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, such as what to look for in an online nursing program or if employers accept online nursing degrees. We will explore these questions and more.
What are Online Nursing Degrees?
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 health care facility in your area. Ottawa University also offers an accelerated structure so you can get to the finish line faster.
Ottawa University’s accelerated, online Bachelor of Nursing degree (RN to BSN) 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. The RN 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.
As you begin working towards your Bachelor of Science in Nursing, consider what continuing on to complete a Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) could do for your nursing career. Ottawa University also offers our RN 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.
What to Look For in an Online Nursing Program
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 online RN-BSN and online RN-MSN at Ottawa University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The CCNE is the leading accrediting agency for baccalaureate and graduate degree nursing programs in the United States, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791. 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. Program accreditation was effective in March 2019 and extends through December 2024.
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.
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.
Accelerated Learning Options
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.
Do Employers Accept Online Nursing Degrees
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 highly regarded education option. If a candidate has a degree from an accredited nursing school, employers can be satisfied that the nurse has received quality training and is well-qualified for the position. Even 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.
Beyond that, health care employers 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. Additionally, 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.
Get Started Today!
With campuses in Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix, Ottawa University offers a wide range of online nursing degree programs, including Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing. If you’d like to learn more about earning an online nursing degree with us, reach out for more information today.
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