North Carolina Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs (FNP)

Registered nurses (RNs) seeking online graduate programs in the family nurse practitioner (FNP) specialization have several options in North Carolina. Family NP degree programs are available at the master’s, post-master’s, and doctoral level at three universities: the University of North Carolina–Wilmington, East Carolina University, and Duke University. Please note that UNCW’s programs are hybrid.

Both Duke and UNCW offer MSN and post-master’s certificate tracks for aspiring FNPs. East Carolina University administers a doctoral program with an FNP specialization for nurses with a bachelor’s of science in nursing degree (BSN-to-DNP).

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) has accredited all three programs, which combine online coursework, campus visits, and clinical practice to prepare advanced practice nurses for work as specialists in this in-demand field of nursing care.

Read on for a description of these programs and information on FNP licensing requirements in the state of North Carolina.

Program Information: Online FNP Programs in North Carolina

Duke University of Durham offers an online MSN and a post-master’s certificate in family health for RNs with bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) degrees. Ranked the number one program of its kind by the U.S. News & World Report, the online FNP program at Duke offers students the unique opportunity to further specialize in one of five areas: cardiology, endocrinology, oncology, orthopedics, or HIV. The 49-credit program also includes courses dedicated to pediatric and perinatal care.

Students learn through cutting-edge simulation techniques as preparation for clinical practice in primary care settings. A portion of the 728 required practicum hours may be fulfilled internationally. One of the central goals of the FNP programs at Duke is to nurture an appreciation for diversity and respect for global perspectives. The GRE is required for applicants with less than a 3.4 GPA, and students will be expected to make six campus visits during the entire program.

Eastern Carolina University administers an online BSN-to-DNP with a specialization in FNP with a focus on rural and underserved populations. The program consists of 75 credits of coursework and 896 clinical hours and can be completed full-time or part-time. Additionally, students participate in five one-week campus intensives and a four-semester DNP project.

Applicants must have at least one year of clinical experience as registered nurses and take the GRE if they have less than a 3.4 GPA. The DNP-FNP program at ECU is currently offered to residents of all states except the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah, and Ohio. Post-master’s and post-doctoral pathways are available to current advanced practice nursing professionals seeking to add the FNP credential to their advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) license.

The hybrid FNP programs at the University of North Carolina–Wilmington teach advanced practice nursing professionals how to provide primary health care to individuals of all ages in underserved rural or urban settings. Advanced theory and clinical education concepts are delivered primarily online and emphasize quality and cost-effectiveness.

The MSN consists of 46 credits, while the certificate program comprises 27 credits. Both programs require clinical practice hours: 600 for the MSN and an individually determined number according to previous clinical experience for the certificate. Both also include a master’s project, which is a culminating research paper and oral defense presented on-campus at the end of the program. Students complete their clinical hours at an approved preceptor site close to their homes.

The programs do not call for GRE test scores but do require candidates to have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students have to go to campus four or five times every semester, with the specific dates established before the beginning of each semester. The MSN takes two years of full-time study or three years of part-time study to complete. Admission is not currently available to residents of all states.

FNP Licensing Requirements in North Carolina

The North Carolina Board of Nursing oversees nursing practice in North Carolina. Applicants who want to practice as an APRN in the FNP specialization in this state must first apply for a North Carolina RN license. Once obtained, applicants must apply and get North Carolina approval to practice with their collaborating physician.

After NPs submit the initial online application for the NP license, they must submit the following to the Board of Nursing for the approval to practice application:

  • A nonrefundable $25.00 fee
  • Proof of a permanent North Carolina RN license or a compact state RN license valid for practice in North Carolina
  • Identification documents
  • An official transcript or NP education documents
  • Verification of the National Nurse Practitioner Certification (ANCC, AANP, PNCB, AACN, NCC)
  • A licensure biography, including proof of NP license in other states, if applicable

Once the NP Registration application has been processed, applicants will receive a certificate of registration and can then seek initial approval of practice. The North Carolina Board of Nursing and the North Carolina Medical Board review and authorize approval of practice applications together.

After completing the online application for initial approval of practice, NPs can submit the following to the NC Board of Nursing:

  • A nonrefundable $100.00 fee per collaborating physician
  • Proof of a permanent North Carolina RN license or a compact state RN license valid for practice in North Carolina
  • The physician name or license number and email address
  • Practice information (name, address, phone/fax, county)

The following additional documents may be requested:

  • Identification documents
  • Verification of the National Nurse Practitioner Certification (ANCC, AANP, PNCB, AACN, NCC)
  • A disclosure of any malpractice claims to be reported and submitted to the Board of Nursing on the Claims Information Form, if applicable

The Board of Nursing will email a letter of approval once they have reviewed the materials and granted authorization. Nurses may practice as FNPs upon receipt of this letter, which includes prescriptive authority in the state of North Carolina.