For most professional nurses, earning a Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP) degree takes about 24 to 26 months. Students who earn the degree are prepared to sit for the Family Nurse Practitioner certification examination and learn the skills needed to manage, diagnose and treat patients of all ages. Earning the degree places nurses in elite company in a profession that is growing rapidly. Family nurse practitioners typically earn a higher salary than Registered Nurses (RN). They are also in higher demand. This is why more nurses are considering entering an MSN-FNP degree program, especially in Texas where demand is expected to be high.

Why Earn An MSN-FNP? 

Earning an MSN-FNP degree prepares nurses with the skills they need to work as a family nurse practitioner. In Texas, that’s a needed skill. The number of nurse practitioners in Texas is expected to increase 43.8% by 2026. The Houston metropolitan area, which includes the Texas Medical Center, is one of the top employers of nurse practitioners in the country. The annual median salary of $121,670 for nurse practitioners in Houston is one of the highest in the nation. Around the country, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 31% increase in the number of nurse practitioners by 2026.

What You’ll Learn in an MSN-FNP Degree Program 

The emergence of online degree programs has made it easier than ever for nurses to earn a graduate degree and become a family nurse practitioner. The programs are designed to allow for flexibility in how nurses earn their degree. Houston Christian University offers a competency-based education (CBE) model for its MSN-FNP degree program (a course-based model, not direct assessment). The school blends online learning with clinical experience at partner medical facilities near where a student is located.

The program is designed to produce nursing leaders and the curriculum is aligned with competencies required by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing of Master’s Education in Nursing and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.

Examples from the Curriculum 

In the Houston Christian University MSN-FNP degree program, students take 15 courses, earning 40 credit hours. The coursework focuses on both theoretical knowledge and the application of theory in real-world medical situations. Students in the program are usually already working nurses. This allows them to apply what they learn immediately to their job.  Courses include theory integration and classes that teach advanced skills in:

  • Nursing research
  • Pathophysiology
  • Primary care
  • Pharmacology
  • Diagnostics
  • Health assessment

For nurses who want to reach the pinnacle of their profession, handling many of the duties once performed by doctors, an MSN-FNP degree program can provide them with the skills they need to achieve their professional goals. And with online learning, they can earn their degree in 24 to 26 months on a flexible schedule that allows them to maintain their current nursing job.