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Online Nursing Degrees & Programs

Today, nurses work everywhere from schools and summer camps to high-tech hospital units to small, family practices. Nurses can specialize in everything from genetics to trauma to mental health. With an online nursing degree, you can learn the skills needed for an entry-level job as a nursing assistant or licensed practical nurse, or you can build your skills in nursing and specialize in a particular area of health care as a registered nurse or advanced practice nurse.

Growing demand for nurses in the U.S. is expected to create over 700,00 new nursing positions for RNs between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. LPNs should also see rapid job growth, with a 22 percent increase in positions available projected during that same time period.

To help meet this demand, online nursing degree programs are stepping up. The American Association of College of Nursing reports that hybrid or online RN to BSN bridge programs, for example, have grown from 96 in 2007 to more than 400 in 2012. Some online nursing programs such as LPN programs require students to complete clinical training, but others, such as RN to BSN bridge programs that target already licensed nurses, are available completely online.

Choosing the right nursing degree program requires doing a little research. In addition to deciding what degree level and program format you want to pursue, students should verify the nursing program is accredited by an organization such as Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the American Nurses Credentialing Center, among others. If you know what state you want to practice in, you can also check with your state board of nursing to make sure the school is in good standing.

In addition to accreditation, students should carefully consider factors such as program length, cost, requirements for admission and career support services. Additionally, ask an admissions counselor about the school's pass rate for the NCLEX -- an exam required before you can become licensed to practice as an LPN or RN. offers a wide range of resources for nursing students, including more detailed information on how to find a nursing program, profiles of diverse nursing careers and a directory of online nursing degree programs.

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