5 Differences Between an Online and a Traditional Nursing Program

by James Soto

Training to become a nurse is a wonderful way to help others, secure your financial situation, and find fulfilling careers in the health care industry. Some individuals decide to pursue a traditional nursing degree program, but many others are interested in an online nursing program. If you want to become a nurse but aren't sure about some of the differences between the two programs, use this guide to familiarize yourself.

1. Convenience

For almost all students, online nursing programs will be more convenient than a traditional campus program. Instead of having to commute daily to a campus, online students can simply log onto their computers to begin class. Online learning also gives students the flexibility to watch lectures on their own time. Some courses require students to participate in live webcam lectures, but many other programs simply ask that you watch or listen to prerecorded lectures whenever you have time in your schedule.

2. Price

As education costs continue to rise, price will play a role in deciding what kind of nursing program is best. While prices for tuition vary from school to school, online programs are typically more affordable. This is because they have fewer overhead costs than a traditional campus. Online schools won't offer separate rates for in state tuition, however. If you plan to attend a local nursing school in the state where you are a resident, it might actually be more expensive to attend an online nursing program.

3. Student and Teacher Interaction

One of the biggest differences between an online nursing program and a traditional nursing program is the way that students interact with their teachers and their classmates. In a traditional setting, students might talk to their professors during class or discuss the lecture with students afterwards. That is rarely an option with online learning. Instead, you can email your professor or you can even chat online with classmates to study for exams and make sure that you understand certain subjects clearly.

4. Increased Participation

When the setting for online nursing programs is no longer the traditional classroom or lecture hall, students cannot sit in the back row and avoid answering questions. Participation is just as important in online learning as in any other kind of program. You will need to contribute in discussions online for participation points in order to graduate. You may even have to contribute verbally during live webcam lectures where students can be called upon just like in any other classroom setting.

5. Clinical Experience

In order to become a nurse, students need to supplement their classroom or online learning with clinical experience, called a practicum. In a traditional campus setting, the school usually assigns a practicum location to the students. Online learners, however, have the option of choosing their own facility that is within driving distance of their home. This is something to consider if you want to choose your own practicum destination.

If you want to enroll in a nursing program, you can choose between an online program and a traditional campus program. This guide should help you to learn more about the pros and cons of both before making your decision.

This post was written by James Soto

James Soto is a freelance blogger, who writes about higher education. For those interested in careers in nursing, he recommends looking into masters of nursing online programs to broaden their career potential.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: