The internet provides an opportunity for those who would like to complete an online nursing programs without having to physically attend a traditional nursing school. This makes the program both accessible and economical, especially for those who could not afford the alternative. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities and possibilities. For instance, you can still obtain your degree while working, or while living in a remote location or even if incapacitated for any reason.
Only difference is , though, there are no real life laboratory or clinical components attached to the online course, yet, all basic coursework and materials can be completed and submitted online.Having cleared all that, we will now attempt to give you a step by step guidelines which will help you make an informed decision in your pursuit of an online nursing program.
1. First, calculate the cost: Before we go any further, at this juncture, we would like you to settle down and carefully consider the career path you about to take on. Ultimately, you will soon realize that being a Nurse is a calling to a higher purpose and it is not meant for everyone. This is not to discourage or scare you away, but you need to understand and fully appreciate the fact that this indeed, is a very challenging career; packaged with responsibilities, long-hours, relatively low-pay, round-the-clock availability, etc. But with the right perspective, you can balance all these knowing that you are serving the greater good of the society, making a difference and helping to make the lives of your patients better. If you are okay with this, then let’s take a further plunge.
2. Make your selection: Not all nursing degree programs available online are equal or even suitable for you. There are specific degree courses based on your current level of experience. Peruse the list below and make your pick:
*Online or Credit-by-Examination Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN): Forgive the long acronym, this is your degree if you are already a practical/vocational nurse or a paramedic. It leads to RN (Registered Nurse) licensure.
*Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): This degree straightaway makes you a full-fledged Registered Nurse.(RN)
*Online RN-to-BSN This is for you if you already possess an associate degree or a nursing diploma. It fast tracks your way to a BSN.
*Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): This is for those who already possess a BSN but wishes to take it a notch higher by focusing and specializing in one area of advanced practice.
*Online Nursing Doctorate: Like MSN, this is for those who would like to further specialize in an advanced clinical research or practice.
3. Select the School: Now that you are armed with the knowledge of the appropriate degree to pursue, this is the right time to begin shopping for the right school. Just as it was stated in the previous stage, not all the schools are also equal. There are numerous institutions offering diverse programs with varying prices and requirements. The good thing is that since you are not required to be physically present, you can take your time to extensively browse through all the available options and pick one that suites you the most. To know where to begin your search, you can ask your friends, nurses you know or even your local hospital etc.
Also, you can visit online degree collating portals. They usually have information on reputable and major degree awarding universities with search filters that can help fast track your search. Make sure you fully read all the materials about the program from your chosen school’s website though. Check their FAQs, terms and conditions pages, requirements, everything you can find.
4. Plan your time: At this juncture, it is important to consider the course flexibility and plan to schedule your chosen course around your availability. Do you want to continue working while studying? What will your free-time looks like? How much time can you afford? The good thing is, many online degree awarding institutions are already prepared for this possibility and they have adequate provision to accommodate this.
5. Structure a Payment Plan: Depending on your chosen school’s academic calendar, you might be offered up to 60-90 required unit credits for your course and each credit could cost up to $110-$170. Online students are not usually charged out-of-state fees and tuition. So, make adequate financial plans with commitments.
There you are. You now know how to go about sorting out the course, the school, the time and even the money, you can now pat yourself at the back! But remember, this is just the beginning. Welcome to this exciting journey of a lifetime!