Top 10 Online Schools For Nursing Degrees

The demand for registered nurses and nurse practitioners is expected to increase at an above average rate over other occupations within the United States during the foreseeable future. As the population expands, health care policies evolve, and new technologies emerge, employment opportunities for trained nurses and healthcare professionals are expected to rise significantly in relation to the medical system in the U.S. Depending upon training and field of specialty. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects job growth for nurses, health care aides, and home health care professionals to increase by 18% from 2008 until 2018 at a faster than average rate over other occupations. Graduates with nursing degrees and medical backgrounds will easily find jobs providing direct care for the physically or mentally ill, disabled, or infirm within various hospitals, care facilities, and mental health treatment centers.

Recommended Nursing Programs:

  1. Grand Canyon University
  2. Kaplan University
  3. Walden University

Due to advancing technology, aging and expanding population, and economic changes, the demand for skilled nurses and health care professionals is nearing an all time high. Since work as a nurse or health care professional is difficult, demanding, and often stressful, qualified health care professionals must obtain a solid educational foundation, often combined with work experiences, to ensure career success. Many students must complete a Registered Nurse (RN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree through an accredited college or university in order to propel personal, educational, and career goals. Many nursing students attend tradition, brick and mortar colleges to acquire knowledge and skills necessary to gain employment in the field of nursing. Other students, especially those with family or job responsibilities, may earn their degree through online nursing programs. As choosing any degree program is often difficult, choosing the best accredited university and online nursing program which best meets the student’s needs and preferences is imperative. Many students with family or job responsibilities may earn their degree through top online nursing programs, accredited universities, and reputable nursing schools. To assist in the selection process, here is a list of the best online nursing degrees:

1. Johns Hopkins University

The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is one of the top, private research universities located within the United States. Johns Hopkins was founded in Baltimore, Maryland, by Quaker entrepreneur and philanthropist Johns Hopkins on January 22, 1876. As a forerunner in university research, the university grew to become one of the world’s top research institutions for higher education. When JHU opened its doors, Daniel Coit Gilman was inaugurated as the university’s first president, declaring during his address the university’s mission: “the encouragement of research.., the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.” Gilman’s statement later became JHU’s direct mission: to provide “Knowledge for the world” with quality education, the cultivation of a lifelong love of learning, and the promotion of original research. Gilman led JHU with a trendsetting policy based upon this mission to extend and reward all of the students and faculty who expanded knowledge, education, and research. In 1873, founder Hopkins passed away and left his $7 million dollar fortune accumulated from the Ohio and Maryland Railroad, to fund a hospital and university in Baltimore. Hopkins’ gift, endowed with the promise to “build men, not buildings” remains the largest philanthropic donation in the history of the United States and helped the university significantly advance to become one of the most prestigious schools in the world. During the early 1900s, the university grew beyond its original Baltimore campus and began developing 140 acres of property named Homewood located north of Baltimore. The university continued to thrive and create nine academic divisions with campuses in Washington D.C., Italy, China, and Singapore. By 2001, JHU launched its first online degree program extending its standard of academic excellence to international students and students unable to attend campus instruction due to family or professional responsibilities interested in a degree in nursing. JHU offers certificate and degree programs for students seeking a master’s degree for future employment in the field of clinical nurse specialist, clinical nurse specialist forensic focus, and health systems management. Additionally, JHU offers an online Nurse Educator Certificate and an Applied Health Informatics Program. Courses like: healthcare for advanced practice nursing, statistical literacy and reasoning, clinical nurse specialist, pharmacology, advanced health assessment and measurement, pathophysiology, applications of research to practice, philosophy and ethics, health promotion, human development across the lifespan, and physiology grant students pursuing a career in the field of nursing.

Click here for more information regarding Johns Hopkins University’s online nursing degree programs

2. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is a private research university founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania originally established in 1740 as the Charity School of Philadelphia. As the first university and the fourth oldest higher learning institute within the United States, UPenn was unlike most of the colleges established in the same era. In 1740, Benjamin Franklin established his vision for UPenn with his visionary idea that the university be based in business and public service rather than education for the clergy like other colleges. Franklin’s unique and unprecedented vision for education would be modeled by all liberal arts colleges established in the years following. The University officially opened in 1751 after the Trustees gained ownership of its first campus and opened the Academy and Charity School. In the years since, UPenn has grown to become one of the world’s top ten research universities with a 269 acre campus modeled by proceeding research universities and colleges worldwide. UPenn presently has a world renown medical school (the oldest, first ever in North America), dental school, school of business (the oldest, first ever in North America), law school, communications school, nursing school, and veterinary school. UPenn is home to the world’s first digital computer, created in 1946. UPenn is one of the most highly competitive, highly selective schools in the country. UPenn is also one of eight members of the Ivy League. UPenn offers nursing students a dynamic opportunity to continue their education within in the oldest school of medicine founded in 1765 at Penn Nursing’s Center for Professional Development. The school allows graduates the ability to earn knowledge through practice, course instruction, administration techniques, innovative research, and theory development.

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3. University of California, Los Angeles

The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university located within Los Angeles, California’s subdivision known as Westwood. Founded in 1919, UCLA was the first “Southern Branch” of what would become many institutions within the University of California’s educational system. when UCLA opened, it had four buildings on its campus. Presently, the campus has 163 buildings spread across 419 acres. UCLA is divided into five undergraduate colleges, seven professional schools, and five health science schools. The university now accommodates over 26,000 undergraduate and 11,000 graduate students offering over 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs based in liberal arts, sciences, and research. UCLA five undergraduate colleges, seven professional schools, and five professional Health Science schools. UCLA is a member of the Association of American Universities and offers multiple degree programs accredited by field specific organizations. Students interested in advancing a degree in nursing through online instruction may find one of the top programs at UCLA. Courses like: health promotion and assessment across lifespan, health related quality of life, philosophy of nursing science, basic statistics and fundamentals for analysis, statistics, qualitative methods in research, nursing theory development, human diversity in health and illness, nursing science, foundations of women’s healthcare, health related family theory, occupational and environment health nursing role, theory, and research, oncology nursing, adult/gerontology nursing, nursing and administration, childhood development and pediatric primary care, pharmacology, ethnogeriactric nursing, system based healthcare, pathophysiology, aging and chronic illness, biobehavioral foundations of neuropsychiatric nursing, and ethics.

Click here for more information regarding the University of California, Los Angeles’ online nursing degrees

4. Georgetown University

Georgetown University was founded by John Carroll as a private, Jesuit research university during 1789 in Washington, D.C. Georgetown is the oldest North American Catholic university . Georgetown’s origins have been traced back to 1634 though efforts to create the Roman Catholic college did not begin for over 100 years. Georgetown was one of the very first post colonial higher learning educational centers combining spirituality and education to advance personal, educational, and career goals. During 1817, after 12 years of Jesuit affiliation, the university gained its federal charter and awarded its first bachelor degrees. During 1844, the university assumed the name “The President and Directors of Georgetown College” and received its first corporate charter. During 1851, the university’s Medical School was founded. Georgetown has grown to instruct over 7,000 undergraduate and more than 8,000 post graduate students. Georgetown offers four degree programs, thirty professional certificates, and non-degree courses. Georgetown has opened campuses located in Italy, Turkey, and Qatar, and extended many of its degree programs to online students. During 2011, Georgetown began offering an online master’s degree in nursing to students balancing job or family responsibilities while pursing educational and career goals. Georgetown’s online nursing degree program ranks top in comparison to other colleges and features web based technologies delivering the university’s quality instruction, clinical experiences, and online class sessions with faculty and classmates. Georgetown’s Nursing@Georgetown online program includes courses like: advanced health assessment, research methods, bio-statistics for health care providers, research evidence and best practices, professional aspects of advanced nursing, primary health care of the family, advanced concepts in physiology and pathophysiology, biomedical ethics, healthcare policy, and pharmacology, Georgetown’s University and School of Nursing began offering nursing degrees after it was established in 1903. As one of the oldest nursing schools, Georgetown provides its online and on campus students one of the top nursing degree programs accredited by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education, Commission On Collegiate Nursing Education, and the Accreditation Committee for Midwifery Education. Georgetown is one of the top universities offering students the knowledge and skills necessary to promote health, prevent disease, and assess and manage common, acute, and chronic illnesses to expand educational, career, and personal goals necessary for future success.

Click here for more information regarding Georgetown University’s online nursing school

5. Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University was founded during 1873 on a 330 acre campus within Nashville, Tennessee by church leaders of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Originally called Central University, the university was initially established i 1873 to train regional ministers but due to lack of funding, development was delayed. One year later, shipping and railway entrepreneur “Commodore” Cornelius bestowed the university with a $1 million dollar endowment and was renamed Vanderbilt University. During 1875, over 200 students enrolled in Vanderbilt’s first degree programs and Landon Garland was named chancellor of the university. Garland expanded faculty and oversaw the educational development of the university. During 1906, Vanderbilt was one of the first schools to create the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) to provide higher education to students within the discipline of nursing. Vanderbilt was the first of five universities to earn the Goldmark Report from the Rockefellar Foundation during 1923. Vanderbilt quickly expanded to become on of the most prestigious schools within the U.S. Presently, Vanderbilt has an enrollment of 12,000 students from over 90 countries within four undergraduate and six graduate schools. Vanderbilt is home to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the only trauma medical facility in central Tennessee, and is closely affiliated with many research centers, off campus medical clinics, and the Dyer Observatory. Vanderbilt has extended it’s academic excellence to over 70 majors through on campus and online degree programs accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Vanderbilt provides one of the top educational experiences to nursing students who can not attend on campus instruction due to family or job responsibilities. Nursing students seeking to advance personal, educational, and professional goals may find Vanderbilt’s highly rated, National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission accredited online nursing programs offered at Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt’s online nursing program allows students to learn, manage, and prepare for the latest innovations in the field of healthcare. Courses like: research methods for advance nursing practice, healthcare delivery systems, research methods for advanced nursing practice, integration and application of advance nursing practice, critical thinking, organizational dynamics, leadership, transitions to the advanced practice role, health informatics, healthcare financial management, management strategies for health care systems, health care management of populations, health care management transitioning, and management practicums provide students with an educational foundation to complete a graduate degree and expand career potential within one of the most highly selective, world renown educational institutions.

Click here for more information regarding Vanderbilt University’s online nursing college

6. Kent State

Kent State University was founded in Kent, Ohio, during 1910 as a teacher training institute for public school instructors by the Lowry Bill. The school was named in honor of William S. Kent, who gave the school its first 53 acre parcel of land originally used for its first campus. As the only state university named after an individual, Kent quickly grew under the leadership of its first president, John Edward McGilvrey. Originally named the Ohio State Normal College at Kent (or the Kent Normal School), the public research university enrolled its first students during 1912 within temporary locations throughout regional cities until on campus buildings were constructed. Serving from 1912 until 1926, McGilvrey provided fourteen years of service, oversaw the construction of the campus and ambitiously expanded development of the university. Classes were held on campus started in 1913 and one year later, 34 graduates participated in the university first commencement. During 1923, McGilvrey faced opposition from other state funded universities and officials and a “credit war” resulted during which Ohio State University and other colleges refused to transfer student credits this led to McGilvrey’s termination three years later. Despite opposition, the university had the largest enrollment in comparison to any other U.S. school during 1924. Five years later the school was recognized Kent State College with the addition of its school of arts and sciences. During 1935, Kent State added business administration degrees and graduate programs with permission granted by Governor Martin L. Davey. Kent’s campus expanded and enrollment increased significantly during the 1940s and well into the 1960s when the college created the multi-billion dollar Liquid Crystal Institute. In 1970, Kent’s campus was the sight of tragedy when an armed gunman shot and killed four and wounded nine protesters during an anti-war rally over the U.S. invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. In response to the shooting, many colleges nationwide shut down their campuses to prevent similar incidents. Kent closed its campus and held classes within professors’ home, public areas, or through the mail or telephone exchanges to allow students to finish the semester. The university reopened and months later created the Center for Peaceful Change (now called the Center For Applied Conflict Management) and began offering the first ever degrees in Peace and Conflicts and Studies and Conflict Resolution in 1971. During 1973, the University of Akron and Youngstown State University created the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine with Kent and created the first medical consortium in the world. Cleveland State later joined the College of Medicine and it quickly became world renown for its advances in research. Presently, Kent has an enrollment of over 41,365 students with eight campuses located in Ashtabula, Burton, East Liverpool, Jackson Township, New Philadelphia, Salem, and Warren, Ohio. As the second largest university in Ohio, Kent offers over 300 degree programs including one of the best online nursing degree programs. Kent’s University College of Nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Kent offers one of the top rated online nursing degree programs for students who have already attained their bachelor degree and are seeking their master’s degree. Courses like: information and patient care technology for professional nursing practice, inquire and research for professional nursing practice, concepts and issues for professional nursing practice, leadership and management for professional nursing practice, health promotion for professional nursing practice, population based nursing for professional nursing practice, health and maintenance and restoration for professional nursing practice, health care policy, and a clinical coursse for professional nursing practice which allows students to apply theories learned in classes with hands on experiences.

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7. Drexel University

In 1891, Anthony J. Drexel, a well known philanthropist and financier, founded the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry within Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Drexel established the private institute committed to providing the best coeducational studies offering “practical arts and sciences.” Within twenty years, Drexel expanded and offered a variety of some of the best degree programs available to students, including a cooperative educational program combining classroom studies with work experiences. Drexel’s Co-op program consists of a full time, eighteen month work experience within Drexel’s network of 1,600 non-profit, corporate, or governmental employers within 28 states and 25 international countries. Drexel presently offers over 70 full time undergraduate degrees and over 100 masters, doctoral, and professional programs. Drexel extended its studies to international students and those unable to attend on campus courses by providing its first online degree program during 1996. Drexel’s programs were extended an online degree programs with the launch of Drexel University Online in 2002. Drexel Online is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and offers one of the best, award winning online degree programs guaranteed to help students with job or family responsibilities meet their professional and educational goals. Drexel was the recipient of the Sloan-C award for its “demonstrably high quality” online programs during 2010 and presently has an enrollment of 8.000 online students. With over 90 certificate, associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degree programs and is an excellent choice for individuals seeking a nursing degree. Drexel’s RN to BSN online program is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and provides students with one of the top online educational experiences available online. Courses include instruction organized within three tiers with courses like: developmental or lifespan nursing, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, communications, computer science, economics, ethics, advanced physiology, pathophysicology, pharmacology, statistics, nursing informatics, transformational leadership, genetics in nursing and health, issues in aging and longevity, health assessment and promotion for diverse and vulnerable populations, global health and policy issues, and science, technology and health.

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8. University of Massachusetts

The University of Massachusetts (UMass) was founded during 1863 within Amherst, Massachusetts under the federal Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act. Originally called the Massachusetts Agricultural College, the university enrolled its first students during 1867 to provide “agricultural, mechanical, and military arts” instruction to regional individuals seeking higher learning. As first president of the university and professor of botany, William S. Clark led U Mass with strong ambition, overseeing construction of the campus, appointing faculty, and welcoming its first 50 students. Since its first class graduates, UMass has grown to be New England’s largest public university and a forerunner in research and academic excellence. UMass began offering one of the very first adult bachelor degree completion programs during 1971 when it developed The University Without Walls. in the years since, U Mass has expanded to enroll over 27,000 students with a 1,174 member faculty of 1,174. U Mass offers some of the best online and on campus degree programs available with over 86 undergraduate and 72 graduate programs. Students with family or job responsibilities seeking to advance education in the field of nursing may find one of the top online degree programs through U Mass programs. Courses in: health informatics, advanced health assessment, advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, biostatistics, health policy, finance, and ethics, identifications, interventions, and evaluation of quality improvement for improving outcomes, mental and psychosocial health of the urban family, primary care of adults, primary care of the family, role of the advanced practical nurse, complex health problems in primary care, and primary health care of children, adolescents, and young adults assist students in advancing personal and educational goals. Courses offered through U Mass’ online nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and The American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Click here for more information regarding University of Massachusetts’ online nursing degree program

9. University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago (also known as UIC) is presently a public research university founded by the state within Chicago, Illinois. Originally founded as a one of several private health colleges during 1867 by a state issued land grant. As one of several health colleges, including the Chicago College of Pharmacy, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Columbian College of Dentistry, the college became officially incorporated with the University of Illinois in 1913. As medical research and medical training expanded, the university developed other health science field and began the Chicago Professional Colleges of the University of Illinois and created a temporary branch campus within Chicago originally named the Chicago undergraduate Division. In 1935 the university officially opened its Chicago campus within the Near West Side community of the city and began offering courses beyond its original student veteran enrollment . Additionally, UIC is the largest medical school within the U.S. and is considered one of the largest research universities within the world. As the demand for university education was great, the university quickly gained university status in 1951 and began construction on its permanent Chicago campus. The campus was named the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle and enrolled its first students during 1965. The university quickly hired faculty with strong research backgrounds, developed its graduate programs, and gained worldwide attention. The University of Illinois consolidated two campuses during 1979 and established the University of Illinois at Chicago by 1982 which promoted the university’s standard of educational excellence. Presently the UIC offers 74 bachelor degrees, 77 master degrees, and 60 doctoral degrees within its 15 colleges to over 27,000 students. Individuals who can not attend on campus courses may participate in one of the top online degree programs available through UIC Online. UIC online offers a variety of certificate and graduate programs for students seeking nursing degrees with courses in: health care data, introduction to health informatics, health information management, medical sciences and human pathophysiology, information sources in biomedical and health information sciences, communications skills in health informatics, ethics and legal issues in health informatics, knowledge management in healthcare organizations, health information systems analysis and design, forensic nursing science, health, environment, and systems, issues of advanced practice in nursing, applied pharmacotheraputics, biological basis of disease, physiologic basis of nursing practice across the adult lifespan, administrative nursing models, nursing systems operations management, financial resource management for nursing decision makers, occupational health nursing, health management in primary care, developmental, behavioral health and interventions with youth, biological basis for women’s health and perinatal nursing, and population focused interventions in primary care. UIC’s online nursing programs offer students one of the best educational experiences accredited through the American Nurses Association Credentialing Center.

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10. Sacred Heart University

Sacred Heart University (SHU) was founded within Fairfield, Connecticut as a Catholic university during 1963 by Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis. As the Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Curtis established Sacred Heart as the first Catholic educational institution with faculty consisting of entirely lay people to offer a faith based educational instruction to regional men and women. With innovative programs based in American Catholicism, the university quickly established its academic excellence with affordable instruction through independent and local Catholic faculty, and a unique learning environment. As the second largest Catholic university located within New England, SHU quickly developed its four colleges, the College of Arts & Sciences, John F. Welch College of Business, College of Education and Health Professions, and University College. Sacred Heart extends courses to a diverse, 6,000 member student body, within 40 degree programs at bachelor’s master’s, and doctoral levels. Sacred Heart provides non-traditional adult students and those with family or work responsibilities the ability to advance educational goals while maintaining present commitments through online, evening, and weekend classes. Sacred Heart provides one of the top online degree programs available to students seeking higher education in the field of nursing. Students interested nursing programs through Sacred Heart’s online instruction participate in courses like: health care policy and ethics for contemporary nursing, principles of health care research for contemporary nursing practice, evidenced based practice for quality care, family and community context for health care, advanced pathophysiology, patient care services administration, health care information systems, care management and resources across the continuum, health care information systems, disease management and outcomes assessment, strategic leadership for patient care services, management of human resources emphasis, patient care services administration, pharmacology, disease management and outcomes assessment, and a clinical specialization practicum. Sacred Heart’s online programs are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, with the university’s nursing programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

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Recommended Nursing Programs:

  1. Grand Canyon University
  2. Kaplan University
  3. Walden University
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