Introduction to Online Nursing Degrees
NursingOnlineDegree is focused on providing useful resources about Nursing programs around the country. The nursing profession is one of the most popular career choices in the United States. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses (RNs) make up the largest healthcare occupation, with over 2.6 million jobs. Job opportunities will continue to be excellent due to the increase in population and high retirement rate of current nurses.
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Online Programs
A CNA provides routine direct patient care under the supervision of an RN or other member of a medical staff. There are other common names for clinical certified nursing assistants, including Nursing Assistant (NA), Patient Care Assistant (PCA), or State Tested Nurse Aid (STNA). The CNA degree is in an entry-level health profession and people often receive this certification in hopes to later advance in the medical profession. Job duties of CNAs vary although usually include providing simple direct care, taking patient’s vitals, helping patients dress and undress, serving meals and helping patients eat, lifting patients out of bed, transporting patients, cleaning and housekeeping, and reporting changes in the patient’s overall well-being.
To complete online CNA training you need a high school diploma or GED. Online training is typically much shorter than other healthcare training, with programs taking as little as six weeks to complete. Programs online allow you to continue to work in your current profession while completing CNA education. There is a federal requirement for 75 hours of state-approved training, as well as 16 hours of clinical training for nursing aids who work for Medicare funded nursing care facilities. It’s important that the online program you enroll in has the same requirements for CNA training as your state’s specific requirements. Some online programs will help you find a placement for training while others will expect you to do that yourself. After you complete the program you must sit for state-level CNA certification exam. The Bureau of Labor Statistics wage figures for 2009 show that the median annual wage for CNA’s was $24,040 with the top 10 percent earning $33,970.
Online Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Online Programs
An LPN works under the supervision of an RN as a part of a nursing team in hospitals, long term care facilities, physician’s offices, home health agencies, and a variety of private businesses.. Their daily duties include performing basic bedside care, taking vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, respiration, giving injections and enemas, monitoring catheters, applying dressings, monitoring their patients, and reporting patient care and adverse reactions. Occasionally LPNs are also in charge of collecting samples for testing, performing routine laboratory tests, feeding patients, and recording food and fluid intake and output. Experiences LPNs may become in charge of supervising CNAs.
Online LPN education can take 9 to 12 months, which is much shorter than BSN training. Often CNAs choose to take LPN courses to improve their salary and position. While completing your LPN education online you can continue to work in your current career. After completing the degree you become eligible to take the NCLEX-PN exam and become licensed to practice. You also have the option to continue your education through an online LPN to RN program, which will allow you to later become a registered nurse.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary in 2009 of more than 728,000 individuals employed as LPNs was $40,900, or approximately $19.66 per hour. The highest LPN salary for 2009 was in the employment services industry where practitioners averaged $46,190 per year, or $22.21 hourly.
Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) Online Programs
An ADN degree offers the quickest path to becoming an entry level RN. This is a two-year degree, although sometimes takes 3 years to complete if taking courses part-time. If you’re already an LPN then you can take an online LPN to ADN bridge program, which will speed up your process of becoming an ADN typically only taking one year to complete the degree. This degree is the most common initial nursing education degree. The ADN online training prepares individuals to work as an entry-level RN in a variety of settings. The scope of practice for this degree is to provide and manage care for a diverse group of individuals, families and communities in collaboration with members of the health care team. It also teaches you to supervise LPNs, Paramedics, EMT’s, and non-licensed assistive staff working on your healthcare team.
Upon graduating from the online program you will become eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and become licensed in your state as a Registered Nurse. With an associate’s degree you can practice at a higher level than LPNs and have greater autonomy, responsibility, work opportunities, and career options. This degree also serves as the foundation for further nursing education programs including Bachelor in Nursing Science degree programs. Typically ADNs make $63,750 a year.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Online Programs
A BSN degree is a more advanced form of the ADN degree, typically taking 4 years to complete and offering students broader-based nursing knowledge. Those who have the BSN title comprise the largest health care occupation. BSN degrees focus on research and nursing theory rather than practical job training, which prepare RNs for graduate work in nursing. Like the ADN degree, upon completion of the online BSN program the student must take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and become licensed in your state as a RN.
BSNs often receive a higher income than ADNs, averaging $66,530 a year. They also have better job opportunities as some hospitals prefer BSN graduates to ADN graduates. Typically the percentage of RNs with bachelor’s degrees that hold advanced positions, such as nurse manager, director, or administrator, is higher than that of those with diplomas or associate’s degrees. Online BSN programs are usually flexible, with part-time or full-time enrollment, so you can accommodate your working schedule while obtaining a BSN degree.
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Online Programs
This degree allows you to work as a nurse practitioner and in other advanced positions in a medical setting. You must have a BSN nursing degree and be a certified and registered RN in order to apply for an online MSN degree program. MSN programs want a candidate who is a hard worker and has a good nursing skill set. They also want a person who is passionate about a specific nursing population such as geriatrics, women’s health, pediatrics, adult health, oncology, etc. You should therefore research the online institutions that offer programs tailored to your nursing interests. You must have been a working RN for at least one-year before applying to an MSN program.
Online programs usually require a high GPA from undergraduate studies, completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) with satisfactory scores, sufficient clinical work, and extracurricular activities. These programs vary from 18 months to 2.5 years depending on your area of specialization and how many courses you take per semester. Online MSN programs offer courses in the theory portion of the master’s program. All clinical work and hours must be completed at an accredited health care institution such as a hospital, private practice, or public health clinic. According to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners survey, the average total nurse practitioner salary in 2011 was $94,050.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Online Programs
This is the most advanced nursing degree a person can get. This degree can prepare you as an advanced practice nurse, nurse practitioner, or nurse educator. It also focuses on leadership, management, and innovation in clinical settings, in addition to specializations within advanced practice nursing. Typically an online degree program will take a working student four years to complete. Many students choose to do MSN to DNP online bridge programs to change their career, or get higher training in their specialization. A DNP degree will earn you a much higher salary, usually around $100,000 annually, although that varies depending on specialization and location of work.
There are many different online degree bridging programs that allow those in one area of healthcare to gain a higher degree in another area of healthcare. These degrees don’t take quite as long to complete, and they acknowledge your previous training in the field. Some of these bridge program options include:
- LPN to RN
- LPN to BSN
- RN to BSN
- RN to MSN
- BSN to MSN
- BSN to NP
- BSN to DNP
Looking for a nursing degree?
Fill out this short form below, and we'll help match you to an accredited college program that suits your interests, whether online- or campus-based.