Online Degree Programs for Becoming a Nurse
When it comes to earning your nursing degree online, there are virtually no entry level registered nurse programs that are offered entirely, or even mostly, online. When people’s lives are in your hands, you have to get it right. That means that entry level nurses programs, require a large amount of face-to-face instruction. Simply put, if you are going into nursing, you are going to need to find a nursing school you can attend courses at on campus. Even more importantly, you’re going to be taking clinical nursing classes to become a nurse as well—which will actually prepare you for working as a nurse in the real world.
That said, if you already have your degree, and want to explore online nursing classes, you do have some options…
There are a growing number of second degree or accelerated BSN programs that offer parts of their nursing program curriculum online, but even these programs still require you to go to class on campus. There are many parts of your nursing curriculum that will require you to learn face to face from your teachers and demonstrate your skills in person. How else could you learn and become proficient at basic nursing procedures, like patient assessments, starting IVs and changing dressings?
If you are looking for a registered nurse program online, you’re going to need to refocus your search right now. Look for a school that offers didactic and lecture classes online, and with a campus and clinical locations that are nearby. This is the closest you are going to get to becoming a nurse online.
Now, if you are already a nurse, you can find nursing bridge programs online, which can significantly increase your chances for successfully earning your advanced nursing degree. Some of the most common online nursing bridge programs that people look for are LVN/LPN to RN bridge programs and RN to BSN bridge programs. We’ve taken the time to outline these programs and what they entail, with the help of nurses who have already completed bridge programs. This is how you know you are getting real world information when you visit our site. We’ve been there, and we can help you get to where you want to be as a nurse.
There are many ways nursing programs take advantage of online learning tools to help their students train efficiently. While much of the curriculum does require in-person training, nursing students can still watch lectures, download reading materials, watch computer simulations or videos that explain concepts, and participate in class discussions using online learning tools. As online learning technology becomes more advanced, keep your eyes out for new innovations in distance education tech for students.
So remember, if you are looking for online LPN to RN programs, for instance, there may be some good options near you.
Just use our state search box, or find the program you want on the left hand side of this page to get where you need to go.
Choosing Between Online Nursing Programs
How Do I Choose A Reputable Nursing School?
As a rule, you should connect with multiple nursing schools when you’re looking for a degree program. As with many other things, the way to find the best nursing programs is to spend some time shopping around.
There are very meaningful differences between the programs in terms of cost, admissions requirements, and other characteristics. If you are wondering how to become a nurse practitioner, how you become a registered nurse online, if there are online nursing degree for non nurses, or what is a pre licensure program, we can help you with those questions, and others you may have.
How To Compare the Best Online Nursing Programs
Although many factors will impact your decision-making process, you should take note of some things when you look at any online nurses school. First is accreditation. If your nursing program won’t help you qualify for the job you want, then what’s the point? Make sure your program is accredited by one of the following nursing education accreditation bodies:
- ACEN – Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
- CCNE – Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
- CNEA – Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation
Second, figure out the type of online nursing degree that will really work best for you. With so many career options for nurses with advanced education and skills, it’s no wonder the profession of nursing is growing so much. If you are aiming for your bachelors or graduate nursing degree, there are many options and types of nurses programs for you to consider.
No one really wants to think about financing their education. It’s the part we would all rather skip, but it’s unavoidable. That’s why we also tell students to make sure they understand all the financial aid, scholarship, and grants they may qualify for. You never know until you look. And your school should have a strong understanding of how you can navigate this part of the process.
With online nursing schools, you have to be a little more cautious, because they may not be familiar with scholarship opportunities that are unique to your city or state. It never hurts to do a little searching on your own. And talk to nursing schools nearby, even if you are inclined towards online programs. This will help you compare insight, and confidence in the decision you ultimately make.
We also recommend applying for our Back to School Nursing Scholarship, which allows us to award $2500 toward nursing school to students just like you.
Career services is the other benefit we look for when comparing nurse schools online vs. campus options. Like we mentioned with scholarship opportunities, local schools might have a firmer grip on the jobs picture in your area and who to connect you with to get you training and working ASAP. However, some online nursing programs offer the same quality of career help that your local campus might provide. When you make your checklist of questions and concerns for comparing nurse programs, be sure to put this item on the list.
More than anything, you want to be sure that you are truly happy in your nursing role – whichever career direction you choose to pursue. When healthcare professionals are happy in their work, and passionate about their role in providing the best patient outcomes, our whole system benefits. Not only that, you can wake up every day energized and ready to make a difference in your patients’ lives.
From here, we recommend learning about the many types of online RN programs and other nursing education opportunities for you to consider before making an enrollment decision…
Learn About Specific Online Nursing Programs
Below, you will find some great insight straight from the mouths of nurse professionals who understand what the online nursing school experience might – and might not – include.
First, let’s take a quick look at the types of online nursing programs you might encounter on your search for the one that suits you. Whether you are looking for LPN to RN programs, 2-year RN programs online, or want to know how do you become a registered nurse, speaking with your local school options is the smart way to find the best online nursing programs available for you—and remember, you may only be able to take a handful of classes online in this profession. If you’re a working nurse, you already know how extremely important your clinical training really is…
Online Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) Programs
An online FNP program, will likely require you to visit a campus a few times throughout the course of your training. However, there are many online courses for nurse practitioner programs that include courses that focus on primary care of the family. These topics include health systems and policy, pharmacology, health assessment, ethics, research methods, and other related classes. You can expect to take around 45 credit hours, making an online NP program take about 8 semesters to complete. Some of these programs nursing practitioners that are offered online allow you to set up your own clinical locations, which can be a whole new ball game in and of itself. If you are looking at online FNP programs, make sure you ask schools about your clinical rotations before you enroll—this can be a make or break deal for many, depending on how your school assists with this essential part of nursing education.
When you complete your program, whether you attended fully online or went to campus occasionally, you should have the knowledge and clinical skills to care for patients of all ages, including women, infants, and seniors. You should also qualify to work in family practices, pediatric care, college health, retail clinics, and other settings. In these roles, you can provide routine checkups, diagnose illness and disease, and provide preventative healthcare services. If this sounds good to you, look into this specialty track, in additional to other types of online nurse school programs.
RN to BSN Online Nursing Schooling Programs
If you would like to advance to leadership and management positions in nursing, completing your RN to BSN might be the next logical step for you. The nice thing about these nursing school online programs is that you can typically complete your clinical steps in your current workplace, or without undue stress on your current situation.
This can give you a chance to prove to your superiors and peers that you have the dedication, smarts, and leadership ability to execute at a higher level. Another benefit of online RN to BSN programs is that some are offered in an accelerated format, which could mean completion in as little as 13 months.
Typical program requirements for entrance into an online RN to BSN bridge program can include: 2.5 minimum G.P.A., RN licensure, transcripts, as well as the standard application and fee process that every postsecondary program includes.
Nursing School Online Graduate Degree Programs
Another great benefit of nurse schooling online is the availability of graduate programs, including masters and doctor of nursing practice programs available for students to choose from. There are also RN to DNP and BSN to DNP bridge programs you can look into now!
Once you are ready to pursue your master’s degree, you will likely have plenty of experience and education under your belt. That’s why many master’s level nursing programs do not have the in-person or campus requirements that undergraduate programs typically have.
For instance, if you enroll in a master’s in healthcare administration, you will focus on topics in management, organizational structures and healthcare systems, leadership, policy, curriculum development, research, and other topics that fit into distance education learning formats.
With online technology so interactive and high quality these days, it’s no wonder traditional campus based colleges and universities are including more online components in their campus programs, and offering more 100% online options for students.
Now, let’s hear from professional nurses about what they think about online nursing programs…
Interviews with Nurse Professionals
What better way to learn about what it’s like to work in different types of nursing roles than to learn from the experiences of people with experience in the field? That’s why we included these interviews with nursing administrators from several schools that offer online nursing programs.
We plan on adding many more - if you work for a school that offers online nursing programs, please feel free to contact us about being interviewed. Our goal is to give students the best information, so they can make the best decision for their future. We also want to give props to the schools that are going above and beyond for their nursing students.
What Does an "Online" Nursing Program Really Mean?
Here’s the Rundown on Online Nursing Schools, One Last Time…
All online nursing degree programs are certainly not created equal. When you speak to the nursing schools, make sure to get very specific information on how many times you will be required to come to campus, each month/semester/etc.
Most nursing programs described as "online" will in fact require you to come to campus at a few specific points during the year. During the course of your learning, you will likely view lectures online, and participate in class discussions, download reading materials, and communicate with your peers and professors through an online dashboard that your school uses.
This can work well for the knowledge portions of your education, which is why so many traditional schools are implementing online tools in their campus courses.
But with clinical training experiences, nursing students are better off learning those skills in person. Think of it this way: As a patient, would you want a nurse who had never started an IV before, or one who only learned about putting in a catheter online? NO! And this is why any fully “online” Registered Nurse programs should be considered very very carefully…
However, as we said before, some nursing programs are truly 100% online, and you can earn your degree without ever showing up in person. Typically, these programs are administrative in nature, or allow you to complete the clinical piece of your education in your home community.
If you are already employed as a nurse, you can often complete your clinicals at the facility where you work, provided you can find somebody to oversee you - often called a "preceptor." If you’re pursuing an online nursing program within a specific specialty (say, a Community Health focused MSN program), you may be required to do your clinicals at a specific kind of site (a community health center, etc.).
You can use our handy Nursing Education Map to help you find out the best route, or you can use the links at the side of the page to find programs in your state.
Regardless of where you are starting, we’ve got you covered when it comes to find programs. Contact the schools with online nursing degrees below that interest you.
Featured Online Programs:
Online programs may not be available in all states