Can You Become a Nurse Practitioner Online?

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Nurse practitioners are vital to health care organizations, collaborating with doctors and specialists while leading teams in providing quality patient-centered care. Becoming an advanced practice nurse requires comprehensive knowledge and experience, clinical skills, and the ability to solve problems and make decisions. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recommends that all advanced practice nurses have a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, predicting that the minimum requirement will likely increase from holding an MSN to a DNP over the next 10 years. Prospective students wondering if they can get the education they need to become a nurse practitioner online will discover that online graduate nursing programs are flexible, supportive and offer an in-depth education that makes it possible for professionals to further their career as a nurse practitioner.

Concentration Areas

For students who wonder, “Can you become a nurse practitioner online?” Regis College offers an MSN to DNP online program that delivers the same education students would receive in a traditional classroom setting but in a flexible, online format.

To begin their program, Regis students will complete general study courses, such as Cultural Perspectives in Health Care, Epidemiology/Biostatistics, Advanced Research Methods, and Informatics for Health Care.

Students can then choose from two main areas of concentration: nurse education and nurse leadership.

Nurse Education

A nurse education concentration prepares graduates of the MSN-DNP program to teach the next generation of nurses in an academic setting. The DNP program is an ideal way to learn the skills to transition from a clinic-based career to a teaching career.

The nurse education curriculum includes several specialized courses, such as Seminar in Teaching and Learning for Nurse Educators, Instructional Methods in Nursing Education and Assessment, and Evaluation in Nursing Education.

Nurse Leadership

An MSN-DNP concentration in nurse leadership is designed for those who seek a career in executive management or research. Examples of nurse leadership positions include nurse administrator, manager, vice president, and other high-level jobs in a health care facility or organization.

The nurse leadership curriculum includes Concepts in Nurse Leadership, Organization and Structure in Nursing Leadership, and Regulatory Issues: Nurse Leadership.

Students in both concentrations also participate in four scholarly DNP projects directly related to their areas of concentration. These studies allow students to gain practical experience in a community setting and help prepare them for their intended career paths once.


Students in the Regis MSN to DNP online program learn in a flexible and supportive environment. They can complete the courses within their time frames based on their particular needs. Many of the students enrolled in the program are practicing nurses with full-time work schedules who might ask, “Can you become a nurse practitioner online?” In fact, the entire Regis College MSN-DNP curriculum can be completed online, so they can fit the coursework into their busy schedules.

The MSN-DNP program can take as few as 24 months to complete; however, the length of time from beginning the program to completion is flexible. Programs start three times per year: in the fall, spring, and summer. Throughout the program, students have access to all the support and assistance they need. Once enrolled, students are provided with guidance in choosing their courses for each semester.

Career Opportunities

The MSN-DNP program helps prepare graduates for specialized careers in nursing. An advanced degree, such as an MSN-DNP, has the potential to improve a nursing professional’s chances of advancement within an organization. Nurses may prepare to advance their positions with an MSN-DNP or may want to move to another area of expertise in health care. Possible roles include:

Nurse Researcher

Nurse researchers study health-related issues and use their findings to improve the health care system. The average salary of a nurse researcher is $97,000 per year, according to Explore Health Careers.

Nurse Educator

Nurse educators train new nurses and may work in academic settings or clinical units. The average salary of a nurse educator, according to Explore Health Careers, is $112,000.

Nurse Administrator

Nurse administrators work in hospitals and other health care organizations. They are in positions of management or executive leadership and may be directors, vice presidents, or facilitators. The average salary of a nurse administrator, according to Explore Health Careers, is $105,000.

The online MSN-DNP program is one of the most flexible options for furthering a nursing career. Students who complete the program must still obtain the appropriate certification from their state’s approved certifying agency before they can begin practicing as an NP. Many nurses may have the desire to advance but don’t have the time or resources to attend classes full time. The online DNP program provides nurses with the ability to maintain their current positions while preparing for their future advancement.

Learn More

The NP degree offers nurses a wide range of health care specialization opportunities, a greater degree of clinical autonomy than even PAs experience and a career that can include health care organization leadership roles. At Regis College, the MSN to DNP online program offers a cutting-edge curriculum that can be completed entirely online to guide nurses into taking an advanced practice role and help them become leaders in their field.

Recommended Reading

Should Nurse Practitioners Have Full Practice Authority?

The Difference Between MSN and DNP Degrees

The Nurse’s Responsibility in the Field of Clinical Pharmacology


International Council of Nurses

American Nurses Association

National League for Nurses

Explore Health Careers

American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Fact Sheet

American Association of Colleges of Nursing, DNP Essentials