When choosing an online nursing program, there are a lot of things to consider to make sure that you’re getting a great education that will prepare you for your future career as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). Below are just a few to get you started on your search.
This should be the first thing that you look for. Going to a non-accredited school is a waste of both time and money, as your degree is basically worthless. The school should be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. If a PhD program is offered, make sure to look for accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. These accreditations confirm that the program will educate its participants to the required standards and that they aren’t scams.
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This is fairly straightforward: It’s better to be taught by someone with loads of teaching and working experience than someone who is relatively new to the medical field. Look for faculties with mostly PhD recipients. See if any faculty members have written or collaborated on any text books; that’s a sure indicator that they know what they’re talking about.
While it may seem like a small issue compared to things such as accreditation and faculty qualifications, admission selectivity says a lot about how the programs stack up against each other. Programs with a lower admission percentage often have that because of the popularity of the program and how good it is. Schools that aren’t that great aren’t going to have as many applicants, and schools that have massive class sizes will also have a higher acceptance rate.
Cost and Financial Aid Availability
Online education can be just as, if not more, expensive than traditional programs. Some things to keep in mind is the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition. In-state tuition is almost always less expensive, so make sure to check out the options in your state first.
The nice thing about online FNP programs is that you can more easily work while you’re in school, which can help offset costs. In addition, schools often have both private and school-funded scholarships, grants, and fellowships for which you can apply. Student loans are always available and are a popular choice for students. Make sure to keep an eye on interest rates.
Class size is another important consideration. A small class gives you an opportunity to be more than a number to your instructor. It also promises better individual attention, something that can be underappreciated in online education. If you’re one out of 300 students in a basic nursing course, you can become lost, and it can be difficult to get the answers that you need from your instructor. Communication between you and your instructor is a vital part of online programs, and it will help you get the best education possible.
There are other important factors to consider, of course, but these five should get you a good start on narrowing down your school search to the best fit.