Nursing is one of the only industries that does not depend on the market or the economy to keep steady jobs. In fact, it is also one of the only careers that a person can get into with simply a two-year Associate’s degree and earn a decent living. While a two year degree is the only real requirement for an entry-level nursing position, it is becoming more and more popular of an option to go back to college to earn a second degree in the form of a Bachelor of Science in nursing through accelerated second degree nursing programs.
It’s important to note this option does take time, money and a commitment to your studies.
There are, however; many accelerated second degree nursing programs that are offered completely online for students who already hold an ASN. These types of programs offer students the ability to complete an additional college degree without ever stepping foot into a classroom; giving them opportunity for a better job and a higher salary.
Why Go Through Online Accelerated Second Degree Nursing Programs
There are many reasons to go back to college. When a nurse makes the decision to go back to school for their BSN, they can take two years off of work and get farther into debt, or they can go to school online to earn their degree on their own time in just a little over a year. Just a few of the benefits to an accelerated second degree nursing programs online include:
- Better career opportunities both during the program and after graduation
- Higher salary and better benefits that go along with the additional career opportunities
- Study on your own time and at your own pace
About Accelerated Second Degree Nursing Programs
There are many things that make an accelerated second degree nursing programs attractive to nurses who already hold an ASN. The main thing is that students can study on their own time, before work, after work and even on a lunch break during work. This way, students can maintain their current employment while attending college.
In fact, some employers will even pay for their nurses to go through accelerated second degree nursing programs just so that their nurses have the higher education they need. Additionally, the accelerated second degree nursing programs offer the BSN in just 12 to 18 months, as opposed to two or more years that it would take through the standard programs.
Downsides to Online Accelerated Second Degree Nursing Programs
There are downsides to this type of accelerated second degree nursing programs , just as there are downsides to any other program. For instance, for those who do not have any self-discipline or cannot put forth the effort to study on their own time, they should avoid the online programs. On the other hand, students who can successfully take on the program on their own time and make time for their studies tend to do very well with this kind of program.
Another downside to the program is the financial aspect. The accelerated second degree nursing programs tend to cost much more than the standard courses although when you attend an accredited online university, you are entitled to the same federally funded financial aid as you would find in a traditional college campus. You are also still eligible for the same scholarships that are available for nursing students so the overall cost of the education can be comparable to that of one who attends a traditional college.
Accelerated Second Degree Nursing Programs: Potential Salary
It is a common thought that nurses’ tend to have a higher average salary than most other professions although there are many variables that come into play when determining salary. First of all, when a nurse has only a two year ASN, they are stuck being a float nurse or a nursing home nurse. It is very unlikely to be qualified for a specialty nurse position when only the lower degree is held. The average salary for the nurse who has an ASN is typically around $20 per hour although when the nurse goes through a program for their second degree, this salary has the ability to climb up to $37 per hour before any overtime or specialty is factored in.
When any nurse goes through a bridge program or second degree program to earn their BSN, they are also eligible to start in a specialty. These specialties can include emergency medicine, internal medicine, surgery, OB and even NICU depending on the department that the nurse wants to work in. Each of the departments will help the nurse to get additional credit hours needed to become certified although this cannot be started until the BSN is earned. Once the specialty is earned, the nurse can see their average salary skyrocket up to $70,000 per year. This salary alone makes the additional education pay off.
The accelerated second degree programs for nurses provide existing nurses with the opportunity to better themselves, to get that better position with their current employer and to earn that higher salary that they strive for. While there are pros and cons to this type of program, there are pros and cons for every type of program; it all boils down to the personal style and personality of each individual student to determine for themselves if this is the program for them.