Online Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) Programs

Last Updated/Verified: Aug 19, 2020

What Is an Online Emergency Nurse Practitioner Program Like?

An Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) is a licensed practitioner that has specialized clinical competencies to provide care across the lifespan, building upon their nurse practitioner (NP) knowledge and skills. Nurses pursuing an emergency NP degree or certificate typically learn to treat patients in emergency departments, trauma centers, and urgent care facilities. They learn to stabilize patients with potentially life-threatening injuries, manage acute and chronic illness in patients, and make emergency nursing decisions. Nurses in online programs have the same requirements as nurses in on-campus programs.

Choosing an Appropriate Emergency Nurse Practitioner Program

Choosing a degree route for an emergency nurse practitioner program starts with the nurse’s current educational level. Some ENP degree pathways will require you to hold a minimum degree in order to be eligible, as shown below.

If I Currently Have… Option 1 Option 2
BSN BSN to MSN Programs BSN to DNP Programs
MSN Post-Master’s Certificate MSN to DNP Programs

Choosing the best emergency nurse practitioner program for you also depends on what your professional goals are. It’s important to think about long-term goals, including what type of role aspirations you might have, how competitive your area is, and what kind of salary you’d like to earn. To help you narrow down these choices, follow the table below and find out what degree type aligns with your wants and needs.

MSN Post-Master's Certificate DNP
I enjoy working directly with patients in the emergency care setting X X X
I already hold a graduate degree, but I wish to move into specialized emergency nursing practice X X
I feel called to teach and guide students clinically at the university level X X
I want to advocate for excellence in emergency care and be a leader in my facility X X X
I have ideas for clinically relevant research projects to improve outcomes for patients seeking emergency care X
My passion is to create and improve national health policies X
I wish to understand population-based emergency health in order to improve healthcare outcomes X
I want to guide healthcare law and ethics in relation to emergency healthcare X

Make sure that any online ENP program you consider is an accredited program. You do not want to complete an online emergency nurse practitioner program and then discover that you do not meet certification exam requirements. It is important to know if there are any mandatory on-campus meetings or other requirements such as clinicals that must be completed in person. Some emergency nurse practitioner programs have a hybrid or blended format. If you want to complete the program completely online, it is your responsibility to know the format. To find out more about ENP programs, check out our guide below.

  1. Online Emergency Nurse Practitioner Program Admissions & Requirements by Degree Type
  2. Online ENP Program Classes and Curriculum
  3. Clinical Requirements and Certification

Online Emergency Nurse Practitioner Program Admissions

The admissions requirements for online emergency nurse practitioner programs are the same or similar to campus programs. Most programs require that the nurse already hold a minimum of an MSN degree, which means that the majority of emergency nurse practitioner programs are Post-MSN Emergency NP programs or DNP Emergency Nurse Practitioner Programs. Some schools may offer an emergency nursing sub-specialty as part of their MSN family nurse practitioner program.

This admissions information provides more detail and examples of online emergency nurse practitioner programs.

MSN-Level Emergency NP Post-Master’s Certificate Emergency NP DNP-Level Emergency NP
Prior Education/GPA BSN from an accredited institution, minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in nursing courses MSN or DNP from an accredited institution, minimum 3.0 GPA MSN from an accredited institution, minimum 3.0 on 4.0 scale
RN Licensure Current, unencumbered RN licensure Current and unrestricted U.S. RN licensure, APRN licensure, and national board certification Unencumbered, active RN licensure
Professional Experience Usually around one-year professional nursing experience recommended Two-years experience in ED, urgent care, critical care, trauma experience as an RN or APRN. ACLS, BLS, PALS required One-three years professional RN experience, some experience in emergency nursing, disaster or crisis management or similar experience
Written Requirements Letters of recommendation (two from professional sources), personal statement indicating intended career plans and the likelihood of success in the graduate program Two professional letters of recommendation, personal statement to include reasons for choosing this specific track, how current work experience will enhance experience in this program, plans upon graduation Goal statement, writing sample, at least 3 professional recommendations, resume or CV

Online Emergency Nurse Practitioner Curriculum and Classes

The curriculum and classes for an online emergency nurse practitioner program prepare nurses to respond to disaster or crisis management situations, establish individualized priorities of care, and to manage the complex needs of patients. Students typically take courses in epidemiology, health policy analysis, pathophysiology, program planning, and other courses. The curriculum, as well as the length of time that it takes to complete an online emergency nurse practitioner program depends on whether the program is an MSN program, a post-graduate certificate program, or a DNP program.

Emergency specialty MSN, post-graduate certificate, and DNP programs differ in both the number of course credits and the number of clinical hours required.

Degree MSN Post-Master’s Certificate DNP
Average Credit Requirements 49 25 77

Both MSN to DNP and BSN to DNP programs are common, with the latter essentially combining MSN and DNP credit requirements. Emergency nurse practitioner MSN and post-master’s certificate programs can be similar in that the focus of the curriculum is on advanced practice core classes and concentrated emergency medicine courses. MSN and DNP students will both take courses in leadership and health policy.

DNP students also generally complete coursework in:

  • Epidemiology
  • Ethics
  • Research

A few examples of ENP course titles include:

  • Advanced Health Assessment & Diagnostic Reasoning
  • Pathogenesis of Complex Disease
  • Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Nursing Practice
  • Emergency/Trauma Caring for Trauma and Critically Ill Patients
  • FNP in Emergency Care
  • Perspectives in Program Planning and Evaluation

A capstone or final project course is generally required in the emergency nurse practitioner DNP program, but some MSN options also require an end-of-program thesis or project to a lesser extent. These final projects are an opportunity for the student to showcase what they have learned in their ENP program, and often address a clinical issue or question in the emergency field of care.

Emergency NP Clinical Requirements

Nurses typically complete program clinical requirements near their homes. Drexel University explains, for example, that its faculty-supervised clinical hours are ‘consistent with eligibility requirements to sit for the AANPCP Emergency Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam.' Nurses complete clinicals in settings such as:

  • Emergency departments
  • Urgent care clinics
  • Trauma centers
  • Pediatric facilities
  • Gerontology settings

Each state and program will dictate the number of clinical hours that are required of ENP students.

Online Emergency Nurse Practitioner Program Listings

To find a great Emergency Nurse Practitioner at any degree level, check out our online and hybrid program listings below.

Samford University

Birmingham, AL

Emory University

Atlanta, GA

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA