There are six universities in Pennsylvania that offer online degree programs for students who want to become family nurse practitioners (FNPs). Clarion University, Drexel University, Duquesne University, and Edinboro University all have Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs, designed for registered nurses (RN) who possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and what to pursue FNP certification, as well as Post-Masters Certificate options for nurses who already have their MSN. Wilkes University also offers these two FNP pathways, along with an RN to MSN program that requires an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). Finally, Thomas Jefferson University has a BSN to MSN program, a Post-MSN Certificate program, and a BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in the specialty. The BSN to DNP program is designed for nurses looking to pursue their doctorate alongside FNP certification.
The FNP programs at Drexel, Duquesne, Thomas Jefferson, and Wilkes are all fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), while the programs at Clarion and Edinboro, which are joint offerings between the two schools, have earned accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Although the coursework in each program is delivered online, students pursuing an FNP degree at any of the schools listed above will be required to make one or more visits to campus over the course of their studies for orientations or hands-on training sessions. To learn more about Pennsylvania-based online FNP programs, as well as licensing requirements for nurse practitioners in the state, see the information below.
Program Information: Online Family Nurse Practitioner Programs in Pennsylvania
Clarion University of Pennsylvania and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania offer two online degree paths for prospective FNPs: an MSN program and a Post-Master’s Certificate program. These programs are a collaborative effort between the two universities, and can be pursued through either school on a full- or part-time basis. The online MSN FNP program is open to RNs who have earned a BSN, and requires the completion of 45 credits and 600 clinical practice hours. For full-time students, the program typically takes two years to complete. Part-time students can earn their master’s in as little as three years, but have up to six years to complete their studies, if necessary. In order to enroll in the Post-Master’s Family Nurse Practitioner program at Clarion or Edinboro, students must already possess an MSN and have a minimum of one year of full-time clinical nursing experience or two years of part-time experience. This online degree path can be completed in one year of full-time study, or one and half to two years of part-time study, depending on a gap analysis of their previous graduate transcripts. Based on the number of required MSN-level courses they have already completed, post-master’s students may need anywhere from 24 to 33 credits to graduate, along with 600 supervised clinical hours. The online FNP programs at Clarion and Edinboro both require students to visit campus twice over the course of their studies.
With three campus locations in the Philadelphia area, Drexel University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, many of which can be pursued online. RNs interested in completing their FNP education online through the school can choose from a BSN to MSN program or a Post-Master’s Certificate program in the specialty, depending on their current level of education. Drexel’s online MSN FNP program consists of 56 credits and 720 clinical practice hours. Only available part-time, the program is designed to be completed in three years, and requires a total of four campus visits. The online Family Nurse Practitioner Post-Master’s Certificate program at Drexel is for RNs or APRNs who have already earned an MSN in another nursing specialty, and now wish to pursue certification as an FNP. Depending on the number of credits they are able to transfer from their previous master’s program, students will need to complete anywhere from 28 to 38 credits, as well as 720 clinical hours, in order to graduate. The Post-Master’s pathway is only offered part-time, and includes three mandatory campus visits.
Duquesne University, located in Pittsburgh, also offers both an online MSN program and an online Post-Master’s Certificate option for prospective FNPs. Their online BSN to MSN program is comprised of 45 credits, and requires 670 clinical practice hours. Students typically finish the program in three years, making two required campus visits over their entire course of study. Designed for MSN-prepared nurses, Duquesne’s online Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner Certificate program entails the completion of 33 credits and 670 clinical hours. While the six-semester program can be completed in as little as two years, students have up to five years to graduate, if necessary. Both of the FNP programs at Duquesne University are only available on a part-time basis.
Based in Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson University offers three online degree paths for those looking to specialize as an FNP: an MSN program, a Post-MSN Certificate program, and a DNP program. Their MSN program is open to RNs who possess their BSN, and requires 36 credits and 672 clinical hours to graduate. Students pursuing the degree full-time can expect to earn their MSN in around 15 months, while the part-time option takes roughly three years to complete. The Post-Master’s Degree Certificate program at Thomas Jefferson consists of 18 credits, and requires the completion of 672 clinical practice hours. This pathway is designed to be completed in 15 months of full-time study, or two years of part-time study.
Those who wish to pursue their doctorate while specializing as an FNP can do so through Thomas Jefferson’s online DNP Family/Individual Across the Lifespan program. The 69-credit degree path requires a BSN for enrollment, and can be completed in four years on a full-time basis, or up to six years for part-time students. In addition to their DNP, students earn an MSN once they have fulfilled the necessary coursework and clinical hour requirements for the degree. A total of 1212 clinical practice hours (672 for the MSN, and 540 for the DNP) is needed to graduate. All three FNP programs at Thomas Jefferson use a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online instruction; however, students who live within 60 miles of the school must take some courses on campus. Online FNP students who live more than 60 miles from campus are required to attend two on-campus sessions during their Physical Assessment course, and DNP students may be required to make a third visit for a DNP symposium.
Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania has two different online MSN paths in the FNP specialty, along with a Post-MSN Certificate option for students who are already APRN certified. Their part-time BSN to MSN program is comprised of 43 credits, and requires 588 clinical practice hours. Depending on their start date, students can complete the program in anywhere from 28 to 36 months, making one to four campus visits throughout their studies. Wilkes also offers an online RN to MSN program open to licensed RNs who possess an ADN. This pathway, which requires 53 credits to graduate, is only offered full-time, and takes approximately three to three and a half years to complete. RN to MSN students must attend one to four on-campus sessions over the course of the program, and fulfill at least 588 clinical hours (more may be necessary as part of two bridge courses). Finally, for APRNs interested in pursuing a second certification as an FNP, Wilkes University offers a post-graduate certificate in the specialty. The full-time online program takes 12 to 16 months to complete, depending on a gap analysis of students’ previous MSN transcripts, and requires up to four campus visits. Along with 588 clinical practice hours, post-master’s FNP students must complete 19 to 28 course credits in order to graduate. Exact program length will depend on which MSN-level courses students completed as part of their previous master’s program, and are able to transfer towards the certificate.
Pennsylvania FNP Licensing Requirements
In order to practice as an FNP in Pennsylvania, one must obtain a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) credential from the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. The first requirement for prospective nurse practitioners is to earn and maintain an active RN license in the state. Next, students must complete a graduate-level FNP degree program from a nursing school accredited by the CCNE, ACEN, or another Board-approved accrediting agency. An MSN, Post-Master’s Certificate, or DNP in the specialty will qualify students for both national APRN certification and state licensure.
The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing requires that prospective CRNPs be nationally certified to practice in their chosen specialization before applying for a state-level license. After earning a graduate degree from an accredited FNP program, RNs will need to sit for a national certification exam administered by either the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB). Both organizations require that students complete at least 500 clinical hours in their advanced practice role in order to qualify for examination. Once they have become nationally certified as an FNP, nurses are eligible to apply for a CRNP credential through the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing website.
Along with their completed online application, RNs will need to submit official transcripts from their nurse practitioner program, verification of national certification, and a $100 non-refundable fee. They may also be required to include certain court documents or a criminal history records check (if applicable), as well as other information regarding their FNP degree program, such as course syllabi or course descriptions. The Pennsylvania Board of Nursing website states that applicants can expect to receive their CRNP credential in “approximately 14 business days from the date that all required documents are received and found to be accurate.”
Universities in Pennsylvania with Online FNP Programs
|Clarion University of Pennsylvania||MSN (BSN Required)||M.S.N. Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner concentration|
|Clarion University of Pennsylvania||Post-MSN Certificate New or Second Specialty (any MSN accepted)||Post Masters Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate program|
|Drexel University||MSN (BSN Required)||Online MSN Family Nurse Practitioner Program|
|Drexel University||Post-MSN Certificate New or Second Specialty (any MSN accepted)||Online Family Nurse Practitioner Post-Masters Certificate Program|
|Duquesne University||MSN (BSN Required)||Online Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialization|
|Duquesne University||Post-MSN Certificate New or Second Specialty (any MSN accepted)||Online Post-Master’s Certificates in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialization|
|Edinboro University of Pennsylvania||MSN (BSN Required)||Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner program|
|Edinboro University of Pennsylvania||Post-MSN Certificate New or Second Specialty (any MSN accepted)||Post-Masters Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate program|
|Thomas Jefferson University||DNP (BSN Required)||Doctor of Nursing Practice Family/Individual Across the Lifespan|
|Thomas Jefferson University||MSN (BSN Required)||Master of Science in Nursing Family - Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner|
|Thomas Jefferson University||Post-MSN Certificate Second Specialty (APRN required)||Master of Science in Nursing Post-Master's Degree Certificate Family - Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner|
|Wilkes University||MSN (BSN Required)||Online MSN Program - Family Nurse Practitioner (Individual Across the Lifespan)|
|Wilkes University||Post-MSN Certificate Second Specialty (APRN required)||Online Post-Graduate Certificate Program - Family Nurse Practitioner (Individual Across the Lifespan)|
|Wilkes University||RN to MSN (ADN required)||Online RN to MSN Program - Family Nurse Practitioner (Individual Across the Lifespan)|