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Earning A DNP Degree: Is It Worth It?

The DNP is commonly seen as the graduate degree for nursing professionals, and many nurses now opt to pursue this advanced post master’s degree to keep up with changes in health care and meet employer requirements. Understandably, a DNP degree isn’t for everyone – the average cost of a four-year DNP program can be upwards of $100,000, which can take decades to pay off. Still, others have noted that the rigor of the curriculum may not be worth it for those who are more interested in working with patients than teaching. Let’s see if it’s worth it.

Doing The Program Online

Nurses who are interested in keeping up with the changes in health care, but looking for a more affordable option to qualify for advanced practice can do so through online degree programs. These options still require students to take courses and pass exams – just like traditional DNP programs, all leading to the same doctoral degree. With an online DNP program, you can earn the degree without leaving your job. To earn a DNP degree through an online degree program, you can either work towards earning a Ph.D. or take classes to earn your post master’s certificate in nursing. Though these options will still require nurses to leave their current employment and relocate for at least two years while studying full time, they are often much better options for those who are more interested in working with patients than teaching – nurses with less than five years of experience often cannot teach at universities and colleges, and that’s essentially what nurse professors do. Additionally, online programs will help you avoid the cost associated with relocating to another state or country – as most DNP programs require students to relocate for two years.

The Benefits of The Program

For those that do aim to become nurse professors, there’s a lot of good news about DNP programs – first and foremost, the average salary for a nurse professor, along with benefits such as health care, sick leave, and paid vacation. In addition to receiving great benefits from their employer which allows them to focus on academics full time, many universities also provide funding for student research projects conducted by employees as well as tuition waivers.

Why It Isn’t Right For Every Nurse

There are a few downsides to keep in mind if you’re interested in earning your doctorate – for starters, not all professions require nurses that have earned a doctoral degree. Therefore you must consider whether or not this is an explicit requirement before enrolling in a DNP program. Additionally, it’s important to be aware that becoming a nurse professor which requires getting your doctorate means you’ll be leaving your current position and relocating for two years – otherwise known as an academic leave of absence. If you are considering doing so, note that this will change the dynamic of your relationships with co-workers back at your job location when you return after earning your doctoral degree.

Academic Requirements

The requirements for admission vary from school to school, but in general, most applicants must hold at least a master’s degree with coursework in research methods, have achieved high scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and have extensive practical experience in their field of study or clinical practice area. Many programs also require applicants to get letters of reference from professionals in the field who are familiar with their work and may even conduct a phone interview.

Earned DNP Degree

The Internet has changed how teachers teach and students learn. With the advancement of technology, Internet-based learning has become an alternative way to earn a Ph.D., rather than attending physical classes at school or university campuses. Online teaching programs are designed for experienced working professionals with some college education in their field who wish to advance their careers by earning a doctoral degree without leaving their jobs. Online Ph.D. programs provide flexible coursework that can be completed on evenings or weekends to fit into busy work schedules while also allowing students to complete research projects in the comfort of their own homes.

It’s important to consider your own motivations before deciding whether or not you want to earn a DNP degree – understand that in addition to requiring a large time commitment for students to complete their coursework, there is also the added pressure of having to relocate to find an employer who will allow them to teach once they’ve finished their doctorate. In light of this information, it may be worth considering getting your doctorate through online programs if you’re more interested in working with patients than teaching. That said, a DNP degree is definitely worth it if you’re dedicated.

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Medical Device News Magazine is a division of PTM Healthcare Marketing, Inc. Pauline T. Mayer is the managing editor.

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