WGU’s FNP Clinical Sites and Preceptors

The WGU FNP program culminates with three clinical internship courses that together consist of 650 precepted direct patient care clinical hours. 

You will work with preceptors in clinics in your local community, as available, to train in the provision of primary care. To do so, you will need to be in clinical sites that allow you access to patients across the lifespan, with sufficient experiences in treating the wide variety of conditions and full spectrum of complexity found in primary care.

No. You can only complete clinical hours within the states where WGU’s FNP program is currently offered and where you possess a current, unencumbered RN license. 

WGU’s FNP program is currently offered in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Yes. Students will work with the Clinical Experience Team to submit potential clinical sites and preceptors for approval. WGU will evaluate the appropriateness of each clinical site and preceptor and provide approval as appropriate. 

Yes. The WGU FNP program prepares you to take the FNP national certification exam of your choice from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Certification Program.

The instructional cost of the FNP Skills Workshop is included in your tuition. Students are responsible for paying the travel, lodging, food, and other associated costs to participate in the clinical internship rotations. 

Any clinical hours completed at your current place of employment must not be part of your regular employment responsibilities or schedule. While your current place of employment may be approved as a clinical site, your preceptor may not be your employment direct supervisor. 

The number of clinical sites that you need is based on how well each site prepares you to meet the core WGU FNP competencies. Collectively, the clinical sites must provide you with access to patients across the lifespan, with sufficient experiences in treating the wide variety of conditions and full spectrum of complexity found in primary care. 

The FNP Skills Workshop occurs during the term prior to the clinical internship. The purpose of the workshop is to allow you to practice and demonstrate competence in procedural and clinical skills before beginning your precepted clinical practice. The ambulatory skills taught and evaluated include suturing, splinting, casting, skin biopsies, joint injections, foreign body removal, as well as other ambulatory care skills. Upon completion, you will be ready to maximize the time with your clinical preceptors in perfecting your ambulatory skills in the clinical internship courses.

An NP MSN program can take about two and a half years with an accelerated program like the one we offer at WGU. If you are not already a registered nurse, it can take as many as six to eight years of courses, certification, and training to earn a degree as a nurse practitioner (NP). Nurse practitioners need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing, and also must pass the APRN certification exam.

A nurse practitioner has a higher level of education and qualifications and can perform more duties. While a nurse practitioner can act in a similar capacity to a physician in a private practice, a nurse must be under the direction of a doctor. Additionally, nurse practitioners can prescribe medications, while registered nurses cannot. The salaries also differ significantly. Since nurse practitioners have greater qualifications, they make on average 40-50% more than registered nurses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

Typical NP programs are three to four years. However, with WGU's program you can work at your own pace, allowing you to accelerate your coursework. While it varies, on average students finish the WGU FNP program in two and a half years.

  1. Be a registered nurse with a BSN and experience in the field
  2. Earn your MSN-FNP degree
  3. Earn your state license and certification (each state has unique requirements, so be sure to understand what your state will require)

If you want to become a nurse practitioner more quickly, consider an online degree program that will allow you to accelerate your coursework and move at your own pace.

No. You will have to be a registered nurse in order to obtain an MSN or DNP degree that qualifies you to become a nurse practitioner. Each state will have unique requirements about the years of experience as an RN you must have before you can become a nurse practitioner, so it’s best to learn what the requirements are in your state.

Yes. Patience is key if you're looking to get into NP school. Nurse practitioner programs are highly competitive. Elements like good grades in your BSN program and experience as an RN are taken into account. 

WGU is approved to offer federal student aid. You will need to apply using the FAFSA, which is used to determine your eligibility for aid. WGU’s FAFSA school code is 033394.

Scholarships are available for new WGU students and returning graduates. This video shows more about scholarship opportunities and how they can help you pay for school. Get information on:

  • How to apply
  • Eligibility requirements
  • Examples of scholarships
  • What happens after you apply
  • FAQs
  • Other financial aid options

WGU's tuition is a flat rate that is charged every six months. You can take as many courses as you are able in that six-month term—with no extra cost. You simply pay for the term and do as much work as you can or want to during that time. This means that finishing faster helps you save money—a major benefit you won't find at other schools.