District of Columbia Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs (FNP)

Three universities in Washington, D.C. offer online graduate programs in the family nurse practitioner (FNP) specialization: George Washington University, Catholic University, and Georgetown. These advanced practice nursing programs offer registered nurses (RNs) several pathways to the FNP specialty.

George Washington University offers an online MSN in family nurse practitioner for RNs with associate’s degrees (ADN or ASN) and RNs with bachelor’s of science degrees in nursing, (BSN) as well as post-master’s certificate and doctoral (DNP) programs for BSN- and MSN-prepared nurses seeking to specialize in this area. Georgetown administers an online MSN-FNP program for RNs with a BSN or clinical nurse leader (CNL) entry-level MSN degree, as well as a BSN-to-DNP program. Catholic University offers an MSN for BSN-prepared registered nurses.

All of these programs feature online coursework; however, students in the family nurse practitioner specialization at any graduate institution are required to complete a set number of clinical practicum hours at an approved healthcare facility, and some require campus visits. Notably, the distance-based family nurse practitioner (FNP) degrees at Georgetown, Catholic University, and George Washington are accredited by the CCNE.

Graduates are prepared to sit for national certification exams administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). See below for a description of these programs, and information on FNP licensing requirements in the District of Columbia.

Program Information: Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs in the District of Columbia

The online master of science degree in nursing at Georgetown University focuses on preparing advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with the academic foundation and clinical expertise needed for the treatment of families in primary care contexts. The 44-credit program can be taken in full- or part-time formats over the course of 19 or 27 months.

Coursework includes advanced health assessment, advanced concepts in pharmacology, primary health care of the family, care of the family in crisis, and foundations of health systems and policy. In addition to online coursework, the program requires 650 hours of clinical practice and two on-campus intensives. Georgetown’s MSN-FNP program is open to residents of all states except New York and Tennessee and does not require a GRE score with an application. Over the past four years, 100 percent of GU’s FNP graduates have passed the ANCC national certification exam on their first attempt.

Georgetown also offers an online BSN-to-DNP program, which is available in full- or part-time formats. This 69-credit program is generally completed in eight 15-week terms and includes 1,000 practice hours and two on-campus intensives. Coursework includes instruction in evidence-based care, nursing science, leadership, ethics, biostatistics, epidemiology, economics, and healthcare policy, among other areas.

Catholic University is one of the first universities nationwide to offer a nurse practitioner program. The school’s MSN with a family nurse practitioner specialization prepares FNPs to assume leadership roles in the nursing profession and healthcare initiatives.

In addition to core nursing courses required for the MSN degree, FNP students study topics such as women’s health, pathophysiology, health assessment and pharmacology, advanced population health, pediatrics and adolescent health, management of health problems in adults and geriatrics, and biomedical ethics. In addition to two short on-campus residencies, 700 hours of clinical practice hours are required for this advanced practice degree. Program staff and faculty provide post-graduation support for students as they embark upon their careers as family nurse practitioners.

George Washington University offers several pathways to the FNP degree, preparing RNs for leadership in a variety of primary care settings. GWU’s program is described as “patient-centered primary care,” where didactic and clinical experiences are used to train APRNs to tend to both the physical and mental health of individuals across the lifespan, as well as to their emotional, social, and spiritual health.

Online coursework, clinical practice hours, and on-campus components form the bulk of each of the FNP programs at GW, which include MSN, post-master’s certificate, and DNP options. The first required campus visit for the MSN program entails participation in a campus learning and skills intensive experience, in which students learn to take patient histories and perform physical examinations. The second involves an assessment activity—the objective structured clinical examination—during which students will be tested on concepts learned through patient simulations. Both full- and part-time study options are available to students in all programs and tracks.

While the GRE and prior clinical experience are not required of all applicants to all programs, a minimum GPA in nursing courses, clinical hours, and prerequisite courses in statistics may be required for admission to some FNP tracks.

Washington, D.C. FNP Licensing Requirements

The Washington, D.C. Board of Nursing is overseen by the Department of Health-Health Regulation and Licensing Administration. To gain licensure as a family nurse practitioner in the area, applicants must submit the following:

  • A completed application
  • Two passport-sized photos
  • A fee payable by check or money order; the fee is $230 for an initial APRN license and $119 for those adding an APRN specialty to an existing APRN license
  • Verification of RN licensure
  • Verification of APRN certification through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • A criminal background check

A note on license renewal: APRN licenses are valid until June 30 of the next even-numbered year, for a maximum of two years. To renew a license, 24 continuing education hours are required, including at least 15 contact hours in a continuing education program with a pharmacology component.