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Top Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Programs 2019

The online DNP program as it exists today is the newest innovation in an ever-developing field. A generation ago, a doctorate in nursing was a rarity, and few nurses would have considered going all the way through a doctoral program; nurses were workers, not professionals. The PhD in nursing only emerged in the 1950s, when nursing was becoming a more professional career and experts were necessary to teach nursing at a college level; the Doctor of Nursing Practice didn’t even exist until the 1980s.

Today, nursing is quite a different field from nursing 50 or even 20 years ago. As nursing has professionalized, the education requirements have grown more specialized, more demanding, and more competitive. Thirty years ago, professional organizations began requiring a master’s degree for advanced practice nursing; in the last 10 years, those same organizations have begun recommending the DNP for demanding roles like nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, and nurse practitioner. So what is a nurse to do to stay current and relevant on the job market?

Crunching Numbers: Ranking the Best Online DNP Programs

Increasingly the answer is online: RN to DNP programs online, accelerated RN to DNP programs, and even 12 month online DNP programs. The best Doctor of Nursing Practice programs have begun moving online, where working nurses can juggle the demands of their professional careers and their families with their coursework and clinicals.

To rank the Top 25 Online DNP Programs, Nursing School Hub scoured the field for colleges and universities offering online, hybrid, and low-residency Doctor of Nursing programs designed specifically for working nursing professionals. The programs selected are ranked according to three criteria:

  • Cost (current IPEDS data)
  • Reputation (current Niche score)
  • ROI (current College Scorecard salary data)

Only regionally-accredited colleges and universities were considered for the ranking; almost all programs featured are also accredited by the CCNE or ACEN.

1. Johns Hopkins University – Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

Johns Hopkins UniversityThe first name in medicine, Johns Hopkins University’s online DNP Executive Track degree program is easily one of the most respected, most competitive online Doctor of Nursing Practice programs imaginable. The JHU Executive DNP is built for the most motivated, ambitious students, and designed with the scheduling needs of full-time clinical nurses in mind. All coursework is fully online, though 4 on-campus intensives are required over the course of the program. Students must have an MSN to apply for the Executive DNP.

As just about everyone in America knows, Johns Hopkins University is synonymous with medical research and learning. Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins is widely considered the first modern research university in America, being the first to combine current scientific research with educational programs. Today, the university is considered one of the finest in the world, and graduates are immediately vaulted into the highest levels of their profession. If Johns Hopkins is not one of the cheapest online DNP programs, the return on investment is of the highest order (and financial aid is available for online DNP students).

Degree: DNP Executive Track

2. University of Colorado Anschutz – CU Online

With nine concentration specializations, the University of Colorado Anschutz online DNP program will accommodate the educational needs of most any nursing student, including a DNP-MPH dual degree program. Those enrolling in their DNP program can expect to obtain skills in evaluating clinical outcomes, preparing to become advanced practice leaders, and designing models of health care delivery. Participation in RN to DNP programs online means outcomes including leading interdisciplinary teams, formulating strategies, integrating technologies, and implementing evidence.

The CU Anschutz College of Nursing’s degree programs receives accreditation from Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. However, their MS specialty in nurse-midwifery receives accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. The university has a student to faculty ratio of 5.6:1 and there are currently more than 4,000 full and part-time staff members. Anschutz ranks in the top 10 medical programs nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report. Some of their guiding principles include maintaining a commitment to excellence, ensuring the university remains a catalyst economically, socially, and culturally, and that their focus remains on meaningful, measurable results.

Degree: DNP – 9 concentrations

3. University of Pittsburgh – Pitt Online

The University of Pittsburgh online DNP program offers multiple concentrations for those with interest in advancing their education. In doing so, students will have opportunities to lead patient care, as well as system management, from one of the best doctor of nursing practice programs in the world. Students can explore concentrations including Health Systems Executive Leadership, Nurse Anesthesia, and Nurse Practitioner. Students explore topics including organization and systems leadership, evidence-based practice, informatics, and patient care technology, clinical research, and inter-professional collaboration.

The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing’s degree programs receives their accreditation from the CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education). Initially founded in 1787 as a public institution, the university currently enrolls 19,326 in their undergraduate class. Pitt ranks among the top 25 Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. The College of Nursing embraces a mission to provide the highest quality education to undergraduates in nursing, making their program one of the best RN to DNP programs online.

Degree: DNP – multiple concentrations

4. Ohio State University – Ohio State Online

Ohio State University’s online DNP program is available for students who wish to concentrate either on Clinical Expert or Nurse Executive programs. No matter if students want to select nursing administration or direct patient care, these programs will not only enhance their leadership skills in the nursing profession, but also help build upon the student’s existing expertise. Graduating students can expect several outcomes including practicing at the highest level of nursing, demonstrating leadership skills, and applying analytical skills. With comprehensive RN to DNP programs online, students can tailor the program of study to meet their unique career goals.

Ohio State University’s College of Nursing’s degree programs each receives accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Originally founded in 1870 as a public institution, the university currently enrolls nearly 46,000 students. They’re currently ranking at #1 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and #2 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. While the Executive DNP is only available for post-master’s students, Clinical Expert is available to any students with a BSN, and Ohio State is working toward approval in all 50 states.

Degree: DNP – Clinical Expert or Nurse Executive

5. University of Massachusetts Amherst – UMass Online

Because the University of Massachusetts at Amherst online DNP program offers four concentrations, it’s possible for nursing students to advance their education seamlessly online. Since 2006, when they first introduced doctor of nursing practice programs, UMass has held steady regarding providing students with excellent programming. Because the professors are renowned in their field to include research publications, they’re at the forefront in the respective fields and provide enriching teaching experiences. Those seeking the cheapest online DNP programs will receive a return on their investment, developing the skills necessary for managing and leading health care systems.

Each of the degree programs UMass Amherst’s College of Nursing offers receives accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The university was originally founded as a public institution, and now serves more than 23,000 students. UMass currently ranks among the Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs and Best Value Schools according to U.S. World News & Report. The university embraces core values including academics, research, innovation, investment, alumni, and impact.

Degree: DNP – 4 concentrations

6. University of Utah – UOnline

The University of Utah online DNP program offers five concentrations for working nurses. Students can expect learning outcomes including integrating nursing science with science including ethical knowledge, providing patient care, demonstrating high levels of clinical judgment, evaluate initiatives, and analyze critical elements. For those who would like to participate in online distance learning tracks, they can pursue specialties including Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner.

The University of Utah’s College of Nursing’s online RN to BSN degree programs receive accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. In addition, its Certified Nurse Midwifery program receives accreditation from the ACNM (Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education). The university is a public institution with a current undergraduate enrollment of nearly 35,000 students, ranked among the Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs according to U.S. News & World Report.

Degree: DNP – 5 concentrations

7. University of Arizona – University of Arizona Online

The University of Arizona online DNP program is offered through their College of Nursing in an entirely distance-based format. These courses are optimal for students with an interest in advancing their education while managing a busy, full-time career. Not only does the program feature optimal flexibility, but it also supports students who are seeking academic, work and family balance. Students are put into contact with a faculty advisor on their first day, as well as a graduate support coordinator. These individuals provide support throughout the student’s RN to DNP programs online right up until graduation.

The University of Arizona’s College of Nursing’s degree programs receives accreditation from the CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education). Initially founded in 1885 as a public institution, the university’s current undergraduate enrollment stands at more than 35,000 students, with U.S. News & World Report rankings for online programs and value. The school’s motto is, “Bear Down, Arizona.” They embrace core values including community, collaboration, excellence, diversity, integrity, innovation, and servant leadership.

Degree: DNP

8. University of Central Florida – UCF Online

For students who would like to have preparation as certified nurse midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, or nurse practitioners, the University of Central Florida’s online DNP programs will help achieve those goals. Not only are these programs built around the most current theory and practice; UCF’s doctor of nursing practice programs prepare nursing professionals for the present and future healthcare environment. The only ways students can become a candidate is if they possess an advanced practice MSN degree.

The University of Central Florida’s College of Nursing’s degree programs receives their accreditation from the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education. The university is a public institution initially founded in 1963 with a current undergraduate enrollment consisting of nearly 57,000 students. UCF is ranked by Kiplinger’s as one of the nation’s best-valued universities and Forbes ranks it most affordable; UCF also ranks #10 for Most Innovative Schools according to U.S. News & World Report. UCF’s motto is, “Reach for the Stars.” The College of Nursing embraces values including excellence, innovation, integrity, compassion, service, and community.

Degree: DNP

9. Jacksonville University – JU Online

Unlike RN to DNP programs online, Jacksonville University’s online DNP program is intended for ARNPs and RNs already possessing a graduate degree in nursing. The program features two tracks including Advanced Practice and Leadership. Those who enroll in the Advanced Practice track will receive training to become Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners, while those with an interest in the Leadership track receive training in the areas of education and administration. The majority of this program’s coursework is available online with the exception of program orientation, and three project presentations.

Jacksonville University’s Keigwin School of Nursing’s degree programs receives accreditation from the CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education). The college of nursing’s mission is to cater to nursing students with a diverse range of backgrounds, as well as experiences. Initially founded in 1934 as a private institution, the university’s present enrollment stands just short of 3000 students. For students seeking the cheapest online DNP programs, Jacksonville University ranks among the Best Value Schools according to U.S. World News & Report.

Degree: Post-MSN DNP

10. Florida State University – Distance@FSU

The Florida State University online DNP program is offered to students who would like to advance their education and ultimately become Family Nurse Practitioners. The majority of the courses students will participate in a broadcast from the Tallahassee campus via video conferencing. Other courses are available entirely online. Students must come to the campus for orientation and attend the weekend-long intensive course entitled, “Advanced Skills for the APN.” Students participating in FSU’s RN to DNP programs online will work within their community to meet their practicum course’s learning objectives.

Florida State University’s College of Nursing’s degree programs are CCNE accredited. The university is a public institution initially founded in 1851, and today they serve 33,000 students. FSU ranks as one of U.S. News’ Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. The university embraces core values including integrity, fairness, objectivity, excellence, and respect. The ultimate mission statement of the college of nursing is to educate advanced practitioners, clinicians, leaders, and scholars so they can enhance the quality of life for individuals of all economic levels, geographic locations, and cultures.

Degree: DNP

11. Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University’s online DNP program is available through the Assaf College of Nursing provides students with instruction in six short semesters. The program is optimal for busy working professionals, and the majority of the courses are available in eight-week formats. Those who enroll will study quality improvement, systems thinking, and evidence-based practice. Outcomes for Nova Southeastern’s RN to DNP programs online include evaluating and implementing the nursing practice, assuming system and organizational leadership, utilizing and appraising current technologies, and influencing and evaluating healthcare policies.

Nova Southeastern University’s College of Nursing’s degree programs is accredited by the CCNE. Founded initially as a private institution in 1964, the university’s current student enrollment consists of 4,497 students. They embrace core values including academic excellence, being student-centered, having integrity, innovation, opportunity, research, scholarship, diversity, and community.

Degree: DNP

12. Monmouth University

Monmouth University’s online DNP program is offered on a strictly part-time basis through the School of Nursing and Health Studies. The program is available entirely online as a post master’s academic degree. Students enrolling in these courses will place their focus on systems and organizational leadership, as well as scholarship. In doing so, they’ll better address the rapidly evolving and highly complex healthcare environments in today’s societies. Online DNP programs such as Monmouth University’s are optimal for those who need flexible formats to accommodate their busy schedules.

The nursing degree programs available through Monmouth University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies have earned Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accreditation. A small university founded in 1933, Monmouth presently has under 5000 in its population. According to U.S. News & World Report, the university ranks as both a top regional institution for the North, and a top online nursing educator. The university has core values which they embrace including excellence in teaching and learning, having a caring campus characterized by mutual respect, having personal and professional integrity, diversity, service, and empowerment of university community.

Degree: DNP (part-time only)

13. University of Alabama in Huntsville – UAH Online Learning

The University of Alabama in Huntsville online DNP program through their College of Nursing for students who want to advance their education and career goals. Because there’s are growing complexities regarding health care systems and patient care, advanced practice specialty training at doctorate levels is becoming a requirement. Students will receive preparation for providing complex hospital care, redesigning nursing systems, and addressing dire shortages of nursing faculties. Program objectives for those seeking the cheapest online DNP programs include synthesizing scientific evidence, evaluating policies, demonstrating professional collaborations, and incorporating knowledge.

Each of the degree programs available at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, College of Nursing receive accreditation from the CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education). The university is a public institution that was initially founded in 1950 and presently has an undergraduate enrollment of 7,090 students. They’re currently in a tie for ranking at #89 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs and between #230-#301 in National Universities according to U.S. News & World Report. The College of Nursing embraces core values which include integrity, inspiration, caring, excellence, and wellness.

Degree: DNP

14. Ferris State University – Ferris Online

Ferris State University’s online DNP program is the newest addition to the university’s School of Nursing. It’s an MSN to DNP program that is designed for Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Anaesthetists, Nurse Midwives, Clinical Nurse Specialists, and MSN nurses looking to advance their careers. This 6-8 semester program is one of the cheapest online DNP programs in the country.

Founded in 1884, Ferris State University is ranked one of the best Regional Universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. The online MSN to DNP program is based on the AACN’s Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. Ferris State University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is a new program, and the university is still waiting to get accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Degree: DNP

15. Old Dominion University – ODU Online

The Old Dominion University online DNP programs are designed to prepare top level nurses for a career in the health system. The Doctor of Nursing Practice programs are offered in two specializations: DNP Advanced Practice or Nurse Executive DNP. Those seeking to advance their nursing career with an MSN to DNP degree at ODU can choose any of these programs. The MSN to DNP program is designed to enhance leadership and practice skills of top-level nurses.

Old Dominion University is one of the best in the region, but more importantly, the university has emerged in the 21st century as one of the world’s leading online educators. ODU’s online MSN to DNP online program is designed for ultimate flexibility. It’s the most accommodating online DNP program out there, tailor-made for working top-level nurses looking to further their studies and advance their practice. The college guarantees that all the students pursuing an online Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at ODU will get all the resources and academic support on-campus students enjoy.

Degree: DNP – Advanced Practice or Nurse Executive

16. Lewis University

The Lewis University online DNP program is one of the best graduate degrees for nursing professionals in the country. It’s a 30 credit hours program that allows top-level nurses to advance their careers with graduate education. The program is meant to help practicing nurses enhance their skills and help them meet the needs of the public more effectively. The coursework is based on evidence-based performance and quality improvement – and is one of the best RN to DNP programs online.

Based in Romeoville, IL, Lewis University is ranked among the top universities in the region. It’s a private Roman Catholic and Lasallian university with one of the most well-regarded nursing colleges in the state, the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Lewis University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program is accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). This DNP program allows students to practice nursing at the highest level and is available 100% online.

Degree: DNP

17. University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston online DNP program is designed for top-level nurses committed to caring for the most vulnerable in society. This online post-master’s DNP program imparts the student leadership and scientific skills as well as clinical competencies they need to care for vulnerable populations. UTMB’s online DNP program is offered on part-time basis only. On the matter of fees, this is also one of the cheapest DNP programs in the country.

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston runs one of the best DNP programs online in the country. According to its values, UTMB focuses on the most vulnerable in society. The university’s goal is to transform the health care system by making quality care more accessible and bringing down disparities. Here, nurses are taught to care for those at risk of health disparities for any given reason, be it minority status, age, poor access, lack of insurance, or socioeconomic status.

Degree: Post-Master’s DNP (part-time only)

18. University of Colorado Colorado Springs – UCCSConnect

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs online DNP program is based upon BSN in Nursing and clinical practice experience. The UCCS DNP program is designed for nurses looking to advance their education in preparation for the highest roles in the nursing profession. The student is imparted with the leadership skills they need to transform the healthcare system for the better. The BSN to DNP program is offered 100% online – no campus visits are required.

University of Colorado Colorado Springs is known for producing some of the best professionals in the medical field. The BSN to DNP program is offered via UCCS’s Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The college’s commitment is to provide the highest level of preparation in the nursing profession. The UCCS BSN to DNP program is accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approved by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Degree: DNP – Post-BSN or Post-MSN tracks

19. Bradley University – Bradley University Online

The Bradley University online DNP program presents the highest level of preparation in the nursing profession. There are two options; Doctor of Nursing Practice — Family Nurse Practitioner Track (BSN Entry) and Doctor of Nursing Practice — Leadership Track (MSN Entry). The DNP-FNP option has 83 course credit hours, 12 semesters, and takes 4 years to complete, while the DNP-Leadership has 39 course credit hours, 9 semesters, and takes 3 years to complete.

Bradley University is one of the best colleges in the country, ranking in the U.S. News & World Report top 10 Best Regional Universities in the Midwest. The university is known for producing some of the most competent graduates in the nursing profession, with strong licensure exam pass rates and a high rate of job placement right after graduation. Bradley University’s online Doctor of Nursing Practice Program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Degree: DNP – FNP or Leadership

20. Eastern Kentucky University – EKU Online

The Eastern Kentucky University online DNP program focuses on real-world evaluation, implementation, and improvement of practices in the medical field. The Post-MSN DNP is offered 100% online. EKU’s Post-MSN DNP program’s curriculum is evidence-based and centered on teaching the students how to evaluate, lead, and improve the healthcare system. This program is designed for practicing nurses looking to advance their careers to become nurse executives, leaders, and policy developers in the healthcare system.

Eastern Kentucky University has been named one of the best online colleges in the nation. This highly respected institution has been producing competent professionals in the medical field for over a century. It’s one of the best ranking universities in the country. The university’s online nursing degrees ranks in the Top 25 for Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs by U.S. News & World Report based on student engagement, faculty credentials, and training, and peer reputation.

Degree: Post-MSN DNP

21. St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing – Distance Learning

The St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing online DNP program offers practicing nurses an opportunity to build upon their practice and advance their roles. The DNP program is designed to impart students with the skills required at the highest level of nursing practice. Upon completion of the DNP program, the students are able to apply information and technology systems, identify and manage the public’s healthcare needs, and evaluate outcomes.

Located in Peoria, IL, the St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing is a private, non-profit, specialized nursing college by the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. The SFMC-CON online DNP program was created to turn practicing nurses into leaders in the nursing profession. The College of Nursing is regarded as one of the best in the region. The college’s doctoral program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Degree: DNP

22. University of Arkansas – U of A Online

The University of Arkansas online DNP program is designed to give working nurses the skills and knowledge required to transform the healthcare system for the better. The DNP program is offered online and students can choose between two entry levels: MSN to DNP and BSN to DNP. Upon completion, the student will have competencies necessary to lead the transformation of the healthcare sector and improve patient care by solving complex health problems.

Based in Fayetteville, AR, the University of Arkansas is one of the best-known and most respected colleges in the Deep South. U.S. News & World Report ranks U of A one of the Best Nursing Schools for Doctor of Nursing Practice programs specifically, and one of the best master’s in nursing programs nationally. The University of Arkansas offers online DNP degree through the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, one of the most respected nursing schools in the South. U of A is further known for value, including one of the cheapest online DNP programs anywhere.

Degree: DNP – FNP or Adult Gerontology

23. Maryville University of St. Louis – Maryville University Online

The Maryville University of St. Louis online DNP program is centered around leadership training. The MSN to DNP program is a clinical or practice doctorate degree focused on leadership on advanced practice or specialty nursing. Applicants are required to have a minimum of a master’s degree as a Nurse Practitioner. Tuition fees are standard – one of the cheapest online DNP programs in the nation. Both options are offered 100% online at a very affordable fee.

Maryville University of St. Louis is a highly rated institution in the Midwest. The college boasts one of the best nursing schools in the region and is known for producing some of the most competent nursing professionals in the country. The college understands the needs of the healthcare system, which is why their online DNP program is designed to help the practicing nurses cater to these emerging needs effectively.

Degree: BSN to DNP

24. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville – Online at SIUE

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s online post-master’s DNP program is designed to continue a working nurse’s specialized education, building on their work experience and prior learning for leadership and advancement. Applicants must have an MSN, or a BSN and a related master’s degree. All coursework for the SIUE post-master’s DNP program is online, though students are required to come to campus for two 3-day immersion experiences each August. The SIUE post-master’s DNP program is designed to enrich nurses’ analytical skills, clinical experience, theoretical knowledge, and collaboration and leadership skills.

SIUE School of Nursing’s programs are committed to creating excellence in nursing leadership through innovative teaching, evidence-based practice, quality research, patient advocacy, and community service. Enrolling nearly 1,300 students in its baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders in pursuit of shaping the nursing profession and impacting the health care environment. SIUE’s undergraduate nursing programs on the Edwardsville campus and the regional campus in Carbondale help to solve the region’s shortage of baccalaureate-prepared nurses and enhance the quality of nursing practice within all patient service venues. The School’s graduate programs prepare nurses for advanced roles in clinical practice, administration, and education.

Degree: Post-Master’s DNP

25. McKendree University – McKendree Online

The McKendree University online DNP program in Ethical Leadership presents ambitious individuals in the nursing profession an opportunity to advance to leadership roles. With one of the most uniquely focused DNP programs in the nation, students are imparted with the skills and knowledge they need to work at the highest levels of the nursing profession. The program is designed for a working nurse. This DNP program is offered online and is one of the most affordable DNP programs available.

Based in Lebanon, IL, McKendree University runs one of the best online DNP program programs in the country. Their curriculum is based on ethics and leadership, designed to foster ethical leadership in the nursing profession. The student will, in turn, be in a better position to transform the healthcare sector. The McKendree University’s online DNP degree program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Degree: DNP in Ethical Leadership

What Does a DNP Do?

A DNP is a clinical, practice-focused (rather than research-focused) doctorate, so for the most part, DNP nurses do what all nurses do – provide the highest level of care for patients. While they are qualified to teach and do research, DNP holders are more likely to work clinically, or as leaders in clinical settings. So what does a DNP do?

There is a broad range of Doctor of Nursing practice jobs for those who have completed their Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. Those who pursue their DNP degrees are prepared to work as nurses in advanced clinical practice for direct care or indirect care roles. For those who have an interest in serving in direct care roles, the following career examples are available:

  • Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs)
  • Certified registered anesthetists (CRNAs)
  • Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs)
  • Nurse practitioners (NPs)

Because not everyone has an interest in working directly in patient care when they embark upon Doctor of Nursing programs, there are a plethora of indirect roles they can pursue. For those who have an interest in serving in non-direct care roles, the following career examples are available:

  • Clinical nursing education
  • Health policy or health policy specialists
  • Nursing or health informatics
  • Organizational and professional leadership
  • Population Health
  • Public health program directors

Is a DNP a Doctor?

While there are several schools of thought regarding the term, “doctor,” those have their DNP technically are doctors – they are the highest level of nurse. The main reason is that the term “doctor” refers to the level of education – a Doctor of Nursing Practice holds a doctoral degree. Anyone who receives a doctorate, be it a lawyer (JD), pharmacist (PharmD), veterinarian (DVM), or physicist (PhD), can have the “doctor” title attached to their name if they’ve completed the degree work.

However, in some states, legislation requires some professions to make immediate clarifications of their role to prevent confusion. That way, patients don’t experience confusion differentiating between a medical doctor and those who have a doctorate in some other field. There are situations where facilities enforce limitations on the “doctor” title strictly for medical doctors (MDs) to prevent misunderstandings or lack of patient education. So is a DNP a doctor? Sure, but in a clinical setting, they will not generally be allowed to call themselves “doctor.” Tomato, tomahto.

How Do I Choose Between Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs?

It can be challenging to determine which specialty to select when embarking upon your DNP path. Here are some examples of specialties from which you choose:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: These individuals provide advanced care to elderly patients, older adults, and adults with chronic, critical, and acute conditions.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: These individuals are advanced practice nurses who either work in collaboration or autonomously delivering care that’s family-focused.
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: These individuals provide highly skilled and specialized care for newborns during their first twenty-eight days of life when they’re in need of critical care.
  • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: These individuals provide care for children who are acutely ill in hospitals during inpatient and outpatient stays.
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: These individuals work with communities, families, groups, and individuals to assess their mental health needs.

How Much is a DNP Salary?

It isn’t uncommon for those who pursue their DNP degree to wonder how much a doctor of nursing practice salary might run. While DNP salary by state can vary, according to Payscale as of 2015, the average hourly rate for a DNP is $47.38. The monthly rate is $7,570, and a DNP salary can average up to $90,967 annually. You’ll find that, as you conduct research, the DNP salary by state will vary.

Are Accelerated RN to DNP Programs Reputable?

Before enrolling into any RN to DNP programs online, it’s critical that you ensure the program is legitimately accredited. Regional accreditation is the standard for colleges and universities, but nursing schools may also be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). By choosing an accredited program, you’ll know the accelerated RN to DNP programs you’re researching are reputable. Many of the 12 month online DNP programs have accreditation, thus allowing you to pursue the cheapest online DNP programs.

When you’re researching RN to DNP programs online and find that they don’t require prerequisites including letters of reference or specific minimum scores on the GRE (Graduate Record Exam), it may be advisable to look elsewhere for accelerated RN to DNP programs. Reputable 12 month online DNP programs will require a resume or curriculum vitae, as well as a statement of professional goals. Therefore, if you’re just looking for the cheapest online DNP programs, you may not always be finding ones that are reputable.

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25 Top Schools for Nursing Specialties
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