Finding an online RN to MSN program can be a difficult task. There are so many options available, each with unique characteristics and requirements. Before you invest time and money in a program, it’s crucial to ensure that it’s the best fit for your needs. Here are five questions to determine if an online RN to BSN program is right for you.
1. Is the program accredited?
The graduate degree marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive, with many schools popping up every day. Sorting through the plethora of public and private colleges can be daunting. One key thing that should stand out is what kind of accreditation a program has.
Accreditation is a process that ensures that a program meets specific standards. For nursing programs, the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) both recognize the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) as the primary accreditor for nursing programs.
Choosing a program accredited by ACEN means that students will be attending a school recognized by the USDE and will be eligible for federal resources, such as financial aid.
2. What are the prerequisites for admission?
Different schools may have additional prerequisites for admission. Some require at least a BSN to enroll in a master’s program. Other RN to MSN programs online may accept applicants with only an associate’s degree in a nursing field.
Most of the time, applicants must have a current RN license. Some will also have to meet a specific cumulative GPA or take a test to prove they have the equivalent knowledge. Finally, there may be an application fee.
3. How long will the degree take to complete?
Because an RN to MSN program will take you through a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree, it will vary the time it takes to complete the program. It can take anywhere from two to four years in a traditional setting, though some can take up to seven.
It can take anywhere from one to three years in an online setting. The classes are often flexible, with many self-paced and asynchronous options. Most RN to MSN programs are structured to transition from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree without reapplying.
The bottom line is that it will depend on how much time you can dedicate to classes per semester and how many credits you need.
4. How much will it cost?
Tuition isn’t cheap, but some schools are more affordable than others. Factors that can affect the cost of education include the type of school and the school’s financial structure.
Schools are typically divided into two categories: public and private. Public schools are usually more affordable, but they may not have the same resources as private schools. Private schools are generally more expensive, but they have more resources and are usually more selective.
Another factor is the financial structure of the school. Nonprofit schools tend to be more affordable and can offer more financial aid. For-profit schools are usually more expensive because they are structured to make money. Additionally, they may not have the accreditation to provide federal financial assistance. However, they tend to have a higher acceptance rate.
Generally, a for-profit school will want you to take out loans to pay for tuition if you can’t do so out of pocket.
5. What opportunities for career advancement are available?
You want a degree that will help you advance in your career. What’s the point in investing in school if it’s not going to pay off later? The good news is that nursing careers are some of the fastest-growing countries.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the number of specialist nurses with a master’s degree will increase by an enormous 45% by 2030. The BLS also finds the median pay for these jobs is over six figures. With such rapid growth, you can expect to find plenty of opportunities to succeed in the field.