Does an Online BSN Program or On-Campus Classes Work Best for Me?

Who are online BSN programs tailored for?

As online schools have become more popular in the last decade, so have online BSN nursing degree programs. Online degrees are the perfect solution for those who need more flexibility and autonomy since students often have more control over their schedule and coursework can generally be completed on their own time.

Because of this flexibility, online nursing programs are usually an ideal solution for the following people:

  • Busy parents: Whether you’re a single parent or just short on time, working around your child’s schedule can make time for school next to impossible. Fortunately, online courses, which can be completed during your free time, provide a much more flexible solution.
  • Students who don’t live near any schools: If you lack community colleges or universities in your area, online programs take care of that issue. Additionally, many great online programs won’t charge you extra if you live out-of-state, unlike on-campus schools.
  • Nurses who want a higher degree: Some nurses who opt for online programs are already RNs, but want to pursue a higher degree level.  Earning the next nursing degree level online will allow you to continue working while furthering your education, rather than taking time off for school.

Even if you’re not a parent or someone who lives in a remote area, there are still plenty of great reasons to consider an online program rather than an on-campus one.

Online nursing programs are an ideal choice for students who are independent workers and self-motivators, or for those who simply want to move at their own pace.Featured Bachelor’s ProgramsSponsored Content

I fit into one of the categories above. Are online programs available for this degree?

If you’re pursuing a BSN for the first time, you will have a number of web-based programs available for you. However, BSNs can’t be completed entirely online. Instead, you’ll be enrolled in a hybrid program, which offers some courses online and some that will need to be completed in a clinical or lab setting.

Nursing is a hands-on profession, and before you can earn a degree, you’ll need to complete a certain amount of clinical hours. Despite not being on campus, you won’t be alone when it’s time to find a clinic. Many web-based programs connect you with local clinics or hospitals where you can complete your nursing skills labs.

If you’re a registered nurse looking for an RN-BSN program, it’s possible to complete such a program entirely online. Because RNs have already completed the necessary hands-on experience during their associate’s degree programs, they don’t need to undergo the same level of clinical practice. There may be instances where your online program gives you assignments that involve interacting with the community (for example, interviewing someone who has had a BSN for years), but generally you will be able to fulfill your RN-to-BSN requirements solely online.

How do online programs differ from campus programs? Will the quality of education be the same?

When choosing between an online or on-campus BSN program, it’s completely normal to have questions about how they differ. Here’s how these two types of learning compare to one another:

  • Quality: As online BSN degrees continue to gain popularity, many schools have made sure their programs are equal to or better than on-campus classes. Another vote of confidence in the quality of online education? Hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices view online BSNs as being just as valuable as those earned on campus.
  • Time to completion: On average, a BSN program takes up to four years to complete; an RN-BSN program can  two to three years. In general, on-campus and online programs take about the same amount of time to complete. However, with online programs, it is possible to finish more quickly if you are willing to dedicate extra time and effort to your studies.
  • Overall experience: An online program doesn’t always provide as much peer interaction as an on-campus program. However, first-time BSN students who participate in hybrid programs will spend valuable time working with others in their clinical practice sessions. If missing out on peer interaction concerns you, many online programs provide resources for connecting with other health care students or professionals in your area.

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