Online Nurse Practitioner Master's Graduate Programs & Degrees (NP & MSN)

Online nurse practitioner masters programs help registered nurses learn new ways to help their patients. And they do it in a format flexible enough to work in a busy nurse’s life. Programs build on RN's existing bedside care expertise to prepare them to take on tasks often handled by doctors. They focus on diagnosing, treating, and educating patients. In other words, nurse practitioner programs take a holistic view of medical care. They aim to help ensure patient health and comfort, through treatment and education. And by offering all of this online, they meet real nurses where they are. So you could attend graduate school whatever your shift, be there for your patients every day, and still get the education you’re looking for.

 Online Nurse Practitioner Masters Graduate Programs & Degrees (NP & MSN) infographic thumbnail

What to Expect in Online Nurse Practitioner Masters Programs

Earning your nurse practitioner masters online could be a unique educational experience. Not to mention a convenient one. Online programs offer both portability and flexibility. These could be things you need to fit your nurse practitioner education into your life. You could access your classes online from your own computer, when and where is convenient for you. In a nurse’s busy schedule, being able to attend class alongside your shift schedule… that could be a pretty big perk.

Many online programs even offer some of the same perks you might find on campus digitally. Examples include social networking and discussion, research and library services, career counseling, and more. Plus, because nursing is often a hands on activity, online nurse practitioner masters programs work hard to bring video demonstrations, virtual labs and other learning opportunities to your home. The specifics of how your online program is administered might vary. For more information about how your school does it, reach out to them.

Earning an Nurse Practitioner Masters Degree Online

To earn your nurse practitioner masters degree, you generally need to be an RN with a bachelor's degree and professional experience. That doesn’t mean you can’t become a nurse practitioner coming from another field, though. Some masters programs may incorporate RN education and certification requirements in their curriculum. More often, though, programs are designed with professional nurses in mind, who want to take that next step.

Because most nurse practitioner masters programs are aimed at current RNs, they tend to use that background as a foundation. Courses aim to build medical and scientific expertise related to different types of patients and medical care. They might also discuss how to diagnose different conditions, treat them, prescribe medication, and more. The specifics, however, might vary, depending on the care setting, the type of care, and the type of patients that program is looking at.

Types of Online Nurse Practitioner Masters Programs

Nurse practitioner masters programs online might be offered in a variety of flavors. Some programs are more generalized, aiming to prepare nurses for any situation they might face in the field. Other programs are more tailored, focusing on specific healthcare settings, issues, or patient populations. What that means for you: you could choose an online nurse practitioner masters program focused on what you need to know to help your patients.

Here are some examples of the types of online nurse practitioner masters programs you might find:
  • Acute vs. Primary Care: Rather than being categories in themselves, these terms usually tell you a little more about another concentration. Acute care programs focus on providing care in hospital settings, emergency clinics, and similar places. In other words, they focus on resolving specific, usually short-term health issues. Primary care, meanwhile, looks at everyday and long-term healthcare like in a physician’s office.
  • Online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Masters Programs: These programs focus on how to provide nurse practitioner care to infants. This could include premature infants all the way up to about age two. Sometimes the subject matter might overlap with pediatrics. Many of these programs focus on acute care settings, such as in a neonatal intensive care unit (or NCIU).
  • Online Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Masters Programs: Love working with kids? Pediatric nurse practitioner programs focus on the health and development of children from about three to about eighteen. Some of these, like primary care programs, might have elements in common with family nurse practitioner programs. However, acute care programs might also have opportunities for further specialization.
  • Online Adult Medicine & Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Masters Programs: Depending on the school you choose, these programs could vary widely. Some programs look at adult health broadly, ranging from young adults all the way through gerontology. Others focus on gerontology more specifically, discussing topics like end of life care, helping patients in residential facilities, and more.
  • Online Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Masters Programs: Women’s health is exactly what it sounds like—nurse practitioner programs focusing on healthcare concerns unique to women. However, it might not be the only gender-specific option out there. Some programs might also look at men’s health, or at gender in healthcare in a broader sense.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Programs Online: These programs tend to focus on primary care. They survey the healthcare needs of men and women at all ages, aiming to help nurse practitioners serve whole families rather than only certain members.
  • Online Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Masters Programs: If you’re passionate about mental health, psychiatric care nurse practitioner programs might be for you. They focus on the unique responsibilities of providing care in mental health settings. That could be in residential facilities or otherwise. Programs

Keep in mind that individual programs might vary from the above descriptions. Additionally, some schools might not have all these options, or might have some not listed here. If you have questions or want to know more, get in touch with your online nurse practitioner masters program for details.

Online Nurse Practitioner Masters Programs: Field Experience

Most online nurse practitioner masters programs have some kind of observation or clinical experience requirement. These are completed in professional healthcare settings under the guidance of a clinical instructor. Clinicals act as a forum for students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they’ve developed over the course of their program, while also gaining practical experience.

While looking into nurse practitioner masters programs online, you might want to ask them how this is handled. Many schools arrange this type of experience on the behalf of the student using a network of approved locations. Others may leave it to the student to arrange. Schools vary so follow up directly for details.

Potential Nurse Practitioner Requirements: Certificationi

Another thing to think about is certification. Currently, most states have certification requirements for nurse practitioners. The specifics might vary by location and specialty. Some online nurse practitioner masters programs may be specifically designed to help students sit for these exams and fulfill other licensing requirements. If this is something you wish to pursue, be sure to check if your online program compliments your state's requirements. Follow up with your state nursing board or your selected online program to find out more about your particular requirements, and how your online program might help you fulfill them.

Search for Online Nurse Practitioner Masters Programs

Are you ready to start searching for accredited online nurse practitioner masters programs? Start your search here at Read up on each of the sponsored listings here. Once you find online NP masters programs you might be interested in, click on the program to learn more about it and get in touch. Then start your application!


  • Other programs available: Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, Nursing Leadership
  • Online degrees in business, counseling, education, health administration, human services, information technology, nursing, public health, psychology and social work.
  • 97% of alumni agree FlexPath provided the flexibility they needed to pursue their degree (Alumni Outcomes Survey 2017)
Find Schools