The Best Online Nursing Programs

Nurses are an integral part of the healthcare system - from family care to gerontology. Becoming a nurse is a relatively complicated process of obtaining degrees, certifications, and work experience. However, we work with schools across the nation to make becoming a nurse easier. Below is a list of highly-regarded schools offering online nursing programs.

Kaplan University BS in Nursing MS in Nursing MSN: Nurse Administration Kaplan University – Kaplan University offers online nursing degrees: BS and MS in Nursing and MSN: Nurse Administration. These programs are taught by practicing professionals who are dedicated faculty members. The courses encourage critical thinking, enhanced communication skills and teach the technical competencies required by today's leading health care employers.
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Walden University BS in Nursing RN to MSN BSN to MSN Walden University – Walden University offers online nursing programs including: BS, RN to MSN, and BSN to MSN. In these programs students gain the knowledge, ability and influence to affect the lives of patients, organizations and the future of healthcare. Students will collaborate with nurses from around the country in an interactive online environment.
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Indiana State University LPN to BSN Indiana State University – Indiana State University offers an online LPN to BSN degree. This is a way that LPN/LVNs can complete a baccalaureate degree with a major in nursing and achieve eligibility to take the RN licensure examination. This web based distance-learning program includes local clinical experience. No trip to campus is required.
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University of Phoenix BS in Nursing MS in Nursing University of Phoenix – University of Phoenix offers an online BS and MS in Nursing. These programs are designed so that students can complete their degree conveniently and efficiently while continuing with their careers. University of Phoenix offers student support for math and writing, small, interactive classes, and experienced faculty members.
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Chamberlain College of Nursing BS in Nursing MS in Nursing Chamberlain College of Nursing – Chamberlain College of Nursing offers online BS and MS in Nursing. These programs allow students to earn their degrees in less time. For example it is possible to earn a four-year BS degree in three years. No pre-requisites or prior experience is required for the BS degree. Both programs include clinical learning experiences.
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Capella University BS in Nursing MSN: Nurse Education PhD in Nurse Education Capella University – Capella University provides several online nursing degree programs: BS, MSN: Nurse Education, and PhD in Nurse Education. In these programs you will expand your knowledge of health care systems and policies, patient education, health promotion, and technology integration, with a focus on the design, delivery, assessment, and evaluation of nurse education programs.
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Grand Canyon University BS in Nursing MSN: Nurse Education MSN: Nurse Leadership Grand Canyon University – Grand Canyon University offers degree programs in nursing including: BS, MSN: Nurse Education and Nurse Leadership. Graduates of this program have an exceptional record of success on the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. This program cannot guarantee employment after graduation, but traditionally graduates have been highly recruited by health care facilities.
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University of Cincinnati MSN: Adult Nursing MSN: Clinical Nursing MSN: Family Nursing MSN: Nurse Administration MSN: Nurse Midwifery MSN: Women's Health University of Cincinnati – University of Cincinnati offers several different online nursing degrees including: MSN in Adult Nursing, Clinical Nursing, Family Nursing, Nurse Administration, Nurse Midwifery, and Women's Health. Students in these programs integrate theoretical perspectives from nursing science and related sciences as a framework for planning holistic care to enhance the health patterns of client systems.
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Herzing University BS in Nursing MSN: Nurse Education MSN: Nurse Management Herzing University – Herzing University offers online degree programs in nursing including: BS, MSN: Nurse Education and Nurse Managements. This program is for students interested in learning and working with new healthcare technologies. Students will experience new challenges and opportunities, and understand the human body and its various systems.
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South University BS in Nursing MS in Nursing South University – South University features online degree programs in nursing including: BS and MS degrees. These programs prepare students to work in a wide variety of healthcare settings including: acute care hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, community-based clinics, and school health clinics. Students develop management abilities and expand their critical thinking skills.
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Nursing programs are growing in size and scope. Due to our aging population and the increase shortage of nurses, schools have almost doubled the size of their departments. Online programs have also experienced tremendous growth. Students more than ever need flexibility in their class schedules to continue working and caring for family.

Becoming a nurse is smart career move, both financially and professionally. Registered nurses can earn upwards of $65,00 annually. They are compensated well for their hard work and efforts. What’s more, registered nurses have limitless choices when it comes to choosing career options. New specialties and sub-specialties are constantly developing as technology advances and health needs expand.

If you’re not sure if nursing is the right career move for you, check out our helpful guides and resources to help you assess whether nursing school is worth pursuing. It’s predicted that there will be an increased need for nurses over the next 20 years. So if you’re confident that caring for others is your life’s passion, join a growing field of dedicated professionals. Nursing programs are available in a variety of formats and instructional modes. With a little research and an introduction to the basics, you’re sure to find the right program that meets your unique interests.

Nursing and Nursing Education

Nursing is a growing profession. More and more hospitals and healthcare facilities need qualified staff to take care of the sick and critically ill. In response to this need, schools have increased enrollment to ensure enough nurses are available to accommodate patients’ needs.

If you’re interested in becoming a nurse, now is a better time than ever to explore this career field. Your education options are practically limitless. The amount of schooling required will vary depending on which type of nurse you want to become. Nursing assistant, registered nurse, advanced practice nurse – each position affords you a rewarding opportunity to help others.

Nursing education encompasses a variety of standards and issues related to the practice of nursing. From occupational health and safety coursework, students learn how to deliver health care in such settings as hospitals, retirement homes, emergency rooms, and specialty clinics. Coursework often includes the study of:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Fundamentals of nursing
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Nursing care (children and adults)

Selecting a Degree Program

Nursing degrees come in a variety of specialties and subspecialties including women’s health, acute care, family practitioner, and healthcare informatics. Students can earn certificates to Ph.D. degrees. Depending on your current education level and the type of degree you’re interested in, you’re sure to find a program that meets your unique needs:

  • Accelerated Degree: Accelerated nursing programs allow students to complete a BSN degree in one year.
  • Associates Degree: Associates degrees take about two years to complete. Most associate degree programs prepare students to become registered nurses.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: Bachelor’s degrees in Nursing, or an BSN, is the most preferred type of degree that employers look for. Students graduates as registered nurses.
  • Bridge Program: Bridge programs are typically designed for students who want to obtain their BSN or MSN degree but have baccalaureate degrees in fields other than nursing.
  • Certificate Program: A certificate or diploma only takes about one year to complete. With this educational award, graduates earn the title of Licensed Practical Nurse. Other bridge programs include an RN track that includes credit for previous LPN/LVN studies and certification.
  • Diploma Program: A diploma program is a hospital-based program that takes one to three years to complete.
  • Doctoral Degree: A Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DPN, is the highest-level of nursing education. A DPN is intended for students who wish to become an advanced practice registered nurse.
  • Dual Degree: A dual degree enables students to obtain their BSN and advance to a master’s degree in nursing that prepares them to be nurse practitioners, midwives, informaticists, or nurse managers.
  • Master’s Degree: Masters Degrees, or an MSN, will take an additional 18-24 months after your BSN. Students typically choose a specialty area to work in.

Choosing a Nursing School

Accredited nursing programs are available at community colleges, hospitals, and colleges and universities. Accreditation is an important credential to look for when researching nursing schools. As you compile a list of potential schools, an important first step is to visit each school’s website to find as much information as possible about regional and national accreditation. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Schools and Institutions.

Once you’ve acquired a list of accredited schools, it’s time to consider what level of education you wish to obtain. If you’re not sure if nursing is the right career path for you or if time and money are a challenge, pursuing an accelerated, associates, or certificate might be viable options. These programs allow you obtain the necessary credentials to apply for entry-level jobs such as a nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, or an even a registered nurse. Each program prepares graduates for practice at differing levels of experience and responsibility.

If you know nursing is your career of choice, enrolling in a BSN program takes three to four years to complete. A BSN is the most common nursing credential and qualifies you for teaching positions, and higher level administrative roles in hospitals or other health care facilities. However, if you’re already an RN, you can find a bridge or accelerated program so you can complete your studies at your own pace and often in less time.

Becoming an RN

Before you start searching for schools, it’s important to know if becoming a professional nurse is the right choice for you. Ask yourself the questions below to assess your candidacy:

  1. Are you compassionate about helping others?
  2. Do you enjoy working in demanding environments with erratic schedules?
  3. Do medicine and science interest you?
  4. Are you comfortable working with critically ill?
  5. Can you communicate and sympathize with patients who are under extreme stress and / or pain?

Becoming a registered nurse can take one to three years. It all depends on your current education level and how much time you can dedicate to your studies.

If you’re a high school graduate, you can apply for an associates or BSN degree program. An associate’s degree, or an AND, prepares you to become a registered nurse and are typically offered through community colleges and specialty schools. An ADN can be completed in two or three years. Once you’ve completed all required coursework, you’ll need to study and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. To verify testing requirements, check with the Board of Nursing in your state to find more information.

A BSN typically takes an average of four years to complete. BSN programs combine both general education courses with required nursing classes. Online BSN programs are becoming very popular as they offer working students the opportunity to further their education without sacrificing work or family. If an online program is what you’re looking for, the same accreditation standards apply. It’s important to check the accreditation status of an online school the same way you would a tradition college or university.

Benefits of an Online Nursing Program

There are many benefits to pursuing your nursing degree online. Distance learning offers flexibility as well as affordability. You’ll save money on gas, room and board, as well as other expenses. Other benefits include:

  • Learn at your own pace
  • Avoid schedule conflicts
  • Continue working while taking classes
  • Transfer credits

Many online nursing programs require students to complete a clinical component on-site or at a nearby health care facility. These credits are extremely important to your success as a nurse. When researching potential schools, make sure to ask an admissions advisor about the clinical component and whether they help arrange these internships.

No matter which program or school you choose, nursing is a field in constant demand. The talents and skills you’ll acquire as a nursing student will not go unused. Take advantage of the expanding opportunities in the health care industry by adding credentials and valuable knowledge to your resume.

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