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Studying Nursing: Online Program Introduction Guide

For new nurses, the nursing industry can seem confusing and overwhelming. The need for nurses is ever-increasing, but with a myriad of options in both traditional and online education, where do you start? The answer could lie in online schooling.

What is an Online Nursing School?

Online nursing schools are online institutions of higher learning in which students can earn associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees in nursing through classes offered online.

The world of online education has changed dramatically within the last decade, but many continue to view it as a “niche” that lacks the seriousness and quality associated with brick-and-mortar colleges and universities.

While there certainly are those who feel this way, others believe that online education can be just as thorough and comprehensive as traditional campus curricula.

How Technology Has Changed Nursing Education

With an increased demand for qualified nurses and a shortage of applicants, the nursing education industry has had to adapt to meet the needs of students and schools. As a result, programs have become more specialized and rigorous, with an increased focus on continuing education and online degree completion.

The emergence of the internet as a widespread communication tool in the early 1990s contributed to this shift in emphasis from campus and hospital education to online learning.

More recently, however, a surge in technologically advanced mobile technology has caused many schools once more to re-evaluate how they deliver nursing education.

There are many advantages that come with distance learning courses, including lower costs of tuition, flexible course schedules, and specialized curricula only available online. Online education is ideal for working students and single parents, who may have limited access to childcare facilities. By eliminating the need to travel between campus and work, online learning often eliminates the need for childcare arrangements or transportation costs.

What You Get From an Online Program

As a nurse working in a field environment, you may want to consider studying for an advanced degree in nursing or a specialized degree that focuses on a nursing career area of interest. For instance, there are many online RN-BSN programs that offer an accelerated program for registered nurses seeking bachelor’s degrees. Courses like the online second degree nursing programs by Wilkes University have proven popular with trainee nurses for many years.

How to Get Into a Nursing Online Program?

Getting accepted into an online nursing program is just as competitive as a traditional campus program, though the online application requirements will differ. In order to be eligible for admission, you must fulfill all the minimum requirements for your state of residence along with any additional requirements your undergraduate institution may have.

You will also have to submit several different documents with your application. These include:

  • Official transcripts from your previous educational institutions
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Essays and other personal information forms
  • A copy of your nursing license or certified nursing assistant certificate

Graduate programs will require GRE scores or other standardized test scores in addition to these documents.

How to Get Into a Top Online Nursing College or University

In order to get into the top colleges, it is important to have the right application materials, which include a personal statement, academic transcripts, and test scores. There are many online nursing colleges and universities that offer degrees in different areas such as nursing, health administration, nursing education, and more. However, the competition for admission is tough.

Here are some ways to increase your chances of getting into a top online nursing college or university:

Look for a reputable online college or university that specializes in nursing fields

Nursing is a profession that has tremendous job prospects and pays well. There are many different types of nursing jobs, and some of the top ones require you to work in an emergency room or a hospital.

However, there are also many administrative positions that you can get without having to work in a hospital setting. It is important for students who want to pursue this field to look for a reputable online college or university.

Research the experience of their previous students to see if they were admitted

Most schools require a certain number of years of experience in their field before they will be admitted. Many schools will only consider admitting someone into the program if they have at least three years of experience.

Attend an info session at the school before you apply for admission

medical-technology-nursingUniversities are one of the most expensive investments you will make in your lifetime. You need to know what you are getting into before deciding to apply, and many students choose to attend an information session.

An information session is a chance for you to explore the university and ask as many questions as you would like about the school’s curriculum, admissions process, financial aid options, and more.

Decide what type of degree you would like to earn

There are many different types of nursing degrees that you can earn, so it is important to decide what you are looking for in a program before applying. There are associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees, and some schools offer more than one type of degree.

For example, a school could offer one type of nursing degree for nurses who want to advance their careers and another for nurses who want to do research in their field or teach at the college level. You should look into each type of degree program before deciding on a school.

Think about whether or not you would like to specialize in your nursing career or just work as a general nurse

For example, you can specialize in pediatrics, general medicine, trauma care, geriatrics, or many other fields. Some of the top nursing schools offer certain types of degrees that you can earn if you plan to pursue a specialty.

For example, some online nursing schools only offer master’s degrees that focus on graduate-level nursing education or research.

You should visit each school’s website and read the course descriptions before choosing a program. Some online colleges and universities offer dual degree programs, so you could pursue a master’s degree in nursing while also earning a master’s degree in another field.

This is an ideal option for those who want to have a very specialized career path.

What is the Difference Between an Associate Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing’s Online Programs?

The average student spends six to eight years in college or university before graduating. Therefore, it is important that students are aware of the difference between an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree in nursing’s online programs to ensure that they are making the right decision for their future.

There is a huge difference between the two undergraduate degrees. While an associate degree is a school-based certificate, it can easily be completed in just one year or less. An associate degree typically doesn’t cover all of the curricula that a bachelor’s degree would, and students are not required to take all of the pre-requisite classes in order to enroll in their program.

Laws can vary by state, but most states require two years of coursework to earn an associate degree (as opposed to four years for a bachelor’s). This is equivalent to 120 semester hours of college credit rather than 120 credit hours at the university level.

How to Choose an Online Nursing Program That’s Right for You

Which online nursing degrees are best for you? For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you may want to choose a doctorate-level program that requires 30 credit hours to complete.

While some programs offer masters of nursing programs for those with a bachelor’s degree in another field and a few others only accept applicants who have completed at least 24 credit hours of undergraduate studies before enrolling.

When looking at the application process and class structure, it is important to look at the school’s accreditation.

Some online colleges and universities only offer associate degrees, while others provide both associate degree programs and bachelor’s degree programs.

Getting the Most Out of Your Online Nursing Program

nursing-healthcareTo get the most out of your nursing program, it is important to make sure that you are keeping up with all of the course requirements. Your school may require you to complete certain pre-requisite classes before you can begin your degree program.

It will also be important to search for additional opportunities in your area which can help supplement your income and further your career while you are still in school. Some schools also offer scholarships or financial aid options to help offset the cost of attending.

Although online colleges and universities are very different from their physical counterparts, they do offer many of the same benefits, such as job placement assistance and financial assistance packages.

It is important to know what you are getting into before jumping into one of these programs. If you do your research, it will be much easier to find the right program for your needs.

How Is Online Nursing Good for Students

There are many different types of nursing degrees that you can earn, so it is important to decide what you are looking for in a program before applying. There are associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees.

For example, do you want to advance your career into a new specialty, or are you keen to keep growing your knowledge in the area you already working in? You should look into each type of degree program before deciding on a school.

While there are no major drawbacks to choosing an online nursing degree over a traditional classroom-based method, some students prefer the feeling of social engagement without the hang-ups associated with being in class with a bunch of strangers.

Online Nursing Experience

Many students prefer the convenience of studying online. Students can complete their schooling almost anywhere. However, this doesn’t mean online nursing degrees are for everyone. Some students prefer to attend school in an extremely prestigious campus environment complete with well-known faculty and an environment steeped in history.

This is the reason that many teaching hospitals still have physical campuses complete with libraries, printing services, and auditoriums where older generations of nurses can gather to hear lectures and other events hosted by nursing student association groups or within nursing associations like the American Nurses Association (ANA).

In addition, physical campuses provide an excellent opportunity for nursing students to network and make connections that can further their careers. In fact, many nurses choose to work at schools near where they grew up or in the neighborhood they served. In this way, traditional campus nursing programs offer a real-life experience apart from what can be provided by online programs.

There are several colleges and universities that specialize in providing online nursing courses.

Online nursing programs are available through private schools as well. Many online nursing schools are approved by the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA). Many other universities offer degree programs at their main campus and overseas in countries where students can study at a more reduced cost.

In some cases, students may also be able to study abroad for free if they choose to do so as part of their eligibility for federal grants and scholarships.

Who is a Good Candidate for a Distance Education Program?

Students who have no problem with long-distance can benefit from distance learning. However, students who live in rural areas or close to the city limits do not benefit from distance learning if they cannot travel long distances for nursing classes.

Also, students who are physically disabled and/or cannot drive long distances may not be able to complete their courses online.

It is important to look into the cost of attending school online versus the cost of living in a local area and in order to decide if going online is right for you. This information is available on any Distance Education School website or by contacting information provided by schools directly.

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Last Updated on January 17, 2022 by Marie Benz MD FAAD