One university in Iowa offers an online master’s degree program in the family nurse practitioner (FNP) specialization. The master of science in nursing (MSN) at Briar Cliff University is designed for RNs with a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) degree. As a 100 percent distance-learning option for professional nurses seeking an advanced practice degree, this program requires no campus visits.

Allen College also administers several FNP programs: an MSN in FNP, a dual MSN in FNP and community and public health nursing, and a post-master’s FNP certificate. However, these programs are not considered fully online by our standards (i.e., less than nine total campus visits).

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) has accredited the online family nurse practitioner master’s (MSN) program at Briar Cliff University. Ideal for the busy professional, this MSN-FNP combines 100 percent online coursework with clinical practice at local healthcare sites under the guidance of qualified preceptors.

Featured Online Programs (RN License Required)

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A description of the online FNP offered through Briar Cliff University, as well as those of Allen College, are provided below, in addition to information on FNP licensing requirements in Iowa.

Program Information: Online FNP Programs in Iowa

Founded as a women’s college more than 80 years ago and located along the Missouri River in Sioux City, Briar Cliff University prepares its MSN-FNP graduates to serve as general primary care providers in diverse settings. The 51 credits of online coursework are completed over a three-year period.

Courses include evidence-based practice, primary care of the adult, primary care in pediatrics, advanced human pathophysiology, and advanced pharmacology, among others. Clinical practice requirements entail 540 hours of preceptor work in a healthcare facility close to home, with experience in an underserved, rural, or multicultural setting.

No GRE scores are required for admission, and the degree does not require completion of a thesis. However, applicants must have 2,000 hours of professional nursing experience. The MSN is open to residents of all states except Utah, Wisconsin, Kentucky, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Delaware.

The hybrid FNP program at Allen College prepares advanced practice nurses to provide cost-effective primary care focusing on the needs of individuals in rural communities. The program is designed to prepare future FNPs to provide care that is clinically relevant in the changing face of healthcare today. Theoretical and experiential learning is used to deliver instruction within a life cycle perspective. The curriculum integrates didactic instruction with significant clinical experiences in a variety of settings.

The MSN is open to RNs with BSN preparation as well as those with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees; however, undergraduate prerequisite courses in community health and nursing research and statistics are required. All students must have at least 800 hours of professional nursing experience before beginning courses with clinical components. Prospective students are encouraged to contact the program coordinator to ensure state eligibility.

Iowa FNP Licensing Requirements

Candidates must have a current RN license in Iowa (or a compact state), a graduate degree from an accredited program, and national certification by an approved certifying body to apply for licensure in Iowa. They must submit the following to the Iowa Board of Nursing:

  • An application online (candidates can also request an application packet be sent by mail)
  • An $81 fee
  • Evidence of a current RN license
  • Verification of advanced-level certification by an approved national certifying entity
  • Official transcripts from a master’s program documenting the course of study, clinical experience, and date of graduation sent directly from the graduate program to the Iowa Board of Nursing
  • An explanation of criminal background history, if applicable
  • Active military or federal government employee identification, if applicable