Online Nursing Programs: People Starting New Careers in Healthcare from Home

If you’re looking to jump-start a career in healthcare, online courses provide a path forward. More accredited institutions are offering online nursing programs than ever before - and by enrolling in a remote course, you can complete classes from the comfort of your home. However, students need to compare programs carefully to find nursing degree programs that meet their long-term goals. The resources on this page can help you take the first crucial steps.

More Colleges Offering Online Courses for Nursing

In the United States, nurses have excellent career stability, and the current need for licensed and registered nurses is expected to grow over the next decade.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment of registered nurses (or RNs) will grow by 7% from 2019 to 2019 - much faster than the average for all occupations - and employment for licensed practical & licensed vocational nurses (LPNs & LVNs) will grow by 9% over the same period.

Some other important facts to keep in mind while considering these career paths:

  • As Baby Boomers age, the United States will likely experience a nursing shortage. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the shortage will be caused by changing demographics, low enrollment in nursing education programs, and high retirement rates among active nurses.
  • To prevent nursing shortages, employers are offering high salaries and extensive benefits. The median pay for LPNs was $48,820 per year in 2020, while RNs earned an average of $75,330 per year. Many nurses receive employment packages with large sign-on bonuses, generous retirement programs, and other perks.
  • Not all nursing jobs require advanced degrees. Most RNs hold bachelor’s degrees, but some hold associate’s degrees. To become an LPN, you’ll typically need a non-degree award - by completing a 1-year educational program, you may be able to start work right away.

The takeaway: The medical industry desperately needs nurses. To address that need, many colleges have taken steps to open up coursework for students who can’t attend traditional programs. That creates major opportunities for people who appreciate the flexibility (and low cost) of online education.

Benefits of Online Nursing Programs: What Students Should Know

If you’re ready to start a new career - and help the U.S. healthcare industry address an urgent need - online nursing programs offer several major advantages over in-person classes. By signing up for remote coursework, you can complete an accredited program from the comfort of your home (or any place with decent internet access).

Some reasons to consider online options for nursing degrees:

  • A More Comfortable Learning Environment - With online courses, you’re able to attend class and submit work from home. Many students find this less stressful than attending in-person classes. You’ll still have access to other students and professors, but you’ll have more control over your learning environment.
  • Coursework That Fits Your Lifestyle - Online nursing programs have different requirements, but many allow students to view lectures, submit assignments, and take tests on their own schedules. If you’re working another job or taking care of a family, remote learning may give you a path to earning your nursing credentials while balancing those responsibilities.
  • Lower Tuition Costs - Not all online nursing programs are less expensive than in-person classes. However, some offer much less expensive tuition - and remote learning can reduce the other costs of your education (such as textbook rental and on-campus parking).

Of course, not all nursing schools offer the same benefits. By comparing several different accredited programs, you can find a program that works for you and start earning your credentials.

Choosing an Online Program for a Nursing Certification or Degree

To find a nursing program that will help you meet your goals - and start your career - you’ll need to research carefully. Look for several programs that offer accreditations that are relevant in your state (or the state in which you intend to work). Read each website carefully, paying close attention to costs, class descriptions, and program expectations.

Whether you’re earning an LPN, LVN, or RN credential, research before enrolling. Make sure you understand the requirements of the coursework, and if you’re interested in a particular area of nursing (for instance, geriatric or pediatric nursing), determine whether the program will help you pursue that specialization.

Online nursing programs can give you the tools you need to start an exciting new chapter, and given the healthcare sector’s need for licensed and registered nurses, you can expect to start work soon after graduation. By researching several schools - and using the resources on this page to compare education options - you can find excellent remote nursing courses with affordable tuition.