The popularity of online degrees continues to grow. Curricula are expanding to including previously unimagined distance-learning programs, such as nursing. While some nursing education must be
acquired hands-on, many of the introductory courses in anatomy & physiology, terminology, and pharmacology can be taken through a Web-based class. If you are looking for online nursing schools, there are a few things that you should remember to make sure that you get the best education possible. The better your education, the better your job prospects, the better your income.
Check for Reputation and Accreditation
Outright scams aside, there are nursing online schools that may be real schools, but don't provide a good education. Others are on the verge of closing their doors for financial or other reasons, but won't tell you that crucial information when you register, because they are hoping to boost enrollment as a last resort. You may find when you are halfway through your program that the school is going out of business. Not only will you not receive your degree, but you will have lost your money. Always check the Better Business Bureau to see that your institution is listed with a positive rating, and see how long they have been in business.
Most online programs know that they won't be successful without accreditation, but it is possible that some might exist, so always check this out before going any further with your research. Any online school that you're researching should be proud enough to make it clear that they are accredited. Word-of-mouth referrals from people who have completed a program and are already working are the best way to go, if possible.
Look for Credentialed, Available Instructors
All online courses have instructors available to grade assignments and answer questions, but sometimes, the ratio of students to instructors is so high that you will spend a lot of your time waiting for responses. There should be enough instructors available that they are accessible to all students within a reasonable amount of time. It can be very frustrating to submit papers or ask questions via e-mail and not hear back within a day or two.
Additionally, the instructors in place should at least have the credentials of the degree you are seeking. That is to say, if you are studying nursing, you should at least be taught by fellow nurses, if not a few physician's assistants or actual physicians. Each instructor should also have a resume of varied experience made available on the site.
Know What Degree You Want
It used to be that most nursing students became registered nurses, earning the degree of R.N. Other degrees existed, but weren't as common. These days, there are several types of nursing degrees from which to choose:
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Make sure that you fully understand what each type of nurse knows and doesn't know â and can and can't do â before committing to a program. Also, find out what types of medical facilities each kind of nurse usually works at. You should have a general idea of where you want to work before you make a commitment to your education.
Because so many distance-learning options are now available, from nursing online schools to online plumbing courses, your dreams really can come true.