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Online Nursing Degrees - Don't Knock It Till You Try It
Keeping pace with today’s digital era, education is fast becoming a commodity that can be acquired online. This has paved the way for those students who wish to earn degrees, yet not in a position to attend regular classes in a university or a college.
Online nursing degree programs have particularly gained prominence of late, because among other reasons, the demand for nurses is estimated to grow exponentially in the coming decade. An online nursing degree program is aimed at preparing you for the mainstream job market while you retain the advantage of learning from a place of your choice and at a pace of your liking.
Since nursing as a subject requires practical competence, many online nursing degree programs will only allow you to complete the non-clinical portion of your coursework via online classes, while arranging clinical lessons at a medical facility near your home. As you can imagine, there are no schools that allow you to fulfill clinical requirements online.
Let us now look at some important features of online nursing degree programs:
1. Compared to easy pacing of coursework by some programs, many others that are affiliated with traditional universities will require online students to maintain same quarter or semester schedule as on-campus students.
2. While some online nursing degree programs allow the students to commence the course at any time, there are many that are structured like traditional classes/degree programs, which means that students are made into groups and scheduled to go through together. In the latter case, there will usually be a designated start date.
3. Although online nursing degree students generally do not meet instructors and classmates in person, it is seen that communication via email or online discussions often proves equally rewarding. The other benefit in favor of online students is that they usually receive instructors' lectures in written form.
4. Online nursing degree programs commonly offered are RN-to-BSN and MSN degrees. Although some institutions do offer a variety of advanced degree and certificate options, but they are rather few. In most cases, only one or a handful of degree programs are offered online.
5. Students, who wish to receive credit for work experience while pursuing online nursing degree program, generally have one or two options depending on the institute they plan to attend. Many institutes now allow students to complete proficiency exams such as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or the Proficiency Examination Program (PEP) in lieu of course-work in areas in which they have work experience or knowledge gained though independent study. If you are planning to enroll in an online nursing degree program, you will be happy to know that there are certain distinct advantages associated with it, enumerated below, though not all may be available together for a particular program. 1. You will be able to complete your online nursing degree coursework quickly and conveniently.
2. Online nursing degree programs are less expensive than traditional programs. While the cost widely varies by school and degree program, students may expect to pay anywhere from a little less than $100 to more than $300 dollars a credit, with average tuition for online programs sponsored by public universities generally falling in the $110-170 range. In addition, registration or enrollment fees may also be charged, though out-of-state tuition is not typically charged. Overall however, online nursing degree programs cost less than their traditional counterparts.
3. Flexible online nursing programs allow you to work around personal commitments. This is especially true for female nurses who are would-be mothers or have home and kids to look after.
4. Your curriculum can be tailored to meet your specific goals and you may be studying an up-to-date curriculum that addresses the critical needs of the health care industry.
5. If you work hard, you may look forward to completing your online nursing degree in just 2 to 3 years, or even sooner if you have qualifying credits or prior work experience.
Copyright 2006 Linda Raye
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