Why consider online nursing colleges? Because careers in nursing are amongst the hottest in the medical profession. Patients spend more time with nurses and nurse’s aides, also known as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA),than any other provider. Programs include CNA training, LPN to RN, RN to BSN, BSN to MSN and RN to MSN. As a nurse you can make a difference in a patient’s care and community health and wellness. If you are empathetic, nurturing, caring, organized, and hardworking, turn that talent into a nursing career. Nurses play a very important role in the lives of their patients.
Nursing Education and Training
In the United States nurses most commonly enter the occupation by completing an Associate or Bachelor’s degree program at an accredited nursing college. A few hospitals offer a 3-year training program resulting in a diploma. Individuals then must complete a national licensing examination in order to obtain a nursing license.
Further training either at nursing colleges or on the job can qualify nurses to work in specialty areas, and may help improve advancement opportunities. Many RNs with an Associate degree or diploma later enter a nursing college with bachelor’s programs to prepare for a broader scope of nursing practice. The most commonly offered degrees at nursing colleges are:
- LPN to RN
- RN to BSN
- RN to MSN
- Nurse Practitioner
While some nursing colleges offer a variety of advanced degree and certificate options for students seeking online education, most schools limit their online degrees to a handful of programs. Be sure to check with the nursing college you are interested in to learn about the specific entrance requirements of your degree program. In general, BSN programs look for the following criteria:
- SAT or ACT score although the minimum scores vary by school or program
- Minimum GPA ranging from 2.0 to 3.25
- Three years of high school math, including geometry and algebra II
- Three years of high school science, including biology and chemistry
- Four years of high school English
- Two years of high school foreign language
The RN-to-BSN, RN-to-MSN and MSN programs generally look for the following criteria:
- Graduation from a National League of Nursing (NLN) accredited nursing school
- A current valid RN nursing license
- A 2.5-3.0 GPA (most want 3.0 and above as most programs are competitive.
- GRE in some cases for the MSN (masters in nursing program)
To practice as nurse, graduates of nursing colleges are also required to take the NCLEX exam. The NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse) is a computer-adaptive test (CAT) of entry-level nursing competence. Passing the exam is required of candidates for licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) in the US. The NCLEX-RN® and NCLEX-PN® examinations are developed and owned by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.
Nurses record patients’ medical histories, ask about symptoms, assist with diagnostic tests and analyze results. They also administer treatment, help with rehabilitation and operate medical equipment. Even more important, they are advocates who meet the needs of their patients. From getting a drink of water to providing comfort to assisting in surgery, nurses are indispensable.
Nursing colleges give you the foundation to work in many settings. Examples of places where nurses are in high demand are ambulatory care, burn care, emergency and intensive care, geriatrics, home care, mother/baby care, pediatrics, psychiatric settings, travel nursing, and rehabilitation. Nurses work in many areas beyond hospitals for example doctors’ offices, research, non-profit organizations, schools and universities. In these areas they can be involved in management and administration.
Some areas of nursing specialization include: Ambulatory nurses, critical care nurses, emergency nurses, hospice nurses, infusion nurses, perioperative nurses, radiology nurses, forensic nursing, nursing informatics, nursing administration, etc.
The nursing shortage means that the need to provide programs of preparation, yet many nursing schools to not have enough space or qualified instructors to teach. To address this challenge, many schools are developing high-quality online nursing degree programs. For that reason more schools are offering online bachelor’s nursing degrees.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for registered nurses is about $58,000. The median annual earning of licensed practical nurses is about $36,550. In 2002, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that registered nurses across all specialties earned a median annual salary of about $48,000.
Experienced nurses can earn $70,000 or more per year in base salary, in addition to bonuses, shift differential, and overtime. Nurse managers make about $65,000 a year and Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) make about $99,400-$148,500 a year. This of course requires specialized training and in most cases a masters degree.
Medical professions have been experiencing a shortage of qualified Registered Nurses (RNs), making nursing has been one of the most in demand jobs for the last 10 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the field will continue to expand. The median annual wage of registered nurses was $64,690 in 2010 and the employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 26% from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 23% from 2006 to 2016. This is much faster than the average. Technological advances are driving the growth in patient care. In addition, the aging population of the country will have a significant effect on the need for more nurses in the coming years and online nursing colleges are preparing nursing students for this shift.
- Named a Best for Vets school by the Military Times in 2014.
- Has specialized in student-centered technology, business, criminal justice, health science, and culinary education for over 45 years.
- Makes it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in 2.5 years or an associate’s in 1.5 years by providing a year-round schedule.
- Offers externships and clinical experience that help students prepare for life after they graduate.
- Has 10 campuses across the mid-Atlantic, plus online degree programs.
- Nursing (RN-BSN) - Bachelor's
- Practical Nursing - Diploma
- Medical Assisting - Diploma
- And more...
- Flexible, online RN-BSN and MSN programs available
- RN-BSN program is designed to help registered nurses earn their bachelor’s in as little as 9 months
- Courses designed to expand on student’s prior knowledge and enhance their patient care skills
- Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
- Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Education
- Programs include Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration, Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness, Master of Health Care Administration, and more.
- Students learn from instructors with experience in the health care field.
- Capstone projects and clinical practicums that can help prepare students for more career opportunities.
- Flexible, online and on-campus program available.
- MS in Nursing
- Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
- Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
- And more...
Established in 1897, Bradley University is a private, independent institution of higher learning in Peoria, Illinois. Inspired by our founder, notable philanthropist Lydia Moss Bradley, we pursue excellence in teaching, research, scholarship and service; and we celebrate leadership, integrity, diversity and collaborative learning. Today, we offer an impressive array of more than 130 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs across five colleges and the Graduate School.
- Online Doctor of Nursing Practice - Leadership Track (MSN to DNP)
- Online Master of Science in Nursing (BSN to MSN-FNP)
- Online Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner Track (BSN to DNP)
- And more...
At Kaplan University, we offer over 180 degree and certificate programs. With three different ways to learn, you can choose the format that works best for you:
- Study wherever you have an Internet connection, because almost all of our courses are 100% online, or
- Take campus-based classes(with day and evening options available), or
- Combine campus learning with online classes (blended).
- MS in Nursing
- Master of Science in Nursing : Executive Leader
- Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate
- And more...
For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.
- Master of Science in Nursing
Fortis Institute can give you the skills you need to train for a career in the healthcare field.
* Programs vary by location
* Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information
- Associate Degree in Nursing
- Practical Nursing
- Medical Assistant
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University. We offer online programs focused on doctoral and master’s degrees in the schools of business and technology management, education, psychology and marriage and family sciences.
- Doctor of Education - Nursing Education
Do you want to start working toward a career that actually makes you excited? If so, an education from West Coast University (WCU) could be the perfect choice for you! This accredited, private University has a history that dates back over 100 years. Today, WCU offers health care degrees that will help prepare you and educate you on the current trends and issues within the health industry.
- MSN - Informatics (Online)
- MSN Advanced Generalist (Online)
- RN to MSN - Advanced Generalist (Online)
- And more...
Wilkes University’s School of Nursing offers CCNE-accredited online degrees and certificate programs ideal for working health care professionals, instructed by experienced, respected faculty dedicated to mentoring and personalized support for every student. Our nursing degrees offer the cutting-edge professional knowledge and skills needed in today’s dynamic, evolving health care industry.
- RN to MS - Nursing Informatics
- M.S. with Major in Nursing - Nursing Informatics
- DNP - Doctor of Nursing Practice
- And more...