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Nursing School Students: Is An Online Degree The Right Choice For You?

Jan 8, 2008
Prospective nursing school students, are you considering an online nursing degree as one of your options? Well, we've got good news and bad news for you.

You can already imagine the many advantages of online courses: setting up a schedule that's convenient for you, no commute, no parking hassles, saving on gas money or public transportation costs, and being able to work and go to school at the same time.

However, it is not possible to get every type of degree online - and there is no such thing as a Licensed Practical Nursing Degree or Associate's Degree in nursing that can be obtained entirely online. This is for good reason: one of the most vital components of a nursing student's education is to gain practical real world experience in a hospital or other medical setting, under the observation and direction of a registered nurse.

To our knowledge, there is only one nursing school program in the country which allows its students to complete even the majority of their course study online to get an R.N. degree - the Online Accelerated Nursing Program at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. It is intended for people who already have a bachelor's degree. The school's online program accepts only a very limited number of students. You must have numerous prerequisite courses completed, and have excellent grades in those courses, before you can even apply. Many states do not offer the clinicals that students must take, under the supervision of an RN, in order to complete the course, so students who live in those states can't take the program. Also students must go to the Oshkosh campus several times in order to do clinicals and take various tests there.

So what kind of nursing degree can you get online?

After taking a one-year course at a community college, vocational school, or private career college, to become a Licensed Practical Nurse, and after getting licensed as a practical nurse, there are many online LPN to RN programs, and they are becoming more popular as the demand for registered nurses grows greater.

There are also online paramedic-to-RN courses, and there are online respiratory therapist-to-RN courses.

In all three of these cases, it is vitally important to contact your state Board of Nursing to make sure that they accredit the school that is offering the online degree.

If they don't, then even if you successfully complete the course, you can not take the NCLEX-RN and work as a nurse in your state. Some states will accept online LPN to RN programs, but not other types of online nursing programs. Some states will accept certain schools' online LPN to RN degree programs, but not other schools.

There are also online LPN to Bachelor's Degree of Science in nursing programs, online RN to Bachelor's Degree of Science in Nursing Programs, online Master's Degree in Nursing Programs...so there is a lot that can be accomplished with online nursing schools. However, you can not get all of your nursing training online, and that's actually a good thing. Think about it. Would you want to be cared for and have your life in the hands of a nurse whose only training was online?
About the Author
For more helpful tips from Ruby Nicholson on nursing school waiting lists, nursing school programs, online degrees, and nursing student loans, visit Nursingschoolprograms.com.
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