With hospitals and clinics around the world experiencing nursing shortages, now’s the best time in history to become a registered nurse (RN). Like most other aspiring nurses, you’re probably interested in taking online courses to earn your nursing degree and certification. While each nursing program will vary in its curriculum and requirements for enrollment and graduation, generally speaking, most online schools offer a similar experience across the board. Here are a few things to expect when you enroll for an online nursing program:
Educational Prerequisites & Admission Requirements
The educational achievements and credentials you’ll need in order to enroll for a program will depend on the academic standards of the particular degree you’re in pursuit of. The names of nursing degrees can be confusing if you’re just starting to research the topic, but essentially, you’ll need either an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree to enroll for a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). These prerequisites can come as a surprise to students who are looking into an online nursing program for the first time. Fortunately, there are ways to get started as a nurse with only 24 months of online education, and from there you can continue advancing your career with higher-level degrees.
No Mandatory Login or Study Times
Some online classes will require you to log in at specific times to take part in virtual classes on a set schedule. Most online nursing programs are very lenient in terms of letting you log in and do the work whenever you want. That means you can expect to have full flexibility in your scheduling and career commitments because you can still work a job full-time while working towards your degree as you see fit. Nursing programs also give you plenty of time to earn your credits, so you can work at your own pace without any fear of failure – just know that the less you study and work towards your degree, the longer it will take you to start your career as a nurse.
Clinical & Residency Coursework
Despite popular misconception, there are some offline steps that you’ll need to take in the course of earning your nursing degree. As you reach the advanced phases of your education, you’ll begin to encounter classes and events that require you to participate in face-to-face, instructor-led learning sessions at hospitals, clinics, universities, and other medical and academic establishments. Clinical coursework is designed to give you formal practicum experience in a professional setting, so it’s somewhat similar to an apprenticeship in that you’ll be following along in real medical cases.
A Variety of Career Paths and Degree Options are Available for Registered Nurses
In closing, regardless of your experience level or familiarity with the field of nursing and healthcare in general, there are numerous entry-level certifications and degrees you can start working towards. As long as you have your high school diploma or GED, you’re ready to start taking steps towards becoming a licensed nurse practitioner or registered nurse within just 2-4 years.