According to the most recent major report on supply and demand for nurses by The U.S. Department of Health (2002) the demand in this specialty is expected to grow to a point in 2020 where there will be a whopping 29% shortage of nurses in the U.S. As a result, both nurses and the hospitals and health facilities that employ them have become more accepting of online degrees than some other career specialties.
Illustration Of How Rising Demand For Nurses Will Create A Shortage (Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
Although online degree offerings at the associates level (for a basic RN license) are limited by the need for heavy hands on clinical learning, all sorts of schools including state universities, for profit institutions and private colleges have stepped up their offerings of bachelors and masters degrees online for nurses. While the RN to BSN degree is the most popular offering, certificate programs and masters degrees are now widely available in informatics, nurse education and other growing specialties.
Nurses who can’t realistically stop working for a year or more to attend a brick and mortar school for a degree have found that online degrees are often their only option. The option to either study gradually (spreading out tuition costs in the process) or to hurry up the process though an accelerated degree program, has made it more and more possible for nurses to squeeze their educational pursuits into their career and family lives. More on how online degree programs have proved to be a good fit for nurses