Can You Take Nursing Classes Online?

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A student takes a class online using a laptop.

Earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) can position nurses to pursue many different career paths, including research, education, clinical practice, and management. However, with just an MSN, it may prove difficult for nurses to quickly expand their clinical roles, particularly if they wish to focus on a specialized field. To bridge the gap, experienced nurses can pursue a post-master’s certificate to study the specialized clinical discipline of their choice.

This can be a complex process. After all, many aspiring students also have active professional careers, with strict work hours that make it challenging to find the time to pursue higher education. Fortunately, online post-master’s certificates can allow nurses to advance their education in a way that fits the contours of their schedule without compromising their work-life balance.

Why Take Nursing Classes Online?

The fact that you can take nursing classes online makes earning post-master’s certificates more feasible for individuals with busy work and personal lives. Online post-master’s certification coursework is designed to prepare students to advance their nursing practice by improving the level of care they provide to their patients.

This type of online program is particularly beneficial for aspiring nurse practitioners (NPs) because they’ll already have completed the requirements to work as a licensed nurse. The purpose of certification is to help qualified registered nurses become NPs, and to allow NPs to add a specialty or more autonomy to their current primary care practice.

How Do Instructors Teach Nursing Classes Online?

Nurse educators rely on virtual instruction tactics to teach nursing classes online through programs like remote teleconferencing. These instructors build a structured curriculum that establishes long-term goals and creates a welcoming, inclusive environment.

Because of the remote nature of online learning, instructors can also create opportunities for connecting outside the virtual classroom to nurture a greater sense of rapport. An “open-door” policy, for example, enables virtual meetings to be set up in a flexible way, and online discussion boards can foster student-to-student interaction as well as instruction.

When Taking Nursing Classes Online, Do You Have to Visit Campus?

An online program will typically allow students to complete all coursework online. However, campus visitation requirements vary by university. Some universities may require students to visit the campus at least once during their program. Others may encourage an on-campus tour prior to enrollment. Students should familiarize themselves with a program’s requirements before enrolling.

Regis College’s online graduate nursing programs don’t require a visit to campus and can be completed 100% online.

Can Online Nursing Classes Give You Clinical Experience?

Online nursing classes commonly require the completion of fieldwork. To facilitate this, colleges and universities often develop key partnerships with health care institutions so that students can conduct fieldwork in a properly controlled environment. Fieldwork can take place within a wide range of health care facilities such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, or nursing homes. These partnerships can also be essential to setting up various practicum opportunities, which the instructor can govern and oversee via virtual classroom technology.

4 Benefits of Taking Nursing Classes Online to Earn a Post-Master’s Certificate

Pursuing a post-master’s certificate offers a host of benefits for an individual equipped with an MSN degree and a full-time career in health care.

1. Flexibility

Taking nursing classes online affords individuals the opportunity to build their course schedules around their lives instead of the other way around. This level of flexibility is possible for a number of reasons. For example, online programs often don’t have set class schedules, so students can take them at their convenience, and they usually offer extended deadlines for projects and assignments. This gives students more opportunities to meet the demands of a program on their own terms.

2. More Choice

Many online nursing courses don’t require an on-campus visit. This gives individuals the opportunity to explore programs anywhere in the country, be a little more selective in their enrollment choices, and find a program that fully aligns with their interests.

3. Cost-Effectiveness

In many cases, online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. The courses themselves aren’t the only angle to consider. Pursuing a degree online can reduce or even eliminate the ancillary expenses associated with a degree as well, such as transportation, textbooks, and housing.

4. Networking

An online program may attract nurses and other professionals from all over the country. Their presence can present a prime opportunity for networking with health care professionals from various settings and walks of life. Ultimately, these connections could be beneficial to a nurse’s career.

Start Your Career by Taking Nursing Classes Online Today

Becoming an NP allows students to explore opportunities for specialization, leadership, and administration. NPs are in a unique position to influence the way their health care facility delivers care, and an advanced education is the key to getting there.

An online post-master’s certificate can be a crucial step in an advanced practice nurse’s journey. Students who enroll can take nursing classes online to pursue specialization and to sit for a national board certification exam to become a certified NP — all at a pace that works in the context of their busy schedules.

Whether they’re seeking to become an NP or advance their practice, Regis College’s online post-master’s certificate in nursing program can help students achieve their career goals. Our fully online program offers six NP certificate specializations to help you further your career: Adult Gerontology – Primary Care Nurse Practitioner; Adult Gerontology – Acute Care Nurse Practitioner; Pediatric Nurse Practitioner; Family Nurse Practitioner; Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner; and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. Learn how our program can prepare you to make a positive impact in a critical field.

Recommended Readings

5 Areas of Study for the Master of Science in Nursing Student

Should Nurse Practitioners Have Full Practice Authority?

10 Best Practices to Promote Cultural Awareness in the Nursing Profession


American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Clinical Practice Experiences FAQs

American Association of Nurse Practitioners, “What’s a Nurse Practitioner (NP)?”

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, “Uses and Advantages of eLearning and Distance Pedagogy in Nursing Informatics Education”

Kajabi, “20 Benefits of Online Classes for Teachers and Students”

PR News Blog, “10 Benefits of Networking in Education”