Pre-nursing degrees are ones that allow students to take general education classes before nursing school. Online degrees are offered at both Associate’s and Bachelor’s levels and introduce students to the basics of nursing. These distance learning programs combine online coursework with a minimal amount of on-site studies. These degree programs are great for those wanting to get an introduction to nursing before having to commit to nursing school.
Pre-Nursing Associate’s Degree
The Associate’s degree Pre-Nursing program is open to students possessing a high school diploma or GED. The programs usually take two years to finish if completed on a full-time basis. Some of the pre-nursing classes students take in this program are:
- Medical terminology
- Human development
Most coursework is completed online but some work must be done in-person at a local medical facility near the student. This is due to the fact that some pre-nursing programs have students obtain vital statistics and this simply cannot be done online. Online courses are completed using the following technology:
- Audio files
- Video files
- Web conferencing
- Blackboard virtual classroom
Students taking pre-nursing classes should have a reliable computer with internet access, e-mail and a current web browser. Those who take classes through video conferencing should also have webcams, microphones and appropriate software.
Pre-Nursing Associate’s Degree Courses
Pre-nursing classes at this degree level are usually introducing basic nursing concepts. Some common courses taken are:
- Biomedical ethics
- Human anatomy
Students learn about such topics as cells, immune systems, genetic engineering and euthanasia, human organs and their functions.
Pre-Nursing Associate’s Degree Careers
Most students who complete an Associate’s degree move on to a Bachelor’s degree program. Those who do not can find employment as nursing aides or nursing assistants. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes excellent job growth for nursing aides through 2018. Average yearly salaries for nursing aides are near $25,000.
Pre-Nursing Bachelor’s Degree
Entry to these programs is very competitive and requires students to possess a high GPA in pre-nursing studies plus pass a background check, drug test and physical exam. If accepted the emphasis is on advanced nursing classes and clinical work. General education classes as well as other nursing classes are completed prior to beginning the clinical phase.
Students in pre-nursing are expected to complete clinical rotations while being supervised by licensed nurses. The online portion of the program can have classes being delivered by such means as:
- Real-time virtual classes
- Audio files
- Video files
Students can interact with professors and other students via e-mail, online discussion boards or live chat sessions. A computer with high-speed internet and appropriate software is also necessary.
Pre-Nursing Bachelor’s Degree Courses
Students in these online programs learn about many aspects of nursing including:
- Community health
Students learn about such topics as health care in schools and organizations, health issues of newborn and young children, stages of aging and caregiving to the elderly.
Pre-Nursing Bachelor’s Degree Careers
Upon completing a Bachelor’s degree pre-nursing program students enter the workforce as registered nurses or choose to continue their education by pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or move on to Master’s level studies. Those graduates becoming registered nurses are encouraged to take the National Council Licensure Examination. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics RN’s will have extremely fast job growth through 2018. The average annual salary for registered nurses is $64,000.