FNP cert workshop

Post-Graduate APRN Certificate – Family Nurse Practitioner Online Program

The FNP certificate program offers a blend of online synchronous and asynchronous classes as well as two on-campus residencies. This program provides flexibility for working RNs, especially prior to the start of clinicals.


  • Online

Program Duration

  • 20 Months (5 Semesters)

Upcoming Deadlines

Summer Application

A New Chapter in Advanced Nursing Practice

Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) are becoming increasingly crucial in healthcare. Faced with an aging population, the rise of chronic diseases, and the demand for accessible, high-quality care, FNPs are at the forefront of addressing these challenges. The FNP Certificate Program focuses on providing comprehensive training for MSN-prepared nurses. The FNP certificate curriculum enables nurses to quickly adapt to the dynamic needs of the healthcare environment, equipping them with essential skills and knowledge to make a significant impact on patient lives and the broader healthcare community.

Why Become an FNP? 
Graduates from the FNP Certificate program find diverse career opportunities in various settings, from community health centers to private practices and hospitals.

Community Health Champions: FNPs are essential in enhancing community health, especially in underserved and rural areas where they often serve as the main healthcare providers. SMU's FNP Certificate program prepares nurses to serve these critical roles effectively, contributing significantly to community health and well-being.

Leaders in Preventative Care: Through the FNP Certificate program, nurses receive specialized training in disease prevention and health promotion. This plays a key role in reducing long-term healthcare costs and improving patient outcomes through effective education and lifestyle counseling.

Premier Clinicians: FNPs provide a range of services, including detailed health assessments and the development of individualized care plans. The FNP Certificate program prepares nurses for autonomous clinical roles, enhancing their ability to coordinate care effectively with other healthcare professionals.

The Samuel Merritt University Difference 

Accredited and Expert-Led Education: The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and courses are aligned to the latest CCNE essentials, ensuring high standards of education. 

A remarkable student-teacher ratio of, on average, 12:1, with even smaller ratios for clinical courses, coupled with the fact that 100% of the faculty hold doctorates and are currently practicing NPs, underscores the quality of mentorship and instruction students receive. 

Career Advancement and Success: Graduates of the program have a median salary of over $135,000, 100% of students find employment within six months of graduation, SMU has one of the lowest loan default rates in the nation (top 5% of over 4000 nationwide universities). 

Comprehensive Clinical Training: The program includes 630 clinical hours, well over the minimum 500 hours required by AANP and ANCC. Clinicals occur in a variety of outpatient settings, including, but not limited to, large healthcare systems (Sutter, Kaiser, Dignity Health), private medical offices, community clinics, and FQHCs.   

Robust Clinical Coordination Team: Samuel Merritt University boasts a robust clinical coordination team dedicated to supporting students throughout their clinical training. This team works collaboratively with students to ensure that students have access to high-quality clinical sites, facilitating a seamless integration of theoretical learning with practical experience. Their role is crucial in aligning clinical experiences with the program's curriculum and student career goals, thereby enhancing the overall learning experience and preparedness of graduates for real-world healthcare challenges. 

Program Requirements & Info

Applications for the program are accepted using the Central Application Service for Nursing Schools (NursingCAS). Students are admitted to this program for summer and fall terms.

The admission review process is fairly quick once all documents have been received and your application has been verified by NursingCAS. In general, once a complete application is verified by NursingCAS, you will be contacted for a phone interview. Upon successful completion of the interview, your admission will be processed and you will be notified within a week.

Apply Now 

Samuel Merritt University Alumni students are invited to apply using the Alumni Application Academic Year 2023-2024. If you have questions regarding this application contact Rudy Torres, Assistant Dean of Admissions, rtorres1@samuelmerritt.edu

  Alumni Application



To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the following criteria.

Must be an unencumbered RN (registered nurse) with a MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) and their RN license must be in an SMU approved state/ or attainable in an SMU approved State. 

  • RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing may still apply and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  •  A minimum of a 3.0 GPA in MSN coursework is recommended, but not required. A GPA less than 3.0 will require a letter of explanation.   
  • Prior RN experience is required.    
  • Proficiency in English (both spoken and written) is mandatory for success in the program.  


Students Educated Outside of the United States

International Transcript Evaluation Agencies

Application Fees
Application fees are payable to Nursing’s Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS). Samuel Merritt University does not charge an additional admission fee.

Application Fee = $80

Non-Refundable Deposits and Fees
Students offered admission pay a non-refundable tuition deposit of $350 to secure their seat in the class. Application fees and tuition deposits are non-refundable, whether or not the student withdraws in the first week of the term.

For a detailed summary of annual tuition, and all fees for the program visit Student Accounts.  

Admitted Academic Year: 2024 - 2025  

            Per Unit Rate                =          $1,658/unit  

            Program Units               =          38 units  

            Total Cost Guarantee*   =          $63,000  

*The total cost estimate does not reflect potential future tuition rate increases. 

Your nursing education at Samuel Merritt University is an important and valuable investment in your future.  Not only will you have the opportunity to pursue a rewarding career in health care, but Samuel Merritt University graduates have a loan default rate of less than one percent.  This means that students who borrowed to attend Samuel Merritt University have found employment in their chosen field that allows them to pay off their loans. 

Samuel Merritt University is proud to offer a variety of ways to assist in funding your education including scholarships and student loans. The first step in applying for financial aid at SMU is to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

SMU offers scholarships and an assortment of resources for funding opportunities outside of the program. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need. A limited number are awarded for academic merit. Scholarships for Nurses include:

  • Sharon Clark Diaz
  • Employee Campaign
  • Marshall Steele, Jr.
  • Hitchcock Heydman
  • Henry & Bernice Bigge
  • Faculty Scholarship
  • Alumni Scholarship
  • Elks of the Year
  • William Breslin

In addition to the cost of tuition, books and fees, financial aid can also cover other indirect educational costs, so the total cost of attendance includes:

  • Books and Supplies
  • Room and Board
  • Personal Expenses
  • Other fees as determined by program/college

Once you receive your financial aid package, check this budget against your actual living expenses and we can make necessary adjustments to meet your needs.

Detailed information about financial aid, budgeting, total cost and application processes are available on the webpage.


We realize that the financial aid process can be difficult and overwhelming.  We are here to help.  Financial Aid staff can assist with budgeting, understanding your awards and understanding the process.  The SMU staff is committed to each and every prospective student and enrolled student.  We have an open door policy and are available via phone or email.

finaid@samuelmerritt.edu or 510-879-9200

Sequential Course Curriculum     Course Descriptions

Curriculum, Courses, and Clinicals

The program combines interdisciplinary core courses, specialty courses, and hands-on experience. Course content aligns with the highest national standards, including those established by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Clinical Experience

In addition to online coursework, you will complete three semesters of precepted clinical practicum hours. You are also required to attend two on-campus intensives at the Sacramento campus.

You will work with our clinical coordinator to secure appropriate practicum and internship sites in your community. You’ll also have access to our network of qualified clinical preceptors (MDs, DO, NPs, PAs, Midwife’s).

Graduation and Employment Rates

Please refer to the university's Student Success Measures webpage for graduation rates, employment rates, and additional success indicators. 

Samuel Merritt University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501; 510.748.9001.

The master's degree program in nursing at Samuel Merritt University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC., 20001.

Master's Accreditation
Initial Accreditation Date: April 21, 2001
Most Recent Accreditation Date: November 2, 2020
Accreditation Term Expires: June 30, 2031
Last On-Site Evaluation: November 2017
Next On-Site Evaluation: Fall 2027

The mission of Samuel Merritt University is to produce highly skilled and compassionate family nurse practitioners (FNP). Students are expected to develop a robust healthcare knowledge base and requisite clinical skills, with the ability to appropriately apply knowledge and skills, effectively interpret information, and contribute to patient-centered decisions across a broad spectrum of clinical situations in all settings. The following technical standards, in conjunction with the academic standards, are requirements for admission, promotion, and graduation. The term “candidate” refers to candidates for admission to the FNP Program as well as current FNP students who are candidates for retention, promotion, or graduation.

These requirements may be achieved with or without reasonable accommodations, the cost of which will be borne by the institution. These standards should not serve as a deterrent to any candidate with disabilities who desires to pursue FNP education. Candidates with disabilities bring unique perspectives which contribute to the diversity of the student population and will create a diverse health care workforce of culturally competent practitioners who can meet the needs of their patients. Candidates with disabilities are encouraged to contact the Disability Resource Center immediately to begin a confidential conversation about possible accommodations necessary to meet these standards. Fulfillment of the technical standards for graduation from the FNP Program does not guarantee that a graduate will be able to fulfill the technical requirements of any specific clinical position.

Technical Standards

Observational Skills

A candidate must acquire information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in foundational sciences. In addition, a candidate must be able to evaluate a patient accurately and assess relevant health, behavioral and medical information.  Candidates must be able to obtain and interpret information through comprehensive assessment of patients, correctly interpret diagnostic representations of patient physiologic data, and accurately evaluate patient conditions and responses. 

Communication Skills

Candidates must exhibit interpersonal skills to enable effective caregiving of patients, including the ability to communicate effectively with all members of a multidisciplinary health care team, patients, and their families in person and in writing. Candidates must be able to clearly and accurately record information in English and accurately interpret verbal and non-verbal communication.

Patient Care Skills

Candidates must perform physical examinations and diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should be able to perform or direct basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, wet mount, etc), diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (venipuncture, placement of catheters and tubes, lumbar puncture, suturing, etc), and interpret electrocardiograms and imaging studies.  A candidate must be able to provide or direct general care and emergency treatment for patients, and respond to emergency situations in a timely manner; examples of emergency treatments reasonably required of a family nurse practitioner include, but are not limited to, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medications, application of pressure to arrest bleeding, opening obstructed airways, and performance of obstetrical maneuvers.  Candidates must meet applicable safety standards for the environment and follow universal precaution procedures.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Cognitive Skills

Candidates must be able to learn through a variety of modalities, including but not limited to, classroom instruction; laboratory; small group, team and collaborative activities; individual study; preparation and presentation of reports; and use of computer technology.  A candidate must effectively interpret, assimilate and understand the complex information required to function within the FNP curriculum including, but not limited to, the ability to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures; effectively participate in individual, small group, and lecture learning modalities in the classroom, clinical and community settings; learn, participate, collaborate and contribute as a part of a team; synthesize information both in person and via remote technology; interpret causal connections and make accurate, fact-based conclusions based on available data and information; formulate a hypothesis, investigate the potential answers and outcomes; and reach appropriate and accurate conclusions. A candidate must be able to find sources of knowledge and acquire the knowledge through various modalities, and possess the ability to be a life-long learner. 

Behavioral Attributes, Social Skills and Professional Expectations

A candidate must be able to exercise good judgment, promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. The skills required to do so include the ability to effectively handle and manage heavy workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. Candidates are expected to exhibit professionalism, personal accountability, compassion, integrity, concern for others, and interpersonal skills including the ability to accept and apply feedback and to respect boundaries and care for all individuals in a respectful and effective manner regardless of gender identity, age, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or any other protected status. Candidates should understand, and function within, the legal and ethical aspects of the practice of medicine, and maintain and display ethical and moral behaviors commensurate with the role of a family nurse practitioner in all interactions with patients, faculty, staff, students and the public. Interest and motivation throughout the educational processes are expected of all candidates.


Tal Sraboyants

Tal Sraboyants

DNP, FNP-C, PHN, CHFN Program Co-Director, Family Nurse Practitioner Assistant Professor
Nikki Love

Nikki Love

DNP, FNP-BC Assistant Director
Noelene Moonsamy

Noelene Moonsamy

MSN, FNP-C Assistant Professor
Catherine Tanner DNP, APRN, FNPC

Catherine Tanner

DNP, APRN, FNP-C Co-Director of the FNP Program

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