Earning a Nurse Practitioner Degree Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue an Online Nurse Practitioner Program?

If you enjoy helping others manage their healthcare, consider earning your degree from one of the country's top online nurse practitioner programs. Not only can you advance your career, but you can also make a meaningful difference in people's lives. This graduate degree allows you to concentrate in your choice of specialties, like pediatrics, neonatal care, or adult gerontology, and prepares you to work in various settings. For example, you may opt to work in a physician's office, hospital, outpatient care center, government facility, private corporation, or nonprofit.

Critical thinking and communication skills along with an attention to detail and a keen sense of empathy will make you the ideal candidate for accredited nurse practitioner online programs. Completing coursework online means you can continue working in the field while earning your degree, so you can apply lessons learned in a real-world setting.

Employment Outlook for Nurse Practitioner Program Graduates

Nurse Practitioner Salary

A career as a nurse practitioner can be rewarding and financially lucrative. The following tables show the income you can expect as a nurse practitioner. The first explores the states the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports pay the highest salaries for nurse practitioners. It also shows the number employed in each. The second table examines how annual pay varies due to experience based on PayScale data. It considers all levels of nurse practitioners, from those new to the career to those with decades in the field.

Top Paying States for Nurse Practitioners

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
California 13,570 $126,770
Alaska 440 $122,580
Hawaii 410 $88,200
Massachusetts 6,280 $120,140
Connecticut 2,220 $118,500
United States 166,280 $107,480

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Nurse Practitioners

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $90,000
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $97,000
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $101,000
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $105,000

Source: PayScale

Nurse Practitioner Careers

Graduates of the best online nurse practitioner programs find a wide variety of career options. They may work as neonatal nurses who provide primary, chronic, and acute care to infants and toddlers in an intensive care setting. Alternatively, they may provide comprehensive care for older adults, such as diagnosing and treating sickness, administering immunizations, and offering medical counsel. Regardless of the path, nurse practitioners must demonstrate leadership and genuine concern for people's well-being.

Nurse Practitioner

Annual Median Salary: $103,880
Projected Growth Rate: 36%

These experts offer advanced nursing care for patients. They manage patients' care by diagnosing illnesses, helping them integrate healthy practices into their lives, and empowering them to improve their overall health. Some nurse practitioners work with specific populations, such as older adults.

Nurse Midwife

Annual Median Salary: $100,590
Projected Growth Rate: 21%

These professionals help women through family planning guidance, gynecological exams, and prenatal care. In addition, they deliver babies and help mitigate and address risks that arise during delivery. They may also assist doctors and serve as primary care providers for mothers and their newborns.

Nurse Anesthetist

Annual Median Salary: $165,120
Projected Growth Rate: 16%

This expert administers anesthesia for surgical, diagnostic, and therapeutic procedures as well as for pain management and emergency purposes. Nurse practitioners must communicate with patients, as they need to understand individuals' illnesses and allergies before administering anesthesia.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Annual Median Salary: $86,338
Projected Growth Rate: 15%

These professionals oversee patient care in specialty areas. For example, they may complete online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs to care for mental health patients. They often work with other nurses and healthcare staff to improve patient care and teach nursing staff.

What Can I Expect From Online Nurse Practitioner Programs?

While classes for online nurse practitioner programs vary depending on the school and specialty you select, most offer similar courses. The following are some you can expect to in any program.

Curriculum for Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

  1. Assessment and Intervention: This class examines family development and functioning, skills nurse practitioners need. In addition to identifying the healthcare needs of family members across the lifespan, students strengthen skills in the assessment, intervention, and evaluation of patient care for families. They rely on evidence-based strategies to maintain and restore family members' well-being.
  2. Teaching Strategies: Learners understand the practical and philosophical aspects of delivering educational content in classroom, clinical, and service environments. This class prepares them to become nursing school educators and nursing education program facilitators. In addition, they build skills in developing patient educational materials.
  3. Advanced Pharmacology: Students explore pharmacotherapeutics throughout individuals' lives, with an emphasis on making clinical decisions. They understand the complexities of treatment with pharmacological approaches based on ethical implications, medication selection variables, and client adherence. Coursework looks at laws that govern advanced practice nurses' prescriptive authority and rights.
  4. Primary Care of Adults and Older Adults: This course explores primary and secondary intervention practices with well-adults. These include prevention and screening of chronic sickness and primary care management for adults. Students develop skills in clinical reasoning, competently manage minor acute illness, and know how to help prevent chronic sickness by the end of the course. A clinical nurse specialist requires these competencies.
  5. Family Nurse Practitioner: Students who complete this class know how to care for families and individuals of all ages thanks to their skills in diagnostic reasoning. They possess the ethics, professional behavior, and interpersonal abilities necessary to collaborate with colleagues. The class requires a significant number of clinical hours.

Certifications and Licenses a Nurse Practitioner Program Prepares For

  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification Adult-Gerontology (ACNPC-AG): This certification verifies skills needed to provide continuous and comprehensive care to acutely ill adult-gerontology patients. These may include young and older adults as well as elderly with terminal, episodic, and chronic illness. Eligibility requires a current nursing license and completion of a graduate nursing program.
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP): Certification holders demonstrate the competencies and clinical knowledge necessary to care for families and individuals, including prenatal, pediatric, and adolescent care in addition to adult, older adult, and elderly care. This includes obtaining patient information, defining and evaluating health needs, and formulating and establishing diagnoses to determine protocols for patient-centered care. Exam takers must have completed a graduate nursing program and at least 500 hours of supervised patient care.