Despite wanting to earn a nursing degree, the high cost of college has many candidates wondering if they’ll be able to work full-time while pursuing an online master’s degree in nursing. Students unable to get a scholarship often find that working full-time is the only way it would be possible to earn the degree. Online nursing degrees offer several advantages to students who are otherwise unable to attend college. Choosing to work full-time is an individual choice that should be based on each individual’s lifestyle and circumstances. Aspiring nursing students considering working full time while earning the degree should consider these factors.

What are the Schools Financial Aid Policies?

Very few students today can attend nursing school without having to obtain some kind of financial assistance. Most students get help in the form of financial aid. It’s important to know your school’s policies regarding financial aid. Many colleges, even online colleges, require that students attend full-time to be eligible for financial aid. At the very least, many require you to complete a specific amount of credits each semester to remain eligible for financial aid. Knowing the school’s policy before applying can prevent problems later on.

What Type of Person Are You?

Nobody knows you and your personality and habits better than you. Are you self-motivated? Do you tend to procrastinate on things you don’t enjoy doing? Online master’s degree in nursing programs offer students a flexible way of learning by allowing them to do a lot of the coursework at their convenience, but it still needs to be done in a timely fashion. While online students can generally take more time to complete a program than on-campus students, they’re still required to complete it in a certain amount of time. They need to be committed to doing the work required around their job.

How Flexible is the Program?

Like most distance learning programs, online master’s degree in nursing programs are known for their flexibility. If a student is working a 9-to-5 job, for instance, the student is usually able to log onto the school’s site and do the coursework in the evenings or the weekends. Most online programs have classes that are taught asynchronously, which means students do not need to be in front of the computer during the lectures or assignments. They also allow students to take exams at their convenience. However, not all nursing programs are 100 percent online; some may be hybrid programs. Students who are considering earning an online master’s degree in nursing should check to see how flexible the program is for working students.

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Can You Do Both?

Even if an aspiring RN finds a 100 percent online Master’s in Nursing program that’s flexible and allows them to work full-time, the student should still consider if he or she can comfortably do both. Will they have the energy, motivation and fortitude to do coursework after putting in a full day of work? Will the school work begin to affect job performance? These are all things a potential online student needs to consider before attempting to do both. Although many people are able to earn a degree and work full-time, it might not be for everyone.

Registered nurses are expected to see an employment growth of 15% between 2016 and 2026 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The high demand for qualified RNs has made it a popular and worthwhile career choice even for those who have to work full-time while pursuing the online nursing degree.