Four universities offer online degree programs in the family nurse practitioner (FNP) specialization in Tennessee: Austin Peay State University, East Tennessee State University, Middle Tennessee State University, and Tennessee Tech. Austin Peay, ETSU, and MSTU have online MSN-FNP programs and a post-master’s certificate for nurses holding a bachelor’s or master’s of science degrees. Additionally, Austin Peay and ETSU offer an MSN pathway for registered nurses with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees.
ETSU and Tennessee Tech jointly administer an FNP doctoral program (BSN or MSN to DNP); however, multiple week-long campus visits make it more of a hybrid program. ETSU also has an online graduate certificate for advanced practice nursing professionals seeking to add the FNP specialization to their credentials.
Three other universities in Tennessee offer FNP specialty programs; however, they also require substantial on-campus visits, intensives, or face-to-face classes and are therefore not considered for those seeking a distance-learning option. The FNP programs at the University of Memphis, the University of Tennessee, and Vanderbilt University are briefly described below for those with more flexibility in the format of their FNP degree program.
The online family nurse practitioner programs in Tennessee are all accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Advanced practice registered nurses are trained in caring for individuals of all ages through in-depth online coursework and hands-on clinical practice. APRNs specialized as family nurse practitioners are prepared for work in primary, long-term, outpatient and home healthcare facilities, as well as in urgent and fast-track emergency care settings.
Various FNP graduate degree offerings and information on FNP licensing requirements in the state of Tennessee follow.
Program Information: Online FNP Programs in Tennessee
Formerly known as the Regents Online Campus Collaborative, TN eCampus hosts a consortia program, in partnership with Austin Peay State University, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and the University of Memphis that began in 2016. This group of Tennessee learning institutions created an MSN-FNP program that combines 100 percent online didactic courses with local clinical practicum placements when possible.
Through this partnership, each university can contribute its best resources, including distinguished faculty members recognized as experts in their content areas. The program consists of 46 credits and 720 hours of clinical practice. A post-master’s FNP certificate is also available through the TN eCampus consortia. Students applying for one of these online programs select one of the consortia universities as their home school when applying through TN eCampus, then submit a separate application to the home school of their choice.
The MSN-FNP at Eastern Tennessee State University is a 51-credit program delivered entirely online. The focus of the FNP concentration at ETSU is patient-centered care for individuals across the lifespan dealing with common and acute illnesses. Quality of care and health outcomes are emphasized throughout the program. Course topics include adult, women’s and pediatric health, advanced pathophysiology and pharmacology, health promotion, and mental health outcomes in primary care. The 43-week post-master’s FNP certificate program involves 21 credits and 780 clinical practice hours.
The online MSN-FNP offered through Middle Tennessee State University entails 46 credits of coursework and 720 hours of clinical practice hours, which can be completed in part- or full-time formats. MTSU also offers a post-master’s certificate in the family nurse practitioner specialization. No GRE scores are required for admission; however, an undergraduate statistics course must be completed before enrollment. At this time, the MSN is only open to residents of Tennessee.
Tennessee Tech University and Eastern Tennessee State University offer a joint DNP-FNP with both BSN and MSN tracks. The DNP is offered in a blended format and can be taken in part- or full-time courses of study. Students complete the majority of their coursework online along with two to three required, five-day campus intensives per year. GRE scores are not required for applicants with GPA scores of 3.2 or higher. However, all applicants must have the equivalent of two years of full-time RN experience.
Though not genuinely distance-learning programs, the FNP offerings of several other universities in the state of Tennessee are worth looking into for nursing professionals with more flexibility in their schedules. As mentioned above, the number of campus-based requirements keep these programs from meeting our standards for being online “enough,” but all are accredited by national certifying organizations and may meet the needs of nurses without a BSN or for those interested in a dual concentration.
The University of Memphis and Vanderbilt both offer a traditional BSN to MSN FNP as well as a post-master’s certificate in a hybrid learning format. Vanderbilt also offers an ASN to MSN pathway for nurses with associate’s degrees in nursing and a bachelor’s to MSN track for RNs with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees. A dual concentration MSN in FNP and adult-gerontology (AGNP) is available for students in both the BSN and ASN to MSN programs at Vanderbilt. Finally, the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center administers an FNP doctoral program (BSN to DNP) with a dual concentration option (AGNP/FNP) as well.
FNP Licensing Requirements in Tennessee
Applicants for advanced practice nursing (APN) licensing in the state of Tennessee can apply online by completing an application, uploading required documents, and paying fees electronically. To expedite an APRN application and obtain licensure as quickly as possible, applicants should adhere to the following Tennessee Board of Nursing guidelines:
- Sign up to create an online account with the TN Department of Health licensure and regulatory system
- Complete the APN online application
- Obtain national FNP certification and request verification be sent to the Tennessee Board of Nursing
- Send official graduate transcripts to the Board after degree conferral
- Complete the APRN notice and formulary document and mail to the board to apply for prescriptive authority
- Provide an official national certification number
- Upload proof of citizenship or alternative documents
- Complete mandatory practitioner profile questionnaire
- Upload a copy of current RN license
- Pay $210.00 fee by credit/debit or e-check payable to the State of Tennessee