Nurse Practitioner Program Online or On Campus?

There are endless options for students seeking a nurse practitioner degree.  What are the benefits and drawbacks of online nurse practitioner programs?  Is an online or campus based nurse practitioner program the best option for you?

Benefits of Online Nurse Practitioner Programs:

  • Flexibility.  Online programs are great for nurse practitioner students with kids, students who work and students who enjoy a flexible schedule.  If you are looking for an online nurse practitioner program for the felxibility, make sure the online classes are completed on your own time rather than being completed in “realtime” on your own computer.
  • Save Time.  Completing a nurse practitioner program online will save you hours of time each week.  You will not have to commute to campus, you can skip the question and answer portion at the end of each class and do things around the house rather than waste time during classroom breaks.
  • Comfort.  It can be nice to wake up, not have to get ready in the morning and leisurely go through your day in your own home rather than be pressured to wake up early and be on time to class.

Drawbacks of Online Nurse Practitioner Programs:

  • Lack of a social network.  If you attend all of your courses online, you will not meet other nurse practitioner students.  The social aspect of a nurse practitioner program is enjoyable and also helpful.  If you don’t know anyone in your nurse practitioner program you will not be able to easily ask questions of other students and may miss the companionship you could have otherwise had throughout the program.
  • Not knowing your professors.  Professors and nurse practitioner faculty members are good references for future employers.  If you don’t know your faculty members, you won’t be able to use them as references.

Is there a way to have the community aspect of a campus based nurse practitioner program while still having the flexibility of an online program?  Yes.  Many nurse practitioner schools offer hybrid programs which include a blend of on campus and online coursework.  This allows nurse practitioner students some flexibility while still allowing them the benefits of a campus based program.  ThriveAP’s 2012 Guide to Nurse Practitioner Programs gives information about what type of program each nurse practitioner school offers and will be able to assist you in the process of choosing the best option for you.