Post-Master's Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate

Post-Master's Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate

Already have your MSN degree? Take your career to the next level with our FNP certificate.

Family Nurse Practitioners are prepared to care for individuals and families across the life span.  FNPs have specialized advanced education and clinical competencies, FNPs use scientific principles, competencies and national standards of care as they diagnose, manage and treat healthcare concerns of individuals and families.  Practice settings needing FNPs include primary care practices, nurse-managed health centers, and emerging ambulatory delivery models.

Registered nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from a regionally accredited college or university and CCNE accreditation are eligible to apply for the post-master’s certificate program.

The post-master’s certificate program requires between 19 to 28 semester hours, depending upon the applicant’s previous completed course work.

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Post-Master’s FNP Certificate Objectives

  1. The master’s degree program allows students to apply advanced practice skills, abilities and knowledge to provide holistic family-centered primary health care to populations across the lifespan in a variety of ambulatory care settings as an advanced practice nurse specializing in family nursing.

  2. Provides culturally competent, population-based preventive, management and maintenance care for acute and chronic conditions for the family unit, however, the family chooses to define itself.

  3. Demonstrate primary care knowledge, skills and abilities to sit for the FNP Certification Examination in order to apply for a state certificate of authority in advanced and evidence-based practice, as well as the authority to prescribe as an FNP-BC (board certified)
Why Xavier Online?

You’ll get more from your online education, from the personal attention of faculty to rigorous courses taught in the Jesuit Catholic tradition.

Personalized Experience

You’ll get the personal attention and flexibility needed to reach your goals at your pace. Our invested professors and small class sizes will set you up for success.

Jesuit Values

Our Jesuit Catholic values are based on a vision of a world changed for the better, emphasizing service and community engagement in addition to academics.


We offer exceptional online programs at an affordable cost. Numerous financial aid resources are available for our online students, making education more affordable.

Xavier’s MSN is one of only 17 online programs in the U.S. to be endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation.


See How Xavier University’s Online MSN Program Has Been Recognized


in Best Online MBA Programs in the Nation
(U.S. News & World Report)


in Best Online MBA Programs in the Nation
(U.S. News & World Report)


in Best Online MBA Programs in the Nation
(U.S. News & World Report)


Post-Master's Education Certificate Course Requirements

19-28 credits

Family Nurse Practitioner Track Courses 19-28 credits/600 clinical hours

Previous course work will be reviewed at the time of application completion to determine if any of the Nurse Practitioner Core (3 ‘P’s) requirements have been met.

NURS 658 – Advanced Clinical Pharmacology………… 3cr.

NURS 680 – Advanced Pathophysiology for RNs………… 3cr.

NURS 756 – Advanced Health Assessment for RNs………… 3cr.

NURS 770 – Primary Care FNP Role………… 3cr.

NURS 771 – Woman’s Health & Family Care Practicum………… 1cr.* (120 Clinical Hours)

NURS 772 – Woman’s Health & Family Care………… 3cr.

NURS 773 – Pediatric and Adolescent Family Care Practicum ………… 1cr.* (120 Clinical Hours)

NURS 774 – Pediatric and Adolescent Family Care………… 3cr.

NURS 775 – Adult and Geriatric Family Care Practicum………… 1cr.* (120 Clinical Hours)

NURS 776 – Adult and Geriatric Family Care………… 3cr.

NURS 787 – FNP in Practice Practicum………… 1cr.* (120 Clinical Hours)

NURS 789- FNP in Practice Practicum………… 1cr.* (120 Clinical Hours)

NURS 532 – Leadership for Advanced Practice Nurses………… 2cr.

* Indicates the number of didactic credit hours to practicum credit hour. Each practicum credit hour is 8 clinical contact hours: 1:8. The total number of practicum hours required for the FNP is 600.

Pre/Co-requisites: NURS 770 is pre/co-req for NURS 775/776 and is a prereq for NURS 773/774 and NURS 771/772.


Our admission process is easy, on your phone or computer!

Applicants to the Post-Master’s Education Certificate must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a registered nurse with an unencumbered RN license in the state where practicum experiences are to be completed. A minimum of 1 year of nursing experience is required, a strong candidate will have a minimum of 2 years of nursing experience.
  • Hold a BSN and be a graduate of a regionally accredited college or university’s nursing program with CCNE or ACEN (formerly NLNAC) accreditation (College of Nursing will verify).
  • An undergraduate statistics course with a grade of C or better is required for admission.
  • Applicants who do not have a BSN (BS in Nursing) cannot be accepted into the online MSN programs but should consider the MSN direct entry as a second degree – MIDAS Program.
  • A strong applicant will have a 3.0 GPA.

To be considered for admission, students must submit the following:

Get Started on Xavier University’s free online application. You can begin the process in just a few clicks. Lorem ipsum dolor.


One official transcript directly from all colleges or universities that you have attended for any undergraduate and graduate course work. Applicants must have a degree from a regionally accredited university. Send transcripts to:

Xavier University
ATTN: Admission Processing Center
3800 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45207-5131

For electronic transcripts, send to:

2 letters of recommendation from professional references who are able to assess your potential for success in this program.

GPA Requirements are:

  • 3.0 out of 4.0 in the last two years of undergraduate matriculation; or,
  • 2.7 cumulative GPA in undergraduate matriculation; or,
  • 2.5 cumulative in the last 2 years of undergraduate matriculation with 5 years of work experience in a criminal justice or related field.

Applicants not meeting the GPA requirements can submit official test scores for the GRE, MAT or LSAT.

  • GRE (Graduate Record Exam): The minimum score requirements is 143 on the verbal section and 3.0 of the analytical section
  • MAT (Miller Analogies Test): The minimum scoring requirement for the MAT is 390
  • LSAT (Law School Admission Test): The minimum scoring requirement for the LSAT is 138
  • Call (513) 745-3360 or email to request a MAT or GRE test booklet. If you have previously taken the GRE and want to have your scores sent to Xavier, please contact GRE at 888 GRE-SCORE. Visit the LSAT website for more information.



Admission Information for MSN Applicants

Xavier welcomes students from outside the United States to enroll in its online programs. However, some countries do not formally recognize foreign online degrees. This may have implications for enrolling in subsequent degree programs or for securing employment requiring these credentials. It is students’ responsibility to determine whether the online degree will be recognized in their country of residence or in any country in which they plan to work. Additionally, students should inquire in their country of residence how the collection of student data may be used and whether they will be subject to additional withholding taxes in addition to the cost of tuition.

  • All international students are strongly encouraged to submit an official third-party course-by-course evaluation of their high school and/or college transcripts from an international credential evaluation service accredited by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.
  • International students must pass either the TOEFL or IELTS exam if English is your second language.
  • International students may have additional application requirements.
Note: International students in the U.S. cannot enroll in an online degree program to fulfill the legal requirement for an F-1 or J-1 visa.

State Authorization

Xavier University is authorized to offer fully-online programs in most states. View the complete list of approved states by programs on the State Authorization page. Students must reside and complete practicum hours in approved states only.


Get More from Your Education with a Graduate Degree from Xavier

At Xavier, we understand that no two degree programs and no two students are alike. Therefore, we structure every online degree program to address the unique needs of individual students and have created unique fee structures for each degree program, as well.

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Students enrolled in Xavier’s online programs take classes with the same world-class faculty as our traditional students

Dr. Kimberly Toole joined Xavier University in 2011 after retiring as the director of nursing for the Cincinnati Health Department, where she worked for over three decades as a pediatric nurse practitioner in public health nursing and as a pediatric nurse practitioner. She was instrumental in developing Xavier’s FNP program and has continually worked to ensure the program meets the mission and goals of the College of Nursing and the University, the criteria for accreditation and certification, as well as meeting expected student learning outcomes. Dr. Toole believes students need to prepare for a world that is “increasingly diverse, complex, interdependent and able to care for the whole person,” which aligns with holistic nursing practices. Under her leadership, FNP graduates have achieved excellent certification board pass rates—with several years being at 100%—and high employment rates, reflecting her high standards of teaching. She continually strives toward Xavier’s vision of being a person of “learning and reflection, integrity and achievement, in solidarity for and with others,” and Xavier’s mission to “educate each student intellectually, morally, and spiritually.”

Contact Dr. Kimberly Toole at

Dr. Catherine Frank currently works part-time as a family nurse practitioner in one of Cincinnati’s busiest emergency departments. Her passion for patient safety and quality improvement comes from over 23+ years of nursing in various patient care settings: long-term care, skilled nursing units, public health nursing, medical-surgical and critical care (intensive care unit and emergency departments). Dr. Frank received her BSN and MSN in Occupational Health from the University of Cincinnati, then returned to obtain an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner post-master’s certificate and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree. She also has a post-master’s certificate in family practice nursing from Xavier University.

Jonathan Ruedisueli, a professor in the Family Nurse Practitioner program, received his MSN from the University of Cincinnati in 2012. He has 9 years of experience as a practitioner and manager in retail health clinics. His current research and practice interests include antibiotic stewardship, overcoming vaccine hesitancy, and the promotion of safe bicycling and other active transportation for community health and wellness.


Yes. This online MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the premier accrediting agency for baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs.

This program is approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing (OBN).

This online program is endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC). Only fifteen universities in the nation currently have this endorsement, and this endorsement permits graduates to sit for the Holistic Nurse Certification (HNC) examination.

Xavier University is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission. The Xavier University College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

No. The MSN degree is from Xavier University and is awarded on meeting coursework standards that are independent of course delivery mode. Participants will earn an MSN degree.

Yes! Xavier University and the College of Nursing have been consistently recognized at the national level for having one of the best online MSN programs for primary care nursing education. See a list of all of our awards by program on our Rankings page.

The tuition rate for the online MSN program is $670 per credit hour. The total cost of the degree program will vary, depending upon transfer credits awarded, additional fees and the cost of textbooks/materials. See the Tuition page for more information.

No, online courses charge the same rate as all other in-person courses that students complete.

Students may find that they can get to know their professor/instructor and other students better in an online course than in a traditional face-to-face course. There are many options for interacting with your instructors and classmates in your online program, including discussion boards, video or audio files from your instructor, email and video conferencing. There may be additional opportunities for interaction available based on the course and instructor.

Part-time FNP students usually take 1-2 classes per semester.

Participation expectations vary by professor. Courses will be asynchronous with no set meeting times; however, professors have the option of including synchronous online sessions in their courses. Faculty in this program are very sensitive to the need for flexibility of working professionals.

Online MSN courses include components such as readings, activities, video lectures, discussion boards and other peer interaction, tests/quizzes and group projects. Most courses do not include mandatory synchronous meeting times; however, they are synchronously paced – students progress through the course together according to the scheduled course content and activities. Xavier prides itself on upholding the value of “cura personalis,” or “care of the whole person,” in its classes. MSN Faculty maintain those values in our online courses by constructing activities that build a sense of community among participants and by making themselves available for questions and instructional support.

Registered nurses (RN) hold a nursing diploma or associate degree in nursing and have met the licensing requirements mandated by their state board. It is possible for registered nurses to earn an MSN degree through an online school bridge program. Currently, Xavier does not offer such a program. However, Xavier does offer a full-time on campus 20-month MSN Direct Entry (MIDAS) program. This program is designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in another discipline but wish to be a licensed registered nurse (RN). Upon successful completion of the program, the student is awarded the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and is eligible to sit for the National Council Licensing Exam-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN).

The other option – the ‘online school bridge’ programs allow a registered nurse (RN) to earn a master’s degree in nursing without having a bachelor’s degree. Essentially it is a master’s program that fills the gap with the knowledge you would have received when earning a bachelor of science in nursing. People who normally study for the MSN degree are working as registered nurses with years of experience who hope to expand their career into a specialization such as a nurse practitioner, midwife, nurse anesthetist or clinical nurse specialist. MSN Programs on this timeline may take up to 30 months depending on the individual student and programs curriculum.

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) are a vital part of the health system of the United States. They are registered nurses educated at Masters or post Masters level and in a specific role and patient population. APRNs are prepared by education and certification to assess, diagnose, and manage patient problems, order tests, and prescribe medications. An APRN is a licensed healthcare professional who may select to work independently or partner with a doctor or physician. There are multiple specializations that an advanced nurse can have in primary care, such as adult health, family health, gerontology health, oncology, pediatric health and women’s health, with sub-specializations in allergy, immunology, cardiovascular, dermatology, emergency medicine, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, oncology, neurology, occupational health, orthopedics, sports medicine and urology.

Having a master’s degree in nursing practice opens the door for many different career opportunities. Some potential career paths in the nursing practice for a nurse holding a Master’s of Science in Nursing degree may include:

  • Family nurse practitioner: Family nurse practitioners are APN’s who provide family-focused care. A nurse in this MSN family nurse practitioner role is able to develop treatment plans for acute and chronic illnesses, educate patients on disease prevention, conduct exams, perform diagnostics and screening evaluations, prescribe medications, and emphasize preventative care.
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner: A pediatric nurse practitioner may work independently or with a healthcare organization to provide services such as well-child exams, childhood immunizations, routine developmental screenings, diagnostic and treatment of childhood illnesses, provide counseling to families on health-related issues and interrupt lab results.
  • Nursing informatics specialist: Nurses working as an informatics specialist use their collegiate nursing education combined with information technology advanced practice nursing skills and apply them to patient care.
  • Geriatric nurse practitioner: Gerontological nurse practitioners focus on serving the aging population. They often diagnose and treat age-related impairments such as blindness, hearing loss, dementia, and malnutrition. Gerontological nurse practitioners are able to order diagnostic tests, interrupt results, design, coordinate and manage patient care, prescribe medications and counsel patients and their families.
  • Clinical nurse researcher: Clinical nurse researchers are vital to pharmaceutical and medical research. Using their clinical nurse education, they write proposals for grants, evaluate data and analyze large amounts of information.
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioner: Psychiatric nurse practitioners treat patients with organic and functional psychiatric disorders. Working alongside other mental health professionals, psychiatric nurse practitioners use their leadership qualities and nursing education to treat disorders ranging from depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In order to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you must have a minimum of two years of nursing experience, 2,000 hours of clinical practice in a mental health setting and along with the clinical practice, you will be required to complete 30 hours of continuing nursing education in mental health every three years.
  • Forensic nurse consultant: Forensic nursing merges the healthcare profession with the justice system. Forensic nurses perform a variety of roles including evaluating and caring for victims of assault and abuse, neglect and sexual crimes. While they treat the victims, forensic nurses collect the evidence and information needed for court. Forensic nurses may be asked to provide medical testimony in court. Forensic nurses can work in a variety of areas. While typically found in hospitals, they may also be available to work with non-profit organizations, be on call for law enforcement, teach community education classes or work in correctional facilities.
  • Nurse ethicist: Solving ethical issues that arise in the science of nursing is an art in itself. Nurses in the career path weigh in on tough ethical issues such as quality of life decisions and capital punishment. Using their nursing education, nurse ethicists work on interdisciplinary teams to solve ethical issues that require careful conversation and research.
  • Nurse educator: Nurse educators shape the next generation of nurses. Educators develop lesson plans, supervise students’ clinical practice, and serve as mentors to students. Many educators are able to teach nursing education classes and work in a career path, caring for patients.
  • Legal nurse consultant: Nurses who specialize in law, either as a consultant or lawyer understand the ins and outs of many legal cases. A legal nurse consultant helps provide insight on evidence and medical records to law professionals.

Choosing the right online program for your MSN degree is important. When evaluating different master’s programs, keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure the master’s programs are accredited.
    • Graduating from an accredited college masters program ensures that you received the best education possible for your degree.
  • Research the state licensing requirements of where you want to practice
    • Make sure to research the state you plan to practice in. Knowing the state licensing requirements and if they will accept the MSN degree program you completed is critical to being able to use your degree once it’s completed. 
  • Determine the tuition cost and financial aid options
    • Each school MSN program varies in overall tuition cost. Research the best option for you and speak with a financial aid officer about any grants, scholarships, or other ways to receive assistance with the tuition cost of the master’s program. 
  • Ask about in person requirements
    • Most accredited master’s programs require students to attend clinical and practicum parts of the program. See what the requirements are for the program you are interested in and think about how far you are willing to travel in order to complete these. 
  • Take inventory of your technology
    • Make sure to take inventory of your technology equipment to ensure you have the right hardware and software needed to learn online.

Accreditation is very important for an online nursing program. Employers often want to verify the legitimacy of an online nursing degree, and agencies such as the CCNE are reliable authorities on legitimate nursing programs. CCNE works to ensure that schools maintain quality nursing education and curriculum in their bachelor’s and master’s programs. In order for schools to be CCNE accredited, they must have a nursing program established for a minimum of one year. Next, the school program’s mission, goals, and expected outcomes are evaluated. Once the BSN and master’s programs have met the standards of CCNE, an onsite visit is conducted by accreditation professionals who then send a report to the council. The council will then inform the schools if they are accredited for the BSN and master of nursing programs.