Online Registered Nursing Degree Programs

Learn about degrees available for aspiring registered nurses, as well as online degree options. Find common course topics and state licensure requirements. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Degrees Are Available to Become a Registered Nurse?

You can choose from three degree levels when pursuing education to become a registered nurse (RN). You can enroll in an RN diploma program, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (BSN). Many who choose the latter option do so for career advancement and are already RNs, having received RN training from one of the other two options. The two more common degree programs available over the Internet are the ADN and BSN programs. This is because initial nursing training, such as that offered through a diploma program, requires extensive hands-on work.

Online Degree LevelsAssociate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Online Availability Hybrid due to clinical and lab work
Topics of Study Biology, microbiology, medical terminology, pathophysiology, pharmacology
Licensure Required; candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) provided by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)

What Are the Online Options for Nursing Programs?

Many of the online programs require on-campus or clinical participation with at least some of the classes. These combined programs are called hybrid programs. Associate's degree programs provide theory courses and subject material over Internet-based lectures and classes; however, the clinical requirements are expected to be taken at a school-approved healthcare center.

Some bachelor's degree programs, particularly BSN programs designed for current RNs, do allow you to earn the entire degree over the Internet. However, depending on the college you choose, you will still need to complete in-person clinical work. In many cases, you can often meet the clinical in your local hospitals. Also, some face-to-face lab practicums may need to be completed on campus or at an approved community college near you.

What Do the Programs Prepare Me For?

In an ADN program, you'll study anatomy and biology. These are the most basic subjects of study in a professional nursing program. You'll also study patient care, as well as exploring the methods for communicating positively with patients. You'll also study physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, microbiology, medical terminology, record keeping and computer literacy.

With a BSN degree, not only will you have full RN responsibilities, you'll also be able to take on more responsibility in the workplace. Additionally, many employers base pay scale on the degree you hold, so a bachelor's degree may earn you a higher pay than you would with an associate's degree. Also, with a bachelor's degree in nursing, you'll have knowledge of administrative tasks, and you'll be able open for advancement to administrative nursing positions.

How Can I Become Registered?

All 50 states require registered nurses to be licensed. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) currently provides the licensing examinations. The two levels of the National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEX) are known as the NCLEX-PN (for licensed practical nurses or LPNs) and the NCLEX-RN (for registered nurses). First, you'll want to apply for licensure to the nursing board of the state you want to work in, and then you'll register for the NCLEX-RN exam. Each state's nursing board has requirements for what you will need to become licensed, so be sure to check with your state.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

  • South University

    South University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at South University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

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