How to Get a Nursing Degree Online & Benefits of Online Nursing Programs

Can You Get a Nursing Degree Online?

It is possible to earn an associate, bachelor’s, and even master’s degree in nursing online. However, due to the hands-on nature of the nursing profession, clinical hours will still need to be completed in-person when working toward becoming a Registered Nurse (RN).

For nurses that already have their RN license and have completed their clinical experience, it is possible to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing without ever stepping foot on campus or having to do in-person clinicals.

Earning an online nursing degree is an excellent way to progress your career, increase your salary, and qualify for leadership positions in nursing. 

How To Earn a Nursing Degree Online

Here, we will break down the steps to earning a nursing degree online and the benefits of online study as well as answer frequently asked questions about earning a nursing degree online. 

Step 1: Earn RN license

The most common professional license for nurses is the registered nurse (RN) license. To earn an RN license, students must first complete an approved nursing program such as an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN). A two-year ADN degree meets the minimum education requirement to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) exam. An approved nursing program will provide the clinical experience hours and exam preparation needed to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and gain a nursing license. 

While a two-year degree allows you to become an RN, there is a trend towards increased education in nurse training. Many healthcare employers now strongly prefer candidates with a bachelor’s (BSN degree). The additional education provided by a bachelor’s degree has been linked with better patient outcomes. 

Earning a BSN degree can also allow nurses with an ADN to earn higher wages and qualify for more senior roles. Nurses with an ADN degree can take advantage of special RN to BSN degree programs that allow nurses to complete a bachelor’s degree. RN to BSN degree programs can often be completed in a flexible and efficient online format. 

Step 2: Enroll in online RN to BSN program

Nurses wondering how to get a nursing degree online should explore RN to BSN programs offered in remote learning formats. PBA offers an accredited RN to BSN degree that can be completed entirely online. 

Step 3: Complete clinical hours (if needed)

If you have already completed an ADN degree and earned an RN license, additional clinical hours may not be required. Online nursing degrees for nurses who have not yet earned a nursing license will include clinical experience hours. Most online nursing degrees will be able to facilitate a placement near the student’s area of residence.

Benefits of Earning a Nursing Degree Online

Online degrees have become increasingly popular over recent years due to their flexibility for students with busy schedules and other priorities. Online students can study when and how they need to while continuing to work and care for their families. 

Save Time and Money

Online nursing degrees can help students save time and money. Earning a degree online is often much faster than completing an in-person degree, and some universities offer accelerated programs. Online students save money by avoiding commuting costs and costs associated with living on campus.

Flexible Schedule

Online degrees provide a more flexible schedule for non-traditional students thanks to asynchronous classes and flexible deadlines. This helps students to maintain a healthy school-life balance. 

Ability to Work while you Study

Students who work full-time can find attending traditional in-person classes difficult. Online nursing degrees make a valuable education accessible to more of the population. Modern online nursing degrees have considered the needs of busy working adults who must manage multiple schedules simultaneously. Working while studying online allows students to continue earning both money and professional experience.

Learn more about PBA’s Online RN to BSN Program

Palm Beach Atlantic University offers an accredited and highly respected online RN to BSN program that can help you reach your career goals. At PBA, we offer guidance that focuses on biblical, historical, theoretical and practical studies.


Completing an online RN to BSN program typically takes only one to two years. An online master’s degree in nursing typically takes two to three years to complete. 

However, times to degree completion will vary based on each individual’s schedule and the pace at which they can enroll in classes. Online degrees often allow students to study at a faster pace, saving both time and money. 

Teaching for online nursing degrees varies depending on the program. Lectures may be synchronous or asynchronous to allow students to watch on their own time. 

Online programs have deadlines and coursework just like in person degree programs, but all of the work can be completed and submitted virtually. Discussion boards allow for online students to interact with their professors and peers. 

Many online nursing programs use simulation models to allow nurses to make decisions and apply their skills in a virtual model. These skills can be transferred to real-life scenarios. 

Students completing an RN to BSN will not need to complete clinical hours because they will already have done so when earning their RN license. Nurses that do not already have an RN license can coordinate with their university to find a suitable placement in their area for earning clinical hours. 


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