The best online nursing schools and programs are accredited nursing schools that offer quality online programs for nurses. Nursing is the most in-demand profession in the country right now. Almost every state is experiencing a nursing shortage. However, there are now many schools that offer online degree programs so nurses can advance their careers while they continue to work.
In order to help you find the best schools possible, we here at nursingschoolhub.com have compiled a list of the top online nursing schools. Hopefully, this will help you in your decision of where to go to get the best degree possible for you.
How We Ranked the10 Best Online Nursing Programs and Schools
The Nursing School Hub editors first found accredited schools that offer online nursing programs. Then we use academic quality, reputation, and cost of tuition to rank the list. We use data from Niche and IPEDS.
1. Indiana State University
Indiana State University is a public institution of higher learning based out of Terre Haute, Indiana. The school opened in 1865 and then started its distance learning programs in 1969. The university offers its online programs through DegreeLink. Students are able to transfer credit earned from other regionally accredited institutions, and then complete their bachelor’s degree in a distance-learning format.
Indiana State University offers two online nursing degree programs. Students can either take a licensed practical nurse to bachelor’s (LPN to BSN) degree in nursing, or a registered nurse to bachelor’s degree in nursing (RN to BSN). The LPN to BSN program is a partnership between the university and Ivy Tech Community College. It is for LPNs who are currently practicing and have a valid license. Furthermore, students are able to transfer all eligible credits, and complete online courses offered by both institutions.
The courses required for the program include general education courses, nursing prerequisites, and bachelor’s degree level nursing courses. The nursing courses include nursing in mental illness, nursing care of adults, professional nursing synthesis, nursing leadership, and transition from LPN to BSN. The RN to BS program prepares currently practicing RNs to advance their education. The program offers a unique component in that students can earn up to 10 credit hours through a professional portfolio assessment. Students can also receive credit from transfer coursework. The required nursing courses include transition to professional nursing practice, reflective nursing practice, research for nursing, and nursing care of families in stress.
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association
2. Drexel University
Drexel University is a private, research institution based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Anthony J. Drexel founded the school in 1891. Drexel University began offering online courses in 1996 and it opened its completely wireless campus in 2000. It currently offers more than 100 online programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree levels. It also offers online certificate programs. The university has offered online nursing degrees since 1997.
Drexel University offers its online nursing degree programs through the College of Nursing and Health Professions. The college is a top online nursing school, and it educates more than 1,500 students annually. The U.S. News and World Report rank the university among the top 10 biggest online graduate nursing programs in the U.S. The college offers an RN to BSN, RN to MSN bridge program, MSN with various concentrations, and Doctor of Nursing Practice.
The post-bachelor’s certificate programs include nursing education and faculty and innovation and intra/entrepreneurship in advanced nursing practice. The post-master’s certificate programs are adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, adult psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nursing education and faculty, pediatric nurse practitioner, and innovation and intra/entrepreneurship in advanced nursing practice. Students are able to begin nursing programs various times a year and the courses are as little as 10 weeks long.
Accreditation: The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools regionally accredits Drexel University. Additionally, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits the online nursing programs.
3. Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private research institution residing in Washington, DC. The school opened in 1789 and is the country’s oldest Jesuit and Catholic university. GU’s student-centered education model establishes and communicates knowledge through excellent education programs in the Jesuit tradition. The institution has been offering an online nursing degree program since spring 2011.
Georgetown University offers an online master’s degree for the next generation of nursing professionals to reach their goals and enhance the health and well-being of society. The program utilizes the most advanced technology to provide students with the best possible online experience. The program includes live, online seminars and clinical components located in the student’s local area. Students pursuing a master’s degree in nursing can select from four specialties: nurse educator, family nurse practitioner, nursing midwifery/women’s health nurse practitioner, and adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner.
The core courses for all specialties include health care ethics, advanced health assessment, professional aspects of advanced nursing practice, research methods, and advanced pharmacology. Clinical placements are based on the location and specialty of students and Georgetown University provides students with an abundance of support throughout the clinical experiences. For MSN program admission individuals must hold a registered nurse license and have a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Accreditation: The Middle States Commission on Higher Education regionally accredits Georgetown University. Additionally, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits the master’s degree program in nursing.
4. Loyola University
Loyola University is a private, Jesuit Catholic school located in Chicago, Illinois. It opened in 1870 as St. Ignatius College. The school finds God in all aspects and strives to increase knowledge through education, faith, and justice.
Loyola University offers an online RN to BSN program through the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. The program enables licensed registered nurses to finish their degree in as little as three semesters. Students must finish at least 30 credit hours of online coursework. Courses are seven-week sessions and students are also able to complete online elective courses. The program includes prior education and current employment experience, and the school accepts up to 66 transfer credits, including 30 credits for nursing courses, 36 credits for core courses for the RN to BSN program, and up to 25 credits for previous learning by Professional Nursing portfolio.
Students are able to enroll on a full- or part-time basis. Full-time students typically complete two courses at a time, while those enrolled part-time take one. The coursework includes community health, bridge course nursing concepts, individual family community health and wellness, statistics, healthcare delivery, introduction to research, physical assessment, leadership for professional nursing practice, and nursing ethics. Admissions to the online RN to BSN program are granted year-round.
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Associate of Colleges and Schools grants regional accreditation to Loyola University. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.
5. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University is a private, Christian, liberal arts institution residing in Phoenix, Arizona. It was established in 1949, and it strives to assist students in reaching their goals and fulfilling their purpose. The university also inspires students to apply Christian values and ethics in their careers.
Grand Canyon University offers various nursing programs at both the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. It also offers post-master certificate and bridge programs. The undergraduate nursing program is the RN to BSN program. The program requires a total of 120 credit hours, and the core courses include professional dynamics, health assessment, nursing research, nursing leadership and management, and trends and issues in health care. The graduate degree programs include MSN and a dual degree of MSN in nursing leadership in health care systems and an MBA.
Students can choose an MSN with a concentration in nursing education, health care informatics, nursing leadership in health care systems, family nurse practitioner, public health, acute care nurse practitioner, and adult clinical nurse specialist. The post-master certificate programs include nursing education, family nurse practitioner, adult clinical nurse specialist, and acute care nurse practitioner. The bridge programs are intended for experienced registered nurses who have degrees in other areas besides nursing and who seek to earn their MSN in a particular area.
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools regionally accredits Grand Canyon University. Also, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions for the BSN and MSN programs.
6. Western Governors University
Western Governors University is a private, online institution. The governors of 19 states of the U.S established it in 1997. It strives to enhance the quality and accessibility of higher education by offering programs that do not have time or location restrictions.
Western Governors University offers a bachelor’s degree in nursing (RN to BSN), MSN in leadership and management, MSN in education, RN to MSN in leadership and management, and RN to MSN in education. The bachelor’s degree in nursing is a pre-licensure program, and it prepares students to become RNs and take the national licensing examination. The program includes classroom instruction, simulation lab experience, and clinical practicums in actual health care environments. The program requires a total of 120 credits, and the coursework includes anatomy and physiology, nursing theory and practice, nursing science, clinical microbiology, and nutrition.
The RN to BSN program enables current RNs to advance their education and careers. It requires 120 total credits, including core coursework and a capstone project. The MSN programs in education and leadership and management are intended for RNs with BSNs, and the programs require 30 credit hours for completion. The RN to MSN programs are for RNs who do not have a BSN and want to earn a master’s degree in nursing. These programs require a total of 145 credit hours.
Accreditation: The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities regionally accredits Western Governors University. Additionally, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits nursing programs.
7. Benedictine University
Benedictine University is a private, Roman Catholic institution residing in Lisle, which is a suburban area of Chicago, Illinois. The school was established in 1887, and it maintains a close association with the Benedictine Order. It is dedicated to offering a lively educational environment that serves a diverse student population and adheres to the values of the Catholic heritage.
Benedictine University offers an online Master of Science degree in nursing. The program is dedicated to preparing nurses to become excellent nursing educators and leaders in the constantly changing health care industry. It is committed to offering an innovative curriculum to meet the needs of working students. The program promotes an in-depth understanding of relevant nursing issues, and students acquire the necessary skills to excel in the profession. The core courses include health promotion, evidence-based nursing practice, ethical and culturally competent health care workers, health care policy and advocacy, health care informatics, and quality improvement and safety in health care.
The program enables students to choose from two concentrations: nurse executive leader and nurse educator. Both concentrations must complete practicum experiences in actual nursing environments. The nurse executive leader concentration requires 36 credit hours and the nurse educator requires 39 credit hours. Prior to graduation, students must complete a capstone experience, to sum up the concepts they learned in courses.
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association accredits Benedictine University. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits the online nursing degree program.
8. Walden University
Walden University was founded in 1970. The university’s primary goal when it first opened was to provide an easy and also affordable way for current working adults to get their doctorate degrees on a part-time basis. The school offers a variety of degree programs to its students, including certificates, master’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and also doctorate degrees. Furthermore, its online program started in 2005 and offers a variety of different programs for students around the world.
Walden University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is one of the more popular accredited programs in the nation. Their online classes focus on student interaction and hands-on experience. Once students complete their bachelor’s degree, they have an option to begin their master’s program. Both the master’s and doctoral nursing programs are geared towards students who want to go into hospital and clinical administration.
Accreditation: Walden University has accreditation from a vast number of associations. In 1990, they gained accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission and the North Central Association. More recently, it became an accredited institution by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Their nursing program has accreditation from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
9. Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global offers many online nursing degrees. Students learn to be leaders and develop skills for their roles as leaders and nurses. Purdue offers an ADN degree online for practical nurses in a few states. This program is an LPN to RN degree for practical nurses to become registered nurses. The school offers a b=few bachelor’s degrees in nursing including an RN to BSN and an accelerated BSN.
In addition, there are numerous graduate paths for working nurses to specialize in an area of interest. Nurses can choose a nurse practitioner or advanced practice path. Furthermore, students can complete clinicals and practicums at a location they choose. And, Purdue offers very affordable tuition and one-on-one faculty guidance.
Accreditation: Purdue University Global is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
10. Kaplan University
Kaplan University, founded in 1937, is a higher-level learning institution that focuses on providing quality education to newly-graduated high school students and adults looking to finish their college education. They offer certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees. July of 2003 marked the first time that Kaplan University offered its degree programs online. While most of their classes are based online, they maintain a campus in Chicago, Illinois.
Kaplan University offers a variety of nursing programs, ranging from diplomas to master’s degrees. Many students who attend Kaplan for their nursing programs begin at the associate or diploma level. Once they complete an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, they automatically move on to complete their Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing for prelicensure reasons or take a nursing program that’s geared to move them on to the master’s degree level. The Master of Science in Nursing is a popular option among students looking to go into an administrative role.
Accreditation: Kaplan University is currently accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Also, as one of the top nursing schools in the country, Kaplan is an accredited member of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
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