No matter what stage you are currently at in your life, a career in nursing is available to most today.
Whether you’re finishing high school soon and are seriously considering nursing school for your future, or you want to get out of your current line of work and start in nursing, nursing is one of the most rewarding and satisfying career opportunities to choose from today. Nurses are in very high demand around the country, and they are needed in every area of healthcare from hospitals to doctor’s offices, outpatient clinics, urgent care clinics, and in schools and jails.
No matter where you are currently in your career, choosing the right nursing degree program for you is an important process. Your choice of nursing school and program will influence several factors in the future including how long it takes for you to graduate, where you work, your future career opportunities and more. For many aspiring nurses today, studying online is an ideal choice. Not only does online study put you in more control of your time and qualification, but it can also be cheaper while allowing you to choose from a wider range of nursing schools and program options. Let’s take a look at the range of online nursing programs available to help you determine which one might be the best option for you.
What are the Benefits of Studying Nursing Online?
First of all, let’s take a look at the main benefits of studying nursing online and why more students are choosing this option. With the price of going to college on the rise, one of the main reasons why an increasing number of nursing school students are deciding to go online is the cost. While tuition fees tend to be around the same for both online and traditional programs, the difference in cost is often huge when it comes to the associated cost of learning including the cost of commuting to campus and buying materials.
The added flexibility that comes with studying online is another major factor in why more and more nursing students are opting for an online degree. Many student nurses are looking to get their degree while they are working, looking after a family, or upholding other commitments, and it makes sense for them to want to find an option that allows them to fit studying around their lives rather than the other way around.
Finally, choosing an online nursing program gives students more options when it comes to where they study. Since studying online allows you to get the work done from home, there’s no need to worry about your proximity to the campus when applying. This allows many student nurses to study at nursing schools and colleges that they might not have been able to do so otherwise.
Associate Degree in Nursing
An associate degree in nursing might be the fastest option to getting into a registered nurse position, but bear in mind that these programs are becoming more difficult to find online as both employers and students favor the BSN. The associate degree is typically the minimum qualification required to get into a career as a registered nurse, and will generally take around two to three years to complete.
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
A bachelor’s degree in nursing, or BSN, is by far the most popular type of online nursing degree today. If you want to become a registered nurse and enjoy all of the benefits that come with this career, this is the best degree option to go for. More and more employers are realizing the benefits of a BSN-educated workforce and are actively looking for more nurses who are educated to this standard, while in New York state, it’s now legally required of nurses who have a lower qualification to get their BSN within ten years of joining the workforce if they want to keep their license. Getting a BSN will typically take you around four years. Also, there are online options to consider for studying part-time if you’re happy for it to take longer, or accelerating the qualification if you want to graduate sooner. Along with online lectures and classes, you will also be required to get clinical experience at a hospital or other healthcare setting as a part of your degree program.
If you are looking to change your career to nursing and already have a bachelor’s degree in a different subject that you gained in the past, the accelerated BSN programs are designed for you. These programs are often faster and cheaper to complete since they allow you to build on the career knowledge that you already have and give you the option to apply your skillset to nursing. Typically, they will take half the time you’d expect to spend on a regular BSN, but bear in mind that this program can be very intense so it’s important to be ready for a lot of hard work and dedication.
Bridge programs are degree programs designed specifically for qualified nurses who are looking to get a BSN. If you already have a nursing qualification such as an associate degree in nursing, a bridge program like the ASN-BSN might be the ideal option for you when it comes to furthering your career.
It is cheaper and quicker compared to getting a standard BSN on top of your current qualifications, since it allows you to build on the nursing knowledge that you already have and improve your skills to become BSN-qualified as a registered nurse.
Master of Science in Nursing
Once you have your BSN, there are several further options to consider if you are interested in growing your career and getting into more advanced roles. While most nurses will need to gain some experience on the job before they will be able to apply for advanced degree programs, if you know that you want your nursing career to take you further than getting a BSN, it’s always worth researching the options available so that you can have a clear pathway in mind for your professional future.
The master of science in nursing is often the minimum requirement for a wide range of advanced nursing roles, whether you are looking to get into nurse management, want to train as a nurse practitioner or want to become a specialist nurse in a certain area. Depending on your career goals, you may be required to get further training in your chosen area of specialty alongside or as part of your nursing master’s degree. Online nursing master’s degrees are often designed with full-time nurses in mind and make it easier for busy nurses to improve their professional outlook from home.
Family Nurse Practitioner Programs
Family nurse practitioner programs from Marymount University are available for nurses at almost every level. To train as a family nurse practitioner, you will usually be required to have a BSN at the very least. They are available in the form of a master’s degree or as a bridge program that is designed to train nurses who hold a master’s or doctorate position in this field. Online family nurse practitioner programs have become extremely popular recently as more and more nurses are encouraged to train to fill the growing number of positions that are available.
Family nurse practitioners are becoming increasingly important to the healthcare industry as professionals who are filling the gap left by the shortage of primary care physicians and the aging population. In many states, once you are trained and licensed as a family nurse practitioner, you will have much more autonomy and freedom compared to a registered nurse, including the ability to diagnose and prescribe medication without the supervision of a doctor. Because of this, family nurse practitioners often head their own clinics.
Doctor of Nursing Practice
The doctor of nursing practice is one of the most advanced nursing degree options available and it is often required for very advanced nursing positions. Getting this degree will help you in your career if you want to get into a senior nursing role or if you are interested in working in the research side of things as a nurse. In addition, nurses who hold a doctor of nursing practice are often highly experienced and, as a result, qualified to get into a role in nurse education, teaching student nurses at a range of nursing schools across the country. With the nursing shortage currently, the country is in definite need of more good nurse educators as many schools and colleges are turning applicants away simply because they do not have the faculty to cope with high student numbers. If you are interested in being a nurse who helps to improve the healthcare industry situation, training to become a nurse educator could be an ideal way to do this.
No matter where you are in your nursing career, online nursing degrees are more popular than ever.
Whether you’re looking to kick-start your career as a nurse with a BSN after high school, want to change your current career, or move up the nursing ladder, there’s a suitable online degree for everybody.