Yes! There are numerous online programs available for licensed, practicing nurses who wish to advance in their careers and education. These programs teach the same courses, with the same faculty, which on-campus students study for their Bachelor of Nursing degree. Online students may also be expected to complete practicum experiences which are typically conducted in your home community with a preceptor.
Will My Diploma Indicate I Received The Degree Online?
No. This idea is a holdover from the early days of online education, mostly offered by for-profit educational companies; but, online education has moved well into the academic world of colleges and universities. Online nursing degrees are provided through nursing colleges or nursing schools affiliated with traditional brick and mortar schools.
How Do I Know I'm Getting Quality Education?
This is where educational accreditation comes in. Reputable colleges and universities hold accreditation from independent oversight organizations which are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Such organizations are usually regionally recognized, such as the Higher Learning Commission, Middle States Commission on Higher Education or Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The U.S. Department of Education provides accredited agencies on their website.
But, perhaps, the most important program accreditation for nurses is through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
What About Cost?
Online degrees are not necessarily cheaper, although some schools offer special distance education tuition or don't charge additional out of state tuition. However, that's not always the case. The greatest benefits of an online RN to BSN degree are that you can get your degree while continuing to work and the programs are often shorter in duration.
Online students in accredited programs are eligible to apply for Federal Financial Aid. Scholarships may be available at your school; and, some employers may offer tuition assistance for nurses returning to school online.
Not All Programs May Be Eligible For Your State
Online, or distance learning, programs may be limited to students from certain states. This is due to the requirements of the U.S. Department of Education State Authorization Regulations reciprocity agreements. These reciprocity agreements allows programs outside of the school's state to provide educational programs. Some programs are available in all fifty states while some may not be able to accept students from particular states. Check the school's website or discuss this with an admissions counselor to verify your state is accepted.
What Is The Time Commitment?
The number of hours to obtain a RN to BSN degree is usually 120 credit hours, divided between general education studies and nursing courses. RN to BSN degrees are usually completed in two years, rather than four, depending on the number of hours you take per semester. If you attended a community college have taken some undergraduate courses, chances are good you may transfer credit hours from courses you've already taken which will reduce the number of hours remaining for your degree. Some programs offer work experience credits as well.
The study time commitment in online learning is up to you; but, in general, most online students spend 15-20 hours a week in studies.
Best Medical Degrees has done some researched 30 Most Affordable Online RN To BSN Degree Programs to help you in your decision. These programs are all accredited and offered online or are hybrid programs requiring a limited on campus experience.