Types of Nurse Practitioners

There are many possible pathways to further your nursing career, depending upon the population you would like to care for or the specialty you would like to practice.

Levels of Nursing Credentials

Types of Nursing Degrees

Nurse Practitioner Specialties

Different Levels of Nursing Credentials

Our MS in Nursing and DNP degree programs require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or CNL/entry-level MSN from a CCNE- or ACEN-accredited program. The MS to DNP program requires a BSN and a master’s degree, post-graduate certificate, or doctoral degree, with APRN specialty or employment in an advanced nursing role.

Registered Nurses (RNs):

RNs are staff nurses who support and directly implement patient care plans. To become an RN, an individual must have a BSN, associate degree in nursing, or nursing diploma.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs):

APRNs have specialized training that allows them to prescribe medications, as well as lead and design patient care plans over a longer period of time in a primary care-type setting. To become an APRN, an individual must earn an advanced nursing degree, such as an MS in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

What Are the Different Types of Nursing Degrees?

Georgetown University’s School of Nursing & Health Studies offers two graduate nursing degrees and a post-graduate certificate, all of which are designed to meet your specific career goals:

Master of Science degree in Nursing (MS in Nursing)

An MS in Nursing is a graduate degree to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). Nursing@Georgetown graduates are prepared to sit for board certification exams of the program specialty they complete.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

A DNP degree is the highest level of education in the nursing field and prepares nurses for leadership roles in their health care organizations. Georgetown University offers two entry points for the DNP:

  • BSN to DNP: Designed for RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and one year of full-time registered nurse work experience
  • Post-Master’s DNP: Designed for APRNs or nurses employed in advanced nursing roles with a master’s degree

Post-Graduate Certificate Program (PGC)

This program is designed for those who already have an MS in Nursing or a DNP, and would like to further advance their nursing education and pursue board certification in any of our four advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) specialties.

Explore Nurse Practitioner Specialties

Nurse practitioners work with different kinds of patients across a variety of health care organizations. Use this as a guide to understand the different nursing degrees and specializations — and to determine which could be a potential fit for your career interests.

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

A family nurse practitioner is an APRN who is trained in a wide spectrum of primary health care services for patients of all ages in a number of clinical settings.

MS in Nursing

The online FNP program is designed for aspiring FNPs eager to take a more senior role in patient care across a variety of settings. Once certified, FNPs provide family-centered primary care.

  • 44 credits
  • 650 clinical hours
  • Available on a part-time basis
  • Two Objective Clinical Intensives (circumstances permitting)

BSN-DNP

The FNP specialization of the online BSN-DNP program prepares aspiring FNPs to advance their careers by integrating leadership skills, nursing science, evidence-based care, and ethical principles into the curriculum.

  • 69 credits
  • 1,000 clinical hours (650 FNP, 350 DNP)
  • Available on a full- or part-time basis
  • Two Objective Clinical Intensives (circumstances permitting)

Both online FNP programs prepare graduates to sit for the following board certification exams: the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANP).

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP)

Adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioners are trained to manage the care of adult and geriatric patients with acute and chronic conditions.

MS in Nursing

The online AG-ACNP program is designed for RNs with at least one year of full-time experience in an ICU, emergency department, or progressive care unit. It prepares nurses to communicate clearly with patients and families, listen actively to their concerns, and manage complex acute health situations.

  • 40 credits
  • 600 clinical hours
  • Offered on a part-time basis only
  • Three Objective Clinical Intensives (circumstances permitting)

BSN-DNP

The AG-ACNP specialization of the online BSN-DNP program is designed to prepare registered nurses to lead health care organizations and their teams in implementing evidence-based care informed by the most up-to-date scientific research and clinical best practices.

  • 69 credits
  • 1,000 clinical hours (700 AG-ACNP, 300 DNP)
  • Offered on a full- or part-time basis
  • Three Objective Clinical Intensives (circumstances permitting)

Both online AG-ACNP programs prepare graduates to sit for the following board certification exams: the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (NM/WHNP)

Nurse-midwives and women’s health nurse practitioners are APRNs trained to provide primary care to women of all ages, manage normal obstetrical and gynecological needs, and oversee the care of newborns up to one month old.

MS in Nursing

As an online nurse-midwifery program, the dual curriculum at Georgetown University includes courses in reproductive health care, labor and birth, and integrated midwifery care. As a women’s health nurse practitioner program, the coursework further explores the primary, ambulatory, and advanced care of women.

  • 49 credits
  • 1,000+ clinical hours
  • Offered on a part-time basis only
  • Three Objective Clinical Intensives (circumstances permitting)

BSN-DNP

The dual NM/WHNP specialization of the online BSN-DNP curriculum combines advanced nursing science with practical experience and leadership training and will position you for practice at the highest level in the specialty. It prepares graduates with the leadership ability and ethical expertise to promote responsible, evidence-based care for women across the health care system.

  • 74 credits
  • 1,100 clinical hours (600 WHNP, 200 NM, 300 DNP)
  • Offered on a full- or part-time basis
  • Three Objective Clinical Intensives (circumstances permitting)

Both online NM/WHNP programs prepare graduates to sit for the following board certification exams: the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) and the National Credentialing Corporation (NCC). In addition, DNP graduates will be prepared to sit for certification exams for the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

Women’s health nurse practitioners provide gynecologic and primary care to women of all ages, including reproductive health care, prenatal and postnatal care, general wellness, and preventative care.

MS in Nursing

The online WHNP program equips students with the specialized skills and experience to treat and prevent illnesses unique to women. After certification, graduates may provide woman-focused care in a range of settings, such as physician’s offices, primary care clinics, hospitals, emergency care clinics, and nursing homes.

This program is ideal for nurses interested in the hands-on care of women.

  • 44 credits
  • 784 clinical hours
  • Offered on a part-time basis only
  • Two Objective Clinical Intensives (circumstances permitting)

BSN-DNP

The WHNP specialization of the online BSN-DNP program prepares students to lead developments in care for women throughout the health system. WHNPs with doctoral training have the leadership experience and practical expertise to manage teams providing primary and specialized care for women.

This program is ideal for nurses who want to be involved at the highest level of women’s health care but are not interested in attending births.

  • 69 credits
  • 1,000 clinical hours (600 WHNP, 400 DNP)
  • Available on a full- or part-time basis
  • Two Objective Clinical Intensives (circumstances permitting)

Both online WHNP programs prepare graduates to sit for board certification through the National Certification Corporation (NCC).

Which Degree and Nursing Specialty Is Right For You?

As you work through your next steps, our Admissions Counselors are available to help you determine which specialty and program aligns with your career goals. Request information to learn more.