If you are a registered nurse looking for ways to advance your career, you may have to consider taking an advanced course to become a family nurse practitioner. It is even easier for you as you can get really affordable family nurse practitioner (FNP) programs online. However, there is a need to check for the cheapest of these online FNP programs in 2020 that are of good quality and apply.
Nurses at certain stages in their career need to upgrade their skills. While this would position them to take higher responsibilities, it would also help them gain specific skills. Specialization comes with a lot of opportunities. Therefore, if you’re a registered nurse, you can choose to study to become a family nurse practitioner when the time comes for you to upgrade your career.
So, in this post, we will provide you the cheapest online programs towards becoming a family nurse practitioner. Meanwhile, allow take you on a little refreshers course on everything you need to know about FNP Programs and all it takes to be a family nurse practitioner.
What is the FNP Program?
The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Program is an academic program in the medical discipline that prepares nurses to deliver primary health care to families in a variety of settings.
That said, Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who focus on health promotion and disease prevention. Also, they work with patients of different ages and medical histories. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), these health professionals diagnose, treat and manage illnesses/diseases by conducting laboratory tests; design treatment plans (pharmacological and non-pharmacological); and advise patients and their families.
Meanwhile, FNPs must participate in self-directed learning and continuing education (CE) hours, not only to maintain their credentials and licenses. But also to be up to date with the skills, technologies, and procedures that are constantly evolving in the field.
Keep in mind that the responsibilities of FNPs vary by region. The AANP (2015) indicates that Northwestern states generally grant PNs more generous practice privileges than southern states, although with some exceptions. Additional regional information on the scope of practice for FNPs activities can be obtained from the state nursing boards, and a list is provided by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).
What are the Educational Requirements for FNPs?
After graduating from high school, aspiring FNPs generally enroll in a two-to-four-year nursing program. Applicants are encouraged to seek accredited undergraduate nursing programs through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN).
So you see, it may be prudent to obtain a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. These programs not only prepare candidates for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become registered nurses (RNs), but also cover a series of prerequisites of the graduate nursing program, which includes chemistry courses ( inorganic, organic and biochemistry), epidemiology, microbiology, human anatomy and physiology, statistics, and general education.
Meanwhile, you can take alternate entry programs that will still set you on the right path in your career.
The George Washington University (GWU) is an example of alternate entry programs, which offers an RN to MSN program for FNP applicants with an associate’s degree (ADN-prepared nurses). Also, the University of Pennsylvania offers an accelerated FNP program for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field.
Keep in mind, however, that most nursing graduate programs prefer to take nurses prepared by BSN, particularly online FNP programs.
How Can I Become a Family Nurse?
As mentioned above, FNP applicants must obtain at least a master’s degree in nursing (MSN), and some candidates, especially those who are interested in leadership positions, may choose to pursue a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP).
So, if you’ll be enrolling for a graduate program, as part of your FNP requirement, you can get either an MSN or a DNP. Any of these programs will generally require the following to admit you:
So, once you’re enrolled in an FNP program, you can choose to specialize. Specializing in a specific area can prepare for better job opportunities, especially in areas of high need, such as oncology.
However, not all schools offer these areas of intervention. Nonetheless, some schools with the cheapest online FNP programs provide you with specialization options. Colleges like Duke University, for example, offers four specialties in cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, and HIV.
When you’re through with all these, you will need to seek certification.
How Can I Get an FNP Certification?
After graduating from an MSN or DNP program, prospective FNPs seek certification and/or national and local licensing. In fact, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP 2015) states that 96.8% of all NPs have some form of national certification.
There are two common organizations that offer national certification to FNPs: the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). The prerequisites for each of these certifications include:
Finally, there are regional nursing commissions that certify or approve FNPs. The requirements and procedures vary by state. Check the website of the National Council of State Boards in Nursing (NCSBN) for a complete list of state boards of nursing and contact information.
However, all licenses and certifications must be maintained through the acquisition of Continuing Education Credits. This keeps the FNP aware of the treatments, methods, and technologies that are changing. For example, the FNP-BC credential (“board-certified”) provided by the ANCC is valid for five years and offers two renewal options.
The first option involves 1,000 hours of practice in the certification role. The second option involves a review. Both options also use professional development (ie, Hours of Continuing Education [CE]). See the specific certification tips for details on accreditation renewals.
Does the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Program Have Accreditation?
Yes, we encourage future FNPs to enroll in programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN) or by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) – the two organizations recognized by the US Department of Education. These organizations evaluate facilities, curricula, student outcomes, and other factors to ensure the program is adequately preparing FNPs.
In addition, completing a program accredited by ACEN or CCNE is a prerequisite to obtaining the RN license through the National Council of State Boards in Nursing (NCSBN). Furthermore, FNPs must have completed an accredited program to pass the national certification exams offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
What are the Types of Online FNP Degree Programs?
All online FNP programs require students to be registered nurses with an active license. However, there are several online FNP programs for nurses with different levels of education. We classify FNP programs in different categories. Of the 12 categories, four are MSN programs, two are post-master certificate programs and six are DNP programs.