Why Online Nursing Degrees are Becoming So Popular

Aug 23, 2019 by

The growth of online study at higher education level is something that nobody who works in education has missed. Online degrees have come a long way since the early days of correspondence courses or the times when degrees from online colleges were not considered to be as credible as those gained from traditional on-campus study. These days, studies have shown that employers for the most part don’t make any distinction between candidates who attained their qualifications online and those who attended a college in person, and within the education sector, colleges and other institutes are striving to make sure their online programs offer the highest level of education and student support possible.

It is no surprise, therefore, that many people across a wide range of industries now favor online courses. However, what does come as a surprise to some people is that nursing is among the sectors in which online degrees have really gained traction. Nursing may seem to the uninitiated like something that would require a lot of equipment and hands-on lessons to qualify in, which could not be done from home. However, with good course design, it is possible for people to gain a strong education in nursing, particularly for higher level nursing programs like masters degrees and the family nurse practitioner (FNP) qualification. These courses require a lot of study into theory, and practical experience can be gained afterwards in a work placement.

So, why is it that nurses in particular are taking advantage of the advent of high quality online degrees?

Reducing the Debt Involved in Furthering a Career

One of the biggest reasons that online education appeals to people who are already on a path to a career in nursing is that they generally already have some student debts from getting their initial associate’s degree in nursing. While obtaining an MSN degree or going on to get a specialist qualification like the FNP will lead to a far more lucrative job in nursing for most people, a lot of nurses don’t want to incur all of the debt associated with going to do this at a private college, especially on top of student debt they may already have. While online degrees are not free, the tuition costs tend to be lower, and doing a degree online also allows the student to save money in other ways – by not having to commute, not needing to relocate to live on a campus, and allowing them to manage their time in such a way that they can work while they study.

Flexibility and Personal Lives

Another reason why people looking to do an advanced nursing degree tend to be drawn to the idea of studying online is that these higher degrees are usually taken after someone has already had the ‘college experience’ and has also been working for some length of time. In general, these more mature students are no longer all that interested in the lifestyle that comes with being a college student and may also have commitments like a family. This means that being able to study peacefully at home and to work their study times around their lifestyle is a lot more appealing than going back to college.


Another reason why online degrees are so popular with those pursuing nursing careers is that nursing itself is something that is needed everywhere. This means that nurses don’t typically want to have to relocate or commute to a place where the course they want to do is offered because that isn’t something that is expected of their career choice. They have chosen a job they can do in their home town, so having the ability to study a course like an online FNP program provided by whomever they choose while remaining in the location they actually want to work in when they qualify is a boon.

Learning Styles

This is something that educators are generally very aware of, but different people find different styles of learning more engaging. For nurses, who are often studying things that will end up being very important to remember and get right once they are putting them into practice in their future jobs, being able to apply the learning styles that work best for them can make them feel a lot more confident that they are understanding and retaining the information from their course. Some people find listening to lectures and taking notes more effective than reading, and vice versa, and online curses allow people to revisit any materials as often as they want. This means that once a lecture is over, there isn’t the pressure that if you lost focus or didn’t take enough notes, it will be a struggle to have that information explained again. While those new to studying at the college level may find it harder to know what one’s own best learning approaches are, by the time someone is studying for a masters or other higher degree, they are generally in a good position to manage their own learning and know from experience the most efficient and effective ways for them as an individual to study.

Fewer Distractions

Another advantage to studying online is that there are no distractions in the form of day to day college life to get in the way of focusing on the course. Students studying online don’t have to worry about campus politics, whether or not they get along with their cohort, and which professors they do and don’t find appealing, and there are also no social aspects to detract from study. Students can still engage with others and talk to their tutors online, but this can be done as much or as little as they find best for them, making the experience all about the program.

As you can see, there are lots of good reasons why online degree programs for MSN and FNP students have become so popular, and it is a trend that is very likely to continue in the medical education sphere.

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