Eligibility and Admission Requirements for Online FNP Programs

Applicants to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs with a specialization in family nurse practitioner (FNP) must fulfill rigorous educational, professional, and nursing licensure requirements prior to admission. Students interested in earning their MSN-FNP online should know that licensing requirements for FNPs vary by state. Therefore, we recommend that students check with their state’s board of nursing to ensure that the nursing degree program they choose meets the standards for licensure in their state.

Most FNP programs require applicants to have a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) to be considered for admission. On OnlineFNPPrograms.com, we classify these programs as online BSN to MSN-FNP programs. However, some nursing schools offer online FNP program options for registered nurses who either do not have a BSN or have obtained a higher degree of nursing education. For example, RN to MSN-FNP programs typically admit RNs who have an associate degree in nursing (some of them also accept applicants who have a diploma in nursing) from a CCNE or ACEN-accredited program, while Bachelor’s to MSN-FNP programs allow licensed registered nurses who have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field to earn their MSN without having to earn a second baccalaureate degree in nursing first. Post-MSN FNP programs enable nurses who have already earned a graduate nursing degree to gain education and training specifically in family nursing care.

All online FNP programs, regardless of the degree level they expect their applicants to meet, require that candidates hold an active license as a registered nurse (RN). Other admission requirements may include a minimum college GPA, one or more years of professional nursing experience, and fulfillment of specific prerequisite classes, such as statistics or clinical health assessment. The application components for online FNP programs generally include transcripts of one’s past academic work, a resume, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Admission into FNP programs is typically selective; consequently, fulfilling all of the eligibility requirements does not guarantee admission.

Geographic Restrictions for Online FNP Programs

Most online FNP programs do not accept students from all 50 states. Online programs, including online nursing programs, must typically seek state-specific authorizations to operate in certain states. The approvals universities must obtain differ by state (some universities may be exempt from these requirements) and some states may even require universities to seek multiple approvals from different state agencies.

While universities that offer online programs are responsible for seeking these approvals, they do take time and resources to obtain. In addition, some state agencies may only respond to these requests during certain time periods during the year. Thus, students who are considering earning their MSN-FNP online should speak with an admissions advisor from each of the schools they are interested in to determine if these schools are authorized to accept students in their state of residence.

On OnlineFNPPrograms.com, we try to indicate which states a program is currently accepting students from; however, due to changing regulations, we cannot guarantee that this information is accurate at any given time.

Admissions Requirements for Online MSN-FNP Programs

The following admissions requirements are for BSN to MSN-FNP programs, which comprise the majority of online MSN-FNP programs at present. For more information on the admissions requirements for Bachelor’s to MSN-FNP programs, RN to MSN-FNP programs and post-MSN FNP programs, see below.

Educational Prerequisites

BSN to MSN-FNP programs require that applicants have completed their BSN from a nursing program that has been accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Some schools ask that applicants also complete specific college courses, such as statistics, community health, and/or health assessment before applying. In addition, many programs have overall GPA requirements for applicants, or ask that candidates earn a minimum grade in certain undergraduate classes.

Clinical/Professional Prerequisites

All accredited online FNP programs require that applicants have an active license as a registered nurse in their state of residence. Furthermore, some schools ask that candidates have completed at least one year of work experience as a registered nurse. These programs often request that candidates’ letters of recommendation come from people who have seen their ability to succeed in a healthcare setting, as well as in a rigorous academic environment; professional experience is therefore helpful, if not required, for admission to online MSN programs.

Application Components

Online FNP programs typically require the following application materials:

  • College transcripts
  • Personal statement
  • Resume that includes any and all professional work, volunteer experience, awards and recognitions
  • 1-3 letters of recommendation from people who can speak to one’s interest and skills in clinical work and patient care

Admissions Requirements for Bachelor’s to MSN Programs

Bachelor’s to MSN programs can be a strong choice for registered nurses who earned their bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, and who wish to earn their MSN without having to earn a second baccalaureate degree in nursing first. While this type of degree program does not require a BSN, it does require candidates to have an active, unrestricted RN license in their state of residence, which itself typically requires individuals to obtain an ADN or a diploma in nursing from an accredited institution. Applicants must also demonstrate a commitment to the nursing profession through years of professional experience, and may be required to fulfill certain prerequisite courses prior to admission. Application materials for this type of program include college transcripts for all nursing and non-nursing related coursework, a personal statement, a professional resume, and several letters of recommendation.

Admissions Requirements for RN to MSN Programs

For RNs who have not earned a BSN, some universities offer combination RN to BSN/MSN programs that allow students to earn their BSN and MSN together. Candidates for this type of program must have an active license as a registered nurse, and also typically need an associate degree in nursing (ADN) and several years of experience as an RN. Some RN to MSN programs also accept applicants who hold a diploma in nursing from an accredited program. Applications to these types of programs generally require transcripts for any and all college coursework, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and a professional resume. Another type of RN to MSN program requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field; OnlineFNPPrograms.com designates this type of program as a Bachelor’s to MSN program (admission requirements to this type of program are explained above).

Admissions Requirements for Post-MSN Certificate Programs

Post-MSN certificate programs are typically for individuals who have already earned a graduate degree in nursing, but who wish to receive training and a credential in another nursing discipline. Application requirements for post-MSN certificate programs generally include a masters or doctorate in nursing, a minimum cumulative GPA, and professional experience as a registered nurse or advanced practice registered nurse. Application components include college and graduate school transcripts, a resume that describes one’s professional and volunteer work, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation.