Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate (Post-Master’s)

Program Location
Distance Education/Online Campus
Program Credits
32 Credits
Program Length
5 Trimesters, 80 Instructional Weeks
Time to Complete
20 Months

 Total program length may vary.  WCU distance education programs may not be available to residents in all states.

Clinical Hour Requirement:  this track requires a total of 600 precepted clinical hours.

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Code: 29-1171.00, 25-1072.00

The Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing recommendations are asking private and public funders, health care organizations, nursing education programs, and nursing associations to expand opportunities for nurses to lead and manage collaborative efforts with physicians and other members of the health care team to conduct research and to redesign and improve practice environments and health systems.  These entities should also provide opportunities for nurses to diffuse successful practices.  The family nurse practitioner (FNP) meets the health care needs of the family by providing health assessments, direct care, and guidance, teaching, or counseling as appropriate, particularly around family self-care.  The FNP typically works collaboratively with family primary care physicians and other professionals within the health care system.  The demand for more Nurse Practitioners continues to grow as they present a viable solution to the growing trend of fewer physicians entering the field of family practice.  FNP certification is through the State of California and nationally through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. 

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the Family Nurse Practitioner (Post-Master's) Program must:  

  1. Have graduated from an accredited master's or doctoral program in nursing.
  2. Have a cumulative graduate GPA of 2.7
    1. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 to 2.69 may be considered for probationary admission after meeting the following admissions requirements:   
      1. The applicant must provide a letter of intent. 
      2. The applicant must be approved for admission following an interview with the Program Dean/Director.
      3. The applicant must satisfy program prerequisites and achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all coursework attempted over the first trimester (two terms).  Students failing to meet these requirements following the first trimester (two terms) will be withdrawn from the university.  
  3. Provide proof of current unobstructed professional licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) in the United States.
  4.  Applicants to the APRN tracks must have a minimum of one (1) year of direct patient care experience as a registered nurse (RN) prior to entering APRN core courses. 
  5. Pre-requisite coursework:  Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, and Advanced Physical Assessment within the last five (5) years. 

In addition to meeting the admissions requirements stipulated above, applicants to the APRN (Post-Master’s) tracks must also meet the following requirements: 

  1. Recommendation for admission by the Program Dean and admission committee members. Past academic performance and professional achievements will be evaluated using a rubric to determine the applicant’s level of qualification.  
  2.  Submission of a written essay that addresses the applicant’s career goals and motivations for APRN study. 
  3. Applicants to the APRN tracks must have a minimum of one (1) year of direct patient care RN experience prior to entering APRN core courses.  
  4. Submission of a current Curriculum Vitae.   
  5. All applicants may be contacted for a personal interview with the Program Dean as needed based on the submitted application. 
  6. Students who have taken an outside or generalist Advanced Health/Physical Assessment course (or its equivalent) within five (5) years must participate in the On-site Intensive (OSI) weekend for Advanced Health/Physical Assessment course and must pass the Objective Structured Clinical Evaluation (OSCE) to receive credits. Students who do not pass the OSCE must repeat the APRN Advanced Health/Physical Assessment course at West Coast University. 
  7. Students who have previously taken an outside or generalist Advanced Pharmacology which was not approved by the BRN for prescriptive authority will need to complete and pass a BRN-approved Advanced Pharmacology course/module (or equivalent) prior to the end of first term of matriculation to receive credits. 

APRN Progression Requirements

  1. In the APRN tracks, students must receive a grade of "B-" or better in all APRN track courses taken to progress.  Students will be allowed one (1) course failure (theory or clinical) with opportunity to repeat it. If the student fails the second time, the student will be dismissed from the APRN and may move to the MSN (non-APRN) program.  
  2.  An APRN student may be dismissed for the following reasons: Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress according to the standards of the program; conduct reasons; or failure to meet program-specific grade and/or clinical requirements.
  3. Due to the importance of the content of the three (3) Advanced Practice core courses (Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, and Advanced Health/Physical Assessment), they (or their equivalents) must have been completed within the last five (5) years with a grade of "B-" or better prior to starting APRN core courses. If more than five years has elapsed, they will need to repeat the courses. 
  4. Students must demonstrate clinical competence prior to starting the APRN track clinical/practicum courses. Demonstration includes a focused history taking, physical examination and documentation of findings. Students who do not demonstrate clinical competence cannot be placed in a clinical practicum course. 
  5. A student in the APRN track must participate in the On-site Intensive (OSI) weekends. The OSI brings students to campus to learn, practice and demonstrate essential hands-on skills and competencies needed by nurse practitioners. Students who do not attend the OSI automatically fail the course that is associated with the OSI. 
  6. A student who fails a sequenced theory and/or clinical course may not continue to the next course in the sequence until the failed course is repeated successfully. Students must complete all required clinical hours in each of the clinical courses, or they will not progress into the next course and must follow the University Incomplete policy. 

Program Information and Disclosures

FNP Certificate Disclosure Regarding the CA Board of Registered Nursing (BRN)

After successful completion of the West Coast University Post-Master's Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate program, graduates will be able to apply for certification with the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) through "Method One". 

For more information about Certification application requirements, please visit the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) at, .

FNP Accreditation & Approvals Disclosure

The Family Nurse Practitioner coursework is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington DC 20036, (202) 877-6791. 

A student in the Post-Master's Family Nurse Practitioner online program at West Coast University participates in two (2) On-site Intensive (OSI) weekends.  The OSI brings students to campus to learn, practice and demonstrate essential hands-on skills and competencies needed by nurse practitioners.  

Family Nurse Practitioner (Post-Master's) Curriculum

Family Nurse Practitioner (Post-Master's) Coursework

NURS 530Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology - APRN


NURS 676Advanced Pharmacology - APRN


NURS 679Primary Care Adult and Geriatric Patient: Theory


NURS 679L-APrimary Care Adult and Geriatric Patient: Practicum I


NURS 679L-BPrimary Care Adult and Geriatric Patient: Practicum II


NURS 681Advanced Health/Physical Assessment and Lab - APRN


NURS 682Care Coordination and Role of the Advanced Practice Nurse


NURS 682L-AAdvanced Healthcare Residency I


NURS 682L-BAdvanced Healthcare Residency II


NURS 684Primary Care Women's Health: Theory


NURS 684LPrimary Care Women's Health: Practicum


NURS 685Primary Pediatric Care: Theory


685L 685LPrimary Pediatric Care: Practicum


Total Credit Hours:32

Family Nurse Practitioner (Post-Master's) Certificate Program Costs

For program costs, please see the Graduate Tuition and Fees section.