Online Nursing Schools
With the aging baby boomer population, the demand for nurses is growing. According to an estimate, more than a million jobs will be created for nurses in the near future. Besides, the wages for nurses are already rising. In order to facilitate students and meet the growing demand for nurses, nursing education is also offered online. Students and professionals can now work around their schedule to enhance their education and career prospects.
How an online nursing degree is different from a campus based program?
Although, there is little difference in the curriculum of an online nursing school and an on-campus one, there are some key characteristics of online schools that set both apart.
- At an online school, you complete your non-clinical portion of coursework online, while you attend a medical facility near your home for the clinical requirements.
- An online class is available on the internet, where instructor post coursework material and assignments, and occasionally arranges a chat session with the student. The delivery method of online education may vary with schools.
- Generally, assignments are given to students instead of traditional exams, however; exams may be arranged in a nearby location.
- You may have to spend a week or a few days on campus, but typically there’s no residency requirement in case of an online program.
Which degree programs are offered by online nursing schools?
Generally, entry level programs in nursing are not entirely offered online. Since, initial nursing education requires a lot of face to face instruction, there is a portion of nursing coursework that needs to be completed in a medical facility or on campus. Although, advanced level nursing degrees are available online, they still have a requirement to attend a medical facility nearby. Some major programs offered by online nursing schools include:
What are the pre-requisites for an online nursing degree?
To find the specific admission requirements, you would need to check with your preferred nursing school. Following are the general requirements of nursing degrees, whether they are offered on-campus or online.
Associate Degree in Nursing & Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing
- High School Diploma or GED
- Minimum GPA requirement
- ACT or SAT scores
- 3 years of math in high school
- 3 years of biology and chemistry in high school
- 4 years of English in high school
- 2 years of foreign language in high school
RN-to-BSN, RN-to-MSN & MSN programs
- Graduation from an accredited nursing school
- A valid RN license
- GPA requirement of 2.5 – 3 in prerequisite courses
What should I consider before selecting an online nursing school?
Selecting a nursing school may not seem like a difficult task, but a bit of homework is certainly required before you make a final choice. Students may have different considerations regarding a nursing school; however, some general ones are as follows.
- Nursing Programs
Your first step would be to select a program of your choice and then look for nursing schools that offer your preferred program or specialty.
- Nursing School Location
If location is an important factor, you may first select the location, and then find the nursing schools that offer your preferred programs
- Nursing School Size
Nursing school size can impact the culture as well as the learning style. While small schools have the benefit of providing close attention, large nursing schools are more competitive and intellectually challenging.
- Student-to-faculty ratio
You may want to check the ratio of students and faculty. It is normally better to have a small class during clinical instruction and hands on training.
- Clinical Rotation
Besides the class size, it is important that you find out about the time spent on clinical rotations and the diversity of experience provided in those clinical rotations. You can get this information from the students and alumni of that nursing school.
- NCLEX Exam
The quality of a nursing school can be judged from the percentage of students who clear the NCLEX exam. Go for the school, if the passing percentage is high.
Accreditation is a factor that can make or break your career. Make sure you look for a school that is accredited by a recognized organization.
- Tuition Cost and Scholarships
Make sure that you get the cost and scholarship details beforehand. Prices and financial aid can differ between schools and a cost comparison may help you choose the best school.
Why is it important to select an accredited online nursing school?
An accredited school is an important aspect of nursing education because:
- It is one way to become eligible for federally funded or state scholarships
- It helps you get advanced education from another accredited school
- It gives you training under nationally approved standards
It helps you compete in the job market and utilize growth opportunities