Online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Online Family Nurse Practitioner Program
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Prepare for a future as a primary care provider with Samuel Merritt University. Our online Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program can help you develop the clinical knowledge and practical skills you need to gain licensure as a Family Nurse Practitioner. As an FNP, you can have greater influence on the health of patients and their families by promoting healthy habits, prescribing and monitoring medication use, and providing education about conditions and self-care.

With the guidance and personalized instruction offered by our faculty members and our up-to-date course content, you will graduate ready to make a positive impact on patients and the health of the community. This online program aligns with standards set by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Family Nurse Practitioner: A Satisfying, In-Demand, Career Path

There has never been a better time to become a Family Nurse Practitioner thanks to the impending retirement of many in the Baby Boom generation of nurses and the millions of patients newly ensured by the Affordable Care Act, demand for FNPs is on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of job openings for nurse practitioners will rise by 34% between 2012 and 2022, significantly faster than the 11% growth rate expected for all occupations over the same period.[i]

Fortunately, in addition to being in demand, being an FNP can also be highly rewarding: the 2012 National Sample Survey of Nurse Practitioners found that 92% of nurse practitioners said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their main roles,[ii] thanks to the autonomy and sense of value that comes with working as an FNP.

Where You Can Study With Us

Our online program is approved for nurses licensed and residing in:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Texas*
  • Virginia

*Samuel Merritt University (SMU) is not regulated in Texas under Chapter 178 of the Texas Education Code; the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) approves and regulates SMU’s programs in California where the University is physically located and where it has legal authorization to operate; SMU’s student grievance policy, process, and procedures can be found on page 146 of the Student Handbook.

Due to clinical and state compliance requirements, authorization for offering this online program is being sought on a state by state basis. If the state you reside in is not on the previous list, it means authorization is not yet in place. Check back periodically for state approvals.

After completing your degree and obtaining licensure, you can practice in settings such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics, including retail clinics
  • Community health organizations
  • Schools
  • Hospice care
  • Nursing homes
  • Private practice (sole practitioner or in partnership with other NPs or physicians)

What You Can Do As an FNP

As a graduate of our MSN-FNP program, you will be prepared to provide family-oriented, evidence-based, primary health care to a high standard. You’ll be equipped to serve patients from a wide variety of cultural and social backgrounds, helping to expand access to primary care in underserved communities. You will be able to:

  • Work with patients to develop thorough, accurate, medical histories;
  • Perform examinations and diagnostic tests, including interpretation of results;
  • Establish and implement care plans based on patient needs and monitor ongoing effectiveness;
  • Promote healthy living habits and provide advice about preventive care;
  • Make referrals and consult with other practitioners;
  • Produce graduate-level research for peer review;
  • Lead within the profession and act as an advocate for patients.

What You Can Learn

Samuel Merritt University provides a thorough, rigorous 49-credit curriculum for our FNP candidates. It is available in a full-time format that takes as little as twenty months to complete. In addition to online study, you will complete three semesters of clinical practicum hours.

Course topics in the program include:

  • Research Methods
  • Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Professional Role Development for Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Family Centered Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Advanced Physical Assessment/Lab
  • Analysis of Health Policy Issues
  • Health Protection, Promotion, and Screening for Individuals, Families and Communities
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Clinical Practicum
  • Care of Acute and Episodic Conditions
  • Professional Advocacy for Entry to the Advanced Practice Role
  • Care of Chronic and Complex Conditions

At the completion of the program, you will produce a final thesis or project to show your mastery of concepts and themes presented in the curriculum.

Admissions Requirements

To apply to our online Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner program, you must be a licensed, currently practicing Registered Nurse with a baccalaureate degree in nursing. Nurses who hold a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, we prefer applicants who:

  • Demonstrate an interest in working with underserved populations;
  • Have successfully completed at least one course in statistics;
  • Can provide two letters of reference.

We also strongly encourage nurses with proficiency in more than one language to apply. Download the program flyer (PDF) here. For more details on the application process, admissions, or our program, please contact us today at 877.670.4629


Learn more about our Online FNP Program



In less than two years, my family has a better life. It was a fast program and I spent many nights studying after the kids went to bed, but now I’ve got a lot to show for it: A new career Alejandra Villegas FNP
Our background in sports and passion for physical performance drove us to study the science of human movement. Tino and Tron Tino & Tron Hardy Physical Therapy
So many foot problems can be successfully treated if they are identified early, and corrective measures are taken. Then, there are patients with diabetes and other chronic diseases that require specialized, ongoing foot care. We see everything in our clinics. Samantha Ralstin Samantha Ralstin Podiatric Medicine

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