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Nursing Students: How Online Nursing Schools Work

Jan 20, 2008
Online nursing schools are becoming an increasingly attractive option for many aspiring nurses, because the waiting lists at traditional nursing schools are so long right now.

For anyone with an internet connection and some self-discipline, these schools can help you leapfrog past the nursing school waiting lists and start your nursing education sooner.

However, there is a caveat: you must already have some type of healthcare degree before you attend these schools.

Some states require that you be a Licensed Professional Nurse before you can attend a Licensed Practical Nurse to Registered Nurse online school. Some states will permit online programs for paramedic to Registered Nurse or respiratory therapist to Registered Nurse. Your State Board of Nursing will know which programs are accredited.

There are also online programs that allow Registered Nurses to get their Master's Degrees, Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree, or even their Ph.D.'s online. For nurses who want to progress into supervisory positions, an advanced degree is needed in most cases.

Often once you're hired as a Licensed Practical Nurse or a Paramedic, your employer will pay for your continuing education, so check with them as you search for the appropriate online nursing degree program.

Once you have submitted proof of your license to the online school, you will be permitted to sign up for the appropriate program. You will take most of your classes online, but there will be local clinicals. The online school will have a contact person in your area who supervises and assigns the clinicals.

The online school will have study groups, and if you live in a metropolitan area there may even be some groups of online students who meet regularly in person to study together. The online school that you attend will have lists of resources for you.

Many of the course reference materials that you need will be available to download in PDF form.

If you need to take prerequisite course such as Anatomy & Physiology you can do those through the online school as well. Other courses that you will need for an RN degree are likely to be psychology, nutrition, human grown and development or human lifespan, and college level algebra, microbiology. Most programs have roughly the same prerequisite class requirements, and you must complete with passing grades before being accepted.

If you have previously taken some or all of your prerequisite courses at a local school and want to be able to transfer credits, make sure that your online LPN to RN school will allow you to transfer those credits. Some online schools refuse to give you credit for classes that you have already taken, because they want to force you to take their version of the classes. This forces you to spend more time and money - so if there is another online nursing school that's an option for you, choose that one, of course!

If you already have an LPN or paramedic's degree and want to advance your career, increase your hiring options, and make more money, a nursing degree might be for you.
About the Author
For more helpful tips on getting into nursing school quickly, finding money for nursing school, and where to find good online nursing schools, visit nursingschoolprograms.com.
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