Family nurse practitioners are prepared to provide comprehensive care to patients of all ages. Two universities offer online degree programs in the family nurse practitioner (FNP) specialization in Arkansas: the University of Arkansas at Lafayette and the University of Central Arkansas. The University of Arkansas at Lafayette has an online doctoral (DNP) program in the FNP specialty area for both bachelor’s (BSN) and master’s (MSN) degree holders, while the University of Central Arkansas offers an FNP MSN and post-master’s certificate for RNs already in possession of an advanced practice degree.
Two other universities in the state offer FNP specialty programs that are hybrid (on-campus and online) programs. They are not considered online enough for those seeking a truly distance-learning option but can be an option for students with more flexibility in their schedules. These hybrid FNP programs can be found at Arkansas State University and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
These online and hybrid FNP programs in Arkansas are all accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
Aspiring FNPs living in Arkansas can find program information and specific state licensing requirements below.
Program Information: Online FNP Programs in Arkansas
Graduates of the DNP-FNP program at the University of Arkansas at Lafayette are prepared to occupy leadership roles in transforming healthcare. Post-BSN and MSN tracks are available with full- and part-time study options. The BSN track may be completed in three to four years, while the MSN track typically takes two to three years to complete.
The MSN-DNP entails 500 hours of clinical practice, and the BSN-DNP includes 1,035 hours of practice. All clinical hours may be completed in students’ local communities. An on-campus orientation is required, but additional campus visits are minimal. GRE scores are required of all applicants to the DNP programs at the U of A.
The University of Central Arkansas is currently welcoming its last cohort of MSN students in the FNP specialization. According to our criteria, this program is not a fully online degree due to the number of campus visits. However, beginning in fall 2019, the program will transition to an online BSN-to-DNP degree. Classes will be conducted entirely online, with just four required campus visits during the program. Students will complete 1,000 hours of clinical practice to earn the DNP with 90 hours involving engagement in mentoring activities targeted towards the program essential competencies. Additionally, a 12-credit post-master’s certificate program is available to APRNs seeking to add the FNP specialty area to their credentials.
The 45-credit MSN-FNP at Arkansas State University consists of classes in advanced physiology and pathophysiology, theory in nursing, research methodology, clinical management of child and family practice, and clinical management of young families. A unique feature of this program is that FNP students have a choice between two types of culminating projects: a professional paper or a supervised research experience. Though the majority of MSN courses are delivered online, the “periodic” number of campus visits stated on program materials is too vague to deem this program online.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences emphasizes the relevance of the FNP in areas with less access to healthcare services and therefore has a variety of pathways to the MSN in FNP including ones for ADN, BSN, and non-nursing bachelor’s degree-holding RNs. A post-master’s certificate program is available to advanced practice nurses already in possession of an MSN. As in the case of Arkansas State, without clear language stating the number of required campus visits and the extent of their use of online course delivery, they do not meet our standards for being definitively online.
FNP Licensing Requirements in Arkansas
The process for obtaining APRN licensure in Arkansas is outlined on the Arkansas State Board of Nursing (ASBN) website. Candidates applying for initial APRN licensure as family nurse practitioners in the state of Arkansas must submit the following:
- An online application and associated fees by e-check or credit card
- A criminal background check, which includes the submission of a fingerprint card (provided by the ASBN) to the Arkansas State Police and payment of associated fees
- INA Search number, located on payment summary on a fingerprint card
- A letter of explanation and certified copy of all records related to any criminal history
- Official transcripts sent directly from the institution
- Verification of RN licensure
Candidates may apply for a temporary license while waiting for degree conferral or certification exam results.
A note on prescriptive authority: upon receipt of APRN licensure, a separate online application must be submitted to apply for prescriptive authority along with a collaborative practice agreement and a quality assurance plan. Associated fees can be paid electronically, and the aforementioned documents are to be mailed to the ASBN.
APRNs with prescriptive authority must be in possession of a prescriptive protocol, but this does not have to be submitted to the ASBN unless requested. Once licensed as an APRN with a prescriptive authority number, family nurse practitioners must apply for a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) number if prescribing schedule III-V controlled substances will be in their scope of practice. Once a DEA number card has been received, candidates must submit a copy to the ASBN.