What are Online Nurse Practitioner Programs?
Online nurse practitioner programs are degree programs offered online, so that you do not have to attend traditional on-site classes at a college or university. Just like a regular class at a college, these programs provide you with theoretical and practical knowledge so you can be a nurse practitioner (NP). The programs also help registered nurses to become practitioners. For example, if you pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and specialize as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), you can take care of families in a primary care setting.
Why pursue Online Nursing Programs?
Studying in online NP programs offered by accredited institutions allow you to gain the necessary knowledge and experience to become a nurse practitioner. The advantages of online programs over on-site programs are numerous. You save time on commuting since there is no travel, you do not need to arrange some mode of transport, and the flexible scheduling may be adapted to your current schedule. This is especially convenient if you have a full-time job and cannot quit work to enroll in school on a full-time basis. The overall cost is usually cheaper since there is no cost for room and board, meal plans or fees that on-campus students are required to pay. There may be more diversity since the availability of online programs could allow more international students to enroll.
What courses are offered in online programs?
The course outline depends on the degree you pursue. For example, if pursued a FNP degree, you would take courses like:
· Population Based Care and Health Policy
· Advanced Concepts of Pathophysiology
· Principles of Anesthesia
· Primary Care Nursing of Families
· Family Nurse Practitioner Practicum
There are several other courses you will study, depending on your school and degree specialization. The above list includes core courses, clinical (practical lab) courses, and FNP specialized courses. For clinical courses you need to find a preceptor (a nurse practitioner who will guide you) and then practice at a clinic. This means the clinical requirements cannot be completed online;
however, online programs have deals with area hospitals and clinics where you may complete your onsite coursework.
What are the requirements to apply for online nurse practitioner degrees?
For a FNP degree, you first need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. You need a year of clinical practice as a registered nurse. You need a license to practice in the state you want to study (for clinical courses.) Most schools also require three letters of recommendation, an essay or personal statement, and an interview. You should check and confirm the minimum requirements for each university since they can be different.
What is the job outlook for Online Nurse Practitioner Degrees?
The 2010 median annual wage for a registered nurse (a nurse practitioner) was around $64,000. The expected job growth rate between 2010 and 2020 is expected to be 26%, and is above the national average for all occupations. By 2020 an additional 0.7 million jobs will be created. So the outlook for a nurse practitioner appears to be stable and on the rise.