Why This Matters

  • $120,000+ AVERAGE YEARLY SALARY

    Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the average annual salary for a nurse practitioner — which is just one of several specialties that require a master’s in nursing — is $120,680.

  • 46% JOB GROWTH EXPECTED

    The field of nursing is expected to experience huge levels of job growth, with 112,700 nurse practitioner positions to be added through 2031.

  • HIGHEST EMPLOYMENT LEVELS IN TX, CA, NY

    The top five states with the highest employment levels for nurse practitioners are Texas, California, New York, Florida, and Tennessee.

Our Research

This list features some of the best online Master’s in Nursing programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. Many of the schools on our list have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, which assesses the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of nursing-related programs.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student 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 online Master’s in Nursing programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the 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.

The Top 39 Affordable Online Master’s in Nursing Programs

Most Affordable Master's in Nursing Programs 2023
01
Intelligent Pick
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
01
Best Scholarships
California State University Dominguez Hills
01
Best for Family Nurse Practitioners
University of West Florida
01
Best for Nursing Administration
Texas A&M International University
01
Best Public Institution
University of Central Florida
01
Best Part-Time Program
Appalachian State University
01
Best Private Institution
Johns Hopkins School of Nursing
01
Most Specialization Options
Indiana University - Purdue University-Indianapolis
01
Best for Veterans
New Mexico State University
01
Most Start Times
Lamar University
01

Georgetown University School of Nursing
01

McNeese State University
01

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
01

UNC School of Nursing
01

University of Missouri
01

Liberty University
01

Ball State University
01

University of West Georgia
01

Ohio University
01

Angelo State University
01

Indiana State University
01

University of Saint Mary
01

Ferris State University
01

Utah Valley University
01

Clarkson College
01

Benedictine University
01

Concordia University Wisconsin
01

MidAmerica Nazarene University
01

University of Louisiana Monroe
01

Central Methodist University
01

Chamberlain University
01

Wilmington University
01

Texas Woman's University
01

California University of Pennsylvania
01

Wheeling University
01

Southern New Hampshire University
01

Norwich University
01

Thomas Edison State University
01

Indiana Wesleyan University

What You Should Know About This Degree

Cost is one of the most important considerations when it comes to choosing an online master’s in nursing program. While all the options on our list are affordable, they do still vary in price. To get a more accurate comparison between programs, multiply the cost per credit hour by the number of credits required. Don’t forget to factor in other variables such as administrative fees and textbooks. Going part-time can help stretch out costs if you’re not in a hurry to complete your program, and there are some scholarships, loans, and other financial aid options available for graduate nursing students.

Another important consideration is how much debt you’re carrying from your undergraduate education. If you’re paying off your student loans, it’s crucial to understand how committing to a master’s program may affect things like deferment and accrued interest. If you have private loans that will need to continue to be paid, it’s important to make sure those can fit in your budget along with the cost of the master’s program.

If you’re interested in an online master’s in nursing program, you’re likely already working as a nurse. While that means you have valuable experience in the field, it also may mean that you have to plan your studies around your work schedule. It may be a good idea to look for programs that have as much instruction as possible offered asynchronously so that you can work on your days off or before or after your shift starts.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online master’s in nursing programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? To be eligible for an online master’s in nursing program, you usually need to already have completed your BSN and be a practicing RN. Some programs may have special tracks for those who have a related bachelor’s degree, but even then, it usually needs to be in the medical field. You may also be required to have a certain undergraduate GPA, especially for nursing classes.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Theory classes in a master’s in nursing program may be offered synchronously or asynchronously, but any required clinicals will be in-person at specific times.
  • How long does it take to complete an online master’s in nursing program? How long it takes to complete an online master’s in nursing depends heavily on the school and program you are enrolling in. One reason for this is that the number of credits required to graduate varies widely depending on specialty. In general, you can expect to take two to three years going full-time to complete the program.
  • What tests are required for an online master’s in nursing program? To be accepted into a master’s in nursing program, you will need to submit GRE scores. This may be the general GRE as well as some specific GRE subject tests. It’s also common for programs to require proof of health insurance and proof that you are up to date on all vaccines.