You can earn nursing certificates, along with associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing at online colleges, but some avenues are more popular than others. Two of the more popular options are RN to BSN programs and RN to MSN programs.
RN to BSN programs
RN to BSN programs are one of the most commonly offered degree programs online, offered by well-known, accredited online schools like University of Phoenix, Liberty University, South University, Colorado Technical University and many others. RN to BSN programs require students to have an active RN license in order to take the program, with the goal of transitioning those students from either an associate’s degree or diploma to having a bachelor’s of science in nursing. Certified RNs with bachelor’s degrees in another area can also enter an RN to BSN program, which may accept a greater amount of credits from that student.
Online RN to BSN programs are designed for working RNs who are already active in their careers, providing much-needed flexibility so that nurses can fit online education into their workweek. Your exact studies will depend on your school, but all accredited bachelor’s degree programs in nursing must offer the same basic types of courses and training, which include anatomy & physiology, communications, fundamentals in nursing and hands-on clinical training. Some, like those offered at Liberty University, offer religious training as a supplement to their education.
RN to MSN programs
RN to MSN programs are another popular option for the certified professional, especially those wanting to go into teaching. These programs are offered by several online schools, such as Walden University and Kaplan University. RN to MSN programs are tailored to allow a licensed RN to advance all the way to their master’s degree, taking core requirements for a master’s program while completing their BSN. Like RN to BSN programs, these programs accept associate’s or diploma-level nurses, along with licensed RNs with a bachelor’s degree in another field. This type of program is popular because it usually takes less time and money to earn your MSN by not entering the bachelor’s and master’s programs separately. Students in RN to MSN programs typically take the master’s program in a condensed format after attaining their BSN within the program.
Getting your RN to MSN allows you to specialize. Kaplan University‘s specializations, for example, are nursing administration and nurse education. Nursing administration prepares a nurse to move from the floor to a managerial role. The nurse educator specialization trains nurses to train new nurses or to teach continuing education classes for working nurses, as nurses must constantly keep current on the newest technology and processes.