One of the growing trends in education is the offering of online degree programs.
And I think it is about time! The fact is, people are constantly busy in this age. We have families, some of us have children, we have friends, church, and sometimes even jobs. Traditional colleges and universities can be difficult to attend due to all these time constraints.
Online degree programs can help those students struggling with time to overcome some of those difficulties. But are online nursing school programs legit? Can you expect to really get hired by a company if you only have an online BSN or ADN degree? Are they considered “real” degrees?
Are Online Nursing Schools Legit?
The short answer is yes and no. Online nursing schools can be legit, or they can be a scam. Really, it depends on the school or organization offering it.
There is no shortage of scammy websites that come online daily, offering quick degree programs or certifications online. These are often out to take your money, and will leave you with a mere certification or paper diploma that is nearly worthless.
On the other hand, legitimate universities do offer accredited programs online that are just as serious and rigorous as traditional classroom programs.
I have a friend who earned her ADN in a traditional school. Then, she did an RN to BSN degree program online at the same school I graduated from. My school offered both traditional classroom degrees, as well as the online RN to BSN.
I got my degree the traditional way, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting an online nursing degree (so long as it is a legitimate university). In fact, if I ever did go back to school for an advanced degree (such as a Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, or CRNA), then I’d definitely seek out an online program if possible.
What to Look for in Online Nursing Degree Programs
Here is a short checklist of things you want to consider when you are researching online nursing degree programs:
- Is it offered by an accredited university or college program? What accreditation do they have?
- Does the same university offer a traditional program too? If so, then it is probably legitimate.
- Does the university require some class attendance? Even though the program is online, they should still require some attendance for either testing or skills assessments.
- Does the university have a good reputation?
- Do they offer job placement or arrange for clinicals?
- Does it meet the educational requirements set forth by the Board of Nursing in your state? This is important, as you can’t apply for your license until you’ve met them.
These are just a few questions you’ll want to consider before signing up for an online program.
Do Employers Respect Online Nursing Degrees?
In my experience, as long as you have an RN license from your state, employers will hire you. I’ve seen people with ADN, online BSN, people from technical school programs, and those from very esteemed colleges–and they all were hired. And all of them are great nurses.
I’ve also seen people advance to management positions with all degree types as well.
So yes, as long as the online program is a serious program, by a serious university, and you get licensed–employers will probably respect your degree and consider you a viable job candidate.
I suspect this trend will continue as online degrees become more and more popular.
What Are Online Nursing Degrees Like?
Most online programs are set-up with a complex online software program. You can often log into this program to view video lectures, get homework assignments, take quizzes or tests, and even chat with other students.
The only differences, in many cases, is that you simply aren’t in a physical chair at a school, and instead you are participating from home.
Many will require you to attend a school for the actual main tests (although some tests and quizzes may be online), and most schools should require you to attend a physical school building for testing of nursing clinical skills.
And then, of course, you will eventually do clinical work, which the university should help arrange for you to do.
So in conclusion, yes, online nursing degree programs can be a great way to get your RN degree without having to attend a traditional classroom.
Thinking about going to Nursing School?
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