The short answer: yes, you can earn an associate, bachelor’s, and even your master’s degree in nursing online. The long answer: while you can earn your degree and complete your coursework online, you’ll still have to complete in-person clinical hours at a physical location.
The exception to the above is if you already have your registered nurse (RN) license, you may be able to complete a degree program online in order to advance your education and potentially take on a more specialized role.
The Benefits of Online Nursing Programs
Working as an RN and helping people with their medical concerns can be a rewarding career path. Nursing, as a profession and all of the associated education, however, can be very demanding. If you have a job and/or a family, this can be an even tougher challenge. Online nursing programs can give you the flexibility and convenience to take classes around your own schedule. You don’t need to commute or spend hours attending physical classes on campus.
When you attend in-person classes, you’re restricted to the programs offered in your area. With online classes, you can choose a program that fits your needs and don’t need to worry about where you live or where the school is located. Online nursing programs are also traditionally more affordable than on-campus options since you pay per credit and generally incur fewer expenses and added fees.
The disadvantage of completing your nursing degree online is you will still need to find a physical location to complete your required clinical hours. This may be a drawback in that you will need to do your research to find an applicable program, but with the flexible class schedule, you may be able to complete some of your clinical hours while you’re working toward your degree.
How Do Clinicals Work in Nursing School?
Clinicals are similar to an internship or work-study experience. Clinicals allow students to gain practical, hands-on experience and are a requirement to work in the nursing field. Clinicals may be organized through your degree program, or you may need to arrange this yourself if your online program does not offer clinical hours. You will have an instructor with you during your shift or rotation to answer questions, but you will mainly be shadowing a member of the nursing staff with his or her patients.
Most clinical programs conclude with a practicum or preceptorship where you will be required to demonstrate the skills you have learned during the program. You may spend this time dedicated to a single unit or work with a small group of patients. This practicum is usually around 180 hours.
What is the Best Online School for Nursing?
The best online school for nursing is the one that provides the necessary classes and certifications and the program that offers the most ideal schedule to allow you to succeed. National University’s nursing program offers several different options to allow you to complete your degree online. From a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, and RN and LVN programs, we offer flexible class schedules for you to complete your degree around your busy schedule.
Is Online Nursing School Good?
Just because a program is online doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing your education. Online nursing programs are viable options for aspiring medical professionals, but as is the case with any degree, you get out what you put into it. It’s up to you to put in the time and effort, study appropriately, ask for help when you need it, and find a clinical program that allows you to get the required hands-on experience to be able to work in the nursing field.
Can You Get a Job With an Online Nursing Degree?
While a degree in nursing is required to get a job in the medical field, where you earned your degree is not as important as the amount of job-related, hands-on experience you have. Of course, do your due diligence and make sure you enroll in a reputable, accredited nursing program. However, once you earn your degree, you will still need to complete your clinicals and display the necessary skills to work at a hospital or medical facility. Earning your degree online shouldn’t put you at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a job, as long as you have completed the required in-person training.
Earn Your Nursing Degree Online From National University
If you’re ready to start or advance your career in the rewarding field of nursing, learn more about the nursing degree programs we offer at National University. Our unique, four-week schedules allow you to complete your coursework while working full time and/or taking care of your family. Don’t let your busy schedule stop you from pursuing your passion. Contact an advisor to learn more about our nursing program and select the option that will help you advance your career or set yourself up for success in a new field.