Whether you are just getting started with your chosen career as a nurse, are looking to change your current career to nursing or are already working as a registered nurse and want to progress in your career and move up the career ladder, online nursing degrees are available at every level of nursing and are definitely worth looking into for various reasons.
There are lots of different options available that are designed to help you get into your choice of nursing career by studying online. It’s a great step to take if you’ve decided that nursing is your calling and want to get into nursing school straight after graduating from high school, or you are no longer interested in your current career and feel that nursing will be a better fit for you. It’s also a good idea if you are currently working as a registered nurse and want to get into a more advanced role such as a family nurse practitioner.
Once quite rare, online nursing degrees are becoming more and more mainstream, with lots of different reputable nursing schools now offering distance learning options that offer more flexibility when it comes to how and when you want to study. Online nursing degree programs are available to anybody who wants to become a nurse or improve their current nursing career.
With so many options to choose from, picking the right nursing degree program for your needs and your career goals isn’t always easy. There are many different factors that you’ll need to consider when choosing the best nursing degree program for you including the nursing school you’ll attend, how you’ll get access to learning materials, the clinical placements on offer, how much the degree program is going to cost, and much more.
Reasons to Get a Nursing Degree Online
If you are interested in becoming a nurse or getting advanced training to improve your current nursing career, there are lots of reasons to consider online study. Many students are turning to online degree programs as a way to keep the cost of getting their nursing degree as low as possible. While tuition fees don’t vary a lot based on how you study, distance learning offers more opportunities for saving including the ability to get your degree from almost any college of your choice while avoiding the cost of relocating or commuting.
Along with this, studying for a nursing degree online also offers much more flexibility compared to studying on-campus, which can be ideal for career changers or current nurses who need to continue working full-time and fit their education commitments around this. Nursing students choose Marymount Online for advanced nursing degrees since it offers flexible nursing programs that are designed with working registered nurses in mind. Some of the top reasons to consider getting your nursing degree online are:
When it comes to cutting costs, getting your nursing degree online can be an ideal option. Distance learning means that you are not limited by location so there is more of an opportunity to shop around and find a program that is suitable for you at the best price. Along with this, you can save a lot of money on all the associated costs that come with attending a traditional nursing school such as relocating to be closer to your chosen college, or commuting to campus on a regular basis, both of which you do not need to do when you study online since all you need is a laptop and an internet connection.
While you’ll need to travel to clinical placements for the on-the-job, in-person learning that’s important for all nursing programs, you don’t need to attend classes on campus which can lead to big savings adding up over time. Along with this, there is often a lower opportunity cost involved with getting a nursing degree online. If you’re currently working as a nurse and want to progress in your career, then you can fit online study around your current role instead of having to take time away from work or reduce your working hours in order to ensure that you can get to classes.
Studying for a nursing degree often comes with a much higher degree of flexibility for students, unlike studying in a traditional campus setting. This is one of the main reasons why an increasing number of nursing students are choosing to get their degree online, since distance learning allows them to take control and fit the degree program around their lives rather than the other way around.
Nursing is often a top choice of career change for people who are already established in their lives, and you may have commitments that you are not going to be able to ignore when you are studying to become a nurse, such as family and work commitments. The additional flexibility offered by many online nursing programs means that instead of making changes to your schedule to fit in classes and lectures at set times, you can decide on which schedule is going to work best for you and figure out a study timetable that is unique and based on your needs, requirements and current commitments.
Studying for any degree qualification full-time can be stressful, and nursing school is well renowned for being one of the most stressful options out there. Not only do you have classes and lectures to attend but you’ll also need to undergo clinical placements and on the job learning, which can take a huge amount of time and quickly cause a lot of stress if you are trying to fit it around other work commitments or just everyday life.
Due to the self-led and more flexible nature of online nursing degree programs, it’s not uncommon for distance learning nursing students to be less stressed. Due to the additional control that you will have over when, how and where you want to study or access online classes when getting your degree online, it is easier to plan things in a way that are helpful for managing stress and cause the least disruption to your life.
Professional Network Building
Another good reason to consider getting your nursing degree online is that you may be able to build a wider professional network by doing so. Like in many other careers, professional networking is important for student nurses to meet others in the profession and potentially come across opportunities that may not have been available to them otherwise. For nursing students who are serious about networking, the good news is that these days it is just as easy to network on an online nursing degree as it is when studying on-campus.
Online and virtual communications have really stepped up a level since the COVID19 pandemic, and remote learners can now get in touch with peers very easily through online forums, chat groups, social media, video conferencing and more, giving you plenty of options to build a strong professional network. And, since online degree programs don’t have any location limits, studying and networking with other nursing students online gives you the chance to meet people from further away that you may never have crossed paths with otherwise.
Employer Support Options
Since the demand for nurses is so high, if you are already working for a healthcare employer or are a registered nurse looking to improve your career and get into an advanced role, there’s a high chance that your employer is going to support you throughout. There is a current shortage of both registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses in every specialty, so no matter what kind of career goals you have in mind for the future, chances are that you are going to benefit your employer with this move just as much as you are going to benefit yourself.
If you are already working in healthcare and want to become a nurse, or are a nurse looking to progress, then it’s definitely worth having a conversation about your options with your employer, including inquiring about any tuition assistance programs or adjustments to your working hours to make studying and working at the same time easier on you.
What Nursing Degree Programs Are Available to Study Online?
Choosing the right nursing degree program to get online will depend on several different factors, including where you want your career to go in the future and what kind of roles you are hoping to get into once you have your qualification. Some of the main nursing degree programs that you can find available to study online include:
Bachelor of Science
The BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing is perhaps the best nursing degree to go for if you are just starting out in your career. While you can get into nursing with an associate degree, this does not tend to offer as many opportunities as the BSN. Along with this, more and more employers are requiring nurses to hold a BSN as a minimum as it has become a legal requirement for nurses to get this degree within ten years of getting their license in New York State and more BSN trained nurses means a higher chance of achieving Magnet status for employers.
Studies have found that BSN educated nurses lead to better patient outcomes, and most advanced degree programs like the MSN require you to have a BSN, so it’s definitely the better choice if you’d like to advance your nursing career in the future.
If you are currently working in a different career, have a bachelor’s degree that is not related to nursing and want to change your career to become a nurse, then an ABSN degree program might be an ideal choice for you. This program can be studied online; however, it is highly intensive, and most students are not able to continue working full-time while they are studying due to the nature of the program.
This sacrifice will pay off in the end since the program is designed to get you qualified to become a nurse in just two years, rather than the typical four years that you would normally spend getting a BSN. Since you’re studying for half the time, it’s also usually cheaper compared to getting a traditional BSN which can be ideal if you’re already paying back student loans from your first degree.
Master of Science
Generally, a Master of Science in Nursing will qualify you to work in more advanced nursing roles. You can study for this degree online if you have a BSN and are interested in working in nurse leadership and management, as an advanced practice registered nurse such as a nurse practitioner, or teaching student nurses as a nurse educator. It will generally take around one to two years to complete and there are options to focus your studies on certain specialty areas of nursing.
It is usually recommended to get some experience working as a nurse before you decide to enroll on an MSN program due to the advanced nature of the roles that this degree program can lead to. Many online MSN degree programs are completely flexible and designed for registered nurses.
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Another advanced nursing degree qualification that you can get online is a DNP. This is one of the most advanced nursing qualifications available and is often chosen by advanced nurses who want to take things even further and focus on the practice areas of nursing. It may be ideal for you if you want to further your career as a nurse practitioner or get into upper-level positions in nurse management such as executive positions. Some nurse educators may also be required to obtain a Doctor of Nursing practice degree, especially those who wish to work in a role where they are providing education to advanced level nursing such as teaching master’s degree classes or post-masters nursing certification courses.
Whether you want to become a nurse or are already a nurse looking to progress in your career, online nursing degree programs are now more popular than ever. With more effort being made to reduce the shortage of nurses, getting your degree online is accessible, flexible, and cheaper compared to attending traditional classes.