Whether you have just decided to become a nurse or want to make a career transition, carefully evaluate your options to make the right decision. A nursing degree program should have many qualities to prepare you for a position in the medical field. The journey to become a nurse can take you in many different directions. The following three tips can offer some guidance on evaluating programs that align with your career goals and aspirations.
1. Regional Accreditation
Generally, working as a nurse does not require graduating from a regionally accredited degree program. However, transitioning into a graduate program is much easier if you attend an accredited school. Even if you do not plan to pursue an advanced nursing degree, your career options increase by graduating from an accredited program.
Most positions require applicants have a degree from a school that is recognized by either a national or regional organization. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits undergraduate, graduate and residency programs. The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) also accredits these programs in addition to practical nursing and diploma programs.
Typically, regional accreditation is the highest level of an official academic approval to the curriculum provided. The online nursing degree program at Jacksonville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. This regional accreditation helps to ensure the quality of Jacksonville’s educational program offers proper training. Additionally, the School of Nursing at Jacksonville University is accredited by CCNE.
2. Requirements for Clinical Studies
Another important consideration is the clinical studies of a nursing degree program. As with traditional on-campus schools, online nursing degree programs must offer clinical studies to help you gain hands-on experience. Evaluate which online program includes a clinical portion and the specific requirements to participate. Restrictions may apply based on your primary residence.
Online nursing degree programs should have partnerships with local medical facilities. Several questions may help you determine which program is best for your goals. Some questions include:
• Am I required to travel to a different city?
• If I am required to travel, are the travel costs included n the tuition?
• Does the program offer flexibility in selecting a facility?
Besides clinical studies, you want to evaluate programs based on the teaching techniques during course instruction. Some schools offer lectures in video and audio formats to provide interactive learning sessions. Discussion boards help you interact with your peers and course instructors to supplement your learning experience.
Kaplan University offers online nursing degree programs with a clinical component. In addition to clinical settings, you will participate in laboratory exercises to fulfill degree requirements. Of course this program requires that you live in a city where Kaplan has a physical campus. Nevertheless, Kaplan University is a good example where you can apply textbook teachings in a real-world setting. This can help to build your self-confidence.
3. Tuition and Fees
Educational costs are a legitimate concern for students. Having the ability to pay for a nursing degree determines whether you can successfully complete the program. Each school offers different financial aid and unique scholarship programs to help students pay for college.
Most educational institutions charge an assortment of fees in addition to tuition. Some fees include technology usage and application fees. Your evaluation of the costs for nursing degree programs depends on your financial situation.
Walden University offers a $1,500 scholarship to students who are fully admitted to an online degree program. This can help to offset any costs related to completing a RN to BSN program at the university.
About the Author
Jess Langford is a nurse instructor and blogs on such topics as Top Online Colleges for Nursing.