Top Online Nursing Programs and Online Nursing Degrees
On-campus and online nursing degree programs and nursing certification courses prepare you for a nursing career. Nursing education can range from a 1-year Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Most students opt for a nursing program that licenses them as a Registered Nurse (RN), which takes two to four years to complete.
Click on the "request info" button next to an accredited nursing school listed below to receive information on specific online nursing degree programs.
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Nursing Careers, Education and Online Nursing Programs
Due to strong demand for nurses, there are many nursing programs available both online and in traditional on-campus settings. RN to BSN programs are perhaps the most popular in distance education for nurses because they make it practical for nurses to work while advancing their career. However, keep in mind that the nature of the profession demands a certain amount of face-to-face education. For example, even those studying for an associate’s degree in nursing online must complete the required hours of practical training in a healthcare facility.
Whether you earn your nursing degree online or on-campus, it is almost certain to be a wise investment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates employment of registered nurses will grow 26% through 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.
How To Become A Registered Nurse
Completing a nursing course, whether through an online nursing program or a traditional on-campus program, qualifies you for secure and lucrative employment. Some of the most popular nursing degrees – and the careers they can lead you to – include:
- Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing. This program requires two years of full-time coursework and qualifies you to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Passing the exam licenses you as an RN.
- Bachelor of Science (BSN) in Nursing. The registered nurse education preferred by most nursing employers, a four-year bachelor of science in nursing degree is the entry point for professional nursing practice. Like an associate’s degree, the BSN not only qualifies you to sit for the NCLEX, but it also prepares you for more demanding (and higher-paying) nursing jobs later in your career. Many RN's who hold only an associate’s degree eventually find it necessary to complete an RN to BSN program if they want to advance.
- Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN). Typically requiring two years of postgraduate study, a master's degree in nursing is required to become an advanced practice nurse, including a clinical nurse leader (CNL), nurse anesthetist (CRNA) or nurse practitioner (NP). Advanced practice nurses are in high demand and can earn anywhere from $70,000 to $150,000 a year, depending on specialty.
- Doctor of Nursing Practice. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing recommends that all nursing programs that offer a master's degree also offer this degree by 2015. A DNP furthers a nurse's education and prepares them for the top jobs in the profession as well as leadership roles within the department.
Nursing Career Information and Nursing Degree Salary Data
The BLS expects more than 700,000 new nurses by 2020, joining the more than 2 million people already earning a living as a nurse. Part of the reason are aging Baby Boomers who are expected to live longer than previous generations and therefore require more medical services.
Pay for nurses depends on where they work. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for a nurse working in a private hospital was $66,650 in 2010, while those working in a physician’s clinic earned $62,880.