For those who wish to advance their nursing career, the internet has opened up a wealth of new opportunities.

Online nursing degree programs offer students the chance to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree in nursing at their own pace and on a flexible schedule. Advances in the technology used in online degree programs have made them more accessible than ever.

Why earn an online nursing degree? If you are considering the idea, the following provides some examples of why it could be time to make your move.

The Nursing Shortage

The demand for qualified nurses is large and growing. The federal government projects a substantial increase in the number of nurses between 2016 and 2026. More than 438,000 new nursing jobs will be added over that time span, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Texas, the growth could reach as much as 54 percent during that same period. Officials in Texas expect a shortage of about 60,000 nurses by 2030.

The Convenience of an Online Nursing Degree

The days of having to completely rework your schedule to attend school are gone. Online nursing degree programs allow students to schedule classwork around their lives. This is especially important for the many working professionals who must maintain a job while going to school. Now, anyone with an Internet connection can earn a degree from anywhere in the world.

The Options

Because of the flexibility of online nursing degree programs, students can choose the pace at which they earn their degree. For example, Houston Christian University offers a competency-based RN-to-BSN degree program. This allows students to move through course curriculum in which they demonstrate knowledge of the subject matter more quickly.

The Support

Many still believe an online nursing degree program leaves students essentially on their own. That’s not the case. Online programs allow students to interact with other students and professors through chat rooms and online message boards. Some schools take it even further. Houston Christian University, for example, assigns each student a Personal Success Coach who is a nurse and can offer advice and support on time management, goal setting and balancing school work with busy professional and personal lives.

The Quality

Online courses are typically accredited in the same way that traditional, campus-based degree programs achieve accreditation. And because of the flexibility and other advantages, many students prefer distance learning.

The Ability to Take Your Nursing Career to the Next Level

Earning a BSN improves both your knowledge of nursing and your career opportunities. It also opens the door to further online nursing education. Some who earn their BSN choose to go on to earn a Master of Science in Nursing. These programs prepare nurses for leadership positions in their field. They also offer graduates expertise in the latest research, healthcare technology and patient care strategies.

Earning an online nursing degree makes sense for many students. The quality and flexibility can help those who wish to earn a degree in nursing the chance to make that dream a reality.