Studying a Nursing Degree Online: Important Things to Consider


Thanks to online learning, it’s never been easier to start your career or even change career as you get older. Many colleges and universities now offer full courses that can be studied online through distance learning.

Usually, online courses are taken on a part-time basis as you are not at a physical college or university. This means that sometimes they can take up to twice as long to complete because you are only studying half the hours. However, one of the main benefits is that you can continue to work in your full-time job while studying to earn money to fund your studies.

If you are looking to make a move up the career ladder in the nursing profession or would like to change career completely, studying part-time through distance learning is a great option. You can continue to earn money and don’t need to take time out which is some cases can set you back in your career goals.

One of the great things about learning online is that you can study in your own time at home. Usually lectures and lessons are recorded or are done as webinars which you can watch at a time that suits you. All you need to have is a good internet connection, a PC or laptop, and a space in your house or apartment that is quiet where you can study and write papers.

The range of courses that you can study online varies, and there aren’t many courses that aren’t available to you. Studying a nursing degree is a popular choice as it allows practicing nurses to further their career without having to take time out of work. These are the typical routes into nursing and the outcomes you might expect when studying a high-level nursing course.

Routes into the Nursing Profession

To be able to enroll on an online nursing degree you are usually required to have some prior knowledge or experience of the profession. This may have come from an entry-level program like an LPN or LVN program. These courses usually take around one year to complete and will allow you to practice as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). Because they are usually seen as the first step into becoming a nurse you normally don’t need any qualifications to begin these courses.

The next level up from an LPN or LVP is as ADN – an Associate Degree in Nursing. Whereas the LPN and LVP programs take around a year to complete an ADN can take up to 2 years to finish. On completion of an ADN, you are likely to be given more responsibility in your role and may be given tasks such as treating patients and providing emotional support.

Studying Nursing Online

Entry-level degrees and qualifications are usually best studied while learning on the job. Usually they will require some classroom learning and some practical learning. Because they are for people who are new to the profession, they may not be the best to study online. It’s once you start getting into the higher-level degrees that studying online becomes a more viable option.

The reason that high-level degrees are best studied online is that they usually require you to have a good level of working experience in the profession. It’s very uncommon for people to be able to study a high-level degree like a masters by only learning in the classroom so studying an MSN degree online is best suited to those who have gained a working knowledge.

Prospects After Studying

Studying a high-level course like an MSN degree can set you up for some great career options later down the line. On completion of the course, you will have the qualifications to be able to apply for jobs like nurse director, clinic manager and home health manager. Because a course like this focuses on leadership and innovation it will help you with managing teams and being confident in defining and setting processes.

The other great thing about gaining a high-level nursing degree is that your earning potential is likely to increase too. It’s important to remember that this may change based on the state or institution that you work.

Despite that, some of the average figures that are known in the industry state that a chief nursing officer could earn up to $174,000 a year, a home healthcare director could earn in the region of $75,000 per year and a clinical nursing director could earn $79,000 per year. As you can see, it’s worth seriously considering the impact of completing a course like this can have on your professional and personal goals.

Making the Right Decision

It can be difficult choosing the right course to enroll onto, especially when it is online. If you have been working in the profession for a number of years, then there may be a professional trade body that can help and advise you on the next best move for your career. If not some of the best people to speak to are the people you work with. Your boss may have had to make the same decision and will know what the best paths are to take.

If you are new to the profession, then it is best to speak with the learning provider. They will be able to tell you in more detail about the requirements for each course the time commitments and if you need any experience. Finding out as much as you can before enrolling is really important so that you can make the right choice.


Studying online is a great way to progress a career in nursing while working in your job. It means that can hold your position and increase your career opportunities while earning money and not having to move away. In some cases, it may be that the only way to study a particular course is by studying online because it requires you to be working in a job at the time.