Whether you are a recent high school graduate looking to embark on a career that is meaningful and makes a difference, want a change from your current career into nursing, or are already a nurse and want to move up the career ladder, online nursing degrees are becoming more and more widely available.
Studying online is an ideal choice for anybody who needs to fit it around other commitments like work and family, but it can also be a good alternative for graduates who want to save money on the cost of going to college.
Nursing is a very in-demand career right now with the shortage of nurses across the country leading to hundreds of thousands of new nursing jobs now and into the future.
If you want to get into this exciting and meaningful career, or you’re already a nurse and want to step up to a more advanced position, we’ve got the information you need on all the online nursing degree options that are currently available to study.
Associate’s Degree in Nursing:
The associate’s degree in nursing is dropping in popularity, particularly as more and more employers are looking to achieve Magnet status with a higher-educated workforce of nurses, often leading to a bachelor’s degree as the minimum requirement.
However, the associate’s degree is still often the quickest and cheapest way to get into nursing but bear in mind that you may be required to study further in the future and get your BSN. This is now mandatory in New York State, where all nurses who do not have a BSN are expected to get one within ten years of starting in the workforce.
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing:
The BSN program is the most popular qualification for those looking to get into nursing, and there are tons of options available when it comes to studying online.
You can find online degree programs that are structured with online lectures at set times or programs that are designed for you to be fully flexible and allow you to decide how much and at what times you study.
Some online BSN programs are blended programs, which is the ideal choice if you think that you might benefit from spending some time in traditional classroom settings and studying online the rest of the time.
Accelerated BSN Programs:
The ideal degree program for career changers is the ABSN. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in any other subject, this program is designed to allow you to build on any knowledge that you already have in order to get qualified as a nurse faster.
Typically, this program will take around half the time that you would expect to spend studying for a regular BSN qualification, giving you the chance to get qualified and enter the healthcare workforce as a nurse much faster.
Another benefit of taking this route into nursing is that it’s often cheaper compared to getting a standard BSN since you’re only paying for two years of tuition rather than four.
Master of Science in Nursing:
After gaining your BSN or if you are already working as a nurse, the Master of Science in Nursing is often the standard choice for nurses who are looking to work their way up the career ladder.
With this qualification, you will have the opportunity to work in many more advanced areas of nursing and choose advanced specialty areas. Some of the career options that are available to master’s graduates include nurse leadership and management, working as a nurse practitioner, and more.
Some master's degrees are designed to prepare you for a specific advanced role within the nursing profession, while others are a more general degree that will prepare you for almost any advanced nursing route that you might want to take.
Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs:
One type of master’s degree in nursing that is designed to qualify you for a specific role is the nurse practitioner online program. These degree programs are designed to prepare you with everything that you need to work as a nurse practitioner.
You can find nurse practitioner programs online that are tailored towards working in a certain area of this profession, whether you would like to practice as a family nurse practitioner or work with a certain patient population as a neonatal or pediatric nurse practitioner, an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner or a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
Nurse practitioner roles are growing, with the demand for these advanced nursing professionals on the rise due to the shortage of primary care physicians that the country is currently experiencing.
In many states, nurse practitioners are stepping in to bridge the gap, since they are provided with full practice authority that allows them to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication to patients in a general care setting without the supervision of a physician.
Nurse practitioners work in a variety of different areas in healthcare but are often seen heading general health clinics and retail clinics, which are growing as a new way to provide convenient healthcare to patients.
Doctor of Nursing Practice or Ph.D.:
The highest nursing degree that you can obtain is the doctor of nursing practice, which may be required for most senior roles in nursing.
A research-based nursing degree or Ph.D. will prepare you for a career in nursing research, while the doctor of nursing practice degree is typically a practice-based role to prepare you for advanced work in this profession. Many nurses who achieve this degree will go on to become educators, working at colleges and universities to prepare the next generation of nurses to enter the profession and to encourage more people to get into nursing.
These advanced degree programs will usually require you to have at least a Master’s Degree in Nursing and are available in several different formats to study both online and in the classroom.
Whether you want to move up the nursing career or are looking to get your future career in nursing started, you can study at every level online. Online nursing degrees are the ideal option for fitting around your life, saving money, and getting the qualifications that you need.