Top No GRE Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

There’s never been a better time to become a nurse practitioner. As the healthcare industry expands to meet the needs of a large aging population and provides care to increasingly more insured Americans, the demand for advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) careers is rising. In 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that 110,700 new nurse practitioner (NP) positions would be needed nationally between 2019 and 2029, adding to the 211,300 currently employed NPs. This 52 percent increase makes NPs the second-fastest growing occupation in the United States.

Registered nurses (RNs) looking to advance to clinical roles with more autonomy are well-positioned to pursue NP degree programs, many of which do not require the GRE for admission.

Why do many nurse practitioner programs not require the submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores? First, incoming RN applicants may have completed a degree several years prior to pursuing an advanced degree and may not have GRE test scores. In this case, the GRE may not be an accurate assessment of how much an RN has learned from work experience earned since completing a bachelor’s degree.

Second, GRE test scores do not accurately reflect an RN’s ability to complete an NP program or succeed in an NP position after graduation. According to Educational Testing Service (ETS), the organization that authors and administers the GRE, the skills measured in the GRE include verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. Although these can be indicators of potential intelligence and academic success in an NP applicant, placing a strong emphasis on standardized test scores is an outdated way to select a diverse cohort of students who must be prepared to meet the challenges faced by today’s nursing teams.

To this point, Robert J. Sternberg, a cognitive psychologist and professor of human development at Cornell University, suggests in The Atlantic that “the GRE is like taking a cancer test that was invented in the 1940s […] most of us wouldn’t have confidence in the results from a cancer test developed then. We have more knowledge and a far better understanding of intelligence and ability now.” Claims like these call into question the predictive validity of standardized tests as a primary measurement of student’s abilities to succeed academically and professionally.

Finally, to earn a top score on the GRE requires months of studying. To earn competitive scores, test-takers with the means to invest in expensive study programs and coaching to prepare for the exam properly. These expenses are not included in the actual exam fee, which in 2021 was $205 in the United States, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

Considering the factors above, many reputable and accredited online nurse practitioner programs do not require the GRE for admission. RNs with work experience and a verifiable track record of being capable, intelligent, and analytical problem-solvers are encouraged to apply to these top no GRE nurse practitioner programs to pursue APRN roles and lead teams of nurses and clinical staff with compassionate efficiency.

No GRE Online NP Program Rankings

Enter the comprehensive NPSchools.com ranking of no GRE online nurse practitioner programs, which lists the top programs ranked by cost, admissions flexibility, and program variety. This comprehensive database comprises more than 700 online NP programs at the MSN, DNP, and post-master’s certificate levels.

Generally for online nurse practitioner programs, students are required to complete most coursework online with a limited number of campus intensives. Some programs do not require any campus visits. In addition, students are required to complete clinical preceptorships at approved facilities local to the student. To qualify as “online” for the purposes of our database, each program must require less than ten campus visits total.

At NPSchools.com we have done our utmost to ensure the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the data on our website. But nursing is a dynamic field, and the trend is towards more nurse practitioner programs moving online each year. Please contact us if we have missed any programs or published erroneous information that needs to be corrected.

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Nurse Practitioner Career and Salary Data

With the outlook for growth between 2018 and 2028 at 28 percent for nurse practitioners, compared to 5 percent across all occupations, studying to become a nurse practitioner can be a solid career advancement option for interested RNs (BLS, 2018). Additionally, with a median annual wage of $107,030 in 2018, the return on investment for NP schooling looks attractive (BLS, 2018).

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, of the nurses who go on to become nurse practitioners, 66.9 percent become family NPs, 19.8 percent become adult and adult-gerontology primary care NPs, 7.9 percent study acute care, 4.1 percent go into various psychiatric mental health NP roles, 4 percent enter primary care pediatrics, and 2.7 percent become women’s health NPs (AANP 2018). In addition, some nurse practitioners become certified in more than one specialty area, increasing their marketability in the health care sector.