MSN Programs Utah

Advanced practice registered nurses, especially those practicing as nurse practitioners, help to fill a challenging gap in healthcare. Through the delivery of essential primary care services in medically underserved areas, residents no longer have the make long and costly trips to other counties to get much-needed care.

In Utah as in other states, there are thousands of residents living in areas where access to health professionals is limited. In some towns, there are no physicians, and the limited overall supply of primary care physicians in the state is having a negative impact on health care. The growing shortage of physicians requires drastic measures to meet the population’s demand for care. Utah has taken steps to maximize the use of nurse practitioners to meet rising demands.

Nurse practitioners fall into the category of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). The Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) grants licenses to several categories of APRNs, including Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Specialists. APRNs are registered nurses who have completed a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctoral degree. They have the knowledge and competencies to diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medicine, and refer patients if needed.

Through the efforts of the Utah Action Coalition for Health (UACH) and other associations, the state has removed key regulatory barriers to practice that significantly improve access to care. Utah’s NPs do not need a doctor’s oversight, so there’s no extra paperwork to limit their practice. Nurse practitioners in Utah, who are practicing in several specialties can receive reimbursement from Medicaid for their service –which lets patients see a nurse practitioner of their choice. Instead of being tied to an existing physician, they are able to move into underserved areas and meet patients in their hometowns.

Specialized Learning

The Master of Science in Nursing program prepares registered nurses for an advanced practice role. The specialized learning covers the core courses that are essential to master’s level nursing as well as the essential courses that prepare nurses for specialization. All programs will share common areas for study, including leadership, nursing informatics, nursing research, health assessment, clinical pharmacology, and pathophysiology.

The MSN curriculum emphasizes the importance of cultural sensitivity, holistic assessment, communication, and collaboration for graduates to function as leaders in their chosen area of practice. Through solid partnerships with health care facilities, students will have the opportunity to expand and broaden their clinical competencies. Under the supervision of experienced preceptors, students will fine-tune their skills for clinical practice.

The nurse practitioner program is one of the most popular as demands for professionals to fill vacancies in primary care. The nurse educator role is also growing in popularity due to an existing shortage of nurse faculty. Preparation for these roles requires students to complete at least 45 to 52 credits of graduate work, including 600 to 1000 hours of clinical practicums depending on the concentration.

Graduates have the competencies to function as a leader in the professional healthcare team, collect and apply evidence to improve patient outcomes, interpret and use research and publications in practice, develop and implement programs of care, and function as an agent of change within the healthcare system. Apart from functioning in leadership roles in clinical settings, graduates of some specialty tracks, such as Nurse Executive Leadership and Nurse Educator, can also fill key roles in non-clinical settings.

The MSN program format is designed with the working nurse in mind. Most of the program may be delivered online offering students convenience and flexibility. The clinical component will require travel to two or more clinical sites and a commitment of 8 to 12 hours for each shift. Based on a part-time schedule, students can complete the graduation requirements in 2 to 3 years.

Here are three options to pursue an MSN degree:

RN to MSN: The structure of the RN to MSN program depends on the university. Some programs follow an upward mobility pathway that lets students take graduate courses while completing the BSN as a prerequisite to the MSN. At the conclusion of the program, the graduate will earn both the BSN and the MSN and will be prepared to take a national certification exam.

Direct Entry MSN: APRNs help fill a gap in primary care that exists due to the shortage of primary care physicians. Registered nurses who hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing will receive the preparation to fill a specialty role with an additional emphasis on a population focus. The curriculum expands on the knowledge of science and health gained in the undergraduate program to care for individuals, families, and populations in various health care settings. Graduates must sit a national exam in their area of specialty to demonstrate their competency in an advanced practice role.

Post-Master’s Certificate: The post-master’s certificate is designed to help nurses who hold a master’s degree in nursing augment their knowledge for better employment opportunities. The student can choose a specialty that is related to their existing specialty or one that is entirely different. There’s a huge demand for APRNs who are trained in multiple specialties who can meet the demands for care in healthcare settings. Applicants must hold a master of science in nursing. Graduates have the option to sit a national exam for the new specialty role.

Requirements for admission:

Students applying to the MSN program must have:

  • A baccalaureate degree in nursing from a program accredited by a national nursing accreditation agency.
  • A current and unencumbered license to practice as an RN in Utah or be eligible for RN licensure in the state.
  • A passing grade in undergraduate statistics.
  • Submitted a completed application for admission to the MSN program.
  • Professional letters of recommendation.
  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA or 3.2 or higher.
  • An up-to-date resume.

Requirements For Advanced Practice Registered Nurses Utah

The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing grants a license for advanced practice nurses in several categories:

  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist without prescriptive practice
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Specialist

Before applying for an APRN or APRN-CRNA license, you must have a current Utah Registered Nurse license in good standing.

If you’re applying for a controlled substance license, you must complete the Controlled Substances Law and Rules Examination (a take-home exam) and submit with your application. Do not submit separately.

To prescribe, possess, or administer a controlled substance as an APRN, you must hold a Utah Controlled Substance license and a DEA registration.

You must underdo a criminal background check and fingerprint search through the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as part of the application process.

Guidelines for APRN Licensure

To apply for a license to practice as an APRN, complete the following requirements.

  • Submit the completed application for licensure with fingerprints.
  • Enclose the non-refundable application processing fee of $140. The check or money order must be made payable to “DOPL.” The fee includes the $100 application fee for the APRN license and the $20 surcharge for the BCI fingerprint file search and $20 for the FBI fingerprint file search.
  • Submit official transcripts of your educational preparation for advanced practice. It must be at least a master’s degree in nursing that included instruction in advanced health assessment, pharmacotherapeutics, and diagnosis and treatment. Transcripts must be sent directly from the school to DOPL or submitted by the candidate in sealed school envelope.
  • Submit official documentation of passing an approved certification exam. You do not need to complete this step if you’re applying for an intern license.

APRN Intern License

If you’re applying for an intern license, you must complete the following additional requirements:

  • Submit a completed APRN Intern License Request form.
  • Submit a completed Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse: Post-Master’s Clinical Plan if you’re applying as an intern specializing in psychiatric mental health nursing.
  • Submit a completed Verification of Supervised Experience after completing your supervised hours.
  • Enclose the non-refundable application processing fee of $35. The check or money order should be made out to DOPL. The total cost for the APRN and Intern license is $175.

The DOPL will issue an intern license only to applications who have never taken a certification exam. APRN-CRNA applicants are not eligible for an intern license.

Utah Controlled Substance License

If you’re applying for a Utah Controlled Substance license, submit the following additional documents.

  • Complete the take-home Utah Controlled Substances Law and Rules Examination.
  • Enclose the non-refundable application processing fee for the Controlled Substance license.

Note: Interns cannot prescribe controlled substances. Therefore, the Board will not issue the controlled substance license until it issues a full APRN license.

APRN-CRNA without Prescriptive Practice

  • Submit the completed application for licensure with fingerprints.
  • Enclose the non-refundable application processing fee of $240. The check or money order must be made payable to “DOPL.” The fee includes the $100 application fee for the APRN license, the $100 application fee for a controlled substance license, the $20 surcharge for the BCI fingerprint file search and $20 for the FBI fingerprint file search.
  • Submit official transcripts or a certificate of complete from an accredited nurse anesthetist program. Transcripts must be sent directly from the school to DOPL or submitted by the candidate in sealed school envelope.
  • Submit official documentation of passing the examination of the Council of Nurse Anesthetists.
  • Complete the take-home Utah Controlled Substances Law and Rules Examination.

Guidelines for APRN Endorsement:

If you’re licensed to practice as an advanced practice nurse in another state, you must fulfill the following additional requirements:

  • Complete the Request for Verification of License form to obtain verification of licensure from the state where you’re currently licensed to practice. The licensing agency must complete the form and mail or fax directly to DOPL. The agency must verify your RN and APRN licenses.

APRN Renewal Requirements Utah

All APRN and APRN-CRNA licenses expire on January 31 of even-numbered years. If you hold a controlled substance license, it will expire at the same time as your primary and must be renewed at the same time. After the initial renewal, all subsequent renewals will be for a full two years.

The DOPL will send renewal information to your last known address approximately two months before your license expires. It is your responsibility to renew your license prior to the expiration date.

The renewal fee is $68. The APRN Controlled Substance renewal fee is $78.

Renewal requires current certification in your specialty area. If you were licensed prior to July 1, 1992, you might submit evidence of practicing at least 400 hours in the past two years and completed at least 30 hours of approved continuing education.

Controlled substance licensees must complete at least 4 continuing education hours per licensing period. The CE must be 3.5 hours in one or more controlled substance prescribing classes and 0.5 hour for the online DOPL tutorial.

Continuing Education Requirements

Renewal requires current certification in your specialty area. If you were licensed before July 1, 1992, you might submit evidence of practicing at least 400 hours in the past two years and completed at least 30 hours of approved continuing education.

Controlled substance licensees must complete at least 4 continuing education hours per licensing period. The CE must be 3.5 hours in one or more controlled substance prescribing classes and 0.5 hour for the online DOPL tutorial.

Contact the Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing

Utah Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing
P.O. Box 146741
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6741

Physical Address
160 East 300 South, 1st Floor Lobby
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111

Phone: (801) 530-6628
Toll-Free: (866) 275-3675

Fax: (801) 530-6511

MSN Programs Utah

Provo, UT MSN programs:
Brigham Young University
A-41 ASB, Provo, UT 84602
801-422-1211

Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions
122 East 1700 South, Building C, Provo, UT 84606
1-866-780-4107

Salt Lake City, UT MSN programs:
The University of Utah- College of Nursing
10 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
801-581-3414

Westminster College
1840 South 1300 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
801-484-7651

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