With more and more universities providing online education choices, it’s easy to get lost in the options before you when you decide to get a nursing degree online. However, it is important to filter those many options for the best programs by checking up on their accreditation and rankings.
When searching for the best online nursing programs, commit to finding an accredited institution and program. If you do not complete an accredited program, your degree may end up being worthless, so finding out the accreditation status of your nursing program should be of the utmost importance.
The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (A href=" http://www.nlnac.org/About%20NLNAC/whatsnew.htm">NLNAC) is a good resource for finding accredited nursing programs. NLNAC accredits nursing programs at the doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s, associate’s, diploma and practical nursing levels. You can search NLNAC’s database for accredited programs by state or country, institution and program type. Distance education programs have to meet additional criteria to be accredited through NLNAC.
Another good resource is the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education’s database, where you can search for accredited programs by institution or state.
Nursing programs are also listed on the U.S. Department of Education’s database of accredited colleges and programs.
Perhaps an even more telling way to find the best online nursing programs is through rankings. The Nursing Online Education Database is a great place to start, providing a top 10 list of online nursing degree programs, as well as providing several other links to helpful rankings-giving organizations, like U.S. News & World Report.
U.S. News & World Report’s most recent list of top graduate schools in nursing could also be a helpful source, as you can search the schools for their online offerings in nursing.
Similarly, the Online Education Database has a list available of online college rankings overall, not broken down by program. These rankings are determined by acceptance rate, graduation rate, retention rate, peer Web citations, financial aid availability, scholarly citations, student-faculty ratio and how many years the college has been accredited. From this list of quality schools, you can search for each school’s nursing program offerings.
After accreditation and rankings, what will really matter is how the online school clicks with your unique needs. Take a look at what levels of degrees are offered through the school of nursing at your college of choice. If you want to continue pursuing nursing all the way up to the master’s degree level, it may not make sense to attend a school that only offers degrees up the baccalaureate level. This will save you the hassle of switching to another online school in the middle of your education. Find out if the course options meet your scheduling needs by speaking with a counselor at your college and learning if your degree program has courses you can fit into a typical week.
Finally, make sure you know how long it will take to complete the program. You may be more interested in a school that will accept more of your current college credits so you can earn your degree faster.