According to research from the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 5.7 million Americans are currently enrolled in distance-learning courses. Nursing is the second-most common major, analysts for Aslanian Market Research and Learning House found. Of all the online nursing degrees available, the Master of Science in Nursing — Family Nurse Practitioner degree is perhaps the most valuable. Due to primary physician shortages and ever-increasing patient populations, the demand for these highly skilled advanced practice specialists continues to grow. There are more than 325,000 licensed FNPs practicing in U.S. healthcare facilities, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). That number is sure to grow as the trends mentioned above intensify.
Registered nurses searching for ways to advance would be wise to pursue the online FNP program path, as the role offers a comfortable median salary of $80,010 and is poised to grow in importance in the years to come, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That said, this data does not answer why someone should consider enrolling in an online FNP program.
For the many students familiar with this unique instructional track, the benefits are obvious. RNs considering online FNP programs such as the one at Bradley University should consider the advantages of the distance-learning approach.
1. Minimize Your Travel Time
The average full-time American college student spends more than an hour on the road or navigating public transportation en route to classes, according to the BLS. While part-time learners might make fewer trips, time wasted on highways and byways is still considerable, as these individuals must maintain careers and tend to their families in addition to pursuing their education.
Travel is a nonissue in online FNP programs. Students just sign in to web-based learning platforms to participate in eye-opening graduate courses and learn from top nursing professionals.
2. Enjoy a Flexible Course Schedule
Campus-based degree programs typically unfold during normal working hours, as class times are dependent upon instructors and others who keep regular schedules. This arrangement works well for full-time students, most of whom are strictly focused on attaining their degrees and entering the fields of their choosing. However, for part-time learners with full-time jobs and responsibilities, attending class during the day is rarely an option.
For this very reason, many part-time students turn to online FNP programs, as these offer flexible scheduling and interactive modules that facilitate self-paced and -planned instruction. A 2019 survey by Learning House reported that 70% of online graduate students were employed full time.
RNs looking to move into FNP positions can acquire a graduate education while maintaining a flexible schedule via an online FNP program while keeping up with existing professional and familial responsibilities.
3. Save Money on Your Degree
According to Student Loan Hero, a LendingTree company, the average master’s degree costs $30,000 per year at a public institution and almost $40,000 per year at a private one. While part-time students seeking new knowledge midcareer don’t usually face this full amount, they may be responsible for part of this expense if they choose on-campus programs. Although tuition and fees may decrease, room and board, supplies, and transportation might still play a part in the budgetary equation.
Of course, students enrolled in online programs do not have to deal with expenses such as room and board, transportation, and on-campus dining.
4. Experience Quality Education
Prospective students of online FNP programs are likely to return to one question: “Am I investing in quality education?”
Online graduate programs offer just as many learning opportunities as campus-based options. Students have access to proven experts who can impart the critical knowledge and experience required for success in the FNP role. Additionally, connecting with these individuals is easy, as advanced learning tools facilitate optimal collaboration and connection. Students can, of course, connect with each other using these same conduits, leading to engaging peer-to-peer interaction.
On top of this, FNP educational tracks such as the online Master of Science in Nursing — Family Nurse Practitioner program at Bradley University are fully accredited by key oversight organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, meaning students graduate with credentials that demonstrate premier clinical know-how.
5. Develop Strategies to Advance Your Career Using Your Strengths
After earning work experience, most professionals will begin to identify areas where they excel. Are you technically oriented and good with details? An effective leader among your peers? Do you have a particular connection to a certain area of nursing practice?
Anyone interested in pursuing the next level of their career should reflect on their strengths in considering further education. Select a program that emphasizes areas that you are drawn to, and consider what career opportunities a particular degree can open up.
Moving Forward with a Quality Education
Online FNP programs offer undeniable benefits. RNs interested in advancing in the nursing field without sacrificing their families, finances or jobs should consider enrolling in the online Master of Science in Nursing — Family Nurse Practitioner program at Bradley University. They can expand their knowledge on a wide range of topics, from acute and chronic FNP practice to health informatics, without stepping foot on a campus. The 59-credit-degree track ends with a capstone research project and four preceptor-supervised clinical practicums, which can be administered locally.
The online MSN-FNP program at Bradley is an ideal choice for RNs hoping to move upward midcareer and expand their skill sets to better serve their patients. Find more information on the program at the university’s website.