Best Online Associates Degree in Nursing Programs

online associates degree in nursingAn online associates degree in nursing situates graduates to become entry-level registered nurses, capable of working in medical surgical nursing, pediatric nursing, geriatric nursing and infant nursing. After completing the degree program, aspiring nurses must pass an exam in their state to earn a license as a registered nurse. With just an associate degree in nursing, a nursing career can be very lucrative; many entry-level nurses earn up $65,000 a year.

Five of the Best Online Associates Degree in Nursing Programs

The following is an alphabetized list of the five best online programs for earning an associate degree in nursing.

Ashwood University

Ashwood University is a non-traditional online college that offers no actual nursing classes but instead offers an instant associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree in nursing based on any health care, first aid or medical assistance experience applicants already have, whether formal or informal. Uniquely, Ashwood represents a new model of schooling that weighs life experience as a primary factor in granting degrees; this is a controversial practice that has caused Ashwood University to remain unaccredited by reputable bodies acknowledged by the Council for Higher Education; however, the school is certified through the Board of Online Universities Accreditation and the World Online Education Accreditation Commission. Ashwood is ranked highly by non-traditional students who appreciate the importance given to their overall life achievement.

All degrees at Ashwood are granted within 15 days of submitting detailed life experience and paying for enrollment. No exams or work are required. The flat tuition cost for an associate’s degree in nursing is $599.00. No financial aid is offered; credit payments are accepted. After payment, students receive 10 documents formally outlining how their experience has met the requirements for a degree.

Chamberlain College of Nursing

Chamberlain College of Nursing offers two routes to an associate degree in nursing. The traditional route requires students to complete two years of courses, tallying at least 72 credit hours; each year of study is divided into three semesters and comprised of classes in anatomy, physiology, nursing, interpersonal communication, microbiology, chemistry, adult health, psychology, applied management and maternal care. The second route, the LPN to RN bridge program, is an abbreviated pathway designed to help those who already have licensed practical nurse credentials. Exclusive to Ohio residents only, the bridge program requires 10 fewer credit hours than the traditional route.

Part of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the university is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2012, the U.S. News & World Report ranked Chamberlain among the top four online nursing schools in terms of faculty credentials. Tuition for the online associates degree in nursing program is $665 per credit hour. There is a $95 application fee. Chamberlain Access Grants, Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are available to help with costs.

Excelsior College

Excelsior College offers both an Associate in Science in Nursing degree and an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing degree. Both require 67 credit hours of courses that can be taken online or through the use of mailed CD-ROMs. Subjects for courses include end-of-life care, research, symptom management , nursing informatics and other general health courses.

Accredited by the National League for Nursing as well as the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Excelsior requires a $400 enrollment fee and roughly $300 per nursing course. Monthly payments are permitted. Financial aid, such as Stafford Loans, Pell Grants, PLUS loans and Title IV federal aid, is available.

Kaplan University

Kaplan University offers a 110-credit hour Associate of Science in Nursing Degree, which is anchored on courses in pharmacology, pediatric nursing, nursing fundamentals, mental health nursing and surgical nursing. Kaplan is unique in that it offers online nursing students the chance to attend on-site lab and clinical training. Videos, discussion boards and online simulations are used for instruction.

Tuition is $371 per credit hour. Scholarships for single parents and California residents are available, as are federal grants and student loans. Accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Kaplan ranks as the 45th best online college in a report by the Online Education Database.

Panola College

Accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc. and endorsed by the Texas Board of Nursing, Panola College offers an associate degree in nursing online as part of the Panola ONE (Online Nursing Education) initiative. Courses  in this online associates degree in nursing program include nursing skills, adult health and nursing fundamentals. An abbreviated program for students who already have licensed vocational nurse credentials is available. Panola is unique in that it promotes itself as a holistic nursing program that emphasizes ethics, respect for patients and caring for all needs of patients, not just health needs.

Tuition is calculated on an individual basis by the Department of Health Science; estimates range from $2,500 to $3,400 per year for the two-year, 72-credit hour program. Standard federal financial aid is available.

These are just five of the outstanding online associates degree in nursing programs available for students embarking on a new healthcare career.