Online Nursing Programs

Online nursing schools offer a blend of high-quality, real-world coursework with the convenience of online learning. Whether you're a busy parent, working full-time, or living in a remote area, these programs provide an accessible route to a rewarding nursing career. Programs Schools Student Support

Online LPN/LVN Diploma

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), known as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) in California and Texas, provide nursing care under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) or physicians. LPNs often handle tasks such as monitoring vital signs, administering medications, and assisting with daily patient activities.

An online LPN/LVN diploma program provides students with the foundational knowledge and skills to pass the NLCEX-PN and work in a healthcare setting. These programs offer a combination of theoretical coursework and clinical training. The curriculum typically covers subjects such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, patient care, and nursing ethics. An LPN/LVN diploma is often a stepping stone to more advanced nursing degrees.

Online schools can deliver the majority, if not all, of the theoretical coursework through a digital platform. However, clinical training still necessitates an in-person component. The number of hours of clinical training varies by school. Many online LPN programs also incorporate virtual simulations and interactive modules to enhance the learning experience.

Opting for an online LPN diploma offers several advantages, including flexibility in scheduling, the ability to learn at one's own pace, and the convenience of accessing course materials from any location.

Online RN Programs

Registered Nurses (RNs) provide more comprehensive patient care than LVNs/LPNs and command a higher entry-level salary. RN responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Additionally, RN responsibilities will vary depending on specialization and workplace setting.

Nursing Student Online Programs

There are multiple pathways to earning your RN license; these nursing education pathways include

Online ADN Degree

Approximately 1,080 community colleges, vocational schools, and universities confer Associate Degrees in Nursing (ADNs) across all 50 states.1 Earning an ADN from a state-approved nursing program allows prospective nurses to sit for the NLCEX-RN exam. ADNs can be earned in two years for those without a post-secondary education, making it the fastest way to begin a career as a registered nurse.

Overview of ADN Programs

The ADN Degree provides essential education in nursing theory and clinical skills. The most common employment for ADN graduates are entry-level roles in a variety of healthcare settings, including clinics, nursing homes, and hospitals.

Many RNs can choose to obtain certifications and pursue advanced degrees that specialize in various nursing fields, such as pediatrics, gerontology, oncology, critical care, and labor and delivery. Employers commonly ask RNs to continue their education with a Bachelor of Science (BSN) degree or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

Online BSN Degree

Roughly 1,060 colleges and universities confer pre-licensure Baccalaureate's of Science in Nursing (BSNs) across all 50 states.1 Earning a BSN from a state-approved nursing program allows prospective nurses to sit for the NLCEX-RN exam. BSNs are typically earned in four years for those without a post-secondary education.

For working RNs with an Associate's Degree, BSNs can be earned through an online RN bridge program. Many RNs attend these bridge programs to earn a higher salary or as a requirement of employment for a specific role.

In terms of pre-licensure programs, there are several differences between an ADN and a BSN with the choice coming down to personal preferences and career goals. Some of the key differences include:

For many, the question of ADN or BSN is just a question of timing, as there is discussion within the nursing community as to whether BSNs will be required for all nursing roles in the future. Approximately 72% of RNs hold a baccalaureate degree or higher degree.2

Overview of BSN Programs

Online RN to BSN Programs

There are over 550 RN to Bachelor's Programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), covering all 50 states. RN to BSN Programs are offered mostly by universities including online-only schools.

Also known as bridge programs, there are several important reasons for obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) including:

A survey from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) showed that 77% of employers strongly prefer nurses with a BSN, while 41% require a BSN for a new hire. Further, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) "Future of Nursing report" recommends that 80% of nurses should achieve their to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree level by 2020.

Overview of RN to BSN Programs

Online ABSN Programs

Online ABSN Programs, or Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs, offer a fast-track route to enter the nursing field. Designed for those who already hold a non-nursing bachelor's degree, these programs provide rigorous online coursework combined with clinical experiences, allowing students to sit for the NCLEX-RN and earn their BSN in a shorter timeframe.

There are over 300 ABSN Programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). These programs are offered at colleges and universities in all 50 states.

Overview of ABSN Programs

Online MSN Programs

Nursing professionals looking to advance their careers can pursue an Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a graduate-level program offering advanced education in theory, research, and clinical practice. There are two common types of RN to MSN programs:

  1. BSN to MSN: Programs for RNs with a BSN who want to earn their MSN.
  2. RN to MSN Bridge: Programs for RNs who do not have a BSN but want to go straight into an MSN program. These are often referred to as "bridge" programs and may include an accelerated path to earn both the BSN and MSN degrees.

Those with non-nursing bachelor's degrees can earn their MSN via Direct-Entry Master's in Nursing Programs, or via an ABSN degree followed by an MSN degree.

Overview of RN to MSN Programs

RN to MSN Bridge Programs will vary quite a bit depending on the area of specialization. There's a marked difference between advanced clinical roles, known as Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) degrees, and non-clinical roles such as informatics, research or public health. Non-clinical programs may be able to be completed 100% online, whereas ARPN degrees are typically offered partially online with in-person clinicals required.

Popular APRN Masters Degrees include:

Within NP Programs students can choose to refine their focus even greater into specialties such as Family NP (FNP), Women's Health NP (WHNP), and more.


Can I become an RN online?

Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) online is a bit of a misnomer because while certain components of nursing education can be completed online, clinical practice is an essential part of nursing education and cannot be done online. However, there are hybrid programs available, frequently referred to as "online" programs, that offer online coursework combined with in-person clinical training.

What are the benefits of online nursing programs?

Online nursing programs offer a variety of benefits to students. Here are some of the primary advantages:

Online Nursing Programs Support



2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses, at (visited September 06, 2023).

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