Top Online RN-to-MSN Nurse Practitioner Programs

The top online RN-to-MSN nurse practitioner programs ranked here offer students several choices that take into account the cost, admissions flexibility, and the variety of the program options. RN-to-MSN or ADN bridge programs offer the opportunity for registered nurses (RNs) to move seamlessly from an associate degree in nursing (ADN), or in some cases a nursing diploma, to a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree.

Some schools allow students to earn both a BSN and an MSN degree along the way, while others move straight from the ADN level to the MSN degree. Certain nursing schools have also created an accelerated RN-to-MSN degree path for ADN-prepared RNs who also hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.

RN-to-MSN programs offer the full range of nurse practitioner (NP) specializations, including: family nurse practitioner (FNP), pediatric acute care NP (PNP-AC), pediatric primary care NP (PNP-PC), neonatal NP (NNP), adult-gerontology acute care NP (AG-ACNP), adult-gerontology primary care NP (AG-PCNP), psychiatric-mental health NP (PMHNP), and women’s health NP (WHNP). Registered nurses may also opt to pursue a non-NP advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) specialization such as nurse-midwifery (NM) or clinical nurse specialist (CNS).

One advantage of moving directly from the associate degree in nursing to the MSN is that generally at least three bachelor’s and master’s level classes overlap, reducing the overall credit load. This helps nurses earn their penultimate degree in less time, with less cost, in a more seamless manner.

MSN programs typically require several hundred clinical practicum hours. For example, most family nurse practitioner (FNP) programs require the completion of at least 500 clinical hours throughout the program (commonly between 500 and 700 hours total). Each NP specialization has a population-specific clinical focus, and each program may require the completion of a different number of clinical hours as part of the program. Clinicals are typically supervised by the nursing program and a preceptor. Online NP program preceptorships can typically be completed at an approved facility located near where the student lives and works. Some programs may restrict preceptorships to certain locations, and we describe such requirements in each school’s profile, reachable via the school name in the table below.

Online RN-to-MSN NP Program Rankings

Those considering an RN-to MSN nurse practitioner program should seek out educational programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). For the avoidance of doubt, all of the programs listed in the table below, and across NPSchools.com, have such accreditation.

A few programs are in the early stages of accreditation, which is generally the case for newer online programs, and such initial accreditation simply means they have not yet completed the process of earning full accreditation, but are in the process of doing so. That said, most programs have already earned full accreditation. Details are listed on each school’s profile page, linked from the table below.

The NPSchools.com has amassed a comprehensive database of more than 700 online APRN programs — including nurse practitioner, nurse-midwifery, and clinical nurse specialist programs — that were accepting new students as of the outset of the 2019-2020 academic year. The online RN-to-MSN NP programs listed here are drawn from said database and ranked by their AdvanceU score, which factors in cost, admissions flexibility, and program variety. To qualify for inclusion in our rankings, a program must require no more than nine campus visits.

At NPSchools our mission is to ensure the accuracy of the data on our website. Should you find an informational error, or a missing program, please contact us.

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RN-to-MSN Nurse Practitioner Career and Salary

MSN-prepared nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives earn salaries in a range of about $80,000 to $182,000 with a median wage of $103,770 for nurse-midwives and $107,030 for nurse practitioners (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2018). Additionally, these occupations are in high demand with an expected growth of 26 percent overall between 2018 and 2028, compared to the average of 5 percent for all occupations (BLS, 2018). Nurse practitioner jobs are expected to increase by 28 percent, and nurse-midwives by 16 percent, for that same time period.