HomeNursing ProgramsRN to ARNP/APRN Online Programs

RN to ARNP/APRN Online Programs


It is not difficult to find nursing schools that offer RN to ARNP online  programs for registered nurses (RNs) looking to earn the degree of a doctoral student in a more advanced clinical specialization. Many RN to APRN online programs are available for nurses looking for APRN (Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner) Programs, but which one is right for you? The answer may depend on your experience and goals.

Nurses are always looking for new opportunities to learn and grow in their careers. Some interested in pursuing an APRN degree may look for online RN to APRN programs. With so many different career paths open for nurses, there is no guarantee that you will find the perfect program for you.  It is also essential to consider the cost of the RN to APRN program online and in regular mode.

RN to ARNP Online Program Eligibility

To be eligible for ARNP or APRN certification at the national level, a registered nurse must have completed a Master of Science in Nursing in their specialization. RN can join this Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) MSN program. There is additionally RN to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs online for nurses looking to pursue a doctoral degree in an APRN specialization without having to first complete the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master’s program.

RN to ARNP Categories

There are three categories, and admission criteria are different for each program. The traditional Masters Program for RN Nurses requires an ADN qualification or a recognized Nursing diploma. The third category is a bridge program for RN to become MSN. Nurses who want to join RN to MSN bridge program must have an Associate’s Degree in Nursing and a Bachelor’s degree in any field. Non-nursing bachelor’s degree holders are also eligible to apply for the RN BA/BS MSN program.

Few institutions offer RN for DNP programs compared to RN to MSN programs. Some require students to have an ADN and a bachelor’s degree other than in nursing to be eligible for admission. Applicants also need to have a valid RN license within their state of practice to get admission. For more details on the online RN to APRN courses, including the duration of the courses and specialties available, visit the websites of the nursing schools offering these programs.

APRN Online Programs Requirements

rn to arnp online programs

Although the exact requirements for RN to APRN programs onine differ, traditional RN in MSN programs generally requires completion of 120-150 credit hours. The curriculum for these programs typically comprises undergraduate basic education classes, BSN-level nursing classes, and graduate-level education that includes MSN classes and those specifically designed for the specific specialization being studied. For some RN to APRN programs, students could be able to transfer credits from their previous undergraduate degrees depending on the institutions they join.

The Bridge RNMSN programs usually require 45 and 70 credits because they don’t include specific courses that students have already completed in their bachelor’s degree programs. Students in bridge programs must finish a set of nursing courses to prepare students for MSN. These courses typically focus on essential nursing subjects like assessing health and leadership in human physiology, pharmacology, and evidence-based practice in nursing.

Responsibilities and Duties of ARNPs /APRNs
APRNs play an important role in managing the nursing staff and other medical staff, including medical assistants. The duties and responsibilities of APRNs vary according to their specialization. An APRN specialized in anesthesia may be responsible for anesthesia, and an APRN with specialization in midwifery may look after the pregnant patients. Generally APRNs or ARPNs are responsible for Diagnosis, Prescription, Advice tests and supervising other medical staff.

Requirement of Clinical Practice:
Online RNMSN students must also complete the required number of hours of clinical practice throughout their course. The number of hours needed varies according to program specialization and institution. However, most programs require between 500 and 1,000 hours completing the program successfully. Students who study online usually can complete their clinical hours in an institution or hospital close to their home under the guidance of a certified preceptor. Some schools help RN with clinical training facilities whereas others require students to locate their own preceptors and locations. These clinical rotations usually occur in the MSN part of the program and are often in line with the subjects covered in the course during the course. It is always recommended to get complete information about the facilities provided by the institution for clinical practice before admission.

RN to DNP Programs
Some RN to DNP programs award students with a BSN, MSN, and DNP when they complete the program, while some institutions award only an MSN and a DNP or only a DNP degree. RN to DNP students require doctoral-level coursework to train them for these eight competencies identified in The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice by AACN. The DNP courses cover inter-professional collaboration system leadership, health policy, patient-centered technology, and analytical techniques to practice evidence-based. Based on the particular course, students might have to take several prerequisite courses or specific bridge courses before starting the MSN program. RN to DNP students must complete at least 1000 hours of clinical experience to earn their doctoral degree.

RN to APRN Degree Specializations

Students looking for RN to APRN programs online can choose many specializations according to their interests and the institution they join. After completing a graduate program in one of these specialties, they can sit for the national certification exam for that specific specialization. The requirements for admission and program enrollment can differ depending on the specialty. Therefore, students must be sure to read all information about the RN to APRN program before applying.

The online RN to APRN programs are offered in the following clinical concentrations for advanced training:

  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
  • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (PACNP)
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PPCNP)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) etc…

For more information about the various APRN specializations, check the websites of the institution you prefer to join.

APRN Course Duration

The Online RN to APRN Program duration depends on the specialty and school. Generally, Traditional RN to MSN programs take about three years of full-time study. Part-time courses take a little more to complete, usually four years.

RN to MSN Bridge programs take around two years to complete, and if you are joining the Part-time Bridge RN to MSN programs, it may take 2.5 to 4 years.

The duration of online RN -DNP programs is different in many ways. It mainly depends on the course structure and nursing schools. Some nursing schools have made it mandatory for RNs to have an ADN degree and a degree in a non-nursing field for admission. There are programs that do not require a BSN to join; instead, students need to finish a bridge year before starting MSN courses. In general, RN to DNP students must have four years of full-time education to complete their doctoral degree. Part-time students might need up to six years to finish their degree.

BSN to APRN Program Overview

RNs with a BSN degree are eligible to be certified as APRNs by completing online programs offered by some nursing schools. To qualify for the national APRN certification test, they must have a MSN degree with a focus on a specialized clinical area of study.

Licensed RNs with BSNs can study for their master’s degrees online in BSN-to MSN bridge programs. BSN nurses can also join the Doctor of Nursing programs and earn a doctorate in Nursing and APRN certification simultaneously. BSN to APRN students will be required to meet different requirements depending on the institution or nursing school they plan to join.

Program Requirements
Most programs require between 40 and 70 credits of study to learn about advanced pharmacology, health system innovations, and health promotion and prevention. An RN interested in obtaining a DNP without completing another master’s program may take a BSN to DNP course that requires between 65 and 95 credits of coursework in addition to about 1,000 hours of clinical experience.

Clinical Training Requirements
APRNs complete most of their courses online but must also finish their clinical training offline. The students can complete their clinical hours in hospitals or other medical facilities close to their homes under the supervision of approved preceptors. Certain schools can match each RN with a preceptor who is a certified location and preceptor.

BSN to APRN Degree Specializations
Students interested in BSN-to APRN programs have many options for specialization. Students who have completed DNPs and MSNs in any field are eligible to take national certification tests in their preferred area of focus for patients.

Universities Providing RN to APRN Online Programs
Name of University Accreditation Details
Walden University CCNE Visit Website
Purdue University CCNE Visit Website
Capella University CCNE, ANA Visit Website
George Town University CCNE Visit Website
Goodwin University CCNE Visit Website
Gannon University CCNE Visit Website


FAQs Related to RN to ARNP online  programs

1. What is APRN in Nursing?
An APRN or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse is a registered nurse who has at least a master’s level of education in a particular field of nursing like Clinical Nurse Specialists etc.

2. What is the difference between RN and APRN?
The main role of RN or Registered Nurses is providing medical care to the patients; Whereas APRNs play a supervisory role in managing the medical staff including Registered Nurses as well as advice tests etc to the patients.

3. What is the difference between APRN and ARNP?
APRNs are known as advanced registered nurse practitioners, responsible for providing supervisory roles in nursing care and managing medical and nursing staff. Certain State Nursing boards call their graduate nurses ARNPs; they often have the same roles as their APRN colleagues. In practice, both APRNs and the ARNPs are the same.

4. What is an APRN license?
Persons intend to practice as an APRN in a particular state are required to be licensed by the Board of Nursing of that particular state, and it is known as APRN License or Advanced registered nurse practitioners License.


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