Is an Online BSN Program Right for You?

by Howard Gerber on February 12, 2015

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online-nursing-school-degreeCongratulations if you have decided to take the next step in your nursing career and get an advanced degree! Earning a bachelor’s of nursing degree can open new doors in the medical field. Nurses who earn a BSN degree may have the opportunity to work in management, education, discharge planning, and more.

If you are thinking about where to attend school, an online program may be a good fit. Online programs work especially well for nurses who are working either as a traveler or at a permanent position. But an online program may not be for everyone.

Advantages and Disadvantages of an Online Program

There are several advantages to earning your BSN online. One of the biggest advantages is the flexibility of the program. If you work or have family responsibilities, your schedule may be pretty full. It may be impossible to attend class at a certain time. If you attend an online program, you can fit classes in when you can.

You may have more choices when it comes to an online program since you are not limited by distance. The convenience and flexibility make an online program the only option for some people.

But there may also be a few disadvantages to attending school through an online program. If you are one to procrastinate, it may be difficult to keep up with your studies. You won’t get the interaction with classmates that you would in a traditional classroom.

What to Look for in an Online BSN Program

If you have weighed the pros and cons and decided to earn you BSN online, there are several things you should consider, such as the following:

Accreditation: Accreditation indicates a school has met at least the minimum standards needed for a BSN degree program. The curriculum, as well at the facility qualifications is reviewed.Consider your future goals. In order to earn a master’s degree in nursing, you need to have earned a BSN from an accredited program.

Flexibility: Determine how long you have to complete each class. Do you take one class at a time or several? Consider whether there are part-time options.Find out if you can set a pace that is convenient for you.Determining your options before you start will prevent you from getting in over your head.

Accessibility of instructors: Your instructors should be available to answer questions or discuss any concerns. Determine if teachers hold virtual open office hours where they are available to instant message or even chat by phone. Since you will not be meeting professors face to face, it is important to understand how you will access their help if needed.

Services available to online students: Some online programs offer the same services to their virtual students as they do to traditional students. Find out if you have access to counseling, career services, or tutoring.

Cost: Online programs vary greatly in how they structure their tuition. Some schools drop the out-of-state tuition charge for virtual students, while others don’t. Online students are usually eligible for the same financial assistance as traditional students.   

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