Choosing a nursing program is the first building block in creating a successful nursing career. The right program will teach resilience in facing challenges and thinking critically under pressure. It will also give you access to the latest technology and nursing research.

Since education has majorly shifted online, online nursing programs have become increasingly popular. They offer flexibility, affordability, and quality education.

However, with the many online nursing programs available, how would you know which is right for you? What factors should you consider?

We have some useful tips to help you choose the right online nursing program:

  1. Programmatic Accreditation

When considering an online nursing program, you want to make sure the program is accredited. It is essential because it ensures that the program meets quality standards. There are two main types of programmatic accreditation for nursing programs in the United States: CCNE and ACEN.

  • The CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) accredits bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral nursing programs.
  • The ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing) accredits all levels of nursing programs, including associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs.

You can check if a program is accredited by either organization on their websites. If you want to enroll in an accredited program, you can check out the university of Texas at Arlington online nursing programs, as the CCNE accredits them. 

  1. Cost

It all boils down to the cost for nurses who are financing their education with student loans. You must choose an affordable program that will not put you in too much debt.

When considering the cost of a program, look at the tuition and other associated expenses, such as textbooks and course materials.

Some programs also charge higher tuition for out-of-state students. It’s best to contact the admissions office to get an estimate of the total cost of attendance.

  1. Flexibility

Flexibility is an essential factor to consider when choosing an online nursing program. You want to ensure the program you choose offers coursework that can be completed around your work schedule.

Many online nursing programs offer asynchronous coursework, allowing you to access the material and complete assignments on time.

Some programs also offer synchronous coursework, which means you have to be logged in simultaneously with your classmates and participate in live lectures.

Consider what schedule will work better for you and choose a program accordingly.

  1. Reputation

Online nursing programs vary in reputation, just like brick-and-mortar nursing programs. So, there’s no slacking off just because a program is online!

You want to choose a reputable online nursing program that will give you the education and skills you need to be a successful nurse.

One way to research the reputation of an online nursing program is to read student reviews. Look for programs that have high ratings and positive reviews. You can also research the pass rates of students taking the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination), which is the exam nurses must take to get their licenses.

A program with a high NCLEX pass rate is usually a good indicator of a quality program.

  1. Curriculum

What’s your nursing specialty? Do you want to become a registered nurse or a nurse practitioner?

The curriculum of an online nursing program should align with your nursing goals.

  • The curriculum designed for RNs will include anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology coursework.
  • NP programs will have more coursework focused on advanced nursing theory and research.

Both programs will require clinical hours, which can be completed at a hospital or other healthcare facility near you.

When considering an online nursing program, ensure the curriculum fits your interests and career goals.

If you’re unsure of what specialty to pursue, look for a program that offers a broad range of coursework. Then, you can explore different nursing specialties and decide what works for you.

  1. Faculty

The faculty of an online nursing program can make or break your educational experience.

Since it’s all digital, you want to ensure the instructors are knowledgeable and engaging.

The best way to research the faculty of an online nursing program is to read student reviews. See what other students say about the instructors and their teaching style.

You can also contact the admissions office and ask to speak with a current student. They can give you first-hand insight into what the faculty is like and how they’ve benefited from the program.

  1. Job Placement

When you graduate from an online nursing program, you’ll want a job lined up!

So, it’s natural for you to want to know what the job placement rate is for graduates of the program you’re considering.

The job placement rate is the percentage of students who find employment within a specific time frame after graduation.

For example, a program with a 90% job placement rate means that 90% of students who graduated from the program were employed within six months of graduation. It’s the guarantee you want to secure before investing your time and money in an online nursing program.

  1. Two-Year vs. Four-Year Programs

When picking the perfect nursing program, one of the first choices is to attend a two-year or four-year university. Associate programs, which community colleges most often provide, take two years and typically charge per credit hour. A bachelor’s degree from a four-year school costs more in tuition overall but may provide more opportunities for financial aid and scholarships.

  1. Class Size

The class size of an online nursing program can have a big impact on your educational experience. If you learn best in a small, intimate setting, you might want to look for a program with smaller classes.

No matter your learning style, make sure the program you choose has class sizes that fit your needs. This information is usually available on the program’s website.

Final Thoughts

Learning to nurse online is a great way to get the education you need while still being able to maintain your current commitments. However, since your nursing education will come from a digital platform, you must pay close attention to the factors that will make or break your experience. It’s also essential to look for programs that offer clinical rotations and nursing internships. These are the two best ways to gain experience in the field. Plus, your future employer will be impressed by the experience you’ve gained.