How to Make Online Associate Degrees & Nursing Training Work for You after Nursing School

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Online Associate Degrees: Nursing

Virtual nursing school might sound like an odd proposition for a hands-on profession. On the other hand, if you consider that this form of online education has already found a large student body on the bachelors and masters degree levels, it was only a matter of time until online associate degrees in nursing would be added to the mix. Specifically set up virtual nursing programs offer a variety of courses that are distinctively designed to prepare would-be nurses and other healthcare workers for the jobs they are going to be doing.

Behind the Nursing Degree

Students at an online nursing school come face to face with coursework designed to prepare them for handling end of life issues. Concurrently, they receive in-depth training in multidisciplinary wound care and also hospital budgeting and financial management.

The result is a well-rounded nursing student who leaves the online nursing school with a solid background in administration as well as patient care. To facilitate a quantitative assessment of the nursing skills a student possesses, nursing programs granting online associate degrees in nursing usually require local testing at a contract facility for basic nursing skills. This generally takes the place of an internship.

Excelsior College

Students may choose to enroll at Excelsior College(1) and complete either an Associate in Science (AS) or an Associate in Applied Science (AAS). Each program requires the completion of 67 semester credits, of which 36 are within the nursing field. Evaluation of hands-on expertise is achieved via the Clinical Performance in Nursing Examination (CPNE) that may take place at an acute care facility.

Employability of Nursing Students with an Online Education

Much like accounting students in the business field, trained nursing students are in high demand by a variety of health care settings. Although generally it is suggested that a bachelor degree is a must in this profession, there are plenty of employers who will take on nursing school grads with online associate degrees in nursing.

Hospitals appreciate that mostly more mature students opt for an online education, and when combined with nursing programs that meet major accreditation requirements, this is a win-win for both students and employers. An article entitled “Who Is the Typical Online Learning Student?” by Bright Hub’s own Gin Vickery would tend to confirm this supposition.

Moreover, the vast majority of those attending online nursing school are already working in the healthcare field and so bring independent and sometimes ancillary experience in the health industry to the table. This translates into transferable skills that automatically make an employee more valuable to an employer. To this end, even if an employer is not looking to hire a nurse per se, s/he may opt for a candidate with an online associate degree in nursing and life experience in the workforce, since this provides an excellent backdrop for a host of health professions, most notably those that require frequent patient contact.


  1. Excelsior College: