Nursing is one of the professions that has seen a steady amount of growth over the last decade and is likely to continue to grow over the next few decades. Due to the twin facts that the U.S. population is living longer and medical technology has gotten better, more people with online nursing degrees will be needed than ever before in our nation’s history. In other words, if you become a nurse, not only do you get to be a part of a profession known for saving lives and caring for others, you will also be almost guaranteed to get a job in whatever sub-specialty you like.
Earning a nursing degree online is an option that more and more nursing students are choosing. Whereas a few years ago, online degree programs were looked down upon, today, many of the best universities in the country are moving nursing degree programs and other degree programs onto the Internet. In this article, we’ll use U.S. News & World Report‘s rankings and rankings from other reputable sources to look at three of the best online nursing degree programs currently available.
1. MSN: Ferris State University
Ferris State University is a public university located in Grand Rapids, MI. They are ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report for online nursing programs. The nursing degree that Ferris State offers online is an MSN, or Master’s of Science in Nursing. An MSN is designed for individuals who already hold nursing Bachelor’s Degrees and want to further their education with a graduate degree.
Although Ferris State’s MSN earned the highest rank from U.S. News overall, other online MSN programs, including Lamar University in Texas and the University of Michigan-Flint blew the Ferris State program out of the water in certain categories. When it came to faculty, for example, the #3-ranked University of Michigan-Flint earned a score of 100 and #2-ranked Lamar earned a 96.8 compared to Ferris State University’s 76.3.
Any of the top five universities ranked by U.S. News would be excellent places to earn an MSN online. The school ranked #4 was Clarkson College and the school ranked #5 was Graceland University.
2. RN to BSN: University of Illinois-Chicago
It was hard to find the best online RN to BSN program, but one name that kept popping up was the program at the University of Illinois-Chicago. This school is another traditional brick-and-mortar school with a solid reputation that, like many other schools, has started offering degree programs online. Its RN to BSN program is a 100 percent online program for registered nurses who want to upgrade their associate degree in nursing to a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Other notable RN to BSN programs online include Indiana State University, Grand Canyon University, Drexel University and Western Governor’s University.
3. ADN: Chamberlain College of Nursing
The first thing that you should know about any associate degree in nursing that you will find online is that no reputable program takes students with no nursing experience to a nursing degree 100 percent online. This is because nurses, just like teachers, have to gain practical experience before they can become a registered nurse. An “online” nursing degree program, therefore, will generally have all of its classroom work online and will offer on-campus clinical work at a certain point in the degree program. That might mean that the online student will have to travel a good distance to finish the clinical portion of his or her nursing degree.
With that in mind, the best ADN we could find online is the Chamberlain College of Nursing. Liberal arts and basic nursing science classes can all be completed online; clinical requirements must be fulfilled in Columbus, OH. The online ADN in nursing at Chamberlain is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission, or NLNAC, which is considered one of the top accrediting bodies in the nursing profession.
Nurses Have a Bright Future – Online Nursing Degrees Make Sense
The average Registered Nurse earns almost $97,000 per year – and the expected 31% growth in jobs through 2022 places nurses in the category of “jobs with the most demand.” Nurses with more experience or better education can earn even more. On top of that, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the nursing profession is growing “faster than average” compared to most other professions. All this means that becoming an RN is an excellent career choice for someone who loves working with and caring for other people. Earning an online nursing degree is a great way to pursue a noble profession.