One educational option for people seeking a career in nursing is an online degree. People seeking an online nursing degree have many options including what type of online college to attend and what kind of degree to get.
Online University or Traditional Brick-and-Mortar?
Going to college online doesn’t mean that one’s only option is to attend an online university. Increasingly, traditional colleges and universities are offering courses and degree opportunities online including degrees in nursing. Potential students should weigh the advantages of online colleges in the same way they would programs at brick-and-mortar universities. There are a number of questions they should ask. What does the program cost? What kind of employment placement rate can the school claim? Is it accredited by one of the standard bodies that accredits nursing schools such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education? Are current and former students satisfied with their education?
The next question to ask is what kind of degree one should seek. Most types of degrees are available from online schools from the diploma in nursing all the way to a doctorate. The type of degree chosen will depend on how much money and time the student has as well as what the student’s eventual aims are for a nursing career.
A diploma is a basic entry-level degree that allows one to work as a licensed practical nurse. An associate’s degree is also a possibility.
A bachelor’s degree in nursing is increasingly popular, and this opens up many more possibilities for nurses including higher pay. Beyond the bachelor’s, there are also online programs for earning master’s degrees in various specialties such as nurse practitioner and clinical nurse leader. Finally, a doctorate in nursing is also available online.
A number of certificates can be obtained online as well. For example, nurses who would like to specialize in areas such as gerontology or pediatrics can add certificates in those areas.
Unlike many programs that can be completed wholly online, nursing education does require some practical learning experience as well. Not every program will require this. For example, there are programs that allow RNs to obtain bachelor’s degrees in nursing; these students will already have the necessary practical experience. For the most part, however, online nursing programs will have clinical requirements that are separate from attending the actual classes. Students should be able to make arrangements to fulfill their clinical requirements
Another thing to consider is that some schools offer classes that are mostly online with a few requirements to attend classes on-campus. While this may prove too inconvenient for some students, for others it may be an excellent solution. Some students are uncomfortable with all-online classes because they miss the opportunity to meet and interact with instructors and fellow classmates. A course that is mostly online with a few requirements for on-campus meetings can be the ideal solution for the student who would like some interaction with instructors but whose schedule does not permit traditional classes.