Recently,online RN degree programs have seen increased enrollment because of a predicted nursing shortage, in addition to the nation’s greater need for healthcare workers due to healthcare reform. RNs (Registered Nurses) are nurses who have achieved higher education than Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN’S) or nurse’s aides, and generally receive much higher compensation as a result of their increased responsibilities. Online RN degree programs can help working nurses earn additional credentials that enable them to advance their healthcare careers.
Nurses make up the largest occupational group in all of healthcare. There are currently over 2 million RN’s employed in the United States, and the field is growing rapidly. By the year 2018, employment of nurses is predicted to grow by 22 percent, which means that about 600,000 new nursing jobs will be created. These numbers are much higher than average for the general U.S. workforce.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average hourly wage of an RN is $ 31.99, which translates to an average annual salary of $ 66,530.
What do nurses do?
Nurses work under physicians and are responsible for tasks like diagnosing, treating, and advising patients. Specific responsibilities of nurses differ depending on their experience and location of work. Many RN’s choose to specialize in a specific area of healthcare. For example, a nurse might specialize in oncology and be responsible for treating patients with cancer in the oncology-designated wing of a hospital.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a slight majority (60 percent) of nurses worked in hospitals during 2008. But there are opportunities for nurses outside of hospitals as well. In the same year, 8 percent of nurses worked in doctor’s offices, 5 percent in homecare, 5 percent in nursing homes and other care facilities, and 3 percent in employment services. The additional 19 percent of nurses were employed either through government and non-government social agencies or in nursing education positions.
Why an online RN degree?
Online RN degree programs allow working nurses to earn their bachelors of science in nursing degree (BSN). RN-BSN online programs can be particularly beneficial to nurses who earned an associate’s degree through a community college or nursing school. Online education is convenient for students, particularly nurses who work rotating shifts and do not have the time or flexibility in their schedules to commit to attending classes in a ground school.
Popular online RN degree programs:
ASN to BSN (RN to BSN): Working RN’s who hold an associate’s degree from either a community college or nursing school can increase their earning potential by pursuing a bachelor’s degree. These programs usually take between 1 to 3 years to complete depending on how many credits transfer from a nurse’s associate’s degree.
LPN/LVN to RN: Nurses working as LPN’s can become eligible to take the examinations necessary for licensure as an RN throughonline RN degree programs. These programs typically take 1 to 2 years to complete and provide the opportunity for LPN’s to gain more complex responsibilities, in addition to higher salaries. RNs earn a yearly median wage about $ 20,000 higher than LPNs.
Alli writes about Online Education for University-bound.com – a resource site for those interested in earning a degree online.