The nursing shortage in the United States has reached a critical level over the past few years. By the time that most of the baby boomer generation retires, there will not be enough medical professionals to care for the aging population. The fact that the nursing shortage has become so great, however, has been beneficial to people who are interested in entering or advancing in the profession, because the average salary has increased consistently over the last 15 years.
It is impossible for many people to quit their day jobs just to return to college. They are in need of an opportunity that fits their schedule without interfering with work and family responsibilities. The best way to start a career in the nursing profession may be to enroll in an online nursing degree program while remaining in their day jobs.
Distance Based Programs
There are many distance based programs that also offer online nursing degree programs. Among those that offer this option are Regent’s College of New York, Walden University, and University of Phoenix. Some of them offer entry level programs, but the majority of them are bachelor degree programs online for those who are registered nurses with an associate’s degree.
Accreditation is Important
There are several difficulties with universities that may advertise how students can earn bachelor degree online, foremost of which is the problem that these universities may not be properly accredited. Students who are thinking about an online nursing degree program would thus be advised to research the school to their satisfaction to see if it has the credentials to legitimately offer degrees. It would be needlessly distressing to invest a significant amount of time and money in a program, only to find out that it could not deliver on its promises.
Financing Your Online Degree
Another problem might be having trouble financing your degree. As you are not a typical student, government loans or federal grants might not apply to you. Therefore, you may need to be creative in financing your education. Often times, universities will have liaisons in order to assist students who have questions pertaining to financing nontraditional programs. On the positive side, with the growth in number of academic institutions that allow a student to earn a degree online, the availability of financial aid is growing as well.
Balancing the Challenges
You must be disciplined enough to face the challenge if you wish to pursue an online nursing degree. Since finances can become a worrying problem, you must teach yourself to balance the conflicting demands of work and family with the discipline of independent, individual study. For those who are able to meet these demands and balance these challenges, completing a degree and working as a professional nurse can be most gratifying.