If you’ve always wanted to get into the healthcare industry so you can use your medical knowledge to save lives, studying to become a family nurse practitioner may be the right choice for you. Not only does this job pay better than average, but there’s also an incredibly high demand for nurse practitioners over the next several years, largely due to an aging population that will need increased healthcare.
What Is an Online Family Nurse Practitioner Program?
An online family nurse practitioner program prepares you with the skills you’ll need to become a family nurse practitioner, or FNP. This is a nurse practitioner who has specialized training to treat both adults and children. FNPs typically spend years treating the same families while working in clinics, which means they carefully monitor health, offer preventive care, and treat acute illnesses and injuries in people of all ages.
While most people who complete online family nurse practitioner programs become FNPs, they can transition into related careers in healthcare, too. For instance, they might enter another type of nurse practitioner specialty, such as for acute care, pediatrics, gerontology, or adult mental health.
If you already know you’re interested in completing a family nurse practitioner program, it might be time to consider if an online or on-campus program suits your needs. Online family nurse practitioner programs are more common than ever, mainly because they’re more flexible than on-campus programs. Many people looking to earn a degree as an FNP are already working in the medical field and don’t have time to drive to campus every day for class. Online classes give healthcare workers the flexibility they need to keep working as they gain an education in the specialty they want to focus on. So if you can’t go to campus every day to train for your new career, you should look at online family nurse practitioner programs that will fit your schedule.
Another consideration to make is whether you’ll enroll in a program that requires a GRE or not. The GRE—or Graduate Record Examination—is a test that determines your readiness for graduate school. This computer-based, multiple-choice exam will test your knowledge when it comes to vocabulary, problem-solving, data analysis, geometry, algebra, and basic math. Like many major tests, the GRE can be a source of anxiety among students hoping to get into graduate school, as it requires a lot of studying to get a good grade on the exam. The good news is that some graduate schools no longer require this test, as they prefer to look at other aspects of the application when deciding which students to admit. If you’re worried about the prospect of taking this test, look for family nurse practitioner programs with no GRE required. Here’s what you should know before you choose the best program for your needs.
How Much Does an Online Family Nurse Practitioner Program Cost?
In most cases, when you graduate from family nurse practitioner programs with no GRE required, you’ll get a degree called a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). The cost for this program can vary quite a bit depending on a few factors, but the range is about $25,000 to $100,000 on average.
For instance, at Simmons University, the FNP program costs about $58,000 to complete. The same type of degree costs about $27,000 at United States University, while it’s about $100,200 for the program at Georgetown University. In many cases, these totals don’t include books, medical equipment, or any extra student fees the college charges.
As you make your budget for school, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to be living on or near the campus, or if you’ll try to find online family nurse practitioner programs that are entirely virtual. This can save you a lot of money on gas since you won’t have to commute, and you can live anywhere while you take your classes online, so this is an ideal option if you want to limit your spending on school. Plus, when your classes are all online, you won’t have to spend your daytime hours in class, which means you can keep working as you get an education to become an FNP.
If you’re trying to keep your costs down when it comes to online family nurse practitioner programs, note that many schools offer grants and scholarships. And since this degree is typically only offered to people who are already in the nursing field, some employers will offer to pay for some or even all tuition costs if it means their employees will become better educated in this field. So if you’re working as an RN or another type of medical professional, you should find out if your employer is willing to pay some of the costs associated with family nurse practitioner programs with no GRE required.
Average Salary for a Family Nurse Practitioner
Becoming a family nurse practitioner is a good way to secure a salary that’s higher than average. PayScale reports that the median annual salary for an FNP is $96,845 as of July 2021. But the range is about $82,000 to $127,000, meaning your salary may be slightly higher or lower than the average.
The salary that you get when you work as an FNP depends on a few factors. One is your location, as some major cities—such as New York City, Houston, and Chicago—feature higher than average salaries for FNPs working there. Another factor is experience, as PayScale’s report shows that someone with one year of experience in this job might start out making $92,000 per year, but that could increase to $102,000 after five to nine years of experience. So while even the entry-level pay for this job is higher than average, sticking with it for several years will result in even better pay, making it worth your time to look at online family nurse practitioner programs.
What Is the Job Outlook for Family Nurse Practitioners?
The future of FNPs is very bright, so you should have no trouble finding a job when you complete a program that prepares you for this career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the expected job growth between 2019 and 2029 is a whopping 45%, which is much faster than average.
In fact, more than 117,000 FNP jobs will be added during that time, so you should start looking into online family nurse practitioner programs if you want a good chance of getting a job in this field. The main reason for this high demand of FNPs is the increased focus on preventive care, as well as the increased healthcare needs of an aging population.
Courses in Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs
While you look into family nurse practitioner programs with no GRE required, you might be wondering what kinds of courses you’ll have to pass. In general, since students in online family nurse practitioner programs have already passed nursing school and typically have at least a bachelor’s degree, you won’t have to take the science and basic healthcare classes you likely already took as an undergraduate.
Instead, you’ll have a chance to deepen your understanding of how to give the best care to patients from infancy to old age. Though the exact class names and descriptions vary depending on the school, most online family nurse practitioner programs require courses that include the following:
- Pathophysiology across the lifespan
- Advanced assessment and diagnostic reasoning
- Project management in healthcare
- Common illnesses across the lifespan
- Advanced pharmacology
- Nursing leadership
Why Should You Complete an Online Family Nurse Practitioner Program?
While you look for family nurse practitioner programs with no GRE required, you may be thinking about whether this degree is right for you. In general, if you’re interested in helping patients of all ages—typically caring for all the members of the family for years in a clinic setting—you’ll want to look into FNP programs. After all, this career has a bright outlook and a great median salary. And the fact that you can choose from online family nurse practitioner programs that are entirely virtual means you can take the courses from anywhere at any time, so you can still work while you continue your education.
But before you sign up to go to school for this job, you should have an idea of what’s expected before and after most online family nurse practitioner programs. First, to get into this type of program, you typically need to have an undergraduate nursing degree, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). You’ll also usually have to have a registered nurse (RN) license. This means most people who apply for family nurse practitioner programs with no GRE required are already working as RNs, and they want a chance to expand their job duties while increasing their salaries. So this isn’t the program for someone who is just starting out in healthcare.
Also, once you graduate from an FNP program, you’ll need to take a few additional steps before you can start working in this role. For example, you’ll need to pass a nursing competency test from either the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Once you pass the test of your choice, you can seek licensure in your state so you can start working as an FNP.
Why Should You Look at Family Nurse Practitioner Programs with No GRE Required?
As you look at online family nurse practitioner programs available to you, you might notice the mention of the GRE. This is short for the Graduate Record Examination, a test that many graduate schools have always required applicants to pass. This standardized exam tests students on three skills: analytical writing, quantitive reasoning, and verbal reasoning. If you want to impress top schools that offer online family nurse practitioner programs, you’ll need a great score on the GRE.
However, not everyone is a good test taker, nor does every student have time to study for a big test like the GRE. This is why it’s good to know that many schools no longer need to see GRE scores. So if you haven’t taken the GRE yet, or just haven’t been able to produce a good score on this test, look for family nurse practitioner programs with no GRE required.
It turns out schools can evaluate students on several factors other than test scores. For instance, they might instead look closely at your undergraduate grades, so a good GPA from college will work in your favor when you apply to family nurse practitioner programs with no GRE required. They’ll also look at letters of recommendation and any leadership experience you have in the healthcare field, which means you should highlight these if you have them.
Finally, family nurse practitioner programs with no GRE required tend to value work experience highly. After all, applicants have to have a nursing degree, and most have been working as RNs for years by the time they apply for an FNP program. So if you’ve been working successfully and consistently as a registered nurse for a while, make sure the program you’re interested in knows this. You should also make them aware of any awards, promotions, and special certifications you’ve earned during your time as a nurse. Anything that helps you stand out from other applicants will improve your odds of getting into the FNP program you want to attend.
FAQs about Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs
- Online family nurse practitioner programs usually take 24 months to complete on average
- Taking courses during summer break can shorten the program length to 18 months
- Programs that are entirely virtual give you the flexibility to keep working in healthcare while you attend school
- MSN degree gives you access to jobs in healthcare that pay higher than average
- Job growth for FNPs is very fast
- This degree opens doors to a variety of jobs in healthcare
- FNP programs can cost as little as $25,000
- Some healthcare employers are willing to help with tuition for current RNs to become FNPs
- Scholarships and grants are available to help pay for FNP programs