Best 24 Nurse Practitioner Programs in 2021 - Best Value Schools

Best 24 Nurse Practitioner Programs in 2021

February 16, 2021 | Staff Writers

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The nurse practitioner career has quickly become one of the most popular and high-paying positions in the nursing field over the last several years. According to recent reports, the number of practitioners has doubled over the previous four years to more than 200,000 licensed practitioners, with further increases likely in the future – the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a growth of 34 percent by 2022.

Furthermore, the pay of the average nurse practitioner is $96,988 – with a high salary of about $122,000 and a low income of $78,000. So even practitioners in low-cost hospitals will still make a high-quality wage. This type of career is an excellent choice for those who want to be a nurse but who want to earn great money and settle into a long-lasting job. And nurse practitioner programs can help a person achieve that goal.

Rank School Location
1Vanderbilt UniversityNashville, Tennessee
2University of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma City, Oklahoma
3Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, Maryland
4Emory UniversityAtlanta, Georgia
5University of ConnecticutMansfield, Connecticut

A typical education program for a nurse practitioner includes Associate degrees or Bachelor degrees followed up by a Master’s degree at an accredited university. Practitioners utilize hands-on courses and on-site clinical, as well as some online work, to master the skills necessary for this career. And they must get continuing education every five years to maintain their certification and licensing. Most hospitals will likely pay their practitioner’s training fees for this type of continuing education.

Thankfully, the best nurse practitioner programs across the nation can provide this type of education for those interested in this career. We examined the top schools in the country in this field and came up with the best that we could find for your needs. Each has been ranked according to specific criteria, such as tuition and graduation rates, so please read each paragraph carefully to get an idea of what to expect from each school.

We carefully researched a large number of nurse practitioner programs and found those that are the best for the needs of students like you. We weighed each school on a myriad of different criteria to ensure that they are worth your consideration. Each of the schools here offers both in-person and online nurse practitioner programs, which helps to make your choice a little easier.

The Best 24 Nurse Practitioner Programs

1

Vanderbilt University

  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Graduation Rate: 92%

Located in an expansive Nashville, Tennessee, cityscape, Vanderbilt is the best nurse practitioner programs in the nation by reputation and success rate. Though they are a bit more expensive, their small class size and high graduation rate make them hard to top, as they provide a sizeable hands-on environment for students that allows them to learn in an immersive manner. And their online nurse practitioner programs provide a high degree of educational opportunities for those who cannot attend the school in person.

School Overview

A tuition rate of around $52,070
A student-to-faculty ratio of 7-to-1
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2

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Graduation Rate: 94%

Oklahoma’s primary health professional training center, this university is unique as one of only four health centers of its type in the nation, providing seven different professional colleges to handle a myriad of different training needs. Those interested in a quick degree can finish their training in just two years, though those working may require a full three years to get their 47 credits

School Overview

An in-state tuition rate of about $5,119
An out-of-state tuition around $19,778
A student-to-faculty ratio of 8-to-1
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3

Johns Hopkins University

  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Graduation Rate: 92%

John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, provides a small number of students (around 800 every year) access to excellent and accredited training for in-person and online nurse practitioner programs. The price is very consistent with that of other private universities, as is its student-to-faculty ratio.

School Overview

A tuition rate of $55,530 every year
A student-to-faculty ratio of 6-to-1
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4

Emory University

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Graduation Rate: 90%

Emory University is a private school in Atlanta, Georgia, that is one of the many educational options offered in this city. The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing provides a handful of DNP programs that should suit the needs of most nurse practitioners. The private nature of this college does offer more hands-on opportunities with educators but also produces a higher price.

School Overview

A tuition rate of around $53,804 every year
A student-to-faculty ratio of 9-to-1
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5

University of Connecticut

  • Mansfield, Connecticut
  • Graduation Rate: 82%

The University of Connecticut is located in Storrs, Connecticut, a reasonably suburban area that is more comfortable and relaxing for potential practitioners. Programs offered in this pathway include neonatal, clinical nurse specialists, and more. These online nurse practitioner programs receive accreditation from the New England Association o School and Colleges and the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

School Overview

Tuition rate of $40,000 per year
A student-to-faculty ratio of 16-to-1
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6

SUNY Upstate Medical University

  • Syracuse, New York
  • Graduation Rate: 92%

Upstate Medical University College of Nursing is part of the State University of New York. Located in Syracuse, New York, the Upstate College of Nursing offers nurse practitioner programs in population specific tracks of family, pediatric, and psychiatric mental health, as well as an online upper division undergraduate BS and online DNP program.

School Overview

An in-state tuition rate of $11,310
An out-of-state rate of $23,100
A student-to-faculty ratio of 6-to-1
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7

Duquesne University

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 78%

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Duquesne provides three different on-site and online nurse practitioner programs: master of science in nursing, a doctor of nursing practice, and a post-master’s certificate. The last type is a step above the master but not relatively as high as a doctorate, providing a middle ground for those who aren’t ready for the demands of a doctorate. Duquesne consistently ranks very highly in national college polls.

School Overview

A tuition rate of around $37,000
A student-to-faculty ratio of 13-to-1
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8

Creighton University

  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Graduation Rate: 79%

Located in Omaha, Nebraska, Creighton University has become renowned for many programs over the years. Its nurse practitioner programs focus on degrees for those interested in working in hospitals, clinics, for state and federal agencies, and even for correctional facilities such as a prison. Creighton is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

School Overview

A tuition rate of about $41,400 per year
A student-to-faculty ratio of 11-to-1
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9

Seton Hall University

  • South Orange, New Jersey
  • Graduation Rate: 64%

Seton Hall University is often ranked as one of the best graduate nursing programs in the nation and is the best option for nurse practitioner programs in New Jersey. Currently, they offer four in-person and online nurse practitioner programs: gerontology nurse practitioner and pediatric practitioners in both primary and acute care settings. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, it is a trusted option for many.

School Overview

A tuition rate of $43,780 per year
A student-to-faculty ratio of 13-to-1
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10

Rush University

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Graduation Rate: 85%

As a private school, Rush University in Chicago, Illinois, is relatively inexpensive. And it has a small and compact graduate nursing program of just 1,239. This helps to make it easier for students to make connections and friends that may last for years. And this university has one of the best student-to-faculty ratios on the list, which helps make it one of the better options.

School Overview

A tuition rate of about $29,236
A student-to-faculty ratio of 5-to-1
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11

University of Detroit Mercy

  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Graduation Rate: 68%

Over the years, the University of Detroit Mercy has earned a reputation as one of the most respected private schools in the state of Michigan. It is currently the largest Roman Catholic university in the nation with three different campuses and a family nurse practitioner degree for those who want to go through the program. A typical degree requires 72 credit hours and 720 clinical hours, providing a very comprehensive level of training.

School Overview

A tuition rate of $28,840 per year
A student-to-faculty ratio of 11-to-1
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12

University of California

  • San Francisco, California
  • Graduation Rate: 92%

The University of California – San Francisco provides inexpensive public education options for those who need them. They currently have around 460 people in their graduate nurse practitioner programs, providing a diverse and engaging student body. Though the setting of this campus is quite large, the campus itself is cozy and compact, creating a more relaxing environment.

School Overview

A in-state tuition rate of $12,570
An out-of-state tuition rate of $36,480 per year
A student-to-faculty ratio of about 5-to-1
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13

Ball State University

  • Muncie, Indiana
  • Graduation Rate: 57%

Ball State University is located in Muncie, Indiana, and offers one of the best nurse practitioner programs in the nation, including master, post-master, and doctorate degrees. Training includes both online practitioner programs and a variety of hands-on clinical tests that immerse the student in their training. The cost of living in Muncie is cheaper than other Indiana schools, making it a good choice for those who do not have much money.

School Overview

A tuition rate of around $26,000 per year
A student-to-faculty ratio of 14-to-1
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14

Drexel University

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 70%

This university offers five different campus options throughout Philadelphia, each of which provides nurse practitioner programs at a high level. They provide programs in gerontology, acute care, primary care, a doctorate of nursing practice, and a family nurse practitioner pathway. Each program has been accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, ensuring that the quality is high for this school.

School Overview

A tuition rate of $54,516 per year
A student-to-faculty ratio of 11-to-1
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15

Keiser University

  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 50%

Keiser University has many branches throughout the state of Florida, with the main campus being located in Fort Lauderdale. When finishing up a degree, practitioners must complete a FNP board certification exam to get their license, a step that is set up to suit the guidelines created by the American Associate of Colleges of Nursing Program. Students must earn 49 graduate hours and a 3.0 GPA minimum to finish their program.

School Overview

A student-to-faculty ratio of 14-to-1
A tuition of $21,008
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16

Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi

  • Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 34%

The Corpus Christi branch of this well-regarded college has one of the finest nurse practitioner programs in the nation, providing reasonably-priced degrees and accreditation that allows students to quickly transfer their credits elsewhere if they want to study at another university later. Those who want a large-city environment may enjoy this option because it is immersed in a large and well-populated city.

School Overview

A tuition rate of around $16,000 per year
A student-to-faculty ratio of around 18-to-1
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17

Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Graduation Rate: 61%

The Virginia Commonwealth University is a unique research-based school that has some of the finest nursing programs in the nation, including some of the best nurse practitioner programs in psychiatric and mental health, adult-gerontology primary, family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology acute care NP, and nursing administration and leadership.

School Overview

An in-state tuition rate of $14,596 (with out-of-state tuition rates of $35,904)
A student-to-faculty ratio of 18-to-1
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18

University of Maryland – Baltimore

  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Graduation Rate: 95%

The University of Maryland – Baltimore provides a private-school student-to-faculty ratio at a public-school tuition rate. This helps to make it one of the most affordable and reliable schools for nurse practitioner programs. With both in-person and online options available, this option is a good choice for those in or near Baltimore or throughout the nation.

School Overview

An in-state tuition rate of $15,132
An out-of-state tuition rate of $32,971
A student-to-faculty ratio of 7-to-1
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19

Tennessee Tech University

  • Cookeville, Tennessee
  • Graduation Rate: 50%

Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, Tennessee, provides a single program for nursing practitioners, focusing on family nurse care. They currently have accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, which must be updated regularly to keep the school up to date.

School Overview

An in-state tuition rate of $8,934 (with out-of-state rates of $24,798)
A student-to-faculty ratio of 18-to-1
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20

University of Southern Mississippi

  • Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  • Graduation Rate: 57%

The University of Southern Mississippi includes campuses in both Long Beach and Hattiesburg, with the latter being the primary campus. Currently, their nursing program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on College, ad provides a program for nursing practitioners. The small-town atmosphere on both campuses may be suitable for those who want a relaxed environment during school.

School Overview

An in-state tuition rate of $8,896 (and $10,896 for out-of-state tuition)
A student-to-faculty ratio of 17-to-1https://www.usm.edu/graduate-programs/nursing-family-nurse-practitioner.php
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21

Barry University

  • Miami Shores, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 62%

Barry University in Miami, Florida, provides a private Catholic atmosphere for those who want to mix their faith with their education. They include two available concentrations: family practice and adult-gerontology acute care. A typical program should take around two and a half years to complete with a minimum of 500 clinical hours to ensure success in this field.

School Overview

A tuition rate of around $30,014 per year
A student-to-faculty ratio of 12-to-1
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22

East Carolina University

  • Greenville, North Carolina
  • Graduation Rate: 60%

The small-city setting of this college in Greenville, North Carolina, makes it a relaxing place to pursue one of eight-different nurse practitioner programs – master of science of nursing and a post-master’s certificate in neonatal care and psychiatric-mental health care, doctor of nursing practice and post-doctorate certificate in family care and gerontology. They also have a psychiatric-mental health care Program in MSN and Post-Masters, as well as a DNP in family care and gerontology.

School Overview

A tuition rate of around $24,000 per year
A student-to-faculty ratio of 18-to-1
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23

Jacksonville University

  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 41%

This university often finds students coming from over 40 different countries and states, each pursuing many different degrees. They currently offer nurse practitioner options in adult gerontology acute care, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, emergency, and family nurse practitioner.

School Overview

A tuition rate of $38,140
A student-to-faculty ratio of 11-to-1
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24

Columbus State University

  • Columbus State University
  • Graduation Rate: 29%

Columbus State University is one of the most prominent options for nurse practitioners in Georgia. Its midsized campus is large enough to make a diverse group of friends but not so big that it is easy to get lost. The student population is made up of about 300 students, providing a pretty hometown feel for those who want it. The program is completely online.

School Overview

An in-state tuition rate of $6,241
A student-to-faculty ratio of 16-to-1
Visit School Website

How We Ranked The Nurse Practitioner Programs on This List

As you can see, there may be some surprises in the rankings here if you’ve done any research elsewhere. However, we stand by our rankings because we grade each school based on what we believe are the most important criteria – how much you pay, the student-to-faculty ratio, and the graduation rate. Other factors that we consider included the number of programs each school offered and what students said about each school.

In cases where there was no available information on a point, we tried to rank the school accordingly based on what information we possessed. For example, some schools did not share their graduation rates, making them fall a little lower than they may have done otherwise.

We prefer the three main criteria that we included because it gives you an idea of how much debt you’ll have when you finish, your chances of success, and how much interaction you’ll get with professors during your training – a factor that is critical when finding nurse practitioner programs that you can trust for your needs. The graduation rates are based on the average between full-time and part-time students, with the latter usually graduating at a lower rate, bringing down the overall average.

If you have any insight into these colleges or want to make edits to any information that is out of date by the time you read this article, please reach out to us and let us know. We will make the edits, as needed, to ensure that our list as accurate as possible. We pride ourselves on creating lists that we know will help our readers make the best educational choices for their needs.

So if you need help finding the right online college or university for the best nurse practitioner programs, let us know today. We can help you find the best school based on your program needs, including pinpointing degree options that you may not have considered in the past, such as smaller schools with high-quality programs that get overshadowed by more prominent colleges.

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