Nursing is a challenging but rewarding career, and now more than ever, there’s pressure on nurses to continue their education beyond just an RN or associate’s degree to unlock greater career potential. But is pursuing an advanced degree while working as a full-time nurse feasible? And is it worth it?
Absolutely! There are a lot of great benefits to continuing your nursing education as you work, such as through a bachelor’s (BSN) or master’s (MSN) in nursing, and even more when you pursue your degree online. Here are the top 5 advantages to pursuing an online nursing degree.
1. You’ll Stay Competitive
Earning a BSN nursing degree or an MSN can make you a much more competitive candidate when applying for new positions. Hospitals have a growing need for deeper, more specialized skill sets, and many are required to employ a certain number of nurses with advanced degrees to earn Magnet Status, the gold standard of quality nursing. That means if you earn an advanced degree, you’ll have a clear competitive advantage in the workplace.
2. More Career Choices
If you have an RN diploma or associate degree in nursing, the number of roles you’re able to fill can be somewhat limited. The skills you develop while pursuing a BSN or MSN, however, greatly open up your options—making it easier to pursue leadership roles, and making it possible to specialize in a field of nursing that interests you.
3. Increased Earning Potential
While salary is influenced by many factors, such as years of experience, location, and specialization, getting an advanced degree in nursing can help you earn more. According to Payscale.com, the average salary for someone with an associate degree in nursing is $73,000 per year; but nurses who have a BSN earn $89,000 on average, and those with an MSN earn on average $98,000.
4. Online Programs are More Affordable
Online degrees have many benefits, but one of the biggest is affordability. You can avoid the extra fees associated with room, board, or student activities and there’s no commute to pay for. Class materials, such as textbooks, are sometimes even available as an Open Educational Resource, which is free classroom course content. That makes for a more affordable education.
5. Flexibility for a Balanced Life
Pursuing an advanced degree while working as a nurse can be challenging. But online degrees offer you the ability to pursue education on your terms. Lectures may be viewed whenever and wherever you’re available, such as in your living room or at a desk in your bedroom; and classwork can be completed as you have the time—during off-hours and weekends. Pursuing an advanced degree doesn’t have to upset your life. Instead, an online education can complement it.
Want to learn more about how to pursue an online nursing degree as a working nurse?
This blog was originally published in November 2018 and was updated to reflect emerging trends and best practices.