The Rise of Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs

Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is one of the most innovative and cutting-edge degrees in healthcare today. DNP programs continue to expand across the country as the demand for highly skilled nursing leaders grows.

In this blog, we’ll explore what these competitive nursing doctorate programs entail and the affordable options available.

What is a DNP Degree?

A Doctor of Nursing Practice Program is a terminal practice degree in the nursing profession. The DNP prepares nurses to tackle complex healthcare challenges by combining clinical expertise with leadership skills.

DNP programs build on traditional Master of Science in Nursing degrees with additional coursework focused on evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and system-level leadership.

Key Features of the DNP Curriculum

DNP curriculums emphasize advanced skills in a range of critical areas:

  • Advanced practice nursing roles like nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist
  • Application of research and analytics for quality improvement
  • Health policy and leadership coursework
  • Extensive clinical practicum hours that provide hands-on patient care experiences

Most DNP programs take three years to complete for full-time students, with options for part-time enrollment as well. Programs culminate with a scholarly capstone project where students solve a practice issue that impacts patient care delivery or policies.

Why Enroll in a DNP Program?

The DNP opens up excellent job opportunities and salary potential. As our population ages and healthcare delivery models change, the need for highly educated nursing leaders continues to grow exponentially.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of nurse practitioners and other advanced degree nurses will increase 31% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average across all occupations. The median annual wage for nurse practitioners in 2021 topped $115,000 per year.

Investing in a DNP gives nurses upward mobility in their careers to earn higher salaries and take on leadership roles, improving patient outcomes across healthcare settings. It also serves the public by addressing physician shortages, reducing costs, and improving access to care.

Most Affordable DNP Program

Dominican University holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for its Doctor of Nursing Practice program. With full-time and part-time online options, Dominican allows nurses to conveniently advance their education without putting careers or life responsibilities on hold.

Our curriculum focuses on training compassionate, ethical nursing leaders equipped to guide healthcare innovations that promote health equity and improve population outcomes. Dominican also touts small class sizes for personalized attention and mentoring from doctoral-prepared faculty members.

With competitive total costs under $40,000, Dominican University offers an affordable path to attain innovative DNP credentials and maximize career success. The cheapest DNP program prepares nurses for advanced specialty careers with coursework tailored to goals ranging from nurse practitioner to nursing administrator roles.

As the only small, private CCNE-accredited university offering a DNP in the Chicago area, Dominican University stands out with its mission-driven, personalized approach.

Connect with us today or visit our website to learn more.


What is the difference between a DNP and Ph.D. in nursing?

The DNP focuses more on clinical skills and nursing leadership, while Ph.D. programs concentrate on nursing research and academia.

How long does it take to complete an online DNP program?

Full-time students can complete a DNP in 2-3 years. Part-time options allow working nurses to graduate in 3-4 years.

What nursing roles can I pursue with a DNP degree?

A DNP equips nurses for advanced careers as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, healthcare administrators, policy analysts, informatics specialists, and clinical educators.

Which DNP specializations have the highest salary potential?

Nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist are two high-paying DNP specializations with average salaries above $110,000 per year.

How do I choose the best DNP program for my goals?

Identify your career objectives and preferred nursing role, then select an affordable CCNE-accredited DNP program that aligns with your needs for online flexibility, specialty focus, and curriculum design.