Online Nursing Degree Options

Nursing is one of the most-in demand professions within the United States of America. A 12 percent growth was observed in jobs for registered nurses (RNs) between the year 2018 and 2028. In 2018, nurses earned $71,730 median annual salary, which is higher than most of the other professions.

If you are interested in becoming a registered nurse, but can’t enroll in a typical on-campus program, then an online nursing degree might be the option for you. Several universities and colleges are offering online nursing programs. We have discussed some options below:

Associate Degree

An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is the most popular path to nursing profession and is generally offered by community colleges. ADN is a two year program and those who earn this degree online are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN. In the majority of states, passing the ADN exams leads to RN licensure. If you want to jumpstart your nursing career, then an ADN is the best option for you. It also provides a strong base for further studies and more advanced nursing degrees.

With an ADN, you can enter the workforce with less of a financial investment and time so you can determine if nursing is the right profession for you. Nurses with a bachelor’s degree (BSN) are higher in demand than those with an ADN and get higher salaries. Many ADNs continue their education, pursuing BSN but it isn’t always necessary.

Bachelor’s Degree

Another online degree option for you is the Bachelor’s program. It takes four years to complete Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree whether you take the online path or go on-campus. Large hospitals generally prefer to hire nurses with a BSN. This means that if you complete ADN, you might have to go for BSN before you are hired. Students who hold a bachelor’s degree in some other field or those that have an RN license generally go for traditional BSN program. BSN is offered both online and on-campus by many accredited schools. BSN nursing graduates mostly go for the NCLEX-RN after getting their degree to earn an RN license.

The BSN is higher in demand compared to the ADN. A bachelor’s degree allows you to specialize in a specific program, which may lead to more niche positions. Beyond what you learn in ADN, a bachelor’s program explores leadership, administration, and the role of IT in nursing. Regardless of specialization, BSN nursing can earn more money than those who have only completed the ADN. Before you can practice in the field, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam after completing your bachelor’s degree. If you are a registered nurse and have an ADN, then you should check out RN-to-BSN programs as many schools are offering them online. These programs are designed to help registered nurses complete their bachelor’s degrees.

Master’s Degree

The time it takes to complete a master’s degree in nursing differs depending on the academic credentials of the student entering the program. Most MSN programs for students with a BSN take two years to complete. For a student with an associate degree or a diploma in nursing, it might take more than two years to complete the master’s degree. In most states, MSN-trained nurses must acquire an RN and an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license. An MSN program will offer training in one out of four specific nursing roles which include nurse practitioner, nurse specialist, registered nurse anesthetist, and nurse midwife.

When it comes to master’s degrees, students have the option to choose RN-to-MSN option which is offered online. This generally follows RN-to-BSN-MSN model and may take about four years to complete. Some students pursue a master’s degree before becoming a registered nurse and it takes the same amount of time as an online RN-to-MSN program. However, the student must have a detailed overview of the nursing foundations to pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

Doctoral Degree

Nurses who are MSN-trained can pursue a doctor of philosophy in nursing degree (Ph.D.) or go for the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. Both programs are very detailed and share a number of elements. A Ph.D. is generally more research-centric and preferred by nurse educators while DNP is more practice-focused. A nursing doctoral degree may take about 3 to 4 years if you are studying full time. These programs primarily focus on disease prevention and clinical study of diseases. Students also explore administrative and leadership responsibilities as DNPs hold leadership roles in hospitals, clinics, and other medical environments. While students must have a master’s degree before they can enroll in a doctorate program, some schools are offering BSN-to-DNP programs. These are designed to cover the master degree’s content before moving on to advanced topics.

Top Universities Offering Online Nursing Degrees

  1. Eastern University
  2. Misericordia University
  3. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Camden Campus
  4. Concordia University, St. Paul
  5. North Dakota State University
  6. Vermont Technical College
  7. Davenport University
  8. The University of Texas at Arlington
  9. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
  10. University of Maine at Fort Kent

Should You Pursue Online Education?

There was a time when degrees earned online weren’t taken seriously and employers didn’t value them. However, things have changed now and today, online degrees have the same value as on-campus ones. As long as you dedicate your time and effort into getting online education, you won’t be neglected by employers. If you are interested in becoming a nurse but can’t attend college due to other responsibilities, then online education is the best way to go. Start by ADN or go directly for a bachelor’s program. Once you have completed the bachelor’s degree, you can pursue further education and go for the master’s program. You can complete your entire education online without ever going to campus.

So what do think? Does online education look appealing to you?

We hope you find the information provided above helpful.