Find your offline nursing program in minutes!

Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

For registered nurses seeking to level up their careers with a lucrative, in-demand degree program, exploring the top accelerated nurse practitioner programs is an excellent step forward. These programs are designed to cultivate advanced clinical skills, critical thinking, and specialized knowledge, allowing nurses to take on more autonomous and higher-paying roles. Specialization options include nurse midwives, who earned a median salary of $129,650 in 2023, and nurse anesthetists, who earned a median salary of $212,650 the same year.

These programs take 12 to 24 months to complete, costing an average of $19,749 for the 2020-2021 academic year.

How to Choose an Accelerated Nurse Practitioner Program

Choose your area of study

Choosing an area of study — also called a specialization — is an essential part of finding a program that fits your educational needs, as it allows you to narrow down your options to programs that support your intended specialization. This also helps you gain experience in a specific field, developing skills to meet the needs of particular patient populations.

For example, a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program is ideal for those interested in providing all-encompassing care to individuals of all ages. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) programs are perfect for those enthusiastic about child healthcare, while Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) programs suit those focusing on mental healthcare. Depending on the program, additional specialization options might include adult-gerontology, women’s health, and neonatal care.

Research schools and programs

Once you have a specialization in mind, you can begin researching schools and programs in earnest. Here are some questions you can use to guide your research:

  • Do relevant nursing accreditation bodies accredit the program?
  • What is the program’s NCLEX pass rate and job placement rate?
  • What clinical placement opportunities are available?
  • Are there online or hybrid learning options?
  • What support services are offered for students?

Most of this information will be readily available on program websites, but many students also benefit from speaking with admissions counselors or attending an open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

With your shortlist of programs in hand, test and application preparation should be next on your list of priorities. Consider enrolling in a test prep program for standardized exams, as these provide structured study plans and practice tests — potentially boosting your scores. Allocate ample time to write your personal statement, which can make a significant impression on admissions committees. Don’t forget about transcripts and letters of recommendation — be sure to secure these early to avoid last-minute stress, making sure all materials are submitted on time.

Select your program

The arrival of acceptance letters is often exciting, but it can quickly become overwhelming if you receive more than one. Simplify this decision by revisiting your initial criteria and focusing on what matters most in your educational experience, whether that’s program length, clinical placement opportunities, or curriculum relevance. You’ll also want to turn your attention to each program’s financial feasibility — reassess the overall cost of attendance and compare this with any financial aid offers. By carefully evaluating your options, you can feel confident selecting the right program for your career goals and educational needs.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

For many students, financing their degree while minimizing debt is of the utmost importance. To do this, you’ll want to start searching and applying for scholarships and grants, as they don’t require repayment. Next, look for assistantships that offer tuition remission or a stipend in exchange for work. If you’re a working nurse, explore employer tuition reimbursement programs, which may cover part or all of your tuition if you commit to staying with the employer for a specific post-graduation period. While an option for most students, federal loans should be used minimally to bridge any remaining financial gaps.

Best 50 Accredited Accelerated Nurse Practitioner Programs

Top Accelerated Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs_2024 badge
01

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
01

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
01

University of Rochester School of Nursing
01

University of Rochester School of Nursing
01

Penn Nursing
01

Penn Nursing
01

Anderson University
01

Anderson University
01

Union University
01

Union University
01

University of Nevada
01

University of Nevada
01

Ohio State University
01

Ohio State University
01

Mount Carmel University
01

Mount Carmel University

How we rank schools

This list features the best accelerated nurse practitioner degree programs in the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for postsecondary education.

We evaluated each school’s program on admission, retention, and graduation rates as well as tuition costs, faculty, reputation, and the resources provided for online students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of accelerated nurse practitioner degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect From an Accelerated Nurse Practitioner Program?

By enrolling in an accelerated nurse practitioner program, you can expect an intensive and fast-paced educational experience designed to prepare you for advanced practice in a shorter time than traditional programs. These programs often combine rigorous coursework with hands-on clinical training for a well-rounded education.

As a student, you’ll delve into advanced health assessment, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and evidence-based practice. You’ll also learn about health promotion, disease prevention, and chronic and acute conditions management. Many of these programs offer the opportunity to specialize in various areas, including family practice, adult-gerontology, pediatrics, psychiatric-mental health, and women’s health.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online accelerated nurse practitioner program

  • Advanced Health Assessment: In this foundational course, students learn to perform comprehensive physical exams and health assessments across the lifespan. Most curriculums emphasize developing diagnostic reasoning skills and using advanced assessment techniques. Students practice taking detailed patient histories, conducting thorough physical exams, and integrating clinical findings to formulate diagnoses.
  • Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nurses: This course provides an in-depth understanding of pharmacological principles and their application in clinical practice. Learners study the mechanisms of action, therapeutic uses, side effects, and interactions of various drug classes.
  • Primary Care Management: Typically considered an upper-level course, this class focuses on managing common acute and chronic conditions encountered in primary care settings. Participants learn to develop and implement evidence-based care plans, conduct patient education, and coordinate interdisciplinary care.

What Can I Do With a Nurse Practitioner Degree?

With this degree, you can pursue a rewarding career providing advanced patient care in different healthcare settings. The median salary in this field is $129,480, and the field is expected to see a 38% jump in job growth over the next decade, adding about 29,200 jobs annually.

Career outlook

  • Nurse Practitioner — Individuals in this role provide comprehensive healthcare services, including diagnosing and treating medical conditions, prescribing medications, and performing procedures. NPs focus on patient-centered care, emphasizing health promotion, disease prevention, and management of chronic illnesses across healthcare settings.
    • Median annual salary: $109,790
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 38%
    • New jobs projected: 29,200
  • Nurse Anesthetist — Nurse anesthetists specialize in administering anesthesia and providing care before, during, and after surgical operations. They’re skilled in pain management, patient monitoring, and safe anesthesia delivery and work alongside surgeons and other healthcare professionals.
    • Median annual salary: $212,650
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 38%
    • New jobs projected: 29,200
  • Nurse Midwife — Graduates in this field specialize in providing healthcare to women, particularly during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. They offer prenatal, birth, and postnatal care as well as gynecological services, family planning, and reproductive health education.
    • Median annual salary: $129,650
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 38%
    • New jobs projected: 29,200

Accelerated Nurse Practitioner Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do accelerated degree programs work?

Accelerated degree programs condense traditional programs’ coursework and clinical training into a shorter time frame, allowing students to complete their education more quickly. In an accelerated nurse practitioner program, students engage in intensive study and clinical practice, often taking on a heavier course load and participating in full-time, immersive clinical rotations.

These programs are designed for motivated students who can commit to a fast-paced and demanding schedule. For a detailed discussion on the pros and cons of these programs, visit this page to determine if this degree is right for you.

How long does it take to earn an accelerated nurse practitioner degree?

Earning this degree takes 12 to 24 months, depending on the program and your prior education and experience. In contrast, traditional nurse practitioner programs often require two to three years. Considering the total number of credits required is crucial, as this can vary significantly between programs and impact the duration. Some programs may require more credit hours or additional clinical hours, affecting the overall timeline for completion.

How much does an accelerated nurse practitioner degree cost?

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the average cost of graduate-level education was $19,749. This figure can fluctuate based on factors like geographic location, whether the institution is public or private, and your residency status.

Besides tuition, you should also budget for additional expenses such as textbooks, clinical supplies, lab fees, and tech costs. Travel and accommodation costs for clinical rotations, licensure exams, and certification fees are other potential expenses not typically covered by tuition.


Compare School Options