There are four institutions in the state of Alabama that offer online graduate degree programs for students interested in becoming family nurse practitioners (FNPs): Samford University, Troy University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of South Alabama. The online FNP programs at Samford University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and University of South Alabama are all fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), while Troy University’s graduate nursing programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
For those looking to pursue a doctorate alongside FNP certification, Samford University has both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, and a second online DNP path designed for registered nurses (RNs) who possess either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Nursing Diploma. Troy University offers a range of online options in the field, with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, a Post-Master’s Certificate program, and two different DNP degree paths. Along with a BSN to DNP program, the University of Alabama at Birmingham has two MSN pathways available online: one for RNs with their BSN, and another designed for RNs who hold both an ADN and a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Finally, the University of South Alabama offers over six degree paths in the specialty, including two different MSN pathways, an RN to BSN/MSN program, a Post-MSN Certificate, and multiple DNP options.
Students in these programs can expect to complete coursework, view lectures, and participate in classroom discussions entirely online; however, all four schools require students to visit campus one or more times over the course of their studies for orientation events or hands-on training sessions. To learn more about online FNP programs in Alabama, and get information about APRN licensing requirements in the state, see the sections below.
Program Information: Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs in Alabama
Located in Homewood, Alabama, Samford University offers two DNP paths online for students who want to earn both their doctorate and FNP certification. Their online BSN to DNP program is open to RNs who possess a BSN, and can be pursued on either a full- or part-time basis. Full-time students can expect to complete the program in around three years of study, while the part-time program can be finished in approximately four years. Students must complete a total of 69 credits and 1140 clinical practice hours in order to graduate, as well as make three mandatory campus visits throughout the program. RNs who have yet to earn a BSN, but want to enter directly into a DNP program, can opt for Samford’s online RN to DNP program. This pathway requires an ADN or Diploma in Nursing for enrollment, and applicants must have already completed at least 72 hours of college credit. Samford’s RN to DNP program is comprised of 84 credits, and requires 1140 clinical hours. Only offered full-time, the 12-semester program is designed to be completed in four years, with students visiting campus four times over their entire course of study.
Troy University has a number of online degree options for prospective FNPs. Their traditional MSN FNP program requires a BSN, current RN licensure, and a minimum of one year of experience as a registered nurse. In order to earn their MSN, students must complete 47 credits and 705 clinical practice hours, as well as visit campus three times for immersion experiences. The full-time program can be completed in roughly 20 months, while the part-time option typically takes 28 to 32 months. For RNs or APRNs who already possess an MSN, but wish to pursue certification as an FNP, Troy offers an online Post-Master Certificate in the specialty. This program is only available part-time, and requires the completion of 33 credits and 705 clinical hours. Depending on their chosen course schedule, post-master’s students can earn their certificate in anywhere from 20 months to two and a half years.
Troy University also offers two different DNP paths online: a BSN to DNP program and an MSN to DNP program. BSN to DNP students must complete 70 to 74 credits in order to graduate, as well as 1245 to 1485 clinical practice hours. This path typically requires around three years of full-time study, or four years of part-time study; however, part-time students have up to eight years to finish the program, if necessary. MSN-prepared students looking to pursue their DNP, and earn their first or second APRN certification, can do so through Troy’s MSN to DNP program. This path requires slightly less credits than the BSN to DNP program (65 to 69), but the same amount of clinical hours are needed to graduate. As such, MSN to DNP students can also expect to complete their doctorate in approximately three years of full-time study, or four to eight years of part-time study. Both DNP paths, as well as the Post-Master’s Certificate program, include a total of three on-campus training sessions, and require a minimum of one year of RN experience for enrollment.
Another institution in Alabama that offers both MSN and DNP programs online for students interested in becoming FNPs is the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Their online MSN FNP program is open to RNs who possess either a BSN or an ADN and a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. BSN to MSN students must complete 45 course credits to graduate, while RN to MSN students will need to complete three additional bridge courses, bringing their total to 54 credits. Both pathways require 600 clinical practice hours and four campus visits. UAB’s online MSN program can be completed in as little as two years (six semesters) of full-time study, and a seven-semester part-time option is also available. BSN-trained students looking to pursue their DNP while specializing as an FNP can enroll in UAB’s online Post-BSN to DNP Pathway for Nurse Practitioners. This program requires 76 to 78 credits to graduate and a minimum of 1000 clinical hours. Comprised of 10 semesters, the DNP FNP program at UAB is designed to be completed in 40 months, and includes six mandatory on-campus sessions. Along with a current RN license, it is preferred that FNP students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have at least one year of nursing experience before enrolling in clinical courses.
The University of South Alabama (USA), based in Mobile, has a wide range of online FNP degree options, with entry points for RNs at almost any level of educational attainment. Students looking to pursue an MSN in the specialty can do so through the school’s Post BSN pathway or RN to MSN pathway, depending on their current postsecondary experience. The Post BSN program consists of 45 credits, while the RN to MSN program, which requires a non-nursing bachelor’s degree for enrollment, consists of 59 credits. Both degree paths require 600 clinical practice hours and two on-campus visits. Full-time students can expect to earn their MSN in around two years, while part-time students can complete the program in approximately three years. USA requires MSN students to have a minimum of two years of experience in a setting relevant to the FNP specialty before enrolling in any nurse practitioner clinical courses.
The school also offers an online RN to BSN/MSN option, for students who want to earn both their BSN and MSN through one continuous program. Along with holding either an ADN or Diploma in Nursing, applicants must have completed 19 specific prerequisite undergraduate courses to qualify for this pathway. RN to BSN/MSN students earn their bachelor’s degree after completing 31 credits, and graduate with their MSN after completing a total of 76 credits. This program, which also requires 600 clinical hours and two campus-based training sessions, can be completed in roughly three years of full-time study, or four years of part-time study.
Students who already possess an MSN can pursue FNP certification through the University of South Alabama’s online Post Graduate Certificate pathway. This part-time program is open to RNs pursuing their first or second APRN specialty, and requires 24 to 33 credits (based on a gap analysis of students’ previous MSN coursework) and 600 clinical hours. Depending on the number of credits they can transfer from their master’s program, Post Graduate students can expect to graduate in anywhere from 16 to 24 months. The Post Graduate Certificate program at USA requires students to visit the campus twice throughout their studies.
Along with these degree options, the University of South Alabama has two online DNP pathways for students interested in becoming FNPs while pursuing their doctorate. Their online BSN to DNP program requires the completion of 69 credits and 1140 clinical practice hours. Students pursuing the program full-time generally graduate in three to four years, while part-time students have up to seven years to earn their DNP. USA’s second DNP pathway, their online MSN to DNP Adding New Specialty Certification program, is designed for MSN-trained nurses who want to add an FNP certification while pursuing their DNP. This program consists of 60 to 69 course credits and 1140 clinical hours, taking roughly the same amount of time to complete as the BSN to DNP path. Full-time students typically finish in three years of study, and part-time students can complete the program in anywhere from four to seven years. Both DNP pathways require students to visit the USA campus twice over the course of their studies. Students must also complete two years of clinical practice experience before enrolling in FNP clinical courses.
Alabama FNP Licensing Requirements
In order to become licensed to practice as an FNP in the state of Alabama, RNs must be approved to engage in Advanced Practice Nursing (APN) by the Alabama Board of Nursing. The Board recognizes four different categories of APN: Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), and Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). Family nurse practitioners fall under the category of CRNP. The first step to obtaining APN approval from the Board is to possess an unencumbered license as a registered nurse in Alabama. Next, prospective CRNPs must complete a graduate nursing degree program (master’s degree or higher) in their specialty from a school accredited by the CCNE, ACEN, or another Board-approved organization.
Once they have earned at least a master’s degree from an accredited FNP program, students will need to pursue APRN certification from a national certifying agency recognized by the Alabama Board of Nursing. For prospective FNPs, this means siting for a national certification exam administered by either the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB). Students are required to complete at least 500 clinical practice hours in their advanced practice role to qualify for these examinations. After successfully passing a national certification exam, and becoming certified to practice as an FNP, students can apply for their state-level CRNP credential through the Alabama Board of Nursing website.
In addition to completing an online application form, RNs must submit transcripts from their nurse practitioner program, official documentation of their national certification status, and an initial fee of $150 as part of the application process. If the application is accepted and approved, a Notice of Approval for Practice will be sent to the applicant’s email on file with the Board. The Alabama Board of Nursing website has a list of upcoming application deadlines, as well as further information regarding the application process. APN licenses are renewed every two years in conjunction with one’s RN license. Along with maintaining national certification, nurse practitioners must complete six hours of pharmacology training each renewal cycle as part of their continuing education requirement.
Universities in Alabama with Online FNP Programs
|Samford University||DNP (BSN Required)||Online BSN to DNP Family Nurse Practitioner program|
|Samford University||RN to DNP (ADN or Diploma accepted)||Online RN to DNP Family Nurse Practitioner program|
|Troy University||DNP (BSN Required)||Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP) - Family Nurse Practitioner program|
|Troy University||MSN (BSN Required)||Master of Science in Nursing Degree (MSN) - Family Nurse Practitioner program|
|Troy University||MSN to DNP with New or Second Specialty (any MSN accepted)||Doctor of Nursing Practice (MSN to DNP) - Family Nurse Practitioner program|
|Troy University||Post-MSN Certificate New or Second Specialty (any MSN accepted)||Post Master's Certificates - Family Nurse Practitioner program|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||DNP (BSN Required)||Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (BSN to DNP) - Family Nurse Practitioner specialty|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||MSN (BSN or Non-Nursing Bachelors accepted)||Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program - Family Nurse Practitioner specialty (BSN to MSN pathway and RN to MSN pathway (ADN plus Non-Nursing Bachelors Required))|
|University of South Alabama||DNP (BSN Required)||Online BSN To DNP Pathway - Family Nurse Practitioner program|
|University of South Alabama||MSN (BSN or Non-Nursing Bachelors accepted)||Online Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner program (Post BSN Pathway and RN to MSN Pathway (Non-Nursing Bachelors Required))|
|University of South Alabama||MSN to DNP with New or Second Specialty (any MSN accepted)||Online MSN to DNP Adding New Specialty Certification - Family Nurse Practitioner program|
|University of South Alabama||Post-MSN Certificate New or Second Specialty (any MSN accepted)||Online Post Graduate Certificate - Family Nurse Practitioner program|
|University of South Alabama||RN to MSN (ADN or Diploma accepted)||Online RN to BSN/MSN Pathway - Family Nurse Practitioner program|