Online RN to BSN Programs: Which One Is Right for You?
April 11, 2014
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Online RN to BSN programs are becoming increasingly popular among nurses with associate degrees who want to move their careers forward. These programs offer the convenience of online classes combined with the information needed to improve a nurse's leadership, management skills and much more. But how do you choose which of these programs is the right one for you? Here is a list of things to consider as you make your decision.
1. Is It Accredited?
Accreditation means that the program has been evaluated by an outside agency that determines whether it fits rigorous educational requirements. Without this stamp of approval, educational programs are essentially worthless, so only consider accredited programs.
2. Is the Program 100 Percent Online?
Some programs claim to be online programs but require students to commute to a campus for tests or other miscellaneous tasks. This is fine if the school you are attending is local, but it can become problematic if you decide to enter an out-of-state program. Ask a counselor about the program's commuting policies and requirements beforehand.
As a corollary to this, consider whether an online program is right for you in the first place. Are you a self-motivated learner, or do you need a classroom to learn more effectively? What kind of support do you need to succeed academically — a study buddy or study group? Is that available in the program that you are considering? Online RN to BSN programs are convenient, but if you need a more rigid structure and a weekly class, a traditional program may be a better choice for you.
3. Tuition and Tuition Assistance
Of course, price is something to consider. Every program has its own tuition cost and program fees, and these can vary considerably. At the same time, the cheapest program may not provide all the benefits that you need to be successful.
Some employers offer tuition assistance, so if your facility is one of them, ensure that the program you are considering qualifies for this assistance. Don't forget to research the availability of scholarships and grants for which you may be eligible as well.
4. How Long Is the Program?
Some programs are paced more slowly for busy people who are trying to take just one course at a time; others are accelerated and more demanding for nurses who want to get their BSN degree as soon as possible. Think about what works best for your schedule and learning style while you are researching online RN to BSN programs.
5. Program Support
You don't want a program that is helpful and accessible when you are enrolling and then disappears once the tuition check clears. A quality program will be responsive from enrollment to graduation. An online program's support should exceed expectations because if you are having problems, you need someone to respond in a timely manner.
An online RN to BSN program is a great option for nurses who are too busy for classes in a traditional setting but who still want to further their careers. If you decide that this is the right avenue for you, look for a program that fits with your priorities, which will make your advanced education a successful and empowering experience.
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