Learn About Online Nursing Programs

Earn a Nursing Degree and Gain a Secure and Long Term Career

Nursing is one of the most available career options in the healthcare field. The fact remains that the field as a whole for a variety of reasons, continues to need more well-trained personnel. Shortages are widespread among hospitals, nursing homes and public and private clinics. What’s more startling, and perhaps a core factor in the perennial nursing shortage, is the parallel shortage of nurse educators and administrators, those nurses with advanced degrees.

Traditionally nursing students earned their degrees through community and technical colleges and through larger undergraduate and graduate nursing schools. Over the last few years, however, more and more traditional programs have launched online components primarily to reach a wider audience. Their appeal is significant among working adults, and professional nurses, both groups with limited time on their hands.

Online Nursing Degrees

Nursing degrees may include: Diploma, Associates, Bachelors, Masters and even Doctorate degrees.

Diploma Programs

Diploma programs designed for nurses once offered a quick one to two year program of on the job training within a hospital setting. Nursing students could earn a nursing diploma that prepared them for instant nursing employment within a hospital. On the whole diploma programs are limited, especially in online degree program. The programs have largely been phased out due to healthcare demands. The two-year Associates is the favored entry-level degree for nurses.

Associates Degrees

Associate degrees in nursing offer students a two-year entry-level college program that emphasizes the practical aspects of nursing versus the more abstract and liberal artsy curriculum of the Bachelors. According to the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, conducted every four years by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, most professional nurses begin their careers at the Associates level and earn a Registered Nurses (R.N.) license. Nurses with Associates degrees find work in hospitals and public and private clinics and nursing homes. Many nurses with an Associates degree go on to pursue a Bachelors in an RN-to-BSN program.

Bachelors Degrees

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, is the industry norm. A BSN has a wide range of professional opportunity that an Associates degree holder does not. A BSN degree requires four years of study. The program combines technical skills with abstract nursing and clinical theory and concepts. Popular among RNs with an Associates degree is the RN-to-BSN degree program. Candidates have the chance to quickly earn their last two years of theory, which culminates in the BSN degree. This is one of the most common online Bachelors programs for nurses. Students already have covered their clinical or technical education which means theory courses are completely available online.

Nurse BSNs with interests in nursing education, administration, and nursing subspecialties are often required to earn their Masters in Nursing, or MSN.

Masters Degrees

Nurses are less likely to earn a Masters degree than they are a Bachelors, but this doesn’t mean the jobs are any less plentiful. In fact lucrative careers may be had for nurses interested in pursing their Masters in Nursing, or MSN. Nurse Practitioners, Public Health Nurses, and Nursing Administrators are all required to earn a MSN.

Nursing candidates for some of these programs are required to complete a theory component and a clinical component. Clinical studies are often coordinated with a regional hospital or clinic.

Doctoral Degrees

Believe it or not the coveted Ph.D. degree is offered online through a nice selection of programs. Nurses interested in a doctoral degree must be research focused and the three or four year program is not for the academically feint of heart. While much of the curriculum can be delivered online through very specialized and collaborative platforms, other aspects are required to be completed in a research facility. A Ph.D. in Nursing prepares a professional nurse to work in a hospital or research facility as core member of a research team or in nursing academia. Types of nursing doctoral specialties include:

Specialized Certifications

In agreement with the wider field of healthcare professional nurses are likely to find an increasing number of unique online certificate programs that provide expanded skills. Depending upon the institution some courses target nurses with Associate degrees while others are definitely post-Bachelors or post-Masters programs. For example, certificates that focus on administrative and educational nursing pedagogy are designed to prepare the BSN for entry into an MSN program or for MSNs. Nursing certificates offer some of the following:

Lucrative Nursing Opportunities

If you’re the least bit inclined to consider nursing I encourage you to explore your degree options. Distance learning brings once remote career opportunities right to your home computer. What’s more inspiring about the nursing field is the opportunity for career improvement. If you want it, you can have it. Experienced nurses go on to lucrative careers as nurse anesthetists, academicians, administrators and industry innovators.