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What to look for in an online nursing degree

Online degrees and other courses have opened up a wealth ofopportunities for those wanting to start, change or advance their careers,but who are unable to devote the time to in-person learning. Offering flexibility and accessibility, online courses make it possible to combinestudy with work and family commitments. A quick internetsearch throws up many results for healthcare courses, so what should prospective students look out for in these online courses?


One of the first questions that a prospective nursing student should ask is about the accreditation status of the course they are considering, whether it is accredited regionally or nationally. You will also want to know if itis approved by the Board of Nursing for the state or states in which you are hoping to work. Lastly, find out if it is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), as this is a sure sign that it meets rigorous standards beyond even what the Board of Nursing expects.

Practical experience

A nursing degree is unlikely to be 100% online as nursing requires practical experience, and you should be very wary if acourse does not offer this. If the clinical placements are going to require you to travel, decide if you are happy with this – for many, moving temporarily for placements would not be practical. Wilkes University is one place that not only includes clinical placements on its MSN programs and other degree courses, but also has a clinical placement team to make sure that you can secure convenient placements that meet the university’s rigorous standards and prepare you effectively for your career.

The faculty

Make sure that you look at the faculty responsible for delivering your course. It should be run by experienced professionals from a nursing background with good educational credentials. Don’t be afraid to contact the faculty to find out more – they should be happy to help. It is also well worth talking to graduates who have been on the courses you are considering to see how they rate the teaching and if it left them well-prepared for their career.

Student support

Everyone needs help on occasion, and being an online student should not absolve the university in giving you the highest levels of support. Even if you never meet in person, the university ought to be fostering a sense of community with itsstudents and be available for help when itsstudents need it. You should also find out how it delivers feedback and how effective it will be in helping you improve.

A good course will provide you with an advisor to help guide you through your course, as well as offering access to facilities such as a library, financial aid and technology support.

Personal factors

You will also need to know if the course is a good fit for you personally – consider the cost, time requirements and prerequisites.

Completing thorough research into your course is time well spent to ensure thatyou choose the right one, making studying a more satisfying experience and boosting your chances of success.

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