How to Choose Online Nursing Programs

Can online nursing programs be as effective as attending a traditional campus?

Many experts believe the key to success for some students is a blend of both. Take the University of Wisconsin for example, by offering flex courses (a mix of in-class and online schooling) graduation rates for the university shot up significantly.

Something similar may be the best option when considering online nursing programs. While some schools may offer an online-only certificate or degree, students will be missing out on a lot of hands-on education. The top schools purchase and maintain top-of-the-line equipment used in the nursing profession to ensure students have access to industry-grade technology.

On the other hand, while programs conducted completely online don’t offer the same kind of classroom experience, they do offer a major benefit: flexible scheduling.

More people than ever are drawn to online nursing programs because they offer a flexibility that was unheard of just a decade ago. People with full-time jobs, family commitments and demanding schedules might not have a chance to pursue a degree without the option of distance learning.

The infrastructure is improving every day and improving the quality of education people can receive online. Students can still interact with other prospective nurses, instructors and professionals in the field. Many online nursing programs can even help students schedule internships and clinical rotations.

Shopping for a worthwhile online program however, can be tricky. There are both national and state level certifications nurses must obtain in order to practice legally. A substandard or non-accredited program may not provide the knowledge and skills needed to pass the examination administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

The NCSBN certifies both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, also known as licensed vocational nurses. The organization was founded in 1978 to provide an independent, standardized method of licensing to ensure all practicing nurses were qualified to work with a treat patients.

Today, the organization is recognized throughout the country as the premier organization in licensing. There are a few accredited schools offering nursing degrees online, but finding one can be a challenge.

It’s much easier to find a nursing program that offers classes in person, or a mix of online and campus-based classes. This option still provides a level of flexibility that works for most people. For instance, you could take all the necessary prerequisite courses online, while opting to take medical and laboratory-based classes in person.

Quality Should be Priority #1

Whether you plan to attend nursing online or in person, quality should be the driving force behind your decision. Too many people have devoted months to an education, only to discover the school they chose was not accredited and didn’t adequately prepare them for a career in nursing.

Don’t risk failing the NCSBN by choosing a substandard school. Before you enroll, make sure the institution you choose is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. This organization carefully analyzes schools to ensure they are providing students with a quality education that will prepare them to work with patients.

Do plenty of homework before you apply for a nursing school. Education isn’t cheap and you’ll want to make sure the school you choose will set you on the path toward a rewarding career.

Further Reading on Online Nursing Programs

What Nursing Programs are Right for You?

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