4 tips for choosing the right nursing degree
Now that you have decided to become a nurse, you have entered a tougher phase following this decision. You have to choose the right nursing degree to help you prepare professionally for your work in a healthcare facility.
Initially, you might be attracted to the nursing profession due to its many perks, such as better pay, more career opportunities, chances of advancement, fulfillment, and whatnot. But you cannot choose any nursing program to accomplish these goals. According to a recent survey, selecting the wrong program is costly and delays the completion of your higher education degree.
Often students entering their higher education phase feel confused, overwhelmed, and stressed.
A lack of guidance and the knowledge of what to consider when choosing a program can be the possible reasons. Students from all fields, including nursing, need guidance when choosing their degree program to steer themselves toward realizing their goal of higher education.
Here are tips for selecting a nursing program.
1. Mode of education: online vs. on-campus
Nursing programs can be of two types: On-campus and online programs. Online education suits you if you have a hectic routine and family responsibilities. Or you are a single parent, a busy mom, a full-time employee in an organization, etc. You cannot attend standard classroom-based programs that require you to maintain attendance by being in class on most days.
Online education is beneficial in many ways. Online education helps students study in the colleges and universities of their choice, regardless of their geographical location.
In states like Kentucky, online education is promoting higher education. According to the Distance Education State Almanac 2017, 37.3% of Kentucky students have opted for at least one online course. 80% of these students are Kentucky residents. Opting for online nursing programs in Kentucky is part of the trend that shows students’ overall interest in distance learning programs.
The low cost of online education is a major reason for many students to choose the online mode of education. They don’t feature many of the expenses which are part of an on-campus program, such as accommodation and travel costs. However, when opting for an online nursing program, be ready to juggle many responsibilities simultaneously.
2. Accreditation from a government organization
Many universities are offering programs claiming to have the accreditation of an independent regional or national accreditation body. However, these claims are nothing more than gimmicks for attracting innocent students fresh out of high school.
Though conning a professional with already a nursing degree is difficult, countless such examples are still available.
A non-accredited nursing program fails to impart the right skills and knowledge to students opting for it.
Students graduating with non-accredited nursing programs find it hard to get permission to sit in the NCLEX-RN exam and become an RN. Resultantly, they might not get good job opportunities as their professional abilities are not considered enough.
Therefore, when selecting a nursing program, ensure it is accredited by the required body instead of spending your time and money on getting the wrong degree.
3. Career aspirations after nursing degree
What you want to do after getting your nursing degree is another aspect to think about when selecting your nursing degree. Things like what you want to do, where you want to work, and what responsibilities you aspire to undertake often explain your career aspirations.
In nursing, you will find degree programs. Diploma programs, graduate certificates in nursing, and academic degree programs—each of them take you through a different pathway and have a different destination.
A diploma program might not be the right choice if you want to work in a big hospital. You must have a proper academic degree program, probably a BSN, and even top it up with a unique certification. However, if you want to work in a nursing home, a diploma in nursing can make you eligible for your aspired job.
In case you already have a nursing degree. For instance, if you are an RN with a BSN degree and want to develop your career, an MSN degree can make you a nurse practitioner.
You become eligible to diagnose patients, prescribe medications, and even run your own private practice. Hence, your career aspirations are crucial in deciding what degree you must get.
However, it is also okay if your career goals are not yet established. Many Fresh and professional nurses pursuing a specialized program face this problem. In that scenario, a safe option is to choose a degree program with an all-encompassing, well-rounded curriculum.
4. Cost and financial aid
The cost of your nursing program is one of those aspects that can change your decision even at the last minute.
Nursing education is not cheap; therefore, it requires you to arrange money to meet your degree program’s financial requirements. You have to select a program that you can afford. Several factors can influence the cost of a nursing program are:
- Length of the program
- Total credit hours you are taking
- Mode of education
- Nursing school standing
- Education level
The greater the length of the nursing program, the more money you need to pay for the tuition fee. Similarly, if you take more credit hours in a semester, you will be paying for more courses.
Apart from this, some nursing schools are famous for higher fees due to their better education or just because they have developed into a brand. Also, advanced degree programs and on-campus programs have a higher cost.
However, you can find financial aid and scholarship programs in various public and private institutions if you are fortunate.
Often these institutions offer hundred percent scholarships to deserving students; if you can find any such opportunity, your education cost decreases significantly.
Choosing the right nursing program can shape your career.
Employers prefer nurses who have graduated with an accredited program and from a reputable institution. They also consider if you have the skills and knowledge to meet their career standards. Therefore, choosing a nursing program must be a well-thought process.
Some factors for choosing a nursing program are mentioned above; they can help you make a better decision.