What Are the Requirements for an Online RN Nursing Program?

Online RN nursing programs involve completing some background nursing courses, usually in person, and being able to conduct research and health assessments in a nursing environment. The following article further describes the requirements for completing an online RN nursing program. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Online RN Program Overview

To become a registered nurse (RN), a student must earn at least an accredited diploma program in nursing; however, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) are more common. Advanced degrees like a BSN or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) are often required for supervisory nursing positions. Online programs awarding ADNs, BSNs and MSNs are available.

Many online programs require students to already have some nursing experience or, in some cases, an active RN license. Fully online introductory programs, for people with no nursing experience, are rare, as nursing programs generally include in-person clinical experience. The most common online programs are bridge programs, which allow someone with a lower degree, such as an ADN, to complete the coursework necessary to earn a higher degree, such as a BSN.

Important Facts About RN Nursing Education

SpecializationsNursing informatics, gerontology, pediatric, oncology
Common CoursesPharmacology, mental health nursing, critical care, holistic nursing
PrerequisitesPrior coursework in chemistry, anatomy, biology and other sciences required for admission to some programs
Continuing educationRequired by most states to maintain license
Median Salary (2018) $71,730 (for all registered nurses
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth (for all registered nurses)  

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Admission Requirements

Most online RN programs require students to already have a degree and a license as an RN. Some programs, such as those that teach licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to become RNs require that students have an active LPN license. Additionally, some programs may allow students to take prerequisite courses instead of having an ADN or a BSN.

Nursing Research

Online RN nursing programs of all levels usually require students to study research methods used in nursing. Nursing research classes teach students about theoretical knowledge and research methods common to nursing. Students also learn about the ethical issues related to conducting nursing research.

Health Assessment

Courses on health assessment prepare students to diagnose the overall health of a diverse assortment of medical populations. Students learn how to properly conduct interviews and physical tests required to find illness. Increasingly, health assessment courses also instruct students on how to take into account socioeconomic and community factors when assessing a patient's health.

Graduation Requirements

Graduation requirements vary based on the type of program. Bridge programs generally take 10 to 18 months, with courses designed to help bridge a student's knowledge base. Hybrid ADN or BSN programs generally consist of several online theory courses and in-person clinical experiences. MSN programs may offer all their coursework online. Time to complete may depend upon the student's existing degree and applicable transfer credits. Usually, completing coursework and clinical experiences is all that is necessary to graduate from an online nursing program.

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

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Davenport University

    Davenport University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Davenport University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

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

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Northern Illinois University

    Northern Illinois University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northern Illinois University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

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