How do I Choose the Best Nurse Practitioner Programs?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2019
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There are four items to consider when choosing the best nurse practitioner programs: admissions requirements, accreditation, faculty, and research opportunities. Nurse practitioner programs are part of the faculty of nursing in a large university. A nurse practitioner is able to diagnose and treat a range of illnesses, as the direct health care provider. Depending on the state, many nurse practitioners work independently or collaboratively with physicians. In remote locations, they often act as the primary health resource, contacting a doctor only as required.

In order to qualify for admission to a nurse practitioner program, you must have completed a bachelor of nursing degree from an accredited university. Nurse practitioner is a graduate level program, providing students with either a master's or doctoral degree upon graduation. Admission to this program is based on a combination of academic credentials and working experience in nursing.

If you are looking at the best nurse practitioner programs in the country or state, think about what is best for you. For example, a student with family responsibilities may find that a program with online course options is the best program. Another student may decide that a part-time program with courses in the evenings and weekends works best. Think about your daily life, what will fit and find the program that works for you. The vast majority of candidates continue to work full time while completing this degree.


When looking for nurse practitioner programs, always check the accreditation status of the school. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent third party. Courses from an accredited school can be transferred to other post-secondary institutions. This is very important, as many people change careers and the ability to use credits earned in the nurse practitioner program toward other certificates or degrees reduces the time and cost of career changes.

Most nurse practitioner programs provide the biographies of their faculty or instructors on their website. The information listed typically includes the academic credentials, work experience, special training, and any awards they have received. Courses offered at this level should be taught by instructors who are experts in their respective fields. Review the research focus of the faculty to determine if any of their research is of interest to you.

When choosing the best nurse practitioner program, look at the depth and breadth of research projects available. All graduate level programs have at least one major research project or thesis. Think about which area of nursing you would like to focus on. In a nurse practitioner program, the training is focused on filling the role of primary health care provider. Research into effective history-taking techniques or the impact of nurse practitioners on the health care system are common thesis topics.



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