dcsimg

Online Colleges for Nursing

COLLEGE FINDER

Article Sources

Sources :

  1. Mississippi University for Women, RN-to-BSN Advanced Placement Option, http://www.muw.edu/nslp/bsn/rnbsn
  2. Georgia Highland College, RN to BSN Program, http://www2.highlands.edu/site/bsn
  3. Winston-Salem State University, RN-BSN Option, https://www.wssu.edu/academics/distance-learning/rn-bsn-option/default.aspx
  4. Montana State University Northern, Department of Nursing, http://www.msun.edu/academics/nursing/aboutprogs.aspx
  5. Mercy College, RN-BSN Nursing Online Program, https://www.mercycollege.edu/program/rn-bsn
  6. Mount Carmel College of Nursing, Online RN-BSN Completion Program, http://www.mccn.edu/academics/online-programs/online-rn-bsn-completion-program
  7. College of Coastal Georgia, School of Nursing & Health Sciences, https://www2.ccga.edu/Academics/SchoolNursing/rntobsn.asp
  8. Cox College, RN to BSN Program, http://coxcollege.edu/home/programs/rn-to-bsn/
  9. South Dakota State University, Department of Undergraduate Nursing, https://www.sdstate.edu/undergraduate-nursing/rn-bsn
  10. Ameritech College of Healthcare, RN to BSN Degree Completion Program, https://www.ameritech.edu/programs/rn-bsn-degree-completion/
  11. American Association of Nurse Practitioners, What's an NP?, https://www.aanp.org/all-about-nps/what-is-an-np, accessed April 2017
  12. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm
  13. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Registered Nurses, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
  14. CareerBuilder, Clinical Director, http://www.careerbuilder.com/insights/clinical-director, accessed April 2017
  15. GlassDoor, Clinical Director Jobs, https://www.glassdoor.com/Job/clinical-director-jobs-SRCH_KO0,17.htm, accessed April 2017
  16. O*NET OnLine, Summary Report for Registered Nurses, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1141.00, accessed April 2017
  17. O*NET OnLine, Summary Report for Nurse Practitioners, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1171.00, accessed April 2017
  18. PayScale, Clinical Directory Salary, http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Clinical_Director/Salary, accessed April 2017
  19. Rasmussen College, What Does a Registered Nurse Do?, http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/nursing/blog/what-does-a-registered-nurse-do/, accessed April 2017
  20. Associate Degree in Nursing - ADN Nursing Program, Chamberlain College of Nursing, Accessed June 2017, http://www.chamberlain.edu/academics/nursing-school/associate-degree-in-nursing
  21. Registered Nursing, City College of San Francisco, Accessed June 2017, https://www.ccsf.edu/en/educational-programs/school-and-departments/school-of-health-and-physical-education/registered_nursing.html
  22. Excelsior College, Associate Degree in Nursing, Accessed June 2017, http://www.excelsior.edu/programs/nursing/nursing-associate-degree
  23. Degrees & Certificates - Nursing Nursing, Merritt College, Accessed June 2017, http://www.merritt.edu/wp/nurs/degrees/
  24. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Azusa Pacific University, Accessed June 2017, http://www.apu.edu/nursing/programs/bsn/
  25. Bachelors of Science in Nursing, Boise State University, Accessed June 2017, https://hs.boisestate.edu/nursing/bachelors/
  26. Bachelors Degrees Nursing, Excelsior College, Accessed June 2017, http://www.excelsior.edu/programs/nursing/rn-to-bachelor-degree
  27. Master of Science in Nursing, Ferris State University, Accessed June 2017, http://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/colleges/alliedhe/Nursing/MSN-program/homepage.htm
  28. Master of Science (MS), UCSF School of Nursing, Accessed June 2017, https://nursing.ucsf.edu/academic-program/master-science-ms
  29. Master's Nursing Programs, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Accessed June 2017, http://www.aacn.nche.edu/education-resources/msn-article
  30. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Accessed June 2017, http://nursing.jhu.edu/academics/programs/masters/index.html
  31. PhD Program, Columbia University School of Nursing, Accessed June 2017, http://nursing.columbia.edu/academics/academic-programs/doctoral-programs/phd-program
  32. PhD, Nursing, UCSF School of Nursing, Accessed June 2017, https://nursing.ucsf.edu/academic-program/phd-nursing
  33. Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD), The University of Arizona, Accessed June 2017, http://www.nursing.arizona.edu/phd
  34. Registered Nurses, O*NET OnLine, Accessed June 2017, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1141.00
  35. Critical Care Nurses, O*NET OnLine, Accessed June 2017, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1141.03
  36. Acute Care Nurses, O*NET OnLine, Accessed June 2017, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1141.01
  37. Registered Nurses, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2015, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
  38. Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2015, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm
  39. http://www.nursecredentialing.org/CertificationCredentials
  40. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
  41. https://www.ncsbn.org/nclex.htm
  42. http://nursing.unc.edu/current-students/academic-counseling/nclex-rn-exam/frequently-asked-questions-about-nclex-rn/
  43. https://www.kaptest.com/nursing/nclex-prep/nclex-rn/about-the-nclex-rn
  44. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm
  45. History & Mission, Stony Brook University, https://www.stonybrook.edu/about/history/
  46. Facts & Rankings, Stony Brook University, https://www.stonybrook.edu/about/facts-and-rankings/
  47. Open SUNY, online nursing programs, Stony Brook University, http://navigator.suny.edu/degrees/nursing?fields=health-sciences
  48. Online Nursing Programs, Purdue Global University, https://www.purdueglobal.edu/degree-programs/?&AOI=Nursing&show=50&L=Online%20Courses
  49. ExcelTrack Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Purdue Global University, https://www.purdueglobal.edu/degree-programs/nursing/exceltrack-competency-based-rn-bsn-nursing-degree/?&AOI=Nursing&show=50
  50. Online Nursing Degree Programs, Regis University, https://www.regis.edu/Academics/Degrees-and-Programs.aspx?filterFormat=Online
  51. History & Mission, Regis University, https://www.regis.edu/About-Regis-University/History-and-Mission.aspx
  52. Majors and Programs, Nursing, Grand Canyon University, https://www.gcu.edu/degree-programs/
  53. About, George Washington University, https://www.gwu.edu/about
  54. Online RN-BSN, George Washington University, https://nursing.gwu.edu/online-rn-bsn
  55. What Makes Us Different, Clarkson College, https://www.clarksoncollege.edu/nursing/what-makes-us-different/
  56. Nursing, Maryville University, https://www.maryville.edu/hp/nursing/
  57. Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice, Maryville University, https://online.maryville.edu/online-doctorate-degrees/bsn-to-doctor-of-nursing-practice/
  58. About Maryville, Maryville University, https://online.maryville.edu/why-maryville/about/
  59. Adult Undergraduate Programs, University of St. Francis, https://www.stfrancis.edu/academics/adult-degree-completion-programs-undergraduate/
  60. Graduate Programs, University of St. Francis, https://www.stfrancis.edu/academics/graduate-masters/
  61. Master of Science in Nursing, University of St. Francis, https://www.stfrancis.edu/academics/college-of-nursing/msn/
  62. Online Programs, Gardner-Webb University, https://gardner-webb.edu/academic-programs-and-resources/online-programs/index
  63. Academic Programs, University of Mary, https://www.umary.edu/academics/programs/index.php
  64. About the University of Mary, University of Mary, https://www.umary.edu/about/
  65. Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, April 13, 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm#tab-1
X

Nurses are the unsung heroes of the health care world. From critical care to trauma care, oncology to pediatrics, anesthesia to infection control, nurses can be responsible for just about any aspect of health care. The career can be both exciting and fulfilling, but it certainly requires understanding of many different topics to get started, such as pharmacology, anatomy and patient care, to name a few.

In many cases, registered nurses begin their career with an associate degree, which allows them to jump into patient care but might not offer many opportunities for advancement. That's where a good "registered nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing" degree program (often shortened to RN-to-BSN) comes into play. However, if you're already a working nurse, how can you find the time to take such a program without quitting your job? Perhaps an online RN-to-BSN program might be able to assist you.

Best Online Colleges for Nursing in 2018-19

It's no secret that there are hundreds of online colleges for nursing out there, and narrowing down the options can be tough. Fortunately, we're here to make it a bit easier with our comprehensive list of the 10 best online nursing degree programs. We reviewed over 250 schools to come up with our list, using data from the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and a methodology that took into account graduation rates, admission rates, tuition costs and more.

Download Badge
Methodology
1

Stony Brook University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$9,257
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
18%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
42
School Type
4-year

The internationally recognized Stony Brook University was established in 1957 and is widely considered to be the flagship campus of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. The university offers comprehensive study in nursing, on both the graduate and undergraduate level. Undergraduate students can pursue three different kinds of nursing bachelor's degree programs -- basic, accelerated and registered nurse -- as well as a bridge program. Meanwhile, graduate students can engage with Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs, doctoral-level programs and advanced certificate programs, covering a bevy of nursing specializations such as gerontology, nursing education, pediatrics and nurse midwifery.

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Commission for Midwifery Education
 
2

Kaplan University-Omaha Campus

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$15,352
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
96%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
91
School Type
4-year

*NOTE: Kaplan University has merged with Purdue University Global since this list was made. Please contact Purdue Global University-Omaha to learn whether the merged school can still fulfill your needs.

Purdue Global University is the online division of Purdue University, which expanded its regional and global reach by acquiring the campuses of Kaplan University in 2017. Working together, Purdue and Kaplan are able to offer online nursing education at a variety of educational levels, from associate, BSN and MSN programs all the way up to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program. The university also offers an accelerated, competency-based bachelor's degree program that particularly hard-working students may be able to complete in as little as one year.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
 
3

Regis University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$35,610
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
63%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
86
School Type
4-year

This private university was founded in 1877 by a group of exiled Italian Jesuits, and as of 2018 remains the only Jesuit Catholic university in the Rocky Mountain West. It is named for St. Jean-Francois Regis, the patron saint of lace makers, and it strives to follow his example by serving the marginalized via education.

However, it is not lace making that lands Regis University on this list, but instead online nursing degree programs. Regis features an array of online nursing programs, primarily at the master's degree level but with bachelor's and doctoral options available as well. Various specialties are available, though most of them pertain to either nursing education or nursing management.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
 
4

Grand Canyon University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$17,050
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
90%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
94
School Type
4-year

Grand Canyon University is a private Christian university located in Phoenix, with additional campus locations in Scottsdale, Sun City and Albuquerque. A Christian-focused worldview is woven throughout university's curriculum. The university's Student Success Center offers a wealth of resources to both on-campus and distance learners, including writing help, tutorials and more.

While GCU focused only on religious studies and education programs when it was first founded, its repertoire has broadened over the years, and one of the many fields it has come to offer is nursing. GCU features an RN-to-BSN bridge program for undergraduate students, and multiple master's degree programs for graduate students, with emphases in topics such as informatics, gerontology, public health or acute care.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
 
5

George Washington University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$53,518
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
23%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
89
School Type
4-year

While George Washington University's on-campus experience features proximity to world-class museums, shows at the Kennedy Center, and many international organizations and institutions, the distance learner's experience boasts all the rights, privileges and honors of a traditional GWU education along with all the flexible benefits of an online education.

Such benefits extend to the university's online nursing degree programs, which come in a multitude of concentrations: family nursing, psychiatric mental health, gerontology and executive leadership, to name a few. While most opportunities are available at the graduate level, an RN-to-BSN program and a handful of undergraduate certificate programs present options for entry-level nursing students as well.

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
 
6

Clarkson College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$16,290
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
100%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
19
School Type
4-year

This private health care science college was founded in 1888 as the first nursing school in Nebraska. While it was once limited to teaching students in the Omaha area, the advent of online education has allowed the college to educate aspiring nurses around the globe.

Clarkson offers several different study options when it comes to nursing, including a BSN program and several online bridge programs, including LPN-to-BSN, RN-to-BSN and RN-to-MSN. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program -- which was, in fact, the first program ever offered at Clarkson -- has start dates in January, May and August and requires 130 credits to complete, but students can transfer non-core and general education credits into it from other institutions.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Commission for Education in Nursing
 
7

Maryville University of St. Louis

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$28,470
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
49%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
21
School Type
4-year

The Maryville University of St. Louis takes great pride in the educational norms it has challenged over the years, starting when it was founded in 1872 as a women's college during a time when educating women was still controversial. One of the standards Maryville has challenged is the idea of traditional campus-based education: the university has committed wholeheartedly to online education, understanding the benefits it can offer to the nontraditional student.

In the 1970s, Maryville merged with the nursing program at Mercy Junior College, leading to the creation of the Walker College of Health Professions. Through this college, students can participate in fully online nursing degree programs with various concentrations. Of particular note is the university's BSN-to-DNP bridge program, an accelerated program that can help experienced nurses take "a giant leap forward" in their education… from the bachelor's level all the way up to the doctoral level!

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
 
8

University of St. Francis

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$31,470
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
56%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
26
School Type
4-year

The University of St. Francis is a Catholic liberal arts university located in Joliet, Illinois. If you are working as a registered nurse (RN) but earned your bachelor's degree in a subject other than nursing, and are worried that your lack of a nursing degree might impede your ability to earn a higher-level nursing degree, USF might be the right school for you. The university offers multiple bridge programs for nursing, but its specialty is the RN-BS-MSN option. These programs are specifically made to transition RNs with a bachelor's in a field outside of nursing into a Master of Science in Nursing curriculum. They even offer specialties for these programs, such as nursing administration, nursing education or family nurse practitioner.

The university supports distance learners with full access to its academic resource center, where students can participate in workshops and learning sessions to improve their note-taking, reading and study habits, and test-taking skills.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
 
9

Gardner-Webb University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$30,700
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
50%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
3
School Type
4-year

Gardner-Webb University is a private Christian Baptist-related college located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. Development of student spiritual formation is a primary focus of the university's mission and curriculum -- in fact, GWU's online program for registered nurses is centered on holistic Christian values.

Graduate students at Gardner-Webb can select one of three different tracks for their online MSN program: nursing administration, nursing education or family nurse practitioner. Post-graduate certificate programs in nursing administration, nursing education and family nurse practitioner are also available.

To support its distance learners, GWU maintains key online resources such as counseling, personal and professional development, and academic and technological support.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
 
10

University of Mary

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$18,224
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
66%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
77
School Type
4-year

The University of Mary is a small private university in Bismarck, North Dakota that's rooted in Christian, Catholic and Benedictine traditions, though the university welcomes students of all religious faiths and backgrounds. The curriculum of Mary's undergraduate nursing degree program (an RN-to-BSN program) emphasizes leadership, global stewardship, spirituality and ethics. Students looking for an online Master of Science in Nursing can specialize their degree program further, choosing from specialties in nursing leadership, nursing informatics or nurse education.

Nursing students at Mary have the opportunity to complete clinical work at CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck, but can also fulfill their hands-on practical degree requirements through regional schools, nursing homes and similar facilities.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
 

Degree Overview: Nursing

As the front line of patient care, nurses have a demanding job that requires rigorous, specialized training. Those who hope to follow in Florence Nightingale's footsteps are in the right place: in this section, you can get a sneak peek at some of the courses that nursing programs commonly include in their curriculum, as well as possible skills graduates will want to cultivate.

Online Nursing Courses

The curriculum offered in online education for nursing depends on the degree level. Although specific programs differ, the following provides a look at what kind of coursework students may find from the associate to the doctoral level.

  • A nursing associate degree program is intended to give students the foundation of the concepts they will need to obtain a state license and an entry-level job. On this level, the coursework may include topics such as pharmacology, nutrition and diet therapy, anatomy and physiology, developmental psychology and adult health.
  • Those who are just starting their nursing careers or registered nurses who want to advance their careers can pursue an online bachelor's degree program to be exposed to a more in-depth perspective on nursing. Students in such a program cover topics such as how to conduct a patient assessment, work with people in different age groups, dispense medications, and communicate effectively with patients and other medical professionals.
  • Workers who want to enter advanced nursing should consider a master's degree program. Students in these programs may choose a concentration to focus on, depending on their career goals: examples range from pediatrics, mental health, gerontology, primary care or public health nursing.
  • Doctoral nursing programs are generally completed by professionals who want to contribute to the future of the field by either teaching potential nurses or conducting medical research. Students in these programs typically explore qualitative and quantitative research methods, the history of nursing theory, health care informatics and health policy.

Career-Related Skills to Develop

Nurses need to be highly skilled to successfully deal with the rigors of their job. Below are some of the skills students may want to focus on developing while they complete an online program for nursing.

  • Physical stamina: Nurses not only spend a lot of time on their feet, but they also have to be able to move patients as they treat them. The clinical part of a nursing program is likely to give you a decent idea of the kind of physical expectations you will experience; if it is exhausting to you, it might be a good idea to improve your stamina before starting your career.
  • Listening: Sometimes a patient's understanding of their own body can lead to a much quicker and more accurate diagnosis. Nurses need to actively listen to patients in order to accurately assess what's wrong with them and make appropriate decisions about their care.
  • Verbal communication: Nurses are tasked with explaining complicated medical information to others, which requires strong verbal communication skills. From instructing patients on how to take their medication to discussing someone's condition with family members, nurses need to know how to speak to people in a way that can be understood.
  • Critical thinking: A patient's condition can rapidly change, so nurses must have the critical thinking skills needed to assess someone's visible symptoms and make decisions on how to provide the best treatment.

Nursing Specializations

In order to work legally, registered nurses must obtain a license from their state. Although the standards for licensing may differ from one state to the next, generally prospective RNs are required to earn a degree from a school accredited by the board of nursing in their state. In addition, they must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) — a computerized, multiple choice test that has between 75 and 265 questions on topics such as client rights, disease prevention, crisis intervention and pharmacological pain management.

Similarly, vocational nurses and practical nurses are also required to earn a state license in order to work in the field. These professionals must successfully complete a state-approved degree program and pass the NCLEX-PN.

Nurses can also earn voluntary certifications to demonstrate their expertise in a specific subsection of the field. For example, certifications are available for ambulatory care, forensic, gerontological, informatics, pediatric and mental health nursing.

Nursing Career Outlook

Licensed Practical/ Vocational Nurses (LPN/LVN)
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2017 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$45,710
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
62,700
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
12.2
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
Postsecondary nondegree award

Licensed practical nurses (also known as licensed vocational nurses in California and Texas) provide basic medical care for patients. They take vital signs, change bandages, collect samples for testing and more. LPNs and LVNs also see to the comfort of patients -- changing bed linens, helping the patient to the bathroom, helping them bathe and dress, etc. They might have other duties as well, depending on where they work. For instance, those who work in a maternity ward might instruct new mothers on personal care, feed infants, help with labor and delivery, etc.

LPNs and LVNs are required to complete an approved nursing education program. These are available through some high schools and hospitals, but are more commonly found at community colleges. As with registered nurses (RNs), LPNs must be licensed in order to practice.

Registered Nurses (RN)
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2017 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$73,550
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
203,600
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
14.8
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
Bachelor's degree

Registered nurses (RNs) are on the front lines of the health care field. These professionals supply care and advice to help patients and their family members handle illnesses, injuries and/or chronic conditions. They may also spearhead preventative care initiatives for individuals or to assist in their larger community.

Career opportunities for RNs can be found in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, schools, physicians' offices, correctional facilities or nursing care facilities. Some RNs may concentrate on specific patient care areas, such as rehabilitation, neonatology, addiction or critical care.

Before starting in this field, RNs must complete a higher education program in nursing, resulting in a diploma, associate degree or bachelor's degree. In addition, RNs must earn a license in their state in order to practice.

Nurse Practitioners (NP)
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2017 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$107,480
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
14,400
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
36
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
Master's degree

Registered nurses who want to advance in their career might consider becoming a nurse practitioner (NP). In order to pursue a nurse practitioner career, RNs must first complete a master's degree program. They must also pass a national certification test and be licensed by their state.

These health care professionals may also decide to specialize in a subsection of the field — such as acute care, oncology, gerontology, family or mental health nursing — which requires specific training in that area.

NPs may act as a patient's primary care provider, and in this role they are responsible for performing diagnostic tests and interpreting the results, providing treatment for chronic illnesses, prescribing medications and providing routine patient checkups.

Clinical Directors
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2017 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$111,680
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
36,400
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
19.8
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
Bachelor's degree

The primary goal for clinical directors is to ensure that medical facilities run properly and provide quality care to patients. From hiring staff to managing money to creating patient programs, these professionals are responsible for every aspect of running a health care facility.

Specific job duties of those in clinical director careers include coordinating and supervising patient care services; hiring and training employees; creating budgets for each department in the facility and ensuring they are adhered to; and maintaining patient records and other documents.

The required education for this position depends on the specific facility a clinical director works for. In some cases, a job candidate can get hired with a bachelor's degree, while other employers may require a master's.

Related Programs

If nursing doesn't sound like the right fit for you, you don't have to give up dreams of a career in health care just yet. Check out these related fields and see if one of them might suit you better.

 
Article Sources
Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following four criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  • Offer a degree or certificate program in that subject, either in an online or hybrid format
  • Have at least 1% of students attending some form of distance education
  • Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2016-17
  • Have reported data for all 11 ranking variables listed below

We ranked 1,813 colleges and universities in the United States on 11 criteria, using 2016-17 data from IPEDS:

  1. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded via distance education in 2016-2017 were in this particular subject
  2. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered via distance education at any level
  3. Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
  4. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  5. Graduation rate
  6. Retention rate
  7. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Prepaid, Guaranteed, Other)
  8. Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
  9. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
  10. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  11. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools' tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
X
 
Download Badge
This badge will download in .png format. For assistance, please contact our editorial team.
X