Guide to Starting a Nursing Degree Online

Guide to Starting a Nursing Degree Online
Beth Dumbauld

As the demand for nurses continues to grow, there’s never been a better time to start your nursing degree. Not only are registered nursing (RN) jobs on the rise, but related careers in healthcare support--like certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs)--are also becoming more in demand as well.

Though earning a nursing degree is a serious time commitment whether you choose to take classes face-to-face or online, convenient online nursing degree programs are becoming more recognized and respected throughout the industry. If you’re new to the nursing field and want to learn more about potential career paths, StraighterLine’s affordable online classes allow you to take a few courses first to be sure nursing is right for you without investing thousands of dollars.

If you’re already a registered nurse and are looking to expand your career opportunities, StraighterLine can put you on a path toward your Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) or even your Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN)--online, affordably, and on your schedule.

Online Courses are Affordable and Makes Getting Started Easy

Starting your nursing program online at StraighterLine is incredibly easy. StraighterLine students pay a low, $99 per month subscription fee for the opportunity to enroll in as many classes as they like. Classes start at just $59 each (textbooks included for free!), and you can complete them on your own schedule and at your own pace. StraighterLine partners with more than 150 colleges and universities, so you can transfer your credits seamlessly from StraighterLine to one of the partner institutions of your choice.

How to Get Started on your Nursing Degree Online

Determining how to get started online with nursing courses and progress towards a degree will depend on what you’re hoping to achieve. Are you looking for an online nursing program for non-nurses and hoping to work towards your CNA, LPN, RN, or Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), or are you looking to advance your current career in nursing with a BSN or MSN degree?

If you’re looking to get your CNA, LPN, ADN, or RN, the first thing you’ll need to do is make a list of target programs you’d like to get into. To get accepted into a nursing program, you’ll need to complete a certain number of pre-requisite courses, and you’ll likely need to pass a standardized test (usually the TEAS) and background check.

Before you start your degree, you should spend some time researching programs to see what prerequisite classes are required and determine whether StraighterLine classes are eligible for transfer into your program. Once you’ve identified a target nursing program and know which StraighterLine courses that program accepts, you can enroll at StraighterLine, start your classes, and take your first steps towards your online nursing degree. (Remember that even if you’re accepted into an online nursing program for your CNA, LPN, ADN or RN certification, you will likely need to complete your clinicals in-person, so make sure you choose a program with clinical sites that are convenient to you.)

If you’ve already received your ADN/RN, you can continue on to receive your BSN or MSN fully online. StraighterLine partners with colleges that offer accredited, online RN to BSN programs, including those at University of Maryland Global Campus, Colorado Christian University, Liberty University Online, and Stevenson University Online. As you review potential programs, be sure to check which StraighterLine courses can be transferred into your program, and remember that many programs also set limits on how many credits can be transferred. A little research before you begin can save you a lot of time and money later!

Why Start your Nursing Degree Online

Classes at four-year universities or even community colleges can cost thousands of dollars, but StraighterLine’s courses start at just $59 with our $99 monthly membership. In addition to saving you money, taking courses through StraighterLine helps you tailor your coursework schedule to fit your life. You can start classes the same day you sign up, so you never need to wait for a traditional semester or term to begin, and because StraighterLine’s classes are all self-paced, you can move as quickly as you like or put your classes on pause if you need to.

Prerequisites for Your Nursing Degree You Can Take Online

So what classes should you take? That depends on where you are in your nursing journey. If you’re just starting and haven’t yet been accepted to a nursing program, you’ll want to focus first on prerequisite general education classes like English, math, and science. Some of the most common nursing program prerequisite courses accepted at StraighterLine partners and other institutions are:

In addition to the general education courses listed above, you may also be able to take more specialized courses either as prerequisites or part of a nursing program you’ve already been accepted into. Other courses that might be applicable to your nursing degree are:

Before you enroll, be sure to confirm either through StraighterLine’s course equivalency guides or through your school’s Registrar that the courses you select are eligible for transfer. If you have questions about credit transfer, check out our video on credit transfer.

Transferring Online Credits to a Partner College or University

Once you’ve completed your online courses through StraighterLine, transferring your credits to your chosen college is a smooth, easy process. StraighterLine guarantees that all courses listed for transfer in our course equivalency guides will be accepted at the designated partner college.

To order a free transcript, just log in to your StraighterLine account--you can have an electronic transcript sent with just one click, or you can request that a hard copy, sealed transcript be sent to your school. If you have any questions or need any help during the process, an experienced StraighterLine student advisor can support you and ensure that your credit information reaches your school quickly and correctly.

What if I’ve Already Started my Nursing Degree Somewhere Else?

If you’ve already started your nursing program at a college that isn’t listed in StraighterLine’s course equivalency guides but you would like to incorporate StraighterLine classes online into your plan, don’t worry! StraighterLine credits transfers to other colleges not on our partner colleges list.

All StraighterLine courses have been evaluated for quality and recommended for college credit by the American Council on Education (ACE) and over a thousand other colleges have accepted StraighterLine’s courses for credit. To learn how to transfer our courses outside of our partner college network, check out our blog on credit transfer.

If you’d like some additional guidance, you can always talk or chat with one of StraighterLine’s Enrollment counselors, who can help you work with your college to see if StraighterLine’s courses will qualify for credit.

Whether you’re considering a new career in healthcare or hoping to expand your current opportunities, now is a great time to start your nursing degree. Starting your degree with online courses can help you earn your degree affordably and on your schedule – and you may even be able to complete your nursing degree completely online.

StraighterLine makes finding the courses you need to take and transferring credit to your target school simple to understand and while enrolled, you'll receive support 7 days a week from our dedicated student advisors. Give StraighterLine a call at (877) 787-8375 and start the online courses you need for your nursing degree today.

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