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Grad schools that offer online nursing programs

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June 1, 2021
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Grad schools that offer online nursing programs

A graduate-level degree increases earning potential for nurses exponentially. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for a registered nurse is $75,330 per year. Meanwhile, the agency reports that nurses who hold a master’s degree, like nurse anesthesiologists, earn a median wage of $189,190 per year. At almost double, it seems clear that the time and monetary investments required to obtain a higher level of education would be well worth it.

Yet many nurses don’t have enough flexibility in their schedules to spend two years in a classroom while also maintaining their careers, which is why online programs are such a great option. Obtaining a graduate degree fully online or through a hybrid program provides access to the same high-quality education in-person students are receiving, but without having to uproot your entire life or take time off to attend lectures.

NursingEducation used 2021 data from Niche to compile 25 graduate schools that offer online programs across the United States. The schools are listed in alphabetical order by the states in which they are located. Read on for a closer look at each program, and to get a better idea of cost, specialties offered, and time required.

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Ida Moffett School of Nursing

- University name: Samford University
- Location: Birmingham, Alabama

The Ida Moffett School of Nursing offers incredibly flexible options for students in its master’s in family nurse practitioner program. With start dates in both January and August, all coursework can be completed online while clinical hours can be conducted in a number of primary care sites across the United States and in a number of different departments, from pediatrics to geriatrics. At $888 per credit hour, it’s not the cheapest program on the list, but the school offers a number of scholarship and grant options for qualifying students that can make it much more affordable.

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University of Alabama—Birmingham School of Nursing

- University name: University of Alabama—Birmingham
- Location: Birmingham, Alabama

While the University of Alabama’s Birmingham School of Nursing offers three graduate degree programs—nurse practitioner, health systems leaders, and an accelerated master’s in nursing pathway—only one, the nurse practitioner program, can be completed online. This specific program offers 10 specialties, including popular options like family nurse practitioner and women’s health practitioner, with both fall and summer start dates. Tuition is currently $656 a credit hour, and students have access to 76 endowed scholarships as well as three sponsored scholarships to help with costs.

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Capstone College of Nursing

- University name: The University of Alabama
- Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Capstone College of Nursing has two master’s degree programs that can be completed online, though one of them, the nurse practitioner program, can only be completed by students based in a handful of states. For both programs, nurse administrator and nurse practitioner, students are responsible for securing their own clinical sites, which must be approved by the University of Alabama. Distance learners pay $420 per credit hour, making this a relatively affordable option for students.

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UAH College of Nursing

- University name: The University of Alabama in Huntsville
- Location: Huntsville, Alabama

New students are accepted to UAH College of Nursing’s nurse practitioner programs three times a year. Classes, in both the hybrid and online models, only take place once a week, allowing students to continue working while furthering their education. Distance learners pay a mere $405 per credit hour, which, combined with the 90% pass rate on national certification exams, makes the school a solid choice for those looking for an affordable and high-quality education.

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University of Arizona College of Nursing

- University name: University of Arizona
- Location: Tucson, Arizona

The Master of Science in Nursing program at the University of Arizona has three pathways for students—clinical systems leadership, nursing education, and global nursing leadership. With fall and spring start dates, the total cost for each program is $21,239. Clinical systems leadership and nursing education offer bachelor’s and associate degree tracks; global nursing leadership, a bachelor’s degree track. Each track is composed of seven-week classes, but the final course in each track is a full semester in length.

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University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions

- University name: University of San Francisco
- Location: San Francisco

The University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions’ online master’s in nursing program is asynchronous, meaning it doesn’t require students to tune into live classes and can be completed entirely at your own pace. For a two-year program, all of the clinical hours can be done at a student’s place of work, making it even easier to fit into an existing schedule. At $1,510 per unit, the school is definitely on the pricier end, and it’s not open to students in all 50 states, however, its flexibility makes the expense worth it to many.

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CU College of Nursing—University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

- University name: University of Colorado Denver
- Location: Aurora, Colorado

Home of the first nurse practitioner program in the country, Colorado University’s College of Nursing is a reputable option for those looking to obtain a higher degree in the field. All of the school’s graduate programs are offered in a hybrid format, partially online and partially on campus, which makes them best fit for students who live in the area and who can commit to trekking to campus when necessary. Additionally, the programs, which include a master’s in nursing with 12 specialty options, are more affordable for in-state students, at $711 per credit, than out-of-state students, at $1,148 per credit.

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UF College of Nursing

- University name: University of Florida
- Location: Gainesville, Florida

The University of Florida’s College of Nursing is unique in that it doesn’t actually offer a master’s degree program, only a doctor of nursing practice degree and a doctorate in nursing science. For both of the programs, the majority of coursework is completed online over eight or five semesters respectively, though occasional campus visits are required for both. Tuition differs for in-state and out-of-state students, starting at $448 per credit and topping out at $690 per credit.

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Florida State University College of Nursing

- University name: Florida State University
- Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Florida State University offers a doctor of nursing practice degree program that allows a student to specialize as a family nurse practitioner, acute care nurse practitioner, or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. All of the coursework for each specialty is completed via video conference at set times during the week, practicums are completed in students’ local communities, and students only have to be present on campus a total of five times during the entire length of the program. Tuition for in-state residents is set at $9,630 per year and at $22,270 for out-of-state students.

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College of Nursing—University of Central Florida

- University name: University of Central Florida
- Location: Orlando, Florida

At the University of Central Florida, students can choose from master’s degree programs in health care simulation, leadership and management, and nursing education, as well as two doctorate programs, all of which can be completed entirely online. Each program offers full-time, part-time, and accelerated learning options, giving students the opportunity to choose a pace that works for them. Because the courses lack any in-person component, tuition costs are the same for in-state and out-of-state residents at $288.16 per credit hour.

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College of Science and Health—DePaul University

- University name: DePaul University
- Location: Chicago, Illinois

Whether you’re interested in pursuing a master’s in nursing degree or a doctor of nursing practice degree, the College of Science and Health at DePaul University has you covered. The graduate-level programs take between two and four years to complete, depending on the level of degree each student holds as well as the specialty they choose. Tuition for both programs is $750 per credit hour, and 93% of students were employed or pursuing next-level degrees within six months of graduation.

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Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

- University name: Johns Hopkins University
- Location: Baltimore

Aside from more standard offerings, like a family care nurse practitioner and health care organizational leadership, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing offers two dual degrees that can be completed entirely online: doctor of nursing practice executive track/master of business administration and doctor of nursing practice executive track/master of public health. Both programs can be completed in nine semesters, with total costs of $39,748 and $41,310, respectively. In order to offset costs, there are a limited number of merit-based scholarships available to graduate students, and the school can assist in finding loan repayment options if necessary.

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College of Nursing—University of Massachusetts-Amherst

- University name: University of Massachusetts—Amherst
- Location: Amherst, Massachusetts

Graduate-level nursing programs at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst include a Clinical Nurse Leader concentration and a Nursing Education concentration. Despite the fact that all classes are completed online, minus practicums and clinicals, students from Alabama, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Washington are ineligible due to restrictions set by their states. Tuition is calculated by the number of credits a student takes, starting at $2,081 for in-state students and $4,043 for out-of-state students.

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College of Nursing—Michigan State University

- University name: Michigan State University
- Location: East Lansing, Michigan

At Michigan State University, students can complete a graduate-level clinical nurse specialist program entirely online or a nursing anesthesia program through a hybrid arrangement. According to the school, 100% of graduate students pass their specialty certification exam on the first try, while 92% of students pass their nurse anesthesia certification on the first attempt. Costs for the online degrees are $863 per credit for in-state students, while costs for the anesthesia program are higher at $59,920 for the course.

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Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing

- University name: Saint Louis University
- Location: St Louis

The Trudy Busch Valentine school offers three master’s degree options—clinical nurse leader, nurse practitioner, and an accelerated master’s in nursing for those who have a bachelor’s degree in another field, but are not yet registered nurses. With rolling admissions, the programs can be completed in five to eight semesters, and tuition ranges between $1,120 and $1,190. Academic advisors work with each student to devise a curriculum plan based on part-time or full-time study as well as any number of specializations you may wish to pursue.

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The Ohio State University College of Nursing

- University name: The Ohio State University
- Location: Columbus, Ohio

Ohio State University offers a traditional master’s in nursing program, a post-master’s study option, a master’s of health care innovation program, and a master’s of clinical research program as a part of its online graduate studies catalog. The majority of classes in each program require students to attend virtual lectures at designated times, although a few classes are offered asynchronously for those who need more flexibility. With two start times, one in the fall and one in the spring, students can start whenever is best for them. Tuition is $38,900 for full-time students who finish in five semesters and $52,515 for part-time students who finish in eight.

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College of Health Sciences and Professions—Ohio University

- University name: Ohio University
- Location: Athens, Ohio

As with many of the other programs on this list, the online master’s degree options at Ohio University are not available to students from every state. The ones that are, including the master’s nurse practitioner, master’s nurse educator, and doctor of nursing practice, can all be completed in two years with just a handful of on-campus visits. Tuition is relatively low at $505 per credit in every program and for students who are in-state and out-of-state.

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University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

- University name: University of Pittsburgh
- Location: Pittsburgh

At the University of Pittsburgh, all of the master’s and doctoral degrees, including those that allow for specialization in certain areas of nursing, can be completed online. Many of the programs can be completed in five semesters or less, with a handful of classes offered in person for those interested in a hybrid model, and tuition fees are $1,122 per credit. A highly respected school, UPitt’s DNP programs and nurse practitioner program can often be found at the top of various educational rankings

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Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions

- University name: Drexel University
- Location: Philadelphia

Of any school on this list, Drexel University offers the widest selection of online nursing programs. From master’s in public health nursing to pediatric acute care nurse practitioner, students are educated through live virtual lectures, occasional mandatory in-person clinics, and local clinic hours. Programs aren’t available to residents in all 50 states, so be sure to check whether you qualify before enrolling, and costs for all programs are $1,342 per credit hour.

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University of Utah College of Nursing

- University name: University of Utah
- Location: Salt Lake City

Each of the University of Utah’s nursing master’s degree programs run a little bit differently, in either full or part-time formats. Taking between four and five semesters to complete on average, students can earn a master’s in nursing education, nursing informatics, care management, and gerontology. Tuition is on the higher end, but the asynchronous format makes the price tag worth it for many.

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George Washington University School of Nursing

- University name: George Washington University
- Location: Ashburn, Virginia

George Washington University offers its progressive nursing curriculum to graduate students through a hybrid model that includes online classes and in-person training on the Virginia campus. With seven different options ranging from the standard registered nurse to master’s in nursing to more unique offerings like nursing leadership and management, there’s sure to be something for every student. Tuition fees sit at $1,395 per credit hour, but a number of scholarship programs and a partnership with The George Washington University Hospital in Washington D.C., have the potential to reduce overall costs significantly.

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Liberty University School of Nursing (LUSON)

- University name: Liberty University
- Location: Lynchburg, Virginia

Every one of Liberty University’s graduate degrees in nursing can be completed online, including the dual degrees that give students a master’s in nursing alongside a master’s in business administration or a master’s in health care administration. Programs take between 1.5 and 2.5 years to finish, but allow students to transfer in up to 50% of the total credits required. Tuition is $565 per credit for full-time students and $615 per credit for part-time students.

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University of Virginia School of Nursing

- University name: University of Virginia
- Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

The University of Virginia’s School of Nursing is ranked the #1 program in the state and #8 among all public schools by U.S. News & World Report. Its master’s in nursing program allows students to specialize in one of nine different tracks, including neonatal care. Full-time students pay between $18,520 and $30,240 depending on residency, while part-time students pay $772 per credit or $1,260 per credit.

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School of Nursing and Human Physiology—Gonzaga University

- University name: Gonzaga University
- Location: Spokane, Washington

In addition to offering a master’s in nursing program and a doctorate in nursing program, Gonzaga University also offers a second MSN program, which allows students to gain further expertise as a family nurse practitioner or a psychiatric mental health practitioner. These nurse practitioner tracks can both be completed in nine semesters, which include 600 clinical hours, and cost $1,070 per credit. Another option is its nursing leadership and health care track, which only requires six semesters of study alongside one campus immersion and costs $965 per credit.

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Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies

- University name: Georgetown University
- Location: NW Washington, Washington D.C.

Georgetown offers four of its master’s degree programs online, including adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nurse-midwifery, and women’s health nurse practitioner. Taught via live online classes, with clinicals taking place in approved sites around the country, each program also includes an objective clinical intensive that walks students through new clinical techniques. One of the most expensive options on the list, tuition fees are high at $2,278 per credit hour, so students may want to check out their financial aid options before enrolling.

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This story originally appeared on and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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