Why Earn a Nursing Degree Online

There are numerous online nursing schools from which to choose. It may seem that finding the right one is impossible. However, following the tips below will assist those interested in becoming a nurse find the right online school.

Accreditation is Essential

While initially it may seem unimportant, it is essential that the online nursing school chosen is accredited. An accredited online nursing school concentrates on educating its students using the nationally established nursing standards. This ensures that their students receive the top of the line education they deserve.

Accreditation also provides students with the following benefits:

  • The opportunity to continue building on their degrees
  • Better programs
  • A competitive edge when searching for employment

Clinical Experience Should be Balanced with an Online Nursing Education

Be sure to evaluate the programs offered at each of the online nursing schools. Find a school that provides a good balance between clinical experience and an academic education.

A quality online nursing school offers its students exposure to experienced medical professionals including nurse supervisors and physicians. Such a program should offer educational materials that are up-to-date as well as supervised clinical training.

If possible, try to speak with the school’s current nursing students about the program to learn more about the options offered.

Education Requirements to Begin an Online Nursing Degree Program

Entry-level nursing courses require an enormous amount of personal instruction. That is why an online entry-level nursing program is not offered. These online programs are ideal for a nurse who is already practicing and is interested in continuing her education. However, there are a few second-degree bachelor’s degree in nursing programs offering segments of their curriculum online.

What an Individual Can do with a Nursing Degree

A career as a registered nurse is ideal for individuals who love to help people. Some of the responsibilities of a registered nurse include:

  • Patient care
  • Emotional support and advice to patients and their families
  • Education to patients and the public about a variety of health conditions

A registered nurse can work with the military and at:

  • Nursing care facilities/nursing homes
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Hospitals
  • Home Healthcare services
  • Correctional facilities
  • Summer camps
  • Schools

Paths to becoming a registered nurse include obtaining:

  • A diploma from a nursing program
  • A bachelor’s degree in nursing
  • An associate degree in nursing

Nursing Diploma

Many hospitals offer two to three-year nursing programs. These programs focus on acquiring clinical experience. Once an individual obtains her nursing diploma, she will be ready to begin looking for an entry-level nursing position. This path is popular with students whose main goal is to become a registered nurse. There is not much room for specialization or career growth unless additional education is acquired.

Associate Degree in Nursing

There are associate degree in nursing programs online and most community colleges also offer a two to three-year program. These programs prepare students for a nursing career by merging clinical internships with their educational courses.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a four-year degree program. These programs can be found online or at four year universities. Students who earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing are more prepared for success than their Associate’s Degree in Nursing and diploma-holding counterparts. Registered nurses holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing tend to receive better job opportunities throughout their careers. They will also be able to take a Master of Science in Nursing program, affording them the opportunity to become specialized in a chosen field.

What to Consider When Pursuing a Degree in Nursing

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the job outlook from 2010-2020 for a registered nurse is 26 percent, which is a rate well above average. The employment change from 2010-2020 is approximately 712,000.

This growth occurs primarily because of:

  • An increase in the emphasis on preventative care
  • The technological advancements that are expected from 2010-2020
  • Baby boomers living longer and maintaining a more active lifestyle

The 2010 median pay for a registered nurse is $30.10/hour, which is around $64,700 a year.