Online master of nursing degree programs are on the rise. They have become the preferred option of completing advanced registered nurse education for working or busy registered nurses. Online degree programs offer nurses the chance to continue working, take care of family and study all at the same time.
If you a registered nurse who cannot afford to spare a lot time attending a traditional nursing class, online programs offers you the flexibility to study right from your home, in clinical sites within your neighborhood and sometimes at your own pace!
Why Choose an Online Masters of Science in Nursing Degree?
What many nursing schools refer to as online master in nursing degrees is where the didactic portion of the program is offered online while the clinical portion being offered on a face-face format. The face-to-face clinical experience can be taken at a student’s convenient site and reports on performance sent to the college or university. Students may also be asked to take theory courses online and clinical courses at the university grounds only- no distance sites accepted. This dictates that the student may be warranted to live around campus for the sake of the clinicals.
On another note, students may only be allowed to take a few selected didactic courses online and the remaining didactic and clinical course at an on-campus site. This kind of programs may not qualify to be listed as online MSN programs. It is also a common approach of online programs to have students for a mandatory campus residency programs during thesis defense and project presentation. This may include a few days to 1 week once a semester or in an academic year.
Online MSN Programs: How They Work
Generally, what can be used to categorize a program as an online MSN program is the ratio of onsite and online classes. If the number of courses taught on an online format surpasses that of the on-site classes, then the program can be termed as online; but still this is not all black and white. In a nutshell, what this means is that you must dig deep to find accurate information on course coverage formats before applying to any program designated as an online master program. This will help you know how “online” a program is and how it well it will suit your needs of an online program.
Online MSN Degrees Tracks & Specialties
Out of the many MSN tracks a college or university may be offering, only a few may be available as an online option. In most cases, nursing schools choose the less clinical programs to be the online options. These categories include:
- Online MSN-Administration
- Online MSN-Education
- Online MSN- Clinical Nurse Leadership
- Online MSN-Informatics
- Online MSN-Clinical Management
- Online MSN-Executive Leadership
Most of these are offered completely online because of the less direct clinical contact required. On the other hand, highly practical tracks like the nurse practitioner tracks, certified nurse midwives and certified registered nurses anesthesia are offered partially online and partially onsite. Students need to have a real one-on-one interaction with patients. This consideration is an advantage to the students as experiential learning is vital in nurse training. Actually, at the moment, it can prove impossible to find any online master of nursing anesthesia program due to the clinical learning involved.
100% Online MSN Programs
Talking of an online program would mean that the entire curriculum of the program be offered 100% online and students never stepping in a classroom. While this is possible in other non-technical disciplines, owing to the technical nature of nurse training, this aspect of 100% online nursing programs may not really exist. Some programs require clinicals or other requisites – be sure to check with the program on what “on the ground” requirements they might have.
Colleges/Universities Offering Online Masters Degree in Nursing
Hundred of nursing schools offer nursing master degrees online. A full list of nationally accredited online nursing schools is also available here but a few examples include:
- American Sentinel University
- University of Phoenix online MSN Programs
- Drexel University MSN Programs online
- Kaplan University Online
- Walden University
- Grand Canyon University
- John Hopkins University
- Jacksonville University Online
- Chamberlain College of Nursing
- Capella University
- Loyola University New Orleans
If you are still looking for more information on an MSN degree, consider filtering by your state to find a Master’s Degree in Nursing by using the below links.