With an increasing demand for skilled, highly educated nurses nationwide, many nurses are choosing to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, the highest level of nursing practice education available in the U.S. DNP programs prepare students in Washington, DC for leadership positions in nursing, whether in direct patient care, administrative roles or leading teams of nurses in a clinical setting.

Choosing a DNP Program

DNP programs prepare nurses for the highest positions in their chosen field of nursing. When choosing a DNP program in Washington DC, keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Program Accreditation: Program accreditation by a reputable third-party organization is critical for ensuring a program will provide a high-quality education that will prepare you for the next phase in your career. Every program you consider should be accredited by an organization such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). In addition, regional accrediting organizations or a state's Board of Nursing are reputable accrediting organizations that vet nursing education programs.
  • Program Cost: DNP program costs vary greatly from school to school. In general, when considering the cost of a program it is important to consider a number of costs in addition to tuition, including mandatory university and course fees, books and other supplies and the cost of room and board and/or commuting and parking for an on-campus program. Once you have selected a school, make sure to contact the financial aid office to inquire about possible scholarships, loan options or other cost-saving programs that may save money on the total price tag of your education.
  • Program Length: The time to complete a DNP program varies depending on whether a student takes a full-time course load or a part-time course load, and whether the student begins the program with a BSN degree or an MSN degree. Traditional MSN to DNP programs generally takes 18 to 24 months of full-time study, whereas a part-time student may require 3 to 4 years to earn the DNP degree. BSN to DNP programs generally takes longer as they incorporate MSN-level courses into the DNP program. BSN to DNP programs take around 3 to 4 years of study to complete.
  • Internship/Externship Opportunities: Many programs, both online and traditional on-campus types, offer students the opportunity to participate in professional internships or externships to gain experience in a variety of clinical settings prior to graduation. In addition to the valuable professional experience gained, students who complete internships or externships may build professional relationships and contacts that result in job opportunities following graduation.
  • On-Site/Online Program Delivery: DNP programs are designed to provide advanced education to professional nurses, and as such many DNP students are nurses who continue to work while earning their degree. Some schools offer courses in a fully online "distance learning" format or hybrid formats that combine on-campus study with online coursework. Online or hybrid programs provide flexibility and convenience to students by allowing them to complete assignments and coursework from wherever is convenient on a schedule that works for them.

Admission & State Licensing or Certification Requirements

Admissions criteria for most DNP programs include the following:

  • Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited college or university
  • Master's degree in nursing from an accredited college or university for MSN to DNP programs
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary schools showing a preferred GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Current resume showing all professional nursing experience
  • Essay or personal statement
  • Active and unencumbered nursing license

In addition, many programs require specific professional experience. For instance, George Washington University requires at least one year of experience in a critical care setting for applicants to its DNP Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. Be sure to confirm all admissions criteria as well as application deadlines with your school of choice prior to submitting an application.

Licensing & Certification

As the DNP degree is an educational level and not a specific career pathway, nurses who complete their DNP degree will need to become certified in their particular specialization if they have not done so prior to entering the DNP program. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board offer certification exams for various nursing careers such as nurse executive, family nurse practitioner, pediatric acute nurse practitioner, psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner among many other specialties. Other nursing certifications are available from professional organizations in a number of other specialty areas of nursing, such as the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, American Organization of Nursing Leadership and others.

Helpful DNP Agencies and Organizations in Ohio


List of Campus and Online DNP Programs in Washington, DC

Washington, DC

DNP Programs
School of Nursing
1919 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 994-7901

3700 O St NW
Washington, DC 20057
(202) 687-0100

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

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