We found 8 Family Nurse Practitioner Programs in California.
With California being the most populous state in the country, there is a steady demand for healthcare services. The state has proactively responded to this demand by expanding the capabilities of its nurse practitioners and increasing the number of nurse practitioner jobs in the state. Thus, providing a plethora of opportunities for those passionate about providing access to quality healthcare.
Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) are critical to improving the responsiveness and efficiency of the health care system. How, you ask? In California, they work alongside other health professionals in community clinics, health centers, urgent care centers, and emergency room settings, just to name a few of the settings they work in.
FNPs in California can diagnose, manage, care, prescribe medications, co-manage patients, perform therapeutic and corrective measures, order tests, and refer patients to other health professionals.
So, what about employment opportunities? California has become a leader in nurse practitioner job growth and is predicted to soon account for 7% of all new Nurse Practitioner jobs in the nation.
Since it has added 4,000 nurse practitioner jobs since 2014 and expects to have created a total of approximately 15,000 nurse practitioner jobs by 2024, California is an ideal place for nurse practitioners to guarantee employment.
What are the FNP Requirements for California?
Out of the 222,000 practicing NPS nationwide, 22,000 of them reside in California. For a prospective NP to practice in California, the California Association for Nurse Practitioners (CANP) implores students to follow the California Board of Nursing, the body that oversees the certification of advanced practicing nurses in the same state.
There are three basic requisites to becoming a nurse practitioner in California is as follows:
- Licensure through completing an accredited NP program
- Licensure through passing a national nurse practitioner certification exam
- Equivalency based on clinical competency (must verify through paperwork)
Keep in mind, once Californian nurses have obtained their NP licenses, those that are prescribing controlled substances have to enroll in continuing education programs offered by the CANP, as required by the State of California.
On-Campus and Online FNP Programs in California
Now, you're probably thinking, “where do I get an FNP degree so I can practice in California?". Well, there are a variety of options. Let's explore a few.
Samuel Merritt University (SMU)
SMU's School of Nursing houses one of California's most esteemed Family Nurse Practitioner programs. It is particularly regarded for its unique multicultural approach to family-oriented advanced nursing practice in primary care settings.
The Family Nurse Practitioner program is a track that can be pursued under the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree both at an entry-level and at a post-professional level.
Generally, SMU shows a preference for applicants who have had experience in the health field, come from diverse backgrounds, and demonstrate a commitment to underserved communities. Applicants are interviewed as part of the admission process.
Within the clinical practice, students participate in a 90-hour clinical practicum and two 270 hour internships.
The program is composed of 49-semester units including interdisciplinary core courses, in which students learn theoretical foundations and research methods and specialty courses, in which students have the opportunity to engage in 630 hours of clinical practice.
The MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program can be done either part-time in seven or eight semesters or full-time in five semesters either online or as a hybrid.
Upon completion of all the program requirements and the last semester Synthesis Project, SMU graduates are eligible for state and national certification. Graduate job placement has stood at 100% in recent years.
The program tuition costs $1,353 per unit for the online Post-Professional program and $1,394 per unit for the entry-level program.
Additionally, students are required to pay other fees associated with their enrollment. However, SMU offers generous scholarships for Disadvantaged students. For more information, please contact the Financial Aid office.
University of Southern California (USC)
USC is a well-known private research university in Los Angeles. It is home to the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Department of Nursing, which offers a hybrid online and onsite MSN with a Family Nurse Practitioner program.
The program uses an evidence-based approach to train advanced practice nurses in understanding the biomedical and social factors that impact the well-being of infants, children, adolescents and adults throughout their lives.
Students are required to complete 49 credit hours and 784 clinical hours in either 21 months or 33 months depending on whether you opt for the full-time or part-time track. Irrespectively, the program can be done from any location including the clinical placements which can be done in your local community.
The tuition cost for both the part-time and full-time tracks is about $91,287.
Prospective students must have a Bachelor or Master of Science in Nursing, at least a 3.0 GPA, and completion of a statistics course.
Yet, students can work collaboratively with their peers and faculty via online discussion groups and office hours. The program is intended for registered nurses with clinical experience.
The program offers an almost even balance of theoretical and clinical learning with training in how to conduct and apply research. Clinical placements are done in a range of outpatient settings: family practices, internal medicine clinics, pediatric offices, urgent care sites, and community health clinics.
There may be California specific scholarships available for students, so it is highly encouraged to communicate directly with the Financial Aid office.
Family Nurse Practitioner vs. Physician Assistant in California
This may all sound familiar if you’ve ever considered becoming a Physician Assistant (PA) and to some degree it is. Both PA and FNP degrees prepare you to contribute to the growing response to the shortage in doctors by training you to provide direct patient care under the supervision of a physician.
However, there are some noteworthy differences to consider. Whereas PA are trained to adhere to a disease-focused medical model and specialize in a disease type or area of medicine, FNPs adhere to a patient-focused model and specialize in a patient population.
This means, FNPs are more interested in patient outcomes and therefore pay closer attention to mental and emotional needs than PA while still addressing physical problems. PAs on the other hand, are more focused on anatomy, physiology, and pathology.
In addition, PA degrees typically involve 1,000 classroom hours and 2,000 or more hours in a clinical setting while FNP degrees involve about 500 classroom hours and between 500 and 700 clinical hours.