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Top RN to NP Programs

12 Min Read Published August 11, 2023
Top RN to NP Programs 2024 |

To advance the care you provide, earn a higher salary, or move on to a specialty area or gain greater autonomy and independence, an RN to NP program may be your next step.  

An RN-to-NP program is a master’s degree program open to registered nurses with one-to-two years of clinical experience. Graduates earn the title of Nurse Practitioner (NP), and as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN), they become candidates for far greater opportunities. ADN-trained nurses can enter RN to NP bridge programs that offer accelerated completion of undergraduate-level courses not covered by their ADN program. Alternatively, RNs who have already earned their 4-year nursing degree may opt for BSN to NP programs.

Fast Facts About  RN to NP Programs  


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for Nurse Practitioners was $121,610 as of May 2022.

Program Length

2-4 years


  • An ADN 
  • An unencumbered nursing license
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 
  • Completion of prerequisite courses for admission
  • At least 1-2 years of clinical experience
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A letter of intent

Top RN to NP Programs 

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners says that there are about 400 accredited nurse practitioner programs in the United States. The right program for you will depend on location, tuition, and the specialty area you hope to pursue. In identifying the top ten for this list, we considered the following factors: 

  • Acceptance rate 

  • Number of degrees conferred 

  • Student-to-faculty ratio 

  • Availability of online classes 

  • Mean undergraduate or associate degree grade point average 

1. Regis College 

Regis College offers a flexible, online learning environment with three different entry points, including one for those who have an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. Applicants who have earned their ADN from a regionally accredited institution and accredited program must complete a college-level statistics course prior to the start of classes and must have an active, unencumbered RN license. 

The school offers Nurse Practitioner specialties in Pediatrics, Family Practice, Psychiatric Mental Health, Women’s Health, and both Acute and Primary Care Adult-Gerontology. 

  • Tuition: $990/credit hour 

  • Program Length: 36 months 

  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission on Education in Nursing (ACEN)

  • Application Deadline: July 17th

  • Contact Information:  

    • Phone: (781) 768-7000 

    • Email Information:

  • Online Options Available? Yes 

2. University of Alabama at Birmingham 

The RN to MSN pathway at the University of Alabama provides applicants who hold an ADN degree and a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field the opportunity to become Nurse Practitioners via a distance-accessible format combining online coursework and on-campus intensives.  

The program offers nine different nurse practitioner specialties, two of which have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report. 

  • Tuition: $682/credit hour 

  • Program Length: Three years 

  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

  • Application Deadline: February 18th

  • Contact Information:  

    • Phone: (205) 975-9035 

    • Email Information: 

  • Online Options Available? Yes 

3. Clarkson College 

Clarkson College’s RN-to-MSN program is designed for registered nurses holding a diploma or Associate’s Degree in Nursing. It is offered online, allowing students to earn graduate credits while completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN). After completion of undergraduate requirements, students transition to a custom RN to MSN degree plan that includes minimal campus visits. 

Graduates of the program have the option of completing an additional 21-29 hours of study to become certified in specialty areas including Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, or Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. 

  • Tuition: $5,460 full time/$2,751 part-time 

  • Program Length: Three years (full-time)

  • Accreditation: ACEN

  • Application Deadline: 

    • Fall: July 18th 

    • Spring/Summer: Rolling 

  • Contact Information:  

    • Phone: (402) 552-3100

    • Email Information:

  • Online Options Available? Yes 

4. University of Central Florida  

Licensed Registered Nurses who have completed an Associate’s degree in nursing and have also earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field can apply to the University of Central Florida’s Doctor of Nurse Practitioner program.   

This is a full-time graduate program offered at the school’s Orlando, Florida location. Acceptance requires completion of 3 prerequisite courses:  

  • Dimensions of Professional Practice

  • Public Health Nursing

  • Nursing Research


  • Tuition: $288.16/credit hour 

  • Program Length: 9 semesters 

  • Accreditation:CCNE

  • Application Deadline: 

    • Fall: February 1st 
  • Contact Information:  

    • Phone: (407) 823-2744 

    • Email Information:

  • Online Options Available? Yes 

5. University of Rochester 

University of Rochester’s School of Nursing offers an RN to BS to MS program that broadens skills via a flexible, accelerated path. The program blends online and evening in-class sessions that allow ADN-prepared registered nurses to earn their bachelor’s degree and then move on to pursue one of three master’s degree programs.

  • Tuition: $1,200 per credit hour for the RN to BS portion; $1,740 per credit hour for the master’s portion 
  • Program Length: 16 months for the bachelor’s program and two-to-three years for the master’s program 
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: 
    • Spring: September 15th 
  • Contact Information:  
    • Phone: (585) 275-2375 
    • Email Information: 
  • Online Options Available? No 

6. Loyola University at New Orleans 

This 100% online Master of Science in Nursing degree is an accelerated program available to registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing and a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field.  

Once the bachelor’s level courses have been completed, students pursue a Master of Science in Nursing degree on a Family Nurse Practitioner track. 

  • Tuition: $950/credit hour 

  • Program Length: Three years 

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Rolling 

  • Contact Information:  

    • Phone: (504) 865-3520 

    • Email Information: 

  • Online Options Available? Yes 

7. Texas A & M University at Corpus Christi 

Texas A & M University at Corpus Christi offers multiple paths to a Family Nurse Practitioner degree, including an RN to MSN program and an RN to MSN Bridge program. 

The degree sequence is offered 100% online and is designed to be part-time to allow students to work full-time. 

  • Tuition: $12,485 

  • Program Length: Three years 

  • Accreditation:CCNE 

  • Application Deadline: February 15 

  • Contact Information:  

    • Phone: (361) 825-3696 

    • Email Information: 

  • Online Options Available? Yes 

8. William Paterson University 

The Registered Nurse to Master of Science in Nursing degree is offered 100% online and follows either a Family Nurse Practitioner path or an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner path.  

The curriculum has an embedded baccalaureate course load and confers a BSN degree before seamlessly moving on to the MSN program. It can be completed in as little as 28 months. 

  • Tuition: $35,549 (FNP) and $28,469.70 (adult-gerontology)

  • Program Length:   28 months (FNP), 24 months (adult-gerontology)

  • Accreditation: CCNE 

  • Application Deadline: August 13th 

  • Contact Information:  

    • Phone: (833) 960-0139

    • Email Information: 

  • Online Options Available? Yes 

9. West Coast University 

West Coast University’s online RN to Master of Science program is available to registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing. The program allows students to complete bachelor’s courses and move directly on to specialized master’s classes in tracks including Adult Gerontology Acute or Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.  

The program is delivered 100% online, and if taken at an accelerated pace it can be completed in 24 months. The school also offers comprehensive career services support after graduation.  

Seton Hall’s College of Nursing offers an RN to MSN Degree bridge that allows registered nurses holding an associate degree in nursing and a non-nursing baccalaureate degree to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing.

After students complete prerequisites and two bridge courses, they continue on to the MSN degree track which opens doors to a career as a nurse practitioner. 

  • Tuition: $1,431/credit 

  • Program Length: 3 years 

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline:  November 1st

  • Contact Information:  

    • Phone: (973) 761-9583 

    • Email Information: 

  • Online Options Available? Yes 

What Can You Do Following an RN to NP Program?  

When comparing RN vs NP responsibilities, you'll find that nurse practitioners have more autonomy, responsibility, and a greater scope of practice than registered nurses. As APRNs, nurse practitioners can work in a variety of medical settings and provide a far greater depth of care than registered nurses can. They are qualified to: 

  • Treat and diagnose illnesses, injuries, and chronic medical conditions 

  • Order and interpret lab and diagnostic results 

  • Advise patients on their health, including creating care plans and making suggestions for lifestyle changes 

  • Collaborate with physicians and other healthcare workers 

In some states, nurse practitioners are permitted to work independently, operate standalone clinics, perform medical procedures, and prescribe medications. 


FAQs About RN to NP Programs

  • How many years is it from RN to NP?  

    • That depends on many factors, including whether the registered nurse has earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field and whether the student plans on pursuing their Nurse Practitioner degree full-time or part-time. In most cases, the course of study can be completed in two-to-three years. 
  • Is it harder to be a Nurse Practitioner than a Registered Nurse? 

    • Nurse practitioners are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses that have a greater depth of knowledge and clinical experience and can take greater responsibility for patient care. The position is more challenging, but also offers numerous benefits including greater autonomy and independence and the ability to earn more money.  
  • How fast can I become a Nurse Practitioner?  

    • Every program is different and the speed with which it can be completed will depend upon the student’s previous education, but some programs can be completed in as little as two years. 
  •  Is a Master of Science in Nursing the same as being a Nurse Practitioner?  

    • Although a Nurse Practitioner always has earned a Master of Science in Nursing, there are many MSN degrees that lead to positions and careers other than Nurse Practitioner. 
Terri Heimann Oppenheimer
Terri Heimann Oppenheimer Contributor

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is a freelance writer and editor who is driven by details. She loves to dive into research, ensuring that the information she provides educates, engages and illuminates. Before starting her own business she spent years working in advertising and raising three kids. Today she lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where her she and her husband enjoy travel, the Jersey Shore, and spoiling their grandchildren.

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