Registered nurses, or those holding a BSN often want to gain more education to open new career Right for possibilities or to advance in their current employment. If you are one of these nurses, you may be looking into traditional and online schools. How do you decide if an online MSN is right for you?
First, Determine Why you are Considering an Online School.
If you believe online degree programs are easier to complete you should take a second look at the curriculum. Online courses from accredited schools (and you should not even consider schools that are unaccredited) cover the same material that traditional schools do. The reason is simple: accreditation standards are the same for both learning types. In addition, some professors make their online classes more difficult to avoid the substandard-online myth. If you are leaning toward an online MSN because it is faster than brick-and-mortar programs, you could be right. Both kinds of master’s programs usually take eighteen months to two years to complete. The “All Nursing Schools” website says that if you are willing to do extra work and put in more hours, you can finish sooner in an online program.
You Should Consider how the finances are Handled
There is no universal way to charge for the program. “Best Master’s Degrees in Nursing.com” says schools like John Hopkins University charge $30,000 or more a year for tuition. Others, like Western Governors, charge by the term. Many charge by credit hour, and that amount can vary from less than $400 to nearly $1500 each. You may, however, be able to test out of some classes through prior learning assessments at online schools, and some offer life experience credits, so you might pay less for the total education. There are not as many scholarship programs for online learning as for traditional schools but the opportunities are out there. You should assess whether the scholarship will give you the funds in a manner that meets the school’s requirements, or you could be looking at paying for your education first and being reimbursed later.
Self-Assessment is Important too.
Some people are not suited for online learning. The programs are flexible, but that is not always a positive thing. You must be an organized person, able to schedule your time and adhere to your schedule. Although the idea of not paying for child care while you study is attractive, and the opportunity exists to work your current full-time job as you pursue your degree, you will need to be able to cover some other expenses. You need good technology, for instance. Your computer should be reliable and you must have a printer as well as a scanner and a webcam. Word and office programs can be costly too, as is fast Internet service. In addition, the technology is useless if you don’t have adequate computer skills. You may need to take a course in computer basics. Many online MSN programs require some clinical time, and you should decide if you are able to put in the hours and expense that entails.
An online MSN may be the key to a brighter future, if you have the personal resources to succeed in online education. The choice is yours, but you should make it wisely.