It is important to compare the pros and cons of online vs traditional MSN programs to decide which program will work best for you. In the past, graduate nursing students had no option but to sit in a classroom to earn their advanced degrees. Now, with advancements in technology, new platforms and tools make it possible for nursing students to earn their MSN online without physically being present in a classroom. Not all programs are the same and there are pros and cons to each. There are programs that are designed for the independent learner and programs designed for students who need interaction. Read on, and learn how each program compares so that you can make your decision.
The Quality Of Each Program
When committing time and money to a degree program, you want to make sure you get the greatest value possible. This is why it is very important to find programs that have quality curriculum and faculty members. Both online and traditional MSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). It is important to find a program that is CCNE-accredited to ensure that the school meets the standards set by the commission. By doing this, you protect yourself and can avoid the less than reputable schools that only offer degree programs to make a fortune on the uninformed.
The Duration of Each Program
Both online and traditional MSN programs offer students the option to study either full-time or part-time. One of the biggest differences between each program is flexibility. Because students have the freedom to study at any time of the day or the best day of the week, online programs may be easier to complete in a shorter period of time. If students need to be in a classroom setting to maintain their focus, it may be smarter to go with a traditional on-campus MSN program. You will need to be practical when you are choosing an enrollment status so that you do not become overwhelmed. No matter which type of program you choose, it typically takes 2 years to earn an MSN full-time and 3 to 4 years to earn the degree at a part-time pace.
The Experience of Attending Graduate School
There may be many pros associated with studying online, but you also have to consider whether or not the university experience is important to you. Some students want to earn their degree as quickly as possible in the most convenient manner. Other students who want to earn their Master’s in Nursing want a high level of peer interaction that cannot be provided while attending online classes. Online learning platforms do have discussion boards, chat, and messaging options, but you have to evaluate how important personal interaction is for you when deciding which programs to consider.
If you are attending an online program without any clinical experience, you may have to attend practical courses where you will gain hands-on learning in a clinical setting. If this is the case, you will need a blended program that offers on-site courses that can give you clinical experience.
Make sure to consider your background in the field, your level of education, and what you value the most in post-secondary programs. By comparing the online vs traditional MSN features, you can make an educated decision about your graduate-level education.