What Online Nursing Programs Have to Offer

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, America needs more nurses. The employment projections they calculated found that the number of nursing job openings will be 1.05 million by 2022, out of which 525,000 are replacement nurses. As a prospective nursing student, the demand for RNs, LPNs, and general nurses should give you peace of mind in the security of your future job.

As job opportunities increase, colleges have expanded the availability of nursing programs, combining online lessons with practical and clinical experience. Students of today have to balance current work and personal life obligations as well as continue their education in nursing. By expanding the possible education paths for students, colleges are creating opportunities for nursing students to grow their future nursing careers.

Job Opportunities

The increase in nursing career options comes from the rise in health care needs of the retiring baby boomer generation. The recent health care reforms will also bring more people into the system that previously did not have access to necessary health care professionals. In addition to an increase of health care patients, a large amount of current nurses are coming close to retirement. The median age of nurses in the United States is around 46, and more than 50% of nurses in the workforce are about to retire. Coupled with the lack of experience in newer nurses, these issues are causing colleges to provide a wider range of degree opportunities for prospective nursing students.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for future medical professionals is increasing across all nursing careers. Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners show a 20% increase, Registered Nurses show a 19% increase, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses show a 25% increase, Health Technologists and Technicians show a 24% increase, Nursing Assistants show a 21% increase, and Orderlies show a 17% increase. No matter your desired future career, nursing students have a promising job outlook.

Flexible Learning

As the need for nurses increases, the available online nursing programs increase. Current students require a format that will help them balance work and school as they progress towards their nursing degree. Colleges are providing more and more online programs; the American Association of Colleges of Nursing shows the number of fully online RN to BSN programs has grown by more than a third in the last 2 years.

Schools are combining online lessons and field experience to create a program that is ideal for busy students. Some colleges have completely eliminated physical lectures in all courses, instead offering interactive seminars online. The online format allows faculty to present the information to students on their own time, while still being able to answer questions, make connections, assign projects, and encourage online discussion between students. Instructors can provide an interactive learning experience that is available to students on their own time and encourages in-depth thinking on class topics.

Accelerated Schedule

Many students require programs that allow them to begin gaining experience in the nursing field sooner, increasing the need for accelerated online nursing programs. Students can earn their degree faster and begin to gain experience in the nursing field. While the online courses may be able to be completed faster than physical courses, the complicated material and required effort are just as difficult. Students cannot simply memorize material or skirt by with minimum effort; prospective graduates have to demonstrate understanding and mastery of the material in the same depth as a physical class.

Accreditation

The accreditation requirements of a school is the same from online to traditional. All colleges must meet the standards of an independent accrediting body to receive accreditation status, ensuring any degree earned from the university demonstrates mastery of nursing skills. However, prospective students should always confirm the accreditation status of a school before enrolling; some schools may claim fake accreditation status or status from a non-existing accreditation agency. Students that receive a degree from a university without proper accreditation will not be eligible for government financial aid, and many jobs will not accept a degree from a university without accreditation. Two of the best recognized nursing accreditors are the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Searching for the best online nursing program is a long process, but students that put in the effort to find the right school will enjoy a better experience as they earn their degree. The nursing career is expanding, as are opportunities, and an online nursing program is an excellent way to balance work and life obligations while continuing your education.

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