Online Colleges for Nursing

As the largest sector in the United States and one that offers a steady rate of employment, health care is certain to offer strong employment opportunities. Nurses make up a large portion of this field, with 2.6 million jobs going to registered nurses, or RNs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The nursing field includes licensed practical nurses, LPNS, RNs, and advanced practice nurses, or APNs.

However, nursing does not mean that you are in the same office day-to-day doing the same thing over and over and seeing the same people day-in and day-out. Some nurses specialize in areas of care that are meaningful to them. Critical care, emergency and trauma care, oncology, pediatrics and more, are all possibilities. Another option is to become an advanced practice nurse, or APN. By doing this, you can focus even more on a particular aspect of nursing, be that becoming a nurse midwife or practitioner, an anesthetic nurse or even a clinical nurse specialist. Other nurses enter what might appear as unusual or atypical fields: becoming a forensics nurse or infection control nurse or even going into nurse education.

Online Nursing Programs

Online nursing degrees have become extremely popular in the last several years. This might be due to the fact that online education allows working nurses to pursue their degree despite long hours and ever-changing schedules. Most online nursing programs are designed for registered nurses who have already completed the clinical portion of their education. A common online nursing program is the bachelor of science in nursing, which is also referred to as the LPN-BSN or RN-BSN. This is geared toward those who have completed their associate degree level work and are looking to expand their horizons and complete a four-year degree. Earning a bachelor's degree can offer nurses a step up in hiring and advancement. Another popular online nursing degree is the master's of science in nursing. This is usually pursued by RNs who want to work as an advanced practice nurses -- just think of some of the fields mentioned above -- or those who are looking for better advancement opportunities. A master's degree is typically needed to work as an APN, according to the BLS. See online health colleges for more health careers.

Job Outlook for Nursing Careers

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require nurses to be licensed. Individuals must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination. Other requirements, including continuing education, vary from state to state. Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, driven by technological advances, an aging population and an emphasis on preventative care. This could result in the creation of more than 500,000 new openings during that time. Registered nurses working in the U.S. earned mean annual wages of $67,720. Other fields related to helping others that could be of interest to you are those of emergency medical technicians and paramedics and physician assistants. While you won't be able to find related training available online, you will find that that the first field requires shorter-term training and that the latter, while requiring advanced education, usually results in higher pay.


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