Top 50 Online Colleges for Nursing Degrees for 2022

Contents

If you’re searching for online colleges for nursing, your timing couldn’t be better. The healthcare field is currently experiencing rapid growth. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, occupations in nursing and medical services were increasing at an unprecedented rate due to the aging of the large baby boomer population. Now, jobs for individuals trained in providing medical care are growing exponentially. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that this sector of the job market is expected to expand approximately 15% by 2029. This growth will result in roughly two and a half million new jobs for healthcare professionals.

In this ranking, our editors rank the 50 best online colleges for nursing nationwide. Each of these programs leads to an RN credential, and most of them are bridge programs. These career mobility options allow entry-level nurses and/or other healthcare professionals (think paramedics and respiratory therapists, for example) to receive transfer credit for their prior learning or experience in the field, thus shortening their time to a registered nurse credential. As you peruse these colleges for nursing online, you’ll notice that almost all of them require some type of in-person component, making them hybrid options instead of fully online programs. That’s because nursing is a very hands-on profession, and not all of the required skills can be taught virtually. With that said, let’s review the 50 best distance learning nursing programs currently available.

Types of Degrees Mentioned in This Ranking

  • Online Associate Degree Registered Nurse (ADRN)
  • Online Associate Degree Nursing (ADN)
  • Online Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN)
  • Online Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing
  • Online PN to RN
  • Online BSN (Pre-Licensure)
  • Online LPN to ASN
  • Online LPN to ADN
  • Online RN/BSN

Rating and Ranking the Best Online Colleges for Nursing

To develop this ranking of the best online nursing programs in the United States, our editors began with an initial pool of 81 colleges and universities that offer online nursing degrees leading to the RN credential. Using a tuition filter, we then eliminated nursing online programs with costs exceeding $30,000 per year. Finally, the site-wide trade school methodology was applied, using tuition to break any ties in the rating process.

Sneak Peek at the Top Ten:

  1. Central Piedmont Community College
  2. Sampson Community College
  3. Western Iowa Tech Community College
  4. Jefferson Community and Technical College
  5. John Tyler Community College
  6. Davidson-Davie County Community College
  7. Coastal Bend College
  8. Cape Fear Community College
  9. St. Johns River State College
  10. Hutchinson Community College

#50—University of Rio Grande

Rio Grande, Ohio

Online LPN to RN

Website

Points: 6

While not one of the most affordable online colleges for nursing in our school rankings, the University of Rio Grande still offers one of the country’s best distance learning nursing programs. Its hybrid LPN to RN program spans six semesters of part-time study, which includes a nursing orientation workshop and clinical rotations as well as online nursing curriculum coursework such as:

  • Nursing Transition
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Medical Surgical Nursing
  • Introduction to Sociology

Successful completion of the nursing degree program will entitle graduates to an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing and eligibility to take the RN license examination. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited the University of Rio Grande to offer distance learning nursing programs. This particular online nursing degree also holds programmatic accreditation from the ACEN, a commisssion on collegiate nursing. Graduates are prepared to continue their studies in a bachelor’s degree program in nursing and eventually, graduate degree MSN programs in advanced practice nursing too.

Undergraduate Tuition: $27,481

#49—Idaho State University

Pocatello, Idaho

Online Associate Degree Registered Nurse (ADRN)

Website

Points: 6

Among the nation’s best colleges for nursing online, Idaho State University offers an Associate Degree Registered Nurse (ADRN) program designed for LPNs. The bridge program is offered through the school’s College of Technology and features course titles characteristic of a nursing curriculum such as:

  • Clinical Foundations of Nursing
  • Leadership for the Professional Nurse
  • Medical and Surgical Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Healthcare Informatics

Graduates of these kinds of online nursing programs are eligible to sit for the official NCLEX-RN license examination. Idaho State is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing to offer this nursing education credential. The nursing school program itself is separately accredited by a well-known commission on collegiate nursing: ACEN. Graduates may pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing such as a bachelor of science in nursing BSN program upon successful completion of the program and eventually a graduate degree in advanced practice nursing.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,872

#48—Northwest Iowa Community College

Sheldon, Iowa

Online Associate Degree Nursing- Extended

Website

Points: 6

A leader in nursing education, Northwest Iowa Community College offers one of the best nursing school programs online for prospective students with an LPN credential. This degree completion program provides an accelerated pathway for students pursuing RN licensure and allows students to complete their coursework via a convenient blended learning format. Specifically, students in the hybrid track can complete their general education courses online while attending classes on campus for clinical rotations requirements. Sample online courses comprising the curriculum for this distance learning program include those emphasizing clinical skills:

Graduates of the accredited nursing program are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam and/or to transfer earned credits to a bachelor’s degree BSN program. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Northwest Iowa Community College to confer this online degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,390

#47—Weber State University

Ogden, Utah

Online Associate of Science Nursing Degree

Website

Points: 6

Over the last six and a half decades, Weber State University has established itself as one of the country’s best schools of nursing, and in recent years, it has also built a reputation as one of the top online colleges for nursing. Through the Annie Taylor Dee School of Nursing, Weber State offers various online nursing programs, including the Associates Degree Nursing (ADN) program for aspiring RNs. Online courses required for the accredited program include:

  • Entry Into Nursing Professional Practice
  • Complex Patient Centered Nursing Care
  • Pharmacology for Nurses
  • Foundations of Nursing Clinical and Laboratory

A certain number of clinical hours is also required. The online nursing school program is offered in various formats, including on-campus, online, and via hybrid tracks. This distance learning nursing program is accredited by a respected commission on collegiate nursing: the ACEN. Weber State is also institutionally accredited to offer some of the best nursing programs online by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Graduates may pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing such as a bachelor of science in nursing BSN program as well as a graduate degree like MSN programs in advanced practice areas.

Undergraduate Tuition: $5,956

#46—North Central Missouri College

Trenton, Missouri

Online PN to RN Nursing Degree

Website

Points: 6

As one of the top colleges for nursing education in the Midwest, North Central Missouri College offers an online PN to RN program designed to be completed in just nine months. All coursework for the program can be completed entirely via distance education. Sample course titles comprising the nursing curriculum for prospective students who want to hone thier clinical skills and become registered nurses include:

  • PN to ADN Transition
  • Maternal & Child Health Nursing
  • Leadership in Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Community Health

Despite the online nature of the coursework required for this accelerated program, students are still mandated to attend campus two or three times per semester for clinical rotations and other clinical hours in approved healthcare settings and nursing care facilities. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited North Central Missouri College to offer this distance learning program. The associate’s degree in nursing online is also accredited by the Missouri State Board of Nursing.

Undergraduate Tuition: $5,670

#45—Moberly Area Community College

Moberly, Missouri

Online ADN Nursing Degree

Website

Points: 6

One of the best nursing programs online, the Associates Degree Nursing (ADN) option from Moberly Area Community College follows an accelerated 12-month track to an RN credential. Unlike traditional programs, enrolled students may choose to attend lectures on campus or watch them live-streamed online. Hands-on clinical instruction is provided in a traditional classroom setting. Online courses comprising the accredited program’s comprehensive curriculum include:

  • Fundamentals of Nursing
  • Medication Administration
  • Adult Health Nursing
  • Managing IV Therapies

Students must have an LPN credential to apply to this program. Moberly Area Community College holds its institutional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission. In addition, the school has approval from the Missouri State Board of Nursing to offer online programs for registered nurses. Graduates may continue thier education in an accredited baccalaureate degree program such as an RN to BSN degree program or even online MSN programs leading to a graduate degree in an advanced practice area.

Undergraduate Tuition: $5,520

#44—Northwestern Michigan College

Traverse City, Michigan

ADN Nursing Degree Online

Website

Points: 7

Northwestern Michigan College has established itself as one of the best nursing programs online by offering an online associates in nursing option that mirrors its traditional on-campus program. The nursing school program requires full-time enrollment and features course titles for prospective students such as:

  • Acute Care Nursing
  • Fundamentals of Nursing
  • Informatics Essentials
  • Pharmacology
  • Community Health

In addition to completing coursework online, students should be prepared to attend campus weekly for mandatory clinical hours, clinical rotations, and labs in approved healthcare settings / nursing care facilities and on nursing teams, just as in traditional programs. The Higher Learning Commission has extended institutional accreditation to Northwestern Michigan College to offer this online program in the healthcare industry. The program holds separate accreditation from the ACEN, a well-known commission on collegiate nursing.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,280

#43—Arkansas Technical University

Russellville, Arkansas

Online BSN (Pre-Licensure)

Website

Points: 7

Students searching for the best online colleges for nursing should consider Arkansas Tech University’s pre-licensure BSN degree program, an alternative to an RN to BSN. Technically a blended learning option, the online nursing school program combines online coursework with required clinical hours at the school’s Russellville campus. Courses required for the nursing school degree include:

  • Theories and Concepts in Nursing
  • Nursing Research
  • Synthesis of Clinical and Theoretical Nursing
  • Introduction to Professional Nursing

In addition to online coursework, prospective students enrolled in this accredited nursing program will gain hands-on experience through simulations, labs, and clinicals in various healthcare settings. This distance learning nursing program is accredited by the ACEN. Arkansas Tech also holds institutional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission to award degrees in the healthcare industry.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,668

#42—Lincoln Land Community College

Springfield, Illinois

Online LPN to ADN

Website

Points: 7

As one of the best nursing programs online featured in this ranking, Lincoln Land Community College’s hybrid LPN to ADN transition program boasts a 90% passing rate for its graduates on the NCLEX-RN exam. Coursework required for students pursuing this excellent distance learning nursing program includes:

  • ADN Transition for the LPN
  • Introduction to Pharmacology
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Healthcare Populations

On-site clinical hours in approved healthcare settings and clinical rotations on nursing teams are mandatory for each nursing school course, and some prerequisite courses outside of the healthcare industry may be required. Lincoln Land Community College is fully accredited to offer online programs by The Higher Learning Commission. The LPN to ADN bridge program also holds separate accreditation from the ACEN, a respected commission on collegiate nursing. Graduates are eligible to apply to bachelor’s degree programs such as the bachelor of science in nursing BSN program and eventually, online MSN programs as well.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,648

#41—Murray State College

Tishomingo, Oklahoma

Online Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing

Website

Points: 7

One of the best online colleges for nursing in terms of versatility, Murray State College offers a hybrid career mobility program designed for LPNs, LVNs, and paramedics conducting a school search. This distance learning program prepares these early career healthcare professionals to become licensed RNs. The degree plan leads to an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing and features major course titles such as:

  • Health Promotion and the Nursing Process
  • Fundamentals for Nursing
  • Leadership and the Nursing Process
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology
  • Nursing Research

Elective classes are also available for online programs and include options in health promotion like:

  • Fundamentals of Pharmacology
  • Medical Terminology
  • General Biology
  • Psychological Statistics
  • Nursing Administration
  • Neonatal Nursing

Some prerequisite courses as well as a minimum GPA may also be required for this accelerated program. The Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education has accredited Murray State College to offer this nursing degree. The program holds specialty accreditation from the ACEN. Graduates may continue thier nursing school studies in a bachelor’s degree program such as an RN to BSN program.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,231

#40—Ocean County College

Toms River, New Jersey

Online RN

Website

Points: 7

Ocean County College is one of the top online colleges for nursing students who want to minimize their time on campus while training to become registered nurses in the healthcare industry. The school’s RN program requires just one day on campus each week for clinical hours. Web-based coursework required for this full-time online nursing degree include:

  • Contemporary Nursing
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition

Some prerequisite courses as well as a minimum GPA may also be required. Ocean County College is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to offer this nursing school credential. The online program is accredited by both the New Jersey Board of Nursing and the ACEN. Graduates with an RN license are eligible to attend bachelor’s degree in nursing programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $5,790

#39—Onondaga Community College

Syracuse, New York

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing Online

Website

Points: 7

Onondaga Community College is one of the few online colleges for nursing in our school ranking that offers both part-time and full-time study options for an associate program. The school’s Associate of Applied Science in Nursing requires a total of 64 credit hours of coursework, including titles such as:

  • Fundamental Competencies in Nursing Process
  • Application of Concepts of Oxygenation and Perfusion
  • Advanced Concepts of Activity and Rest
  • Pharmacology in Nursing
  • Nursing Research
  • Community Health

An advanced standing track is also available for licensed practical nurses (LPNs). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has provided the necessary institutional accreditation for Onondaga Community College to offer nursing programs online. This distance learning nursing program is also programmatically accredited by a respected commission on collegiate nursing: the ACEN. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates may apply for a bachelor’s degree in nursing program, or BSN program.

Undergraduate Tuition: $5,754

#38—Snead State Community College

Boaz, Alabama

Online LPN to RN

Website

Points: 7

As one of the Southeast’s best online colleges for nursing, Snead State Community College offers a hybrid RN program for LPNs interested in transitioning to the role of registered nurses and earning an RN license in the healthcare industry. While most of the theory coursework for the program is offered online, students must attend on-campus labs and simulations for some clinical rotations and classes. Clinical hours in an approved medical facility are also required for online programs, as is a preceptorship. Courses required for the program may include:

  • Fundamental Concepts of Nursing
  • Evidence Based Practice : Clinical Reasoning
  • Nursing Concepts
  • Advanced Nursing Concepts

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Snead State Community College at the institutional level to confer this online nursing degree. The distance learning nursing program is also accredited by the ACEN. Graduates are qualified to continue their education in bachelor’s degree programs such as an RN to BSN program.

Undergraduate Tuition: $5,344

#37—Indiana State University

Terre Haute, Indiana

Online LPN/LVN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 8

One of the best online colleges for nursing for entry-level BSNs, Indiana State University offers a fast track to a bachelor’s in nursing for licensed LPNs and LVNs. The robust curriculum for the accelerated program offers an alternative to the RN to BSN and is comprised of forty credit hours of major coursework, including classes such as:

  • Research/Theoretical Basis for Nursing Practice
  • Professional Nursing Synthesis
  • Comprehensive Health Assessment for Nursing Practice
  • Community Health Nursing

Graduation from this distance learning program qualifies students to sit for the NCLEX-RN nursing licensure examination to earn an RN license. The program holds accreditation from the Indiana State Licensing Board and the ACEN, a respected commission on collegiate nursing. The university itself is institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to offer online programs such as this one.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,466

#36—University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Online LPN to BSN

Website

Points: 8

One of the best online colleges for nursing students who desire a BSN credential, the University of Arkansas offers a unique LPN to BSN program from its College of Education and Health Professions and the renowned Eleanor Mann School of Nursing. A viable RN to BSN alternative, the program is flexible, too, featuring 100% online coursework and the ability to schedule clinical rotations close to home. Required classes for this nursing online program include:

  • Population and Community Health Nursing
  • Health Assessment and Clinical Reasoning
  • Transition to Professional Nursing Practice
  • Informatics for the Professional Nurse

The University of Arkansas is accredited to confer this degree by The Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The school’s online nursing programs are separately accredited by the ACEN. A minimum GPA may be required for admission.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,384

#35—Moraine Valley Community College

Palos Hills, Illinois

Online Associates Degree Nursing (ADN)

Website

Points: 8

One of the most competitive colleges for nursing online according to school rankings, Moraine Valley Community College offers a comprehensive 69-credit hour Associate of Applied Science in Nursing. This program is technically a hybrid plan and features an advanced standing track for students who already hold an LPN credential. Courses required for this nursing school degree include:

  • Nursing Concepts
  • Pharmacology & Disease Processes
  • Nursing Arts
  • Nursing Clinical Practice

This collegiate nursing education program holds specialty accreditation from the ACEN. Moraine Valley Community College is also institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to offer online programs like this. A minimum GPA may be required for admission.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,095

#34—Fairmont State University

Fairmont, West Virginia

Online LPN to ASN

Website

Points: 8

One of the top online colleges for nursing in terms of flexibility, according to our school search, Fairmont State University offers an asynchronous online LPN to ASN program. The program is accelerated, enabling students to earn their associate’s degree in nursing in just one year. Courses required for this nursing school degree include:

  • Nursing Care Across the Lifespan
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • LPN to RN Transition
  • Pharmacology Across the Lifespan

In addition to attending classes online, students are also required to come to campus two to three times a month for on-site clinicals. Fairmont State is institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing (CCNE). The nursing online program is also separately accredited by the ACEN, a well-known commission on collegiate nursing and appears in multiple school rankings.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,738

#33—Minnesota West Community and Technical College

Granite Falls, Minnesota

Online Associate of Science in Nursing

Website

Points: 8

One of the best online nursing programs in the country, Minnesota West Community and Technical College’s online Associate of Science in Nursing, is a comprehensive, 64-credit hour offering. Online school courses required for the degree include:

  • Health Promotion and Role of the Professional Nurse
  • Pharmacology: A Pathophysiologic Approach
  • Ethics Theory and Practices
  • Principles of Professional Nursing

On-site clinical experiences are also required in addition to online coursework. This program is designed for practicing nurses who have already earned an LPN credential. Like many of the best nursing programs online, this associate’s in nursing is accredited by the ACEN.

Undergraduate Tuition: $5,936

#32—Albany State University

Albany, Georgia

Online ASN

Website

Points: 8

One of the best nursing programs online for students with no prior background in healthcare is the hybrid online Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) offering from Albany State University. Students enrolled in this accredited program can expect to take general education classes as well as professional nursing courses such as:

  • Nursing Care of Women and Children
  • Psychiatric Nursing
  • Adult Health
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Nursing Research

Offered through the school’s Darton College of Health Professions, the program is mostly online, requiring just one visit to campus per week. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has fully accredited Albany State to award the nursing online degree. The program holds separate accreditation from a respected commission on collegiate nursing: the ACEN. Graduates with an RN license are eligible to attend RN to BSN programs for a bachelor’s degree to further their nursing education.

Undergraduate Tuition: $5,934

#31—John A. Logan College

Carterville, Illinois

Online AAS in Nursing

Website

Points: 8

Competing with the top online colleges for nursing nationwide, John A. Logan College offers a hybrid online Associate of Applied Science in Nursing designed for licensed practical nurses. This primarily online program prepares students to become certified RNs through a combination of online coursework and hands-on clinical experiences. The curriculum for this comprehensive offering includes online school classes such as:

  • Nursing Leadership Today & Tomorrow
  • Introduction to Conceptual Framework
  • Cardiovascular Nursing Interventions
  • Advanced Pharmacology

The school also offers a traditional and part-time associate degree program. John A. Logan College is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to offer distance learning nursing programs. Graduates with an RN license may apply for RN to BSN programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $5,506

#30—State Fair Community College

Sedalia, Missouri

Online Nursing AAS

Points: 8

Website

Students on a school search for the best nursing program online should consider State Fair Community College’s hybrid RN option. This mostly online program features an advanced standing program designed for LPNs and paramedics and culminates in an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing credential. Course titles associated with this nursing school degree plan for aspiring registered nurses include:

  • Introduction to Professional Nursing
  • Allied Health Career Development
  • Complex Health: Activity and Rest
  • Microbiology

An in-person clinical component is also required as a culminating element of the program. The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited State Fair Community College to confer nursing online credentials. The nursing program itself is accredited by the Missouri State Board of Nursing. After graduation, students with an RN license may apply for RN to BSN programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,680

#29—Pratt Community College

Pratt, Kansas

Online ADN to RN

Website

Points: 8

As one of the best online colleges for nursing in the Midwest, Pratt Community College offers an online bridge program for practicing LPNs who wish to earn an associate’s degree in nursing and sit for their RN licensing exam. The degree plan is an Associate of Applied Science offering for aspiring registered nurses comprised of major requirements such as:

  • Medical Surgical Nursing
  • Health Assessment & Skills Development
  • Transition to Professional Nursing Practice
  • Leadership and Management in Nursing

Though coursework for the degree can be completed entirely online, students are required to attend campus weekly for mandatory on-site clinicals and medical facility training. The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited Pratt Community College to offer this distance learning nursing program. The degree also holds programmatic accreditation from the ACEN, a distinguished commission on collegiate nursing. RN to BSN programs will accept most graduates with an RN license.

Undergraduate Tuition: $3,780

#28—Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

Perkinston, Mississippi

LPN to RN Online

Website

Points: 8

Like many of the best online nursing programs in our ranking, the LPN to RN offering from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is technically a hybrid option emphasizing evidence based practice. This primarily online program combines distance learning courses with face-to-face meetings during the day or in the evenings and weekends. Sample course titles required for the RN license program include:

  • Advanced Concepts of Nursing Practice
  • Mental/Behavioral Health
  • Health Care Professionals to RN Transitional
  • Nursing Comprehensive Seminar

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has fully accredited Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to offer this collegiate nursing education. It holds separate programmatic accreditation from the ACEN. Graduates of this nursing diploma program are qualified to attend RN to BSN programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $3,750

#27—East Mississippi Community College

Scooba, Mississippi

ADN Online

Website

Points: 8

Our thorough school search revealed that East Mississippi Community College is a comprehensive online college for nursing, offering both a general associate’s in nursing and a hybrid bridge program for the licensed LPN. In addition to prerequisite courses, students enrolled in the latter degree plan will take classes such as:

  • Role Transitions for the LPN to RN
  • Nursing III
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Public Speaking

Successful completion of the online program will qualify graduates to receive the Associate of Applied Science in Nursing credential and sit for the NCLEX-RN examination to earn an RN license. This online program is accredited by a renowned commission on collegiate nursing: the ACEN. East Mississippi Community College also holds institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $3,740

#26—Odessa College

Odessa, Texas

Associate of Applied Science in Nursing Online Program

Website

Points: 8

Another of the top colleges for nursing based in Texas, Odessa College offers a hybrid distance learning nursing program designed for licensed vocational nurses. Students enrolled in this mostly online program will take major-specific courses such as:

  • Adaptation to Role of Professional Nurse
  • Complex Concepts of Adult Health
  • Professional Nursing: Leadership and Management
  • Foundations for Nursing Practice
  • Nursing Research

Hybrid students will also gain hands-on experience by attending clinicals in settings such as local hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Odessa College holds institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to offer nursing programs online. The hybrid LVN to RN program is also separately accredited by the ACEN.

Undergraduate Tuition: $3,504

#25—Community College of Baltimore County

Baltimore, Maryland

Associate of Science in Nursing Online

Website

Points: 9

One of Maryland’s best online colleges for nursing, the Community College of Baltimore County, offers a distance learning nursing program for prospective registered nurses (RNs). This Associate of Science offering features online lectures combined with face-to-face seminars, labs, and clinical experiences. The accredited nursing program’s curriculum emphasizes evidence based practice and features a 36-credit hour nursing core comprised of course titles such as:

  • Nursing Health Assessment and Promotion
  • Professional Practice Nursing Concepts
  • Professional Nursing Role
  • Maternal-Newborn Nursing Concepts

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has fully accredited CCBC to confer this degree. The program itself also holds separate accreditation from the ACEN. RN to BSN programs accept most graduates of the program who hold an RN license. A minimum GPA may be required for admission.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,474

#24—Lansing Community College

Lansing, Michigan

AAS Online

Website

Points: 9

Lansing Community College offers a fast-track program for students conducting a school search for the best online nursing programs leading toward a registered nurse (RN) credential. The program takes just 16 months to complete and is offered via a hybrid format. Nursing students eligible for this advanced standing program include paramedics, respiratory therapists, and LPNs. Courses required for the degree and for the RN license include:

  • Concepts of Pharmacology
  • Children and Their Families
  • Introduction to Nursing Practice
  • Professional Practice

Advanced standing students must also take a course in Transition to Professional Nursing, which provides necessary transition support for new nurses. Lansing Community College holds its institutional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission. Its online nursing programs are separately accredited by the ACEN, a commission on collegiate nursing. RN to BSN programs are available to graduates.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,160

#23—Western Governor’s University

Salt Lake City, Utah

BSN Program Online (Pre-Licensure)

Website

Points: 9

As one of the best online colleges for nursing in the United States, Western Governor’s University offers a unique distance learning nursing program for pre-licensure nurses. This Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)-accredited offering provides a pathway to both an RN and BSN in one accelerated degree plan. Offered through the university’s renowned College of Health Professions, this alternative to an RN to BSN program features coursework such as:

  • Introduction to Nursing Arts and Science
  • Care of Adults with Complex Illnesses
  • Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing
  • Organizational Systems and Quality Leadership

The curriculum plan is designed to be completed by nursing students in just two and a half years of study. Although classes can be completed entirely online, a hands-on clinical component is also required. WGU is fully accredited to award this online nursing school degree by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing (CCNE).

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,670

#22—Northwest Technical College

Bemidji, Minnesota

Online Associate of Science in Nursing

Website

Points: 9

One of the more comprehensive online colleges for nursing students, Northwest Technical College offers two distinct pathways toward an RN credential:

  • Online Associate of Science (AS) in Nursing: Generic Track
  • Online Associate of Science (AS) in Nursing: LPN Step-In

The generic track is a degree plan for nurses who have completed a nursing assistant program, while the LPN step-in is designed specifically for licensed practical nurses. Online coursework required for these programs may include:

  • Foundations of Nursing
  • Psychosocial Nursing
  • Advanced Physiology
  • Bioethical Issues in Contemporary Society
  • Nursing Research

The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Northwest Technical College to confer this degree at the institutional level. The school’s distance learning nursing programs are also nationally accredited by the ACEN, a commission on collegiate nursing. RN to BSN programs are available to graduates of the program with an RN license.

Undergraduate Tuition: $5,731

#21—Columbus State Community College

Columbus, Ohio

Online Nursing AAS

Website

Points: 9

A top online college for nursing in Ohio, Columbus State Community College offers a blended distance learning nursing program for registered nurse (RN) hopefuls. This Associate of Applied Science degree plan features standout course titles such as:

  • Pharmacology Concepts in Nursing
  • Basic Care Skills
  • Concepts of Nursing Care Related to Common Health Problems
  • Human Physiology

Despite primarily online coursework, nursing students enrolled in online programs are mandated to attend campus one or two days per week for experiential learning components of the program, such as labs and clinicals in order to earn an RN license. The Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing has fully accredited Columbus State Community College to offer nursing programs online.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,888

#20—Allegany College of Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland

LPN to RN Online

Website

Points: 9

Allegany College of Maryland - logo

Among our picks for the best online colleges for nursing, Allegany College of Maryland offers an online LPN to RN nursing program that prepares students for initial licensing as a registered nurse, setting them up for a successful career as a healthcare professional. This accelerated distance learning nursing option is designed to be completed in just 18 months. Students enrolled in the program will take up coursework such as:

  • Nursing in Society
  • Anatomy and Physiology of the Human
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Microbiology

In addition to online coursework, students will gain hands-on experience by participating in on-site clinicals. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has institutionally accredited Allegany College of Maryland to offer online nursing programs. With this nursing diploma an an RN license, graduates are eligible to apply for RN to BSN programs or even master’s degree programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,730

#19—Waukesha County Technical College

Pewaukee, Wisconsin

Online LPN to RN

Website

Points: 9

Waukesha County Technical College - logo

After an extensive school search, our editors determined that Waukesha County Technical College offers one of the best nursing programs online for students who can maintain a full-time schedule. This hybrid LPN to RN transition program requires students to take three bridge courses:

  • College Success Strategies
  • LPN Progression Transition
  • Physiology for Healthcare

Core nursing classes are also required and include:

  • Nursing Health Promotion
  • Nursing Pharmacology
  • Nursing: Management and Professional Concepts
  • Nursing: Clinical Care Across the Lifespan

Waukesha County Technical College holds its institutional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission to offer this RN license program. The school’s distance learning nursing programs are also accredited by a national commission on collegiate nursing: the ACEN. Graduates of the nursing diploma program may qualify for RN to BSN programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,588

#18—Pellissippi State Community College

Knoxville, Tennessee

AASN Online

Website

Points: 9

Pellissippi State Community College - logo

One of the top online colleges for nursing for students seeking an accelerated pathway to an RN credential, Pellissippi State Community College offers a one-year AASN bridge program. This hybrid career mobility program spans three semesters of online lectures and in-person clinicals. Standout courses taught by the program’s nurse educators span topics such as healthcare informatics, direct patient care, and nursing theory. Titles include:

  • Professional Practice in Nursing
  • Medical-Surgical Nursing
  • Pharmacology in Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing

This online nursing degree plan is programmatically accredited by the ACEN. Moreover, Pellissippi State holds institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to offer online programs. Graduates with an RN license may further their nursing school studies in an RN to BSN program and eventually, master’s degree programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,318

#17—Panola College

Carthage, Texas

Online LVN to RN

Website

Points: 9

Panola College - logo

Panola College offers an ACEN-accredited online nursing program specifically designed for LPNs with a desire to transition to an RN role. This hybrid degree option features online coursework taught by nurse eductors such as:

  • Introduction to Health Care Concepts
  • Transition to Registered Nurse
  • Concept-Based Transition to Professional Nursing Practice
  • Professional Nursing Review and Licensure Preparation

Despite attending class online, prospective students are still expected to visit campus in the evenings and/or weekends for on-site clinicals. Panola College is fully accredited to award this associate’s in nursing online by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Graduates of the nursing diploma program may pursue an RN to BSN program.

Undergraduate Tuition: $3,576

#16—Georgia Highlands College

Rome, Georgia

AS in Nursing Online                                                                  

Website

Points: 9

Georgia Highlands College - logo

Georgia Highlands College is one of the best online colleges for nursing for associate’s degrees in the field. The school’s Associate of Science in Nursing degree plan is technically a hybrid option featuring a combination of online classes and in-person clinicals. Enrolled students will fulfill 66 semester credit hours of coursework, including those addressing nursing theory and direct patient care like:

  • Conceptual Foundations of Nursing
  • Nursing Practice for Common Health Issues
  • Pharmacology
  • Transition to Professional Nursing

In addition to the traditional associate’s in nursing program, the college also offers a bridge program for LPNs. Georgia Highlands College is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its online nursing programs are also separately accredited by the ACEN.

Undergraduate Tuition: $3,344

#15—Eastern Florida State College

Cocoa, Florida

Associate’s Degree Nursing/RN Online

Website

Points: 9

Eastern Florida State College - logo

Eastern Florida State College has established itself as one of the top online colleges for nursing in the Southeast according to multiple school rankings with its hybrid Transition to Associates Degree Nursing/RN program. This is a 13-month distance learning nursing program that requires 13 months of blended study. The curriculum for the program emphasizes evidence based practice and includes 42 credit hours of major coursework, including classes taught by nurse educators such as:

  • Nursing Math and Pharmacology
  • Maternal, Newborn, and Pediatric Nursing
  • Fundamentals of Nursing Concepts
  • Basic Medical-Surgical Nursing

Eligible candidates for the Transition to AND/RN nursing license option include LPNs, paramedics, and licensed respiratory therapists. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission has accredited Eastern Florida State College to confer online nursing degrees. The collegiate nursing education program itself holds separate accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and is approved by the Florida Board of Nursing. Graduates of the nursing diploma program may pursue the coveted RN to BSN credential and eventually master’s degree MSN programs in the nursing field as well.

Undergraduate Tuition: $2,496

#14—Ozarks Technical Community College

Springfield, Missouri

Online AS in Nursing

Website

Points: 10

Ozarks Technical Community College - logo

One of the better online colleges for nursing in terms of flexibility, Ozarks Technical Community College offers a bridge program for LPNs and paramedics featuring primarily online coursework. These required nursing skills courses taught by nurse educators include:

  • Community Health & Management
  • Transition to Professional Nursing
  • Advanced Nursing Pediatric Concepts
  • Advanced Concepts of Maternal Newborn Nursing

Prospective students should be prepared to attend campus for labs and simulations and to study complex topics such as nursing theory and healthcare informatics. In addition, clinical requirements may include visits to nearby hospitals and other healthcare facilities. This online nursing degree program has been approved by the Missouri State Board of Nursing and accredited by the accreditation commission ACEN. Ozarks Technical Community College is also institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to offer online degree programs for students interested in distance learning.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,924

#13—North Central Texas College

Gainesville, Texas

ADN Online

Website

Points: 10

North Central Texas College - logo

As one of the leading online colleges for nursing in Texas and beyond, North Central Texas College offers a competitive Associate of Applied Science in Nursing program that mirrors its in-person offering. The program’s hybrid format lets students complete their coursework online while attending on-campus clinicals a handful of times each semester. Featured nurse education courses include:

  • Transition to Professional Nursing
  • Integrated Nursing Skills
  • Microbiology for Non-Science Majors
  • Lifespan Growth and Development

Upon graduation from this distance learning nursing program, students can sit for the NCLEX-RN examination required to become a registered nurse. Graduates are also eligible for transfer to a RN to BSN program through the Consortium for the Advancement of Baccalaureate Nursing Education in Texas (CABNET). Thanks to accreditation from both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the accreditation commission ACEN, this collegiate nursing education program is possible.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,560

#12—New River Community and Technical College

Beaver, West Virginia

LPN to RN Online

Website

Points: 10

New River Community and Technical College - logo

New River Community and Technical College’s hybrid LPN to RN program is one of our top picks for the best online nursing programs in part due to its accelerated pace. The program can be completed within just 16 months of intensive study and features nursing skills course titles like:

  • Nursing Concepts of Health and Illness
  • Drug and Dosage Calculations
  • Health Assessment and Diagnostics
  • Professional Nursing and Health Systems Concepts

Face-to-face components of the program are held at the school’s Greenbrier Valley campus. This distance learning collegiate nursing education program is accredited by the West Virginia Board of Examiners. The college itself holds school-wide accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission to offer online programs. Graduation qualifies students for RN to BSN degree programs and eventually graduate programs in advanced practice nursing such as master’s degree MSN programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,372

#11—Eastern Gateway Community College

Steubenville, Ohio

Online ADN

Website

Points: 10

Eastern Gateway Community College - logo

Eastern Gateway Community College is one of our selections for the best nursing programs online in part because of its versatility. The program, which appears in multiple school rankings, features tracks for health care workers, LPNs, certified medical assistants, and first responders. Nurse education course titles associated with this nursing degree online include:

  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Advanced Medical Surgical Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Child Health Nursing

Face-to-face clinical experiences are also required for the degree plan. Graduates of the program are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination and future study in an RN to BSN degree program or graduate programs in advanced practice nursing like MSN programs. Eastern Gateway Community College is institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to offer distance learning collegiate nursing education programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,026

#10—Hutchinson Community College

Hutchinson, Kansas

ADN Online

Website

Points: 10

Hutchinson Community College - logo

Nationally accredited by the Accreditation Commission of Education in Nursing (ACEN), the online nursing programs from Hutchinson Community College are designed to help paramedics and LPNs make the professional transition to nursing. Each of these separate programs requires 69 credit hours of coursework, including major course titles taught by nurse educators such as:

  • Health Maintenance, Promotion, and Restoration
  • Leadership and Management Concepts in Nursing
  • Complex Care of the Adult
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology

These bridge programs prepare graduates for success on the NCLEX-RN examination and further study in an RN to BSN program or eventually, graduate programs like MSN programs in an advanced practice area such as nursing leadership. In addition to ACEN-accreditation, these distance learning collegiate nursing education programs are approved by the Kansas State Board of Nursing. Moreover, Hutchinson Community College holds institutional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission to offer online programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $3,480

#9—St. Johns River State College

Palatka, Florida

Online LPN to ASN

Website

Points: 10

St. Johns River State College - logo

St. Johns River State College is considered one of the best online colleges for nursing in the Southeast. The school’s LPN to RN option is a distance learning nursing program that combines online instruction with weekly face-to-face meetings on the school’s St. Augustine campus. The curriculum for the program teaches fundamental nursing skills as well as evidence based practice and features core course titles such as:

  • LPN Transition
  • Parent Child Nursing
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Mental Health Nursing

Graduates of the associate program will receive an Associate of Science in Nursing credential and be eligible to sit for the NVLEX-RN licensing examination for registered nurses. A passing score qualifies students for a BSN degree program or even MSN programs in advanced practice nursing. This online nursing degree program is fully accredited by the accreditation commission, ACEN. St. Johns River State College is also institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to offer online programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $2,830

#8—Cape Fear Community College

Wilmington, North Carolina

Online LPN to RN

Website

Points: 10

Cape Fear Community College - logo

For students pursuing fast, affordable, and flexible online colleges for nursing, it’s hard to beat Cape Fear Community College. The school’s distance learning nursing program is a hybrid LPN to RN completed in just two semesters of study. Required courses for the degree include:

  • Introduction to Ethics
  • General Microbiology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • LPN to ADN Concepts

In addition to blended coursework, an in-person clinical experience is required. Upon graduation from this collegiate nursing education program, students are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN examination. Cape Fear Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at the institutional level. Programmatically, the online degree is accredited by the ACEN. Graduates may apply to accelerated BSN programs like RN to BSN degree plans and eventually master’s degree MSN programs in an advanced practice area like nursing leadership or nursing administration.

Undergraduate Tuition: $2,748

#7—Coastal Bend College

Beesville, Texas

Online LVN to RN

Website

Points: 10

Coastal Bend College - logo

In terms of affordability and convenience, Coastal Bend College offers one of the best nursing programs online. Students enrolled in this LVN to RN bridge program will combine online coursework with on-campus clinicals and other experiential learning activities. These in-person components can be scheduled around the prospective student’s work and family commitments. Courses required for this nursing degree online include classes in community nursing and nursing leadership as well as:

  • Advanced Concepts of Adult Health
  • Transition to Professional Nursing
  • Care of Children and Families
  • Nursing Informatics

Coastal Bend College holds full institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its online nursing programs are separately accredited by the ACEN, an accreditor of collegiate nursing education programs from associate’s to master’s degree MSN programs. A minimum GPA may be required for admission.

Undergraduate Tuition: $2,633

#6—Davidson-Davie County Community College

Thomasville, North Carolina

LPN to RN Online

Website

Points: 10

Davidson-Davie Community College - logo

Among the nation’s leading online colleges for nursing, Davidson County Community College offers several training programs for pre-licensure nurses as well as a hybrid LPN to RN offering. This option requires general education classes and major-specific courses, including classes in community nursing as well as course titles such as:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Writing and Research in the Disciplines
  • LPN to ADN Concepts
  • Developmental Psychology

The program is designed to be completed within two years and requires a total of 66 credit hours of coursework, including transfer credits and credit for prior learning. Davidson County Community College is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its online nursing programs are separately accredited by the ACEN, a top accreditng commission for collegiate nursing education programs spanning associate’s to bachelor of science in nursing BSN degrees and even master’s degree MSN programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $2,588

#5—John Tyler Community College

Chester, Virginia

Associate of Applied Science in Nursing Online

Website

Points: 11

John Tyler Community College - logo

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing option from John Tyler Community College is one of the country’s best online nursing programs for students looking for a flexible pathway towards an RN. The program is a hybrid offering, and students will complete the theory aspect of each class online. On-site clinicals are required. The 67-credit hour curriculum for the program features major-specific courses such as:

  • Health Care Concepts
  • Competencies for Nursing Practice
  • Introductory Microbiology
  • Advanced Professional Nursing Concepts
  • Community Nursing

Eligible nursing online students may qualify for free tuition through the school’s G3 Scholarship Program. John Tyler Community College holds institutional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The collegiate nursing education program itself is approved by the Virginia State Board of Nursing and is nationally accredited by the ACEN, an accreditation commission for education in nursing.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,800

#4—Jefferson Community and Technical College

Louisville, Kentucky

Online ADN

Website

Points: 11

Jefferson Community and Technical College - logo

One of the newer nursing programs online, the associate degree nursing (ADN) option from Jefferson Community and Technical College is a flexible program featuring online lectures and convenient evening/weekend labs and clinicals. The on-campus portion of the program requires just two days or nights per week. Courses comprising the curriculum for the program include classes in community nursing as well as:

  • Medical Microbiology
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Nursing Care I
  • Nursing III

Students who qualify may be eligible for free tuition through the school’s Work Ready Scholarship program. This distance learning nursing program has been nationally accredited by the ACEN, a top accrediting commission for collegiate nursing education programs from associate’s to MSN programs. Moreover, Jefferson Community and Technical College is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award programs for students interested in distance learning.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,568

#3—Western Iowa Tech Community College

Sioux Falls, Iowa

Nursing ADN Online

Website

Points: 11

Western Iowa Tech Community College - logo

Another top accredited online nursing program according to school rankings is Western Iowa Tech Community College’s online/hybrid Associate of Applied Science in Nursing option. The program features a comprehensive 73-credit hour curriculum comprised of required courses like:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Principles of Pharmacology for Nursing
  • Nursing I
  • Developmental Psychology

Upon completion of the collegiate nursing education program, graduates are prepared to take the official RN licensing exam. Free tuition scholarships are available to eligible students through the Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship. In addition to the school’s institutional accreditation through The Higher Learning Commission, this nursing degree online is programmatically accredited by the accreditation commission for education in nursing, ACEN.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,488

#2 —Sampson Community College

Clinton, North Carolina

LPN to ADN Online

Website

Points: 11

Sampson Community College - logo

Among the best online nursing programs in the United States regarding affordability, Sampson Community College’s online LPN to ADN option can be completed in just two semesters of hybrid study. Online courses required for the degree span topics like nursing theory and health informations, including:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Introduction to Health Concepts
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Holistic Health Concepts
  • Community Nursing

Graduates of the program are qualified to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). The online nursing programs from Sampson Community College are programmatically accredited by ACEN, a top accreditation commission for collegiate nursing education programs. The college itself holds institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to offer online programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $2,830

#1—Central Piedmont Community College

Charlotte, North Carolina

ADN Online

Website

Points: 11

Central Piedmont Community College - logo

Like many of our best nursing programs online, Central Piedmont Community College’s associate’s degree in nursing is offered via a hybrid distance learning format. The nursing curriculum associated with this best online school program teaches students direct patient care principles through major core classes such as:

  • Introduction to Health Concepts
  • Health Systems Concepts
  • Family Health Concepts

Some courses and clinicals will require in-person attendance at the North Carolina campus. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has institutionally accredited Central Piedmont Community College to award this nursing degree online. The program holds specialty accreditation from the ACEN, an accreditation commission of collegiate nursing education programs spanning associate’s to MSN programs in advanced practice nursing like neonatal nursing or nursing leadership.

Undergraduate Tuition: $2,792

About Online Colleges for Nursing

online-colleges-for-nursing

Fortunately for busy and working adults interested in entering the growing field of healthcare, higher education institutions have taken note of the trends in the industry and adapted their academic programs accordingly. Specifically, more and more colleges and universities in the United States have begun offering their healthcare and nursing programs online and via hybrid or blended learning formats. These flexible degree plans accommodate students who work full-time or have other obligations that regularly prevent them from attending on-campus classes. And if you’re worried about the legitimacy of distance learning nursing programs, don’t be. These offerings are often just as challenging and effective as more traditional degree plans. Accredited online nursing programs also enjoy the same level of status and prestige today as a school’s in-person healthcare offerings.

Types of Colleges for Nursing Online

If you’re ready to take the next step towards an exciting career in health care, be advised that not all online colleges for nursing are the same. In fact, there are some important differences you need to be aware of as you’re considering your options. Below, we’ll briefly discuss some of the various types of colleges for nursing online. For more information, speak to the individual school’s own enrollment counselor.

Hybrid Distance Learning Nursing Programs

The vast majority of online nursing programs are actually hybrid degree plans. That means that while some –if not all–of your coursework will be online, you will still have to attend campus for clinicals. Hybrid distance learning nursing programs are popular because they offer students flexibility while still providing hands-on experiences in the medical field that cannot be replicated in a virtual environment.

Asynchronous Versus Synchronous Online Plans

Another thing to consider in your school search to find the best nursing programs online is the flexibility of the program, specifically its scheduling options. Some distance learning nursing programs will accommodate students who need to study part-time, while others will require a full-time commitment. If you need a part-time degree plan because of prior commitments (i.e., work, family, etc.), remember that these programs have a longer completion time. If you want to finish your credentials quickly, opt for a full-time or even accelerated online nursing option.

Online colleges for nursing can also differ in terms of their content delivery methods. As you evaluate your options for distance learning nursing programs, look for the words “asynchronous” and “synchronous” in the program descriptions. These labels are important because they describe how and when you will learn once enrolled in the program. If you’re squeezing your studies into an already packed schedule, then asynchronous degree plans may be the best online nursing programs for you. These programs allow you to make your own schedule and log into your online classes at your convenience. The opposite is true for synchronous nursing online programs. These delivery formats are much more structured and require students to attend virtual class meetings at specific times of the day/week. Synchronous nursing programs online do have their benefits, though, especially for students who have trouble sticking to a self-made schedule or those who desire more interaction with classmates and professors.

Online Colleges for Nursing: Admissions

Although some are more competitive than others, generally speaking, the admissions requirements for online nursing schools are not any stricter than traditional programs. These requirements will vary, though, depending on the school you attend as well as the precise nursing degree online you’re pursuing since each school will have its own enrollment counselor and transition support. For instance, a pre-licensure associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing may only require a high school diploma and minimum GPA while applicants will need a prior certification such as an LPN or LVN for a bridge program. Other requirements may include:

  • Minimum GPA
  • Writing Samples
  • Professional References
  • Resume
  • Personal Statements/Admissions Essays

Nursing Programs Online: Curriculum

Like admissions requirements, curriculum details will vary from one online nursing program to the next. Still, many nursing programs online that lead to an associate’s credential and/or RN licensure comprise similar core or major courses. Some of these course titles are listed below for reference.

Sample Core/Major Courses

  • Medical and Surgical Nursing
  • Pharmacology for Nursing
  • Maternal & Child Health Nursing
  • Fundamentals of Clinical Nursing
  • Nursing Research
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Transition to Professional Nursing Practice
  • Leadership and Management in Nursing
  • Advanced Concepts of Nursing Practice
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Introduction to Health Concepts

Popular Online Nursing Degrees

Many online colleges for nursing offer more than one distance learning nursing program. These various programs are designed to accommodate students who come to the nursing profession with different academic qualifications and goals for the future. Some of these programs are listed below, along with a brief description.

Online Associate Degree Nursing (ADN)

General online associate degree nursing programs, or ADNs, are designed for prospective nurses with no prior education or experience in the healthcare field. These programs usually require two years of study in a distance learning nursing program. Students can expect to take general education courses as well as major-specific nursing classes and clinicals.

Online LPN to RN

Online LPN to RN programs are types of bridge programs in nursing that prepare the licensed practical nurse, or LPN, to transition to a role as a registered nurse. These programs require less time to complete than traditional ADN programs since they acknowledge their previous coursework and experience in a nursing role.

Online EMT to RN

There are distance learning programs in nursing designed specifically for paramedics and first responders. These programs are often labeled “EMT to RN” programs. Like other bridge programs, online EMT to RN programs provide fast tracks to the RN credential for healthcare professionals who already have some prior education and experience related to nursing.

Online RN to BSN Program

Another popular online nursing program for working nurses is the RN to BSN program. Designed for students who already hold a registered nursing license, these programs prepare students to advance as a bachelor’s prepared nurse. This credential can open up opportunities for increased pay and promotions in the healthcare field. Since registered nurses have already demonstrated proficiency in their professions, an online RN to BSN program can often be completed entirely online, without the in-person clinical requirements typical of pre-licensure distance learning nursing programs.

Frequently-Asked Questions for Online Nursing Degree Programs

Taking the first step toward an online degree in nursing could be one of the most impactful decisions of your life. Before taking the leap toward a successful career in this healthcare field, though, you’ll want to make sure all of your questions are answered. To help, our editors have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about distance learning nursing programs. As you read through these, keep in mind that the answers provided are general in nature and not meant to replace advisement from the individual program’s own enrollment counselor or other school representative.

Q: Can you go to nursing school online?

A: Yes and no. Although most distance learning nursing programs require some campus visits for clinical and lab experiences, many colleges and universities offer the coursework required for their nursing degrees via an online format. These are the nursing field’s true online nursing schools.

Q: Are online colleges for nursing accredited?

A: Yes, most online programs in nursing, including bridge programs, hold some type of accreditation. The best online nursing programs hold both institutional and programmatic accreditation. To identify these top nursing degrees online, confirm that the college or university offering the credential is accredited by an accrediting agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education and that the program itself is separately accredited by a nursing program accreditor like the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Q: What is the best online nursing program?

A: In reality, there are many “best online nursing programs.” That’s because the ideal program for each student will be different, depending on the student’s academic history, career goals, and schedule, for instance. When choosing the right online nursing plan for you, we recommend evaluating the program in terms of programmatic features like accreditation, curriculum, scheduling tracks, and cost as well as school rankings.

Q: Will an online nursing program prepare me for a bachelor’s degree program in nursing?

A: It might, but it depends on the specific program you’re enrolled in. Most associate’s in nursing programs will provide you with a solid foundation for a BSN degree plan, but talk to an admissions counselor to ensure your credits transfer to such a program.

Career Questions for Distance Learning Nursing Programs

Q: Will online colleges for nursing prepare me to become an RN?

A: Yes. There are many different degree programs available from colleges for nursing online that prepare graduates to sit for the official NCLEX-RN examination and also offer transition support to the RN role and a successful career in professional nursing.

Q: How much will I make with an RN credential?

A: Your exact salary will depend on many different factors like where you live and who you work for in the nursing field. Still, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual wage for registered nurses as of May 2020 to be just over $75,000 per year, making this a successful career choice in terms of earnings.

Q: Are positions for trained registered nurses and aspiring medical professionals in demand?

A: Yes, and most online programs in nursing will prepare you for these positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment opportunities for registered nurses are currently growing faster than average compared to all other occupations. Specifically, these job openings for working nurses are projected to increase by 7% between 2019 and 2029.

Q: What professional organizations can I join with a nursing degree or other credential in the nursing field?

A: Online nursing degree students and graduates can join professional organizations for medical professionals such as:

  • American Nurses Association
  • National League for Nursing
  • National Student Nurses’ Association
  • Emergency Nurses Association
  • Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses
  • National Black Nurses Association
  • Oncology Nursing Society
  • American Holistic Nurses Association
  • National Gerontological Nursing Association

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