The role of the Nurse Practitioner has more than doubled in the past 12 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More Registered Nurses (RNs) are choosing to return to school to earn an advanced practice degree in a variety of specialty services than ever before. RNs in the Washington, DC area have several choices to pursue this fast-growing niche of nursing.

Choosing a Nurse Practitioner Program

The decision on which NP program to choose varies greatly depending on the Nurse Practitioner (NP) focus area. For example, many schools will offer a Family Nurse Practitioner program whereas fewer schools offer a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner degree option. RNs with a master's or doctoral degree in nursing should take the following into consideration:

  • Venue: Schools may offer an online curriculum with required clinical rotation, an on-campus program where students attend live lectures in addition to the clinical time or a hybrid of both. Potential students must decide which program venue will fit into their lifestyle and/or work schedule.
  • Accreditation: The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is the accrediting agency for nurse practitioner programs in the District of Columbia. Five institutions in the D.C. area have current accreditation status through the CCNE for masters and doctoral programs. However, only four of these programs offer a track for NP studies.
  • Cost: The tuition and per-unit costs of programs can vary greatly from school to school and can be influenced by location, the reputation of school and program and length of the course work. RNs seeking a program for NP certification can expect to pay anywhere from $1,395 per credit hour (plus fees) at George Washington University to $1,900 per credit hour (plus fees) at The Catholic University of America to $2,139 per credit hour (plus fees) at Georgetown University.
  • Length of Program: Depending on the student's commitment to the NP program of choice for attending part-time or full-time, RNs with a BSN can complete a program in as little as 24 months as a full-time student.

Admission and Certification Requirements

Admission to most of the NP programs in the Washington, DC area require:

  • Possession of a BSN degree from an accredited university
  • Evidence of a 3.0 or higher GPA for previous nursing coursework
  • Completion of graduate-level statistics with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • RN license that is unrestricted
  • Some clinical nursing practice experience in the desired NP pathway
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Interview approval based on the behavioral standards of the program and institution
  • Graduate Record Exam completion with test results


Upon completion of an accredited NP program, nurses in the D.C. area are eligible to sit for the certification exams offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the American Association of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board, the National Certification Corporation, or the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board as recognized by the District of Columbia Board of Nursing. Requirements may include:

  • An active, unrestricted RN license
  • Criminal background check
  • Graduation from an accredited NP program with a master's or doctorate degree
  • Minimum hours in clinical practice of specialty (per certifying body)

Washington, DC Nurse Practitioner Agencies and Organizations

Schools That Offer Nurse Practitioner Programs in Washington, DC

The Washington, DC area is small, but there are schools within its borders that offer quality Nurse Practitioner programs. Students are also encouraged to look in the surrounding areas of Virginia and Maryland for further educational opportunities.

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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