7 Outstanding FNP Programs in the Southern States

If you'd talked to me when I was applying to nurse practitioner programs, there's no way I would have ever thought I would stay in Tennessee following my time at Vanderbilt University. However, the South wooed me with its charm, Nashville truly a gem nestled in the middle of Tennessee's rolling hills. I have grown to love the South, its rich history paired with upcoming hotspots. If you could see yourself spending some time in the southern states for your education, consider these outstanding family nurse practitioner programs. 

1. Duke University

Degrees Offered: Direct Entry MSN, MSN, DNP

We couldn't help but place Duke at the list of our top family nurse practitioner programs in the southeast. The school offers a multitude of options for prospective nurse practitioners. A direct entry program allows students with a degree in a non-nursing field a pathway to the profession. MSN and DNP programs are options students seeking a traditional route. Not only does Duke give students choices for entry into the profession, the school also offers sub-specialty courses for FNPs seeking a more focused education. Orthopedics, endocrinology, HIV/AIDS, and oncology specialties are just a few of the sub-specialties available to FNP students. Duke University lives up to its reputation for excellence with its nurse practitioner program offerings. 

2. Vanderbilt University

Degrees Offered: Direct Entry, ADN-MSN, MSN, DNP

Certification Pass Rate: 98%

One of the direct entry program pioneers, Vanderbilt University's commitment to offer multiple educational pathways to the nurse practitioner career is alive and well. Students with specific interests may also pair their FNP program with an acute care specialty leading to an emergency nurse practitioner certification. Alternately, a dual nurse midwife/family nurse practitioner program is also an option. Vanderbilt's block schedule allows students in the MSN and DNP programs to complete core courses online, visiting campus just a handful of times each year accommodating those students who do not wish to call Nashville home. For students located in the city, Vanderbilt faculty arrange clinical sites eliminating the stress of finding one's own preceptorships. 

3. University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Degrees Offered: MSN, DNP

Certification Pass Rate: 97-100%

Quality is evident with even a quick look at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill's family nurse practitioner program. Graduates of the school's FNP program boast a near perfect pass rate on the national certification exam. The character of the program's curriculum is also evident as faculty say that almost all students find jobs working as nurse practitioners before they graduate. Faculty match students with clinical sites making for a seamless preceptorship experience.

4. Emory University

Degrees Offered: Direct Entry, MSN, DNP

Certification Pass Rate: 100%

If city life is for you, then check out Emory's family nurse practitioner program in bustling Atlanta. The school offers a number of entry options for aspiring FNP's, including the popular direct entry pathway for students with a degree in a field other than nursing. Emory consistently receives high national rankings in publications like the US News & World Report, a well deserved distinction as evidenced by the fact that 100 percent of the school's FNP grads have jobs within three months of graduation. The school also has a strong commitment to public and global health featuring several events with a service-learning bent. 

5. University of North Florida

Degrees Offered: DNP

Certification Pass Rate: 100%

The University of North Florida may not offer the same number of FNP entry tracks as our prior picks, however, the school's 100 percent passing rate on the national certification exam indicates that a single focus has yielded a rock solid DNP program. Additionally, faculty of the program identify clinical sites for students taking the stress out of the preceptorship experience. As a result of this quality education, 100% of family practitioner graduates at the University of North Florida find jobs within three months of graduation. 

6. Augusta University (formerly Georgia Regents University)

Degrees Offered: DNP

Certification Pass Rate: 98% and up

Augusta University may not be as well known as our prior selections, but if you're a student looking for the benefits of attending a smaller program, Augusta University could be just the place for you. Family nurse practitioner program grads have a well above average passing rate on the national certification exam, at 98% or higher depending on the year. Faculty also assign students to clinical sites ensuring placement and on-time graduation. To top off the school's solid stats, faculty also say that 100 percent of students secure employment before, or shortly after, graduation. 

7. University of Alabama Birmingham

Degrees Offered: MSN, DNP

Certification Pass Rate: 96%

Located in a major academic health center, the University of Alabama Birmingham has a wealth of resources for family nurse practitioner students. For example, students have the ability to complete clinicals in an array of primary care and specialty settings. The program is also offered in a distance format for students who do not reside in the Birmingham area. Clinical coordinators are available to place students in clinical sites facilitating a quality preceptorship experience. UAB grads consistently praise the school's program for its quality and accessibility, evidence of an excellent student experience.

Which southern school will you choose for your FNP degree?