Can you get a nursing degree online?
In 2021, any stigma surrounding online education has all but been erased, with virtual learning becoming the norm throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, there is almost no working adult or parent who hasn’t been touched by the need for online education over the past two years.
When it comes to earning an online nursing degree, however, you may have some lingering doubts. Can training for such a technical, hands-on career really be taught online? Are such programs credible? Will employers accept credentials that are earned virtually?
What should you look for in an online nursing degree program?
Let’s start by saying that not all nursing programs are equally credible. It will be important to do some early research to sort through the array of universities that offer nursing programs and separate them based on several criteria.
Nursing Program Accreditation
The first thing that separates the credible from the non-credible is an institution’s accreditation status. Not only should the institution be regionally or nationally accredited, but nursing accreditation should also be held for the school’s nursing programs. The leading accrediting agency for baccalaureate and graduate degree nursing programs in the United States is the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The CCNE is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and serves the public interest by assessing and identifying programs that engage in effective educational practices.
Graduating from an accredited nursing school is required to be recognized in the nursing field. Ottawa University’s online RN-BSN program and online RN-MSN program are both fully accredited by the CCNE.
While the best nursing programs are approved by the CCNE, ensuring that courses are developed and taught by experts in their field is another way to identify top schools. At Ottawa University, courses are developed specifically for online delivery by medical professionals who have relevant, current experience in the field of nursing. Courses are also reviewed regularly to ensure that best practices and course content are in line with the medical developments and needs of the day.
Flexibility and Accelerated Learning Options
The flexibility of earning your nursing degree online will be the same in many respects across all programs. For example, being able to complete the majority of assignments when and where you want and managing school around other life events and responsibilities are standard benefits of most online degrees. What may not be the same is the flexibility and timetable for course completion.
While many schools operate on 16-week course semesters, Ottawa University offers a unique, accelerated environment of eight-week course terms, which allows you to reach your degree goals quicker. Not only that, OU provides multiple options for advancing your nursing career with different degree opportunities, including a BSN-MSN Bridge Program that allows qualified BSN students to enroll in three specified graduate-level courses in substitute of three specified undergraduate-level courses that will apply towards an MSN.
Financial Aid and Student Support
Another thing to look for when finding the right is the availability of financial aid, generous policies on credit transfers from other institutions, and robust support from advisors and faculty. If these are missing, it can be a deal-breaker, even if all the other criteria are met.
Will employers accept an online nursing degree?
As noted, online education in today’s world has become ubiquitous – a necessity even. Not surprisingly, then, online nursing programs have emerged as a popular and accepted education option, along with hundreds of other degree offerings. So, if a nurse candidate has a degree from an accredited nursing school and has received quality training in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, nursing theory, clinical technology, evidence-based practice, health care policy, professional ethics, and other core areas, whether at the bachelor’s or master’s level, employers can be satisfied that the nurse is well-qualified for the position. As far back as 2010, CNN found that 83% of executives surveyed believe that an online degree is as credible as one earned through a traditional campus-based program. In today’s educational climate, the percentage has no doubt risen considerably.
Beyond that, health care employers will look favorably on the commitment of nurses to further their education and career, as well as the dedication and motivation exhibited in completing a degree, usually while holding down a full-time job. Also worth noting is that many of those making hiring decisions have themselves earned online degrees, making such a degree a new kind of asset that demonstrates mastery of modern technologies and online communication, collaboration, and time management skills.
What online nursing degrees are available?
Schools with nursing accreditation often offer online programs for earning associates, bachelor’s and master’s nursing degrees, with any clinical requirements generally coordinated through a healthcare facility in your area. Some programs even have an accelerated structure so that you can go from a Licensed Practical Nurse to an RN, from RN-BSN or from BSN-MSN in less time.
Ottawa University’s accelerated, online Bachelor of Nursing degree allows you to gain the skills and education you need to serve on the front lines of health care through real-world experiences in a 100% online setting and eight-week course terms. Many registered nurses who have graduated from Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or diploma programs are returning to school to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in order to fulfill their personal and/or career goals, as well as to likely increase their overall earning potential.
OU’s nursing bachelor's degree (RN to BSN or ADN to BSN program) is designed for the current RN who is ready to advance his or her career in nursing and make a greater impact in the health care field.
Admissions requirements into the program include successful completion of a criminal background check, two professional or academic letters of recommendation, career statement of professional experience and goals in nursing, a degree from an accredited associate degree or diploma nursing program with a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA (per 4.0 scale) on previous coursework, or acceptance and enrollment in an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Nursing Program partner school.
How can I go beyond the BSN?
As you begin working towards your Bachelor of Science in Nursing, consider what continuing on to complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree could do for your nursing career. As mentioned, Ottawa University now offers an BSN to MSN Bridge Program, which allows qualified students to enroll in three specified graduate-level courses in substitute of three specified undergraduate-level courses. Doing so gives students three courses completed toward their MSN while completing their RN-BSN. Your MSN program at Ottawa University is then shortened from 36 credit hours to 27 credit hours. Students pay undergraduate level tuition for graduate level courses, saving time and money.
In addition to online programming, Ottawa University also have convenient campus locations in Kansas City, Milwaukee and Phoenix, with matriculation agreements with multiple partner schools. Ready to get started? Contact us today for more information!
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