Online nursing programs have provided a convenient platform for registered nurses (RNs) or APRNs to obtain a graduate degree and complete the coursework at their convenience. Nurses can meet their family obligations and maintain their working schedule while advancing their education. Distance is no longer a roadblock as online courses are combined with clinical rotations in hospitals within their proximity.

The fact remains that having a degree increases your chances to advance in your career and earn higher salaries. For nurses, there is a vast range of advanced courses to take with MSN (Master’s of Science in Nursing) and DNP (Doctorate of Nursing Practice) being the most common. 92% of MSN graduates secured job offers within 4 to 6 months of completing their programs, proving that education is an essential factor in the nursing career path.

More and more universities are adding online elements to their graduate programs. For RNs considering taking up an online MSN to DNP program, here are some factors to help make the right choice:

Course and instructor reviews

Course and instructor reviews provide you with real-life experience from previous students who have undertaken the course.

More often than not, online courses display their ratings and reviews publicly to attract more students. However, some platforms are prone to manipulation and can, therefore, present inaccurate reviews. Always perform a Google search to ensure you read genuine reviews.

Reviews also give insight into the instructor’s teaching style, the level of instructor engagement, and interactivity of the course. An online course with a great number of enrolled students should have just as many reviews.

Course description

This will give you an insight into the course’s content and allow you to determine whether the course aligns with your interests and specialty.

Always look for and download the course guide to help determine the course’s quality. A course guide also comes in handy when gauging whether the course is appropriate for you and if you have met the prerequisites to undertake the course.

The credibility of the institution

It is always crucial to check the reputation and credibility of the institution you plan to study in, especially for careers in healthcare. Rather than studying at a do-it-all platform, it is always advisable to enroll in a reputable institution that majors in your field. This way, you are bound to experience some of the best resources your field has to offer at the institution.

Accreditation and certification

In addition to checking the school’s credibility, check whether you will receive certification upon completing the online course. It is paramount to show your expertise on paper to make sure you stand out from your peers. Luckily, most online courses offer some form of accreditation but do not assume or presume they do. Ignorance is no defense.

Also, be sure to check state authorizations. You have to be licensed in the state you intend to carry out your clinical activities. You also have to be located in a state that’s authorized for the graduate online nursing program.

Duration of the course

Before committing to an online program, check how long the course will take and consider your availability and flexibility. How many hours per week should you commit? How far should you have reached in the course work, say, in a week or months? Are you able to meet its demands?

Select a course schedule that doesn’t stretch you too thin that you are not able to juggle life and work.

Course fees

Lastly, your supposed online course should not strain your bank account. If available, enroll in a course with which you can commit to a payment plan to avoid draining your pockets. The pricing should also match the value you acquire from the course.