Get A Real Degree

Doctor of Nursing Practice

There is no question about it—nurses are an integral part of the healthcare team. Nurses not only supply treatment to patients who are ill or injured, but also administer medication, provide education, and perform a number of other essential tasks. Depending on a nurses’ educational background, he or she may also be involved in the administration and supervision of other, more junior members of the staff. While certification and licensure in the field of nursing can be obtained with as little as four months of education, many individuals commit to extensive, long-term programs. For example, the doctor of nursing practice degree is traditionally defined as a terminal degree focusing on clinical aspects of nursing. Individuals who are interested in obtaining a doctor of nursing practice degree should consider program requirements, curriculum, benefits, and career outlook before committing to a particular program.

University Degree Offerings

  • Maryville University Doctor of Nursing Practice

    Maryville University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program delivers an innovative curriculum from post-baccalaureate to doctorate, emphasizing healthcare engineering and interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty, hospitals, community leaders, and policy makers. Our faculty emphasizes knowledge and skill building in the areas of scholarly practice, practice improvement, innovation and testing of care delivery models.


As the population ages, technology advances and more nurses retire from the ranks, nurses with degrees from top online nursing schools will continue to be in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that nursing employment opportunities will continue to grow at a much faster than average rate in the United States. Students pursuing nursing degrees may obtain an associates, a bachelors, a masters, or a doctorate.

Why a Doctor of Nursing Degree

As with other degree programs, individuals who enroll in doctor of nursing practice programs can expect to experience a variety of benefits. Namely, these benefits include improvements in basic knowledge levels and enhanced leadership skills. In addition, doctor of nursing practice programs are beneficial for the medical community as a whole, as many experts believe that they can attract individuals to nursing who previously worked in another employment sector. Finally, doctor of nursing practice programs may also be able to positively improve the image of nursing and provide increased faculty for clinical instruction. Other benefits of doctor of nursing practice programs may vary, depending on the institute from which the degree was obtained.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Courses & Areas of Study

While program specifications may vary between institutions, most doctorate of nursing practice programs require students to complete substantial amounts of coursework in the field of evidence-based practice, clinical research, health care policy and finance, and a variety of other subjects. Most colleges and universities follow a set of guidelines set forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. This organization requires all students who enroll in doctorate of nursing practice programs to complete a set of specific, pre-determined coursework before earning their terminal degree. Depending on degree status prior to enrollment, completion of doctorate of nursing practice programs can vary in length from one to three years.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Career Opportunities

While entering a career field that will be fulfilling and satisfactory is important to longevity in the field, finding a position that is stable and secure is also considered to be essential by many job-seekers. Increases in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease mean that healthcare careers in general—and doctor of nursing practice professionals, specifically—will be in high demand. In many cases, physicians are unable to handle the large number of patients seeking medical care, and rely on advance practice nurses to fill the void. Advance practice nurses will not only be able to obtain careers in acute care, but may also be able to find positions in wellness and public health, both in the Unites States, and oversees.

Online Dotor of Nursing Practice Programs

Doctor of Nursing programs usually require three or more years of full-time study to complete. While the focus areas of the program will vary by school, the Doctor of Nursing degree generally builds on the role of the advanced practice nurse and is more focused on developing advanced practice nurse specialist skills. The goal is to prepare leaders who can affect change through system redesign and evidenced-based decision making in a variety of clinical, organizational and educational settings.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Education & Admissions Requirements

As with other advanced-practice healthcare degrees, requirements for earning a doctor of nursing practice degree may vary quite dramatically from institution to institution. In most cases, individuals who wish to earn a doctor of nursing practice degree must have at least a master of science in nursing degree, along with an acceptable GPA and currently registered nurse licensure. In addition, applicants are often required to display practical experience in the field of healthcare, such as previous paid nursing care in acute or long-term healthcare facilities. Applicants should consult with doctor of nursing practice degree administrators before beginning the application process to ensure all pre-requisite coursework and career experiences have been met.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Accreditation

When selecting a Nurse Practitioner School that can provide you with an education and degree you can put towards becoming a Nurse Practitioner, it’s very important to make sure that the Online Nurse Practitioner Program and the school in question is accredited. Accredited online masters programs can offer an educational experience that rivals the more traditional, on-campus programs. Schools with accreditation are evaluated by accrediting institutions that verify that they are providing top-notch curricula, instructors, and learning assets.

What it all boils down to is that completing a program from an accredited school can help to ensure other educational institutions and employers will recognize your degree as one of good quality, and therefore help to further your Nurse Practitioner Career.

Top Ranked Doctor of Nursing Programs

Earning a Doctor of Nursing degree from a top-ranked institution makes the degree more credible and prestigious due to name recognition, as well as excellence in the academic program itself. Renowned institutions with Doctor of Nursing programs also receive high ranks by such organizations as U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review.

Nurse Practitioner Professional Organizations

Individuals who have entered a career as a doctor of nursing practice are often encouraged to join professional organizations to stay on top of new trends, research, and recommendations. While there are a number of legitimate organizations currently designed for membership by advanced-practice nurses, one of the most popular if the American Nurses Association. Obtaining membership with an organization such as the American Nurses Association—or another, legitimate group—can be an effective way to promote career advancement and improve baseline knowledge. Doctor of nursing practice professionals should be aware that depending on educational background, membership fees may vary quite substantially.