Considering an Online Nursing Degree

More and more often, hospital systems around the country are requiring nurses to have a Bachelor’s degree or higher to work for them. Many are even requiring nurses that are currently employed to obtain their Bachelor’s degree within a determined time frame. This time frame is different from system to system, usually ranging from 2 to 7 years time. Having only an Associate’s degree in Nursing is no longer enough to guarantee solid employment as a registered nurse. Luckily, there are now a vast amount of online nursing programs that allow working nurses to obtain online nursing degrees. These online nursing degrees are accepted by nearly every hospital system in the country. Some programs offer a standard track, a fast track, and a slower version as well for those who have little time to dedicate to their schooling. Many online schools offer online Bachelor’s programs, and Master’s programs, and some even combine the two, allowing a nurse to go from an Associate’s degree to a Master’s degree.

Why obtain an online degree?

Online nursing degrees are designed for the working nurse, making it possible to work and go to school at the same time. Many of the programs do not even require any clinic hours to be completed. These programs allow the student to log onto their site at anytime, perfect for those who are working shift work. Here are a few things to keep in mind when determining the right school and program for you:

1. Cost
Will you be paying this all yourself? Does your employer offer tuition reimbursement? Can you make payments, or must the entire bill be paid in full? Consider that many employers will provide tuition reimbursement for those employees that are obtaining a degree that is required for employment in their company.

2. Availability
Is the coursework available 24/7? Is the program fully online, or will some courses need to be taken in a traditional classroom?

3. Assistance and tutoring
Is there online tutoring help available to help you comprehend the course work, and will it be available when you are able to be online?

4. Help from current employer
It is a good idea to check with your Human Resources department to determine the rules and guidelines that your current employer may have in regards to obtaining your online degree. Some hospitals and hospital systems have contracts with certain schools. These programs are often made more affordable since a discount is given to those working for said companies. Another important thing to look into with your employer is tuition reimbursement.

There is a lot to consider when going back to school to obtain another degree. Be sure to evaluate all of your options to select the best online nursing program for you.

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