What To Look For in an Online Nursing School Degree Program

If you’re considering embarking on a new career path or taking your already existing profession to the next level, online nursing schools may be the perfect life-defining challenge for you. Luckily, these days even a busy working professional or parent can find time to expand their educational horizons, working opportunities and daily satisfaction with online degree programs. Capitalizing on the flexibility and comfort of learning from the home setting – or whatever quiet workplace you happen to prefer – can save you both time and money. Below are some aspects of online programs to consider before embarking on a new nursing degree.

Education Requirements

Educational requirements are different depending on the type of nursing degree. Each of these degrees varies as to what components students may take online and which necessitate hands-on experience, but all programs offer some level of online work that can save time and money.

Licensed Practical Nursing Degree

Sometimes also called a Licensed Vocational Nursing Degree, a licensed practical nursing degree is a one-year program that generally requires a high school diploma for admission. Applicants are normally expected to send a transcript showing a minimum grade point average earned.

Associate Degree in Nursing

High school degrees will be required for entrance to an Associate Degree Nursing Program. Sometimes grade point average will be considered at the high school level, and sometimes students will be required to complete college courses first.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Similar to an Associate’s, a Bachelor Degree often will require students to complete college-level coursework before acceptance. Either way, a high school diploma or equivalent is required.

Master of Science in Nursing

Entrance to a Master’s Degree in Nursing program generally is offered to students who are already active in the field of nursing and hold a Bachelor’s Degree.

Career Options: What You Can Do with a Nursing Degree

Whatever your preferred level of education once you begin your online schooling, there are many paths to consider. There are three basic options to consider when choosing a degree: care setting, patient type and specialization area.

Look through the list and decide which aspects of each appeal most to you, and then make your decisions accordingly. Some choices will dictate other choices for you. If, for example, you are drawn to neonatal care, then you will most likely work in a hospital setting. Deciding where your comfort levels and interest areas lie will help clarify this choice.

What to Consider if you Pursue a Nursing Degree

Holding a nursing degree significantly improves your chances for employment and your chances of earning a good wage. A Licensed Practical Nurse, for instance, is looking at an average salary of $40,380 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job outlook is even more hopeful, growing at a projected rate of 22 percent between 2010 and 2020, faster than the national average.

For Registered Nurses (those holding Associate’s Degrees), the prospects are even better: not only is the median pay $64,690 per year, but the number of jobs is growing significantly faster than average at 26 percent between the years 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.

Those who attain even higher levels of education, like a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science in Nursing, can expect to earn more for their educational efforts and have a wider variety of job prospects offered to them. And one of the best things about online programs is the cost savings during school, which allows graduates to pay off their loans and move on to other life dreams even more quickly. Truly, whether you are already active in the nursing field or just looking to break in, there has never been a better time to enroll in an online nursing school program.