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Are you a registered nurse looking to take the next step in your career and become a family nurse practitioner (FNP)? Pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with a specialization in Family Nurse Practitioner is an excellent choice for those who wish to provide comprehensive healthcare to patients of all ages. However, selecting the right program can be a daunting task. In this blog post, we discuss the key factors that registered nurses should weigh when choosing an MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program.


First and foremost, ensure that the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program you choose is accredited by a recognized programmatic accrediting body. Accreditation is a sign that the program meets specific standards of educational practice and quality. This is important as you search for a program that can prepare you for the challenges of becoming a competent and skilled family nurse practitioner. Look for programs accredited by bodies such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Curriculum and Specialization

Evaluate the MSN program to ensure it covers the courses and clinical experiences required to become a successful family nurse practitioner. The curriculum should provide an in-depth understanding of advanced nursing concepts, including courses in advanced health assessment, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and evidence-based practice. Additionally, pay attention to whether the program offers specialized coursework in family practice, primary care, and pediatrics to equip you with the knowledge and skills specific to the FNP role.

Clinical Rotations and Preceptorship

Clinical rotations and preceptorship experiences are invaluable components of an MSN FNP program. These hands-on experiences allow you to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom and develop essential clinical skills under the guidance of experienced nurse practitioners. Seek out programs that offer diverse clinical placements, including opportunities to work with patients of different age groups and in various healthcare settings such as primary care clinics, hospitals, and specialty practices.

Faculty Expertise

The expertise and qualifications of the faculty members can significantly impact the quality of education you receive. When talking with a school, make sure the faculty possess relevant degrees, clinical experience as nurse practitioners, and a commitment to teaching. Faculty with a strong presence in the nursing community can offer valuable mentorship and guidance throughout your academic journey.

Flexibility and Format

Assess your individual circumstances and determine the flexibility and format that best suits your needs. Some registered nurses may already hold a BSN degree and can directly pursue an MSN degree, while others may need to find an RN to MSN bridge program. Look for programs that offer part-time or online options if you need to balance your studies with work or other commitments. Additionally, ensure that the program’s schedule aligns with your lifestyle and allows you to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Financial Options

Pursuing an MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program involves financial investment. For the top programs you are interested in, research the tuition costs, scholarships, grants, and financial aid options available to those who qualify. Ideally, you should be able to talk to a student financial aid advisor at a school to get answers to any questions you have about paying for your education. Additionally, consider the potential return on investment of a degree, such as job placement rates and average salaries for family nurse practitioners in your area.

Student Services

Pursuing an advanced degree can be academically and personally demanding. Having dedicated support services can contribute to your success and overall well-being throughout the program. Look for institutions that offer resources such as academic advising, career services, library access, and mental health support. These services can provide assistance during challenging coursework, help you navigate clinical experiences, and offer valuable guidance as you transition into your new role as a family nurse practitioner. Remember, a strong support system can make a real difference in your educational journey, ensuring you have the tools and assistance to thrive.

Learn about the MSN FNP programs at South University

South University offers an RN to MSN and MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program. Available fully online1 and at our Tampa campus, these CCNE-accredited2 programs are built to prepare you to deliver primary care for individuals and families, while helping to develop your clinical judgment, critical thinking, communication, and leadership abilities.

Our FNP programs meet the Core Competencies for Family Nurse Practitioners outlined by the National Organization for Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF). The curriculum includes key attributes from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Master’s Essentials. The courses are led by faculty with a range of experience and knowledge in the nursing field. These faculty members provide students with personalized support and mentorship throughout the program. Our academic advisors, financial aid advisors, and career resources can also help you pursue your goals.

After completing the program, graduates are eligible to sit for the examinations3 through national certifying bodies (American Nurses Credentialing Center [ANCC]; American Association of Nurse Practitioners [AANP]).

Request more information today to speak with our Admissions team!

1 Fully online programs can have a ground clinical or practicum experience.

2The Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the Master of Science in Nursing, and Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

3It is up to each student to review the national and state licensure requirements for licensure, as well as the eligibility criteria to sit for licensure exams. South University cannot guarantee each graduate will pass the required licensure examinations. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to South University.

South University does not promise or guarantee employment.