Now more than ever, a higher education is an invaluable asset in the workforce. Nursing in particular is a great field to have your eye on because a degree greatly increases your chances of landing a job when you finish school.
If you’re interested in becoming a nurse but can’t afford college, you aren’t alone. Not everyone has the time or the cash to attend a university. But why should that stop you from getting the career you love? Attending nursing school remotely is a great alternative than a brick and mortar classroom. So, how can you get started?
1. Find a Suitable Degree Course
This part of the process might be the most frustrating. As you’re likely well aware, the Internet is gigantic. There are thousands of degree courses available to you online, so picking out the right one will probably be difficult if you don’t already have a path in mind.
For example, if you’re interested in becoming a nurse practitioner, you’ll want to choose a degree program that accommodates that level of education. Also, make sure you meet all the prerequisites a program may have in place.
You can either go through a university’s nursing program or use any of the online degree portals available to you on the Internet. No matter which route you choose, make sure you’re thorough in your investigation. Ask around about reputable degree programs. You obviously want the best education possible, but you also want to avoid getting scammed.
2. Have a Payment Plan
Earning a nursing degree online is cheaper than attending classes elsewhere, but it still costs money. Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $200 per credit hour. Most programs require around 60 to 90 credits.
Don’t panic! Just like at a university, there are grants and scholarships available to you should you need financial assistance. Another bonus of attending class remotely is that you won’t be charged out of state fees if you live in Florida but want to take classes from a school in Oregon.
3. Find the Right Schedule
Also consider your time constraints. Most online programs take into account that many of their students are fulltime workers, so they have more flexible schedules, but double check to be sure. Take on course loads you know you’ll have time and energy to handle. For the most part, taking a class through an accredited university means you’ll be expected to keep the same schedule as students on campus.
4. Get Enrolled
Once you’ve found the right program and worked out finances, it’s time to enroll in classes. You’ll be able to complete most of your coursework at home, but keep in mind that you’ll probably have to report to a local medical facility to complete clinical requirements.
5. Know How Online Learning Works
Earning a nursing degree online is a bit different than showing up to a classroom everyday. Instead, you’ll log into a website and read or watch lectures and presentations. Then, you can complete the course work and email it to your instructor.
Generally, you’ll have access to a discussion board where you can post questions and interact with other students and the instructor. It’s possible that your online nursing program won’t require you to take tests. Instead, you’ll be more heavily evaluated by your coursework, so stay on top of that.
6. Keep Your Eye On the Prize
Just like with a traditional nursing education, you’ll be expected to pass the NCLEX exam before you can get a job. This means you need to work just as hard–if not harder–than students who attend classes on a campus.
Build strong relationships with your instructors through any means possible. Make sure they have a sense of who you are beyond your homework assignments. Their recommendations will go a long way when you’re job hunting.
Earning a nursing degree online, despite its potential for more flexibility, can be just as challenging as earning one on a college campus. Make sure you enter into this process as prepared as possible. Know what’s expected of you, and stay positive. You’re on your way to a great career!