Online Nursing Study: What Degree Programs Are Available?

November 3, 2022

Whether you are considering a future nursing career or have been working in the nursing field for some time and want to progress up the career ladder and take advantage of the several advanced career opportunities that are available to nurses today, it’s worth considering one of the many online nursing degree programs that are becoming more and more popular. Studying online is an ideal option for both aspiring and current nurses when it comes to getting the qualifications that they need to get to where they want to be in their careers. Online nursing programs were once rare to find, but these days they are becoming an increasingly common choice among students who are looking for a wide range of benefits such as cost-effectiveness and more flexibility. 

Choosing the right online nursing program for you is not always an easy task since there are so many options now available for you to choose from. There are several factors that you will need to consider including where you are currently in your nursing career, your goals for the future, and your main interests when it comes to nursing. Today you can study a wide range of nursing degree programs at both the undergraduate and the postgraduate level, which includes:

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

A BSN degree qualification is growing as the minimum requirement for nurses in the modern healthcare industry. While it is possible to become a registered nurse with a shorter qualification such as an associate degree in nursing, things have begun to change in recent times, with more and more employers looking for nurses who are educated to the BSN level at least. With states like New York now introducing new legislation requiring nurses to gain a BSN in no more than ten years after becoming a registered nurse if they have not done so already, it’s also looking increasingly likely that other states are going to follow suit and that this degree program is going to eventually be the minimum entry requirement for a nursing career. 

There are several reasons for nurses to consider getting a BSN whether you are already working as a registered nurse or considering this career for your future. A BSN will open more opportunities for you when it comes to further education and progression in your career. In addition, BSN-educated nurses are more highly sought after by employers today since statistics show that they tend to lead to better patient outcomes and reduced patient mortality. 


The accelerated BSN degree program is another option that is available for aspiring nurses to take online. This program is an ideal choice if you have already been educated to the degree level in a non-nursing subject but are considering changing your career. No matter what line of work you are currently in if you are thinking about becoming a nurse and need to retrain to get there, and ABSN could help you achieve your career goals much sooner and in a more cost-effective manner. Since the ABSN builds on the knowledge and skills that you have already gained from getting a degree in the past, it will typically take around two rather than four years to complete. The online availability of these programs also means that it’s possible to study for one while you are continuing to work in your current career to facilitate a smoother career change and avoid a loss of income. 

Master of Science in Nursing

The MSN degree program is now widely available online, making it easier for registered nurses to achieve their career goals by getting the advanced degree qualification that is often required for a wide range of advanced nursing and career progression options. An MSN is often the next step up the career ladder for nurses who want to progress and can lead to a wide range of different roles including nurse practitioner roles, nurse educator roles, and nurse management and leadership positions. Typically, the MSN will be quite a rigorous study program and will usually take around one to two years to complete. There are also various MSN programs now available that focus on a range of specialty areas designed for nurses who want to focus on a specific area of the career path. 

Doctor of Nursing Practice

If you want to gain the most advanced type of nursing qualification that is currently available, you can opt for a DNP or a Ph.D. in nursing. For most nurses, a DNP is an ideal choice since it focuses more on the practice areas of nursing and provides a qualification that can be used to get into advanced nursing career options and beyond. A DNP qualification is the ideal choice for nurses who want to expand their advanced practice skills and knowledge even further or become a nurse educator for advanced students taking a master’s program or a specialty area training program. These degree programs are designed for nurses who are already highly educated with an MSN and have a lot of clinical experience. It can also lead to a wide range of nurse leadership positions including nurse executive roles and more. 

Nurse Practitioner Postgraduate Certificates

After gaining an MSN or DNP as a nurse, you will have the qualification required to start working as a nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner postgraduate program will provide you with the more specific skills and knowledge that you will need to succeed in this career. Most of the time, these programs are conducted online and are open to postgraduate-trained nurses with at least a few years of clinical experience behind them. 

Bridge Programs

Online bridge degree programs are another popular option for nurses who want to advance their careers. Today you can find a wide range of bridge programs that are designed to make it easier for nurses to level up their skills and knowledge by building upon what they have already learned. For example, the associate’s to bachelor’s bridge degree program is a popular choice for nurses who want to get their BSN or are required to get their BSN in ten. Nurses with advanced education such as an MSN can also take advantage of bridge programs such as the MSN-FNP designed to prepare them for a role as a family nurse practitioner. 

The Top Reasons to Get Your Nursing Degree Online

No matter where you currently are in your nursing career journey, there’s no denying that studying online has become an increasingly popular option for nurses. Online study is especially useful for nurses who want to continue working full-time and have the option to fit studying around their work and family commitments rather than having to rearrange their lives to fit around lecture and class times. Some of the main reasons why an increasing number of nurses are choosing online programs include:


The additional flexibility is one of the most appealing options for nurses when choosing an online degree program. Many online nursing programs are built with working registered nurses in mind, especially when it comes to advanced programs like the MSN and DNP. Nurses who choose to study online can enjoy a much greater degree of flexibility compared to studying on campus. Many courses allow students to take full advantage of this by simply choosing when they would like to access the uploaded and recorded learning materials in their own time. 

Professional Networking:

Contrary to popular belief, studying nursing online is not always a lonely experience. While there’s less in the way of meeting people face to face in the classroom setting, many nursing schools that have experience with delivering online programs will offer plenty of opportunities for nurses to build their professional networks online. This might include student chat rooms, social media groups, and even local meetups. 


Saving money is another top reason why online degree programs are becoming a top choice for nurses today. Most nurses want to save as much money as possible, especially if they are still repaying back student loans from their undergraduate degrees. And with the cost of tuition skyrocketing, many undergraduate students are in a similar position. While sadly online programs won’t usually cost you any less to study, the good news is that over time you can save a lot of money by studying from home instead of traveling to the campus. And the added flexibility means that you’re less likely to miss out on income while you are studying. 

Nursing School Choice:

Finally, studying for your nursing degree online will often provide you with a much larger range of nursing school options compared to studying on campus. Distance learning means that the distance constraints that are often in place when studying on campus are not so much of a problem, giving students the option to study at a better organization. 

Online study has become one of the top choices for aspiring nurses and current nurses who want to progress in their careers. With several degree program options to choose from, there are several great reasons to consider getting your nursing degree online.

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