Online Schools Offering Nursing Degrees
Nurses are key healthcare professionals who provide treatment to patients in all types of healthcare settings. The number of nurses needed in US hospitals, physicians' offices, and skilled nursing facilities will increase over the next 5 years, making nursing a viable and desirable option. Online nursing degrees are available at the certificate, undergraduate, and graduate level and combine information-based classes with on-site clinical experiences.
Prospective nursing students should ensure that any degree program they are considering is accredited and recognized by their state's licensing board. Programmatic accreditation for nursing degrees is granted by the National League for Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Accreditation will also ensure that you are eligible for federal financial aid and that your credits will transfer to another school. Furthermore, a degree from an accredited institution ensures that you will receive a quality education, and be a competitive candidate to employers. Read More
Comprehensive List of Online Colleges & Universities for a Nursing Degree
Overview of Available Online Nursing Degrees
Nursing certificates are mainly used to enter the CNA or LPN profession and include courses in biology, chemistry, pharmacology, and patient care. Associate degrees can prepare students for the nurse licensing exam and include on-site work in healthcare settings. Bachelor’s degrees in nursing further examine clinical theories and require a greater number of liberal arts courses such as math, humanities, and social science. Bachelor's degrees may qualify students for more diverse career opportunities than an associate degree.
Master’s degrees in nursing can help current RNs learn advanced clinical or administrative skills, or they can be used by non-nurses to enter the nursing profession. Nurse practitioner programs prepare nurses with advanced skills in midwifery, anesthesiology, or other clinical areas. Other master’s degrees provide students with the skills to become a nurse manager or a nurse educator. Doctoral degrees in nursing can prepare nurses for careers in academia or for advanced clinical work.
A unique category of online nursing degrees are the online nursing bridge programs. These can help nurses with lower credentials gain a higher degree in an accelerated time frame. LPN to RN, RN to BSN, ADN to MSN, and BSN to PhD degrees are some of the bridge programs available.
Online associate degrees are available in nursing assistance, licensed practical nursing, and registered nursing, and typically take two to three years of full-time study to complete. These programs are offered at community colleges. Students must have a high school diploma or an equivalency to enroll; the latter option requires passing one of a variety of examinations such as the General Education Development test.
Associate degrees have a liberal arts component that requires students to take subjects that are not directly related to their majors. Students must complete conventional coursework as well as clinical supervised work in a physical location. The latter is performed in a variety of healthcare settings. Candidates will take classes in psychology, nutrition, physiology, chemistry, anatomy, microbiology, nursing, and occupational ethics.
Graduates from accredited associate degree programs can work as RNs once they pass an examination and fulfill any other state licensure requirements. These candidates may earn higher salaries and benefits than those with a certificate. Professionals can increase their career prospects by earning a bachelor’s degree in this field, which requires two more years of full-time study. Some universities offer specific programs for RNs to earn bachelor’s degrees. Candidates can earn professional certification to improve networking and earning potential.
Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs are offered for candidates who already hold RN credentials from an associate degree or diploma program. Applicants must have completed high school or have a GED. The college or university will require official transcripts from high school and any postsecondary programs the applicant has attended. Additional admission requirements may also exist for applicants from particular US states. A 120-credit program can be completed in two to four years, depending on the number of prior credits and experience a student can transfer to the bachelor's degree program.
Students enrolled in a BSN program are required to complete a certain number of general education credits. These courses may include biology, chemistry, fine arts, philosophy, psychology, sociology, or literature courses. Core courses required to satisfy the requirements for a nursing major include nursing informatics, trauma/critical care nursing, data management for nurse managers, evidence-based nursing, holistic nursing, or nursing leadership and health care policy.
Other required courses may include evidence-based nursing, information management in healthcare, global health promotion, palliative care strategies, or forensic nursing. Some courses require students to complete independent studies as part of their program.
The master’s degree in nursing provides bachelor’s-level nurses with advanced clinical care and leadership skills. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program generally takes two years to complete when students enroll on a full-time basis. These programs include 40 to 70 credits, depending on the applicant’s experience and the degree focus. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree in nursing to apply.
The curriculum of the MSN depends on the program specialization. Clinical programs focus on advanced skills for assessing patients, managing cases, and promoting health in patients. Within these clinical programs, students choose a particular focus, such as nurse practitioner, midwife, clinical nurse specialist, or psychiatric nursing. Clinical care MSN degrees always require clinical rounds in a healthcare facility, where nurses practice advanced hands-on care.
Other master’s programs focus on nurse leadership, healthcare administration, or nursing education. While these programs include coursework in research-based clinical care, they also discuss topics such as leading teams and managing healthcare quality. Education programs discuss instruction, curriculum development, and student evaluation in postsecondary nursing training.
Graduates of MSN programs are prepared for a variety of advanced roles, such as head nurse, or administrative roles, such as director or vice president of a healthcare organization. Clinical nurses can become advanced practice nurses (APRN), who practice nursing more independently and, in many cases, provide primary care.
The doctoral degree in nursing trains nurses in the highest levels of nursing clinical practice or scholarship. These programs come in two distinct types: the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in nursing and the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). These programs typically take three to five years to complete, depending on the applicant’s experience. Applicants to doctorate programs in nursing need an accredited bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing, along with a nursing license. Some programs require a year or more of professional nursing experience.
The PhD in nursing curriculum focuses on nursing research and evidence-based methods for improving nursing care. Students take courses in areas like public health statistics, research design, and healthcare research. The PhD requires the completion of a dissertation project. Students may be required to do a clinical residence in order to conduct this research.
The DNP is more focused on advanced clinical care skills and methods for increasing the levels of care. Students take courses in topics like nursing outcomes management, health finance, and systems leadership. Students may complete a capstone project or nursing rotation in an advanced practice area.
Nursing PhD or DNP graduates can assume a variety of advanced nursing roles. The PhD program is often used to prepare for roles in academia or private research; these scholars help research new methods for nursing practice. DNP graduates generally use the degree to apply for leadership positions in clinical care, such as healthcare administrator or policymaker, in settings that require the highest level of training.
Nursing certificates provide currently licensed RNs with practical training in a particular area of nursing. These programs are generally available at the graduate level for RNs who have already completed a bachelor’s degree. Certificates contain three to eight courses and can be completed in one year or less.
The nursing certificate curriculum focuses on a particular aspect of nursing, such as forensic nursing, public health nursing, nursing education, or emergency room nursing. Nurses complete a set of didactic and hands-on courses, depending on the type of program.
Nursing education students, for example, might take courses in clinical nursing education methods and teaching and learning theory and complete a hands-on practicum in clinical instruction. Emergency room nursing certificates cover particular clinical care methods for triaging and managing patients in a fast-paced and taxing environment. A certificate in school nursing covers the child and adolescent development topics necessary for nurses who wish to work in a public school.
Nursing certificate graduates can use the program to change work environments or to focus their career in a new direction. Current nurses who are considering earning a master’s degree but who aren’t ready to make the commitment can also benefit from a graduate certificate.
Accredited schools and programs are those that have undergone a thorough peer-review process and been found to meet the minimum standards associated with educational quality. Both the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) play a vital role in the accreditation of nursing education in the
Accreditation is a vital aspect in nursing education, as it helps to promote accountability of nursing educational programs to various stakeholders, including the public, other academic institutions, students, employers, and the nursing profession as a whole. Most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed accredited degree programs, as they are more likely to be trained with the relevant skills to perform well on the job. Schools that have received regional or national accreditation also qualify for funding support from federal and state agencies.
By selecting an accredited nursing program, you can expect to experience a quality educational experience as you prepare to provide direct patient care service. For students who are considering applying for other academic degrees, accreditation is also necessary for any credits you would like to transfer to another academic institution. Completion of an accredited nursing program will also help you meet eligibility requirements to take the national nursing license exam or to apply for specialized board certifications for nurses. To identify accredited nursing programs, visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the US Department of Education.
A state-issued license is required to become a practical or registered nurse. To apply for this license, you must meet the eligibility requirements for your state's board of nursing, which usually includes completing an accredited training program and passing a state exam. All states use the national nursing exams administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) for licensing purposes.
Vocational nurses are required to take the National Council License Exam for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN), while registered nurses take the NCLEX-RN. The tests are designed to ensure that nursing professionals have the appropriate healthcare and professional knowledge before they begin working with patients and handling sensitive healthcare information. Students can find a detailed breakdown of what the NCLEX concentrates on, and to what extent, at the NCSBN. The tests focus on different skill sets and knowledge, ensuring that nurses are prepared to best serve their patients. They are divided into four basic "client needs" categories: safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity. (NCSBN)
Some states require licensed nurses to complete continuing education hours during each license renewal period to demonstrate their knowledge and update their skills. Check with your state's nursing board to learn more about their specific licensing requirements.
An RN to BSN program is a specially designed bachelor’s program for currently licensed nurses. These programs help associate-level nurses learn advanced clinical skills and practice clinical care in a greater variety of healthcare settings. Many RN to BSN bridge programs are designed for professional nurses who are interested in working part-time as they earn a bachelor’s degree. These degree programs require between 100 and 120 credits, and students can typically transfer in the full 60 credits from their associate degree or diploma. An RN bridge program usually takes one to two years to complete, depending on the student's prerequisites and clinical experiences.
Applicants to bridge programs usually need at least one year of professional nursing experience before they can be admitted. Some accelerated programs are particularly intensive and require a minimum GPA in the student’s associate degree work.
The coursework in the RN to BSN program is comprised of upper-division clinical experiences, as well as classes in nursing theory and nursing leadership. Clinical experiences generally take place outside of the hospital, in settings like community, health, or specialist facilities. Advanced nursing theory courses touch on topics like nursing research, global healthcare systems, and evidence-based nursing. Nursing leadership classes help nurses develop skills for working with other nurses and patients; topics include intercultural communication and nurse management.
To earn a nursing license, applicants usually only need an associate degree or diploma, but there are a number of reasons why this advanced degree can help advance an RN's career. Nurses with a bachelor’s degree typically have more job opportunities and better employment prospects, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since a bachelor’s degree allows nurses to gain clinical experience in more settings than an associate degree or diploma, bachelor’s-level nurses are often more attractive job candidates. A bachelor’s degree also opens the door to nurse management and leadership positions down the line. Along with significant nursing experience, a bachelor’s degree is usually required for nursing supervisory positions.
The associate degree in nursing (ADN) and Master of Science in nursing (MSN) are two of the available training programs for prospective nurses. The ADN prepares students for the registered nurse (RN) role, but due to the limited scope of training at the ADN level, graduates are also curtailed in the range of services they may provide to patients. As a graduate-level program, the MSN prepares students for a wider scope of practice across the healthcare setting.
The ADN to MSN is a bridge program that allows RNs with an associate degree to advance in nursing education, and hence, advance in their career. MSN graduates are referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN). APRNs are classified into four categories: nurse practitioners (NP), clinical nurse specialists (CNS), certified nurse midwives (CNM), and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA). APRNs can look forward to advanced career roles in areas such as administration, clinical practice, consultancy, policy making, research, and education.
Advanced level nursing education allows students to develop a broad range of competencies, which enables them to more efficiently meet the complex demands of current patient care. MSN graduates enjoy better employment prospects than undergraduate RNs partly because of the following factors:
- An increasing elderly population requires more skilled and specialized nursing care, which places a higher demand on the services provided by graduate-trained RNs.
- Front-line primary care is expanding to more areas in communities, which creates more demand for MSN graduates, who are often required to provide services. In many cases, the quality of care provided by APRNs is just as good, if not better than services provided by physicians.
- As existing healthcare technology continues to evolve and new forms of technology emerge, this increases the demand for more competent and highly skilled nursing care.
- Employers have a preference for graduate-trained nurses, as they have the capacity to deliver high-quality care and meet complex care demands across the healthcare setting.
The ADN to MSN program usually takes three years to complete. In most cases, students are required to attend classes on campus, but some programs offer students the opportunity to learn in an online learning environment or combine classroom and online learning in a blended format. Although course requirements vary by school, the curriculum generally builds on previous education acquired at the associate level to prepare nurses for advanced practice roles across the healthcare setting. Depending on the program, students who successfully complete the program are sometimes awarded a baccalaureate as well as master’s degree; however, it is important to note that the ADN to MSN bridge program is not a substitute for baccalaureate-level nursing education.
BSN to PhD nursing programs provide a fast track for nurses who already have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science (PhD) degree by skipping the master's degree. Note that by enrolling in a BSN to PhD program, you do not earn a master's degree; you simply don't need to go through a separate a master's program as is traditionally required to enter a PhD program. The career opportunities for PhD-level nurses are quite broad; options include working as a high-level administrator, educator, researcher, clinician, or specialist. Employers include private and public organizations such as hospitals, research companies, universities, and health clinics.
Admission into an online BSN to PhD nursing program is typically very competitive and open only to nurses who have already demonstrated academic excellence. Many programs require that your BSN degree was granted by an accredited institution and that you graduated with a minimum GPA. Other typical requirements include a minimum GRE score, eligibility for an RN license in the state in which the program is located or the possession of an existing RN license, and a certain number of nursing practice hours.
While each program is different, the majority of BSN to PhD nursing programs require students to take core courses and electives, as well as complete a dissertation. Some programs also require students to complete an administrative, clinical, or nursing education specialty or declare a major and minor. Completion of all of these requirements typically requires four years of full-time study.
Courses that you may take include philosophy of nursing science, applied statistical analysis, foundations of qualitative and quantitative research in health, theory development and evaluation, the science and practice of nursing, and healthcare information systems. Like other PhD programs, the online BSN to PhD nursing programs places a significant emphasis on research, since it results in a dissertation. If there is a research area that you are particularly interested in, such as women's health, health policy, aging and health, or bio-behavior interventions, check to see if there is a program that focuses on that research.
Second degree programs in nursing are accelerated, specially designed degree programs for students who already have a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing area and want to enter the nursing profession. A second bachelor’s degree program in nursing typically takes one to three years to complete, depending on the student’s prerequisite coursework and the pacing of the degree (full-time or part-time). Because second degree programs are so accelerated, they are intensive and generally have high admissions standards. The previous academic records of applicants are taken into account; some require a particular GPA. Most second degree programs in nursing advise incoming students not to hold a job while completing the program, as the coursework and clinical practicums are very demanding.
The second degree program allows students to earn a bachelor’s or entry-level master’s degree in nursing, which can provide greater career and educational opportunities than the associate degree. Graduates are prepared to continue with graduate school or seek employment. Second degree programs also ensure that students don’t waste their time retaking courses they have already completed. It is likely that the curriculum of a regular associate degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing has some overlap with the general education or liberal arts curriculum in the student's previous bachelor’s degree.
Here are some examples of the types of courses that a second degree program might encompass:
- Clinical Coursework: Nursing clinical classes allow second degree students to get hands-on experience practicing nursing skills with patients. Students take part in clinicals at healthcare settings under the guidance of clinical instructors. For example, the clinical applications of pharmacology course gives students the chance to practice teaching patients about medication and classifying medications based on clinical conditions.
- Nursing Theory: Nursing theory classes discuss the different components of nursing practice and care for various types of patients. For example, a course on medications and the elderly discusses drugs normally used by elderly patients and risk factors that are unique to that population. A course in drug abuse and mental health discusses the definition of addiction and health issues that can present in patients who use drugs in combination with a psychiatric problem.
- Support Classes: Support classes such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, and statistics may be considered prerequisites of the second degree program, or they may be included in the degree curriculum. These classes help students develop an understanding of scientific principles underlying health and disease and the way professionals can interpret and use health data. Courses in topics like the sociology of disease and psychology of aging discuss the behavioral aspects of health and prepare students for the human side of nursing.
Online licensed practical nurse (LPN) programs train students to provide routine medical care in long-term care facilities, hospitals, and physician offices. Also known as licensed vocational nurses (LVN), these professionals work under registered nurses and physicians to provide basic daily care to patients. LPN programs include courses in nursing theory and practice along with in-person clinical training. Students learn how to perform CPR, take vital signs and patient histories, give injections, and assist patients with eating and personal hygiene. These programs take one to two years to complete, depending on the student’s previous medical training.
A high school diploma or GED may be required for an online LPN certificate program. Most programs also require a clear background check and no drug related offenses, since graduates have patient well-being in their hands. Immunizations and a negative TB test are usually required as well. Some programs require that applicants already have a certified nursing assistant (CNA) credential or CPR training before applying.
Online LPN students take classes in natural science, social science, and nursing fundamentals. Foundational courses in the certificate cover natural sciences and medical science and support practical nursing skills; students learn about bodily functions at the chemical and biological level. Common course requirements include human development, human pathology, and pharmacological math. Nursing fundamentals classes cover the protocol for providing care in different medical contexts. Most programs discuss long-term care nursing, maternal nursing, surgical nursing, and advanced nursing. Additional courses in the LPN program discuss the proper professional demeanor for nurses and the skills for leading in a healthcare setting.
Hands-on clinical skills are the foundation of an LPN’s training, and all online programs will have a significant clinical component. Concurrently and after finishing didactic classes, students report to a hospital or other care facility in their local community to practice different aspects of nursing under trained nursing instructors. Most programs include clinical practicums that mirror the nursing theory courses that are completed online. For example, students might work in the maternity ward of a hospital while taking a class in infant and maternal health. During the clinical portion of the degree, students also develop skills that are difficult to manifest in a classroom setting, such as patience, compassion, and physical and mental stamina.
Certified nursing assistants (CNA) play an important role in the collaborative care of patients in many healthcare settings. They are responsible for monitoring and helping patients with routine care such as eating and drinking, using the lavatory, walking and mobility, and personal hygiene. CNA certificate programs take between several months and one year to complete and include information-based courses as well as clinical courses in a hospital, nursing home, or clinic. Basic CNA certificates cover topics like healthcare policy, healthcare regulations, professional communication, and nursing theory.
In some states, there are different levels of nursing assistant training past the basic certificate. Some states offer a CNA 2 certificate, which covers skills for acute care. The acute care certificate discusses how to help patients who are recovering from an operation or illness and will only be in the healthcare environment for a short period of time. This is in contrast to the basic CNA program, which focuses on clinical skills for long-term care environments. Some colleges also offer nursing assistant training in particular healthcare areas, such as geriatric nursing assistance. Current CNAs can also complete additional training to become a certified medication assistant, which is a clinical assistant with the skills to dispense medication.
Many community colleges, vocational-technical schools, and healthcare organizations now offer hybrid nursing assistant training. In the hybrid program, students take part of their coursework online through the school's interactive learning platform. Students watch video lectures, read notes, and post on forums. Students are also expected to come to clinical sites to work under nursing instructors. Clinicals cover the practical skills for assisting patients with routine care.
A license is required to work as a nursing assistant in all states. The exact title of the nursing assistant varies from state to state; many use the CNA title, while other states use the name Nursing Assistant Certified, or other abbreviations. In most states, to earn the nursing assistant license, you must complete an accredited training program, pass a background check, and have a clear drug screen. In addition, you will need to pass a certification exam. Many states use the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program and the Medication Aide Certification Exam, which are offered through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Public health nurses have the responsibility of caring not just for individuals, but entire populations. Their mission is to educate communities about health issues and wellness plans, increase access to medical care, and generally increase the health, safety, and security of the population they are working with. Public health nurses work for organizations whose goal is to improve the health of people within a community. These types of organizations may be government agencies, non-profit agencies, or community health centers.
One of the most important responsibilities of a public health nurse is to plan and carry out education programs throughout a community. Within the scope of an education plan, public health nurses will inform citizens about health risks, illness, and disease prevention, as well as inform people about available healthcare services and programs. Equally important in a public health nurse's job is to advocate for increased access to medical care with federal, state, and local health authorities. This often requires public health nurses to prioritize the health issues in a community and advocate for those programs that would benefit the largest number of people. In order to make a good argument, public health nurses must research the issues facing their community. This often means that the public health nurse will be in the field delivering care to under-served citizens.
Public health nurses must first meet all the requirements to become a registered nurse, including becoming licensed by passing the NCLEX-RN exam. They have usually completed a Bachelor of Science in Public Health Nursing on top of an RN degree or diploma; the approximate time in school for a public health nurse is four to six years. Public health nursing degree programs will build on the knowledge required to be an RN and add healthcare law, public health, health administration, and other related courses. Most public health nurses can acquire jobs with a bachelor's degree, but those interested in supervisory positions may need to earn a graduate degree in public health nursing.
Nurses often choose to specialize in a particular area of the profession either because it appeals to them the most, or because their community or healthcare clinic has a strong need for a certain type of nursing professional. For example, some nurses may specialize in a particular patient demographic, a certain illness or health problem, a particular healthcare setting, or a particular part of the body.
Within these different nursing specialties, there are many established nursing careers that exist. Many of these specialty areas combine two or more of these categories; for example, some orthopedic nurses may work especially with children. The following are just a few of the nursing specialties within the profession:
- Ambulatory Care Nurses work in outpatient care settings, where they do rapid assessment of patients with a variety of problems.
- Cardiac Nurses treat people with heart issues, such as congestive heart failure or angina.
- Geriatric Nurses provide care to elderly individuals. They work in settings like nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
- Holistic Nurses make an effort to integrate physical care with care for the patient's mental and spiritual well-being.
- Neonatology Nurses nurses take care of newborn babies.
- Obstetrical Nurses provide prenatal care, assist with labor and delivery, and help women after giving birth.
- Oncology Nurses provide treatment to patients with cancer. Within this field, nurses may specialize in a particular type of cancer or patient.
- Orthopedic Nurses treat issues of the musculoskeletal system, such as bone fractures.
- Public Health Nurses work in settings, such as community clinics, that focus on increasing the well-being of the community at large. These nurses may use their knowledge of their patient population to develop large-scale health campaigns or interventions, such as smoking cessation programs.
- Travel Nurses visit different healthcare settings to work on short-term contracts. This nursing specialty developed in response to a nursing shortage.
Along with the previous nursing focuses, there are also several advanced practice nursing specialties. These nurses have a higher level of training than a regular RN, usually a master's degree. These nurses can provide more complex treatments, and they may practice nursing more independently in some cases.
- Clinical Nurse Specialists provide high-level care and treatment in specialty areas, such as women's health, pediatrics, or psychiatric care.
- Nurse Anesthetists prepare anesthesia medication for surgeries, monitor patients during anesthesia, and dispense pain medication.
- Nurse Midwives provide care to women with regard to family planning. They may provide gynecological exams, pregnancy care, and birthing assistance.
- Nurse Practitioners may practice nursing independently as primary care providers. They work with individuals and families and can provide advanced treatment. For example, they are qualified to prescribe prescription medication, while regular RNs are not.
For students who wish to enroll in a nursing degree program but have scheduling needs that aren't well suited to a traditional degree program, there are some flexible options: an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program or night classes.
Accelerated BSN Program
Accelerated BSN degree programs are available for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field but want to become registered nurses. These degrees can be completed in an accelerated time frame of up to three years, depending on the student’s prerequisite coursework. The programs are accelerated because students who already have a degree do not need to retake the liberal arts and general education courses, which were already covered in their first bachelor’s degree.
Accelerated bachelor’s programs still include the same number of nursing theory classes and clinical experiences as a traditional BSN, but because these courses are squeezed into a shorter time frame, students can expect intense course loads and a lot of academic work. Most accelerated BSN programs urge admitted students not to have full-time jobs while they complete the program.
Before you can begin an accelerated BSN, you will need to have completed the necessary social science, natural science, humanities, and math requirements. These include courses such as anatomy, psychology, human genetics, and statistics. After beginning the accelerated coursework, you will be taking only nursing classes and no support classes or general education courses. Students who hope to complete the BSN in the short time frame of one-and-a-half years can expect to take five to six courses per term.
Graduates from a BSN program can qualify for supervisory positions at hospitals, clinics, or community service agencies. Nurses holding this designation can continue their education by pursuing a master's degree in a specialized area of practice.
Night classes may be a helpful option for studying nurses who are busy during traditional school hours. Some nurses in entry-level hospital positions may even choose to take night courses to advance their career while they're completing on-site training and required supervised practice hours. The main advantage to night classes is the fact that they offer flexibility in a busy schedule, but there are other advantages, as well.
Night courses are generally offered within both traditional campuses and online nursing programs. This means that not only do you have flexibility in the time of day you choose to study, but you also have flexibility in where you take the courses physically. Online learning also means that you can pace yourself at a speed you're comfortable with rather than being expected to show up at a classroom several times per week. Many people who are changing careers or advancing in current nursing careers find night classes and online learning options to be the best way to advance.
Many night classes are made for people who are on a fast track to a career they already know they want. Unlike traditional colleges that allow for several major changes in schedules, classes, and overall education paths, night courses are generally geared toward those with specific goals. What this means for students is the ability to take packed courses that get you through material and into the career quickly. This fast track ensures you've got all the information you need in the most efficient way.
Many nursing programs are focused and small, meaning that you'll likely become familiar with your peers, possibly even doing daytime training with them as well as night classes. This offers camaraderie and professional stimulation, as well as help with studying questions and brainstorming sessions.
- Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Accessed August 6, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm.
- National Nurse Aide Assessment Program. NCSBN. Accessed August 6, 2014. https://www.ncsbn.org/1721.htm.
- NCLEX Test Plans. NCSBN. Accessed August 5, 2014. https://www.ncsbn.org/1287.htm.
- Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Accessed August 6, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm.
- Registered Nurses. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Accessed August 6, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm.
- Specialized Accrediting Agencies. US Department of Education. Accessed August 6, 2014. http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg7.html#NationalInstitutional.
- State CE Requirements for Nurses. Medscape. Accessed August 6, 2014. http://www.medscape.org/public/nursecestaterequirements.
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