WCU online programs earn “Best Buy” national rankings

by Jun 21, 2013COMMUNITY sgadugi0 comments

CULLOWHEE – Four health-related online degree programs at Western Carolina University have received high national rankings in affordability and “Best Buy” designations from the distance education information clearinghouse GetEducated.com.

WCU’s program that allows registered nurses to enhance their educations by earning bachelor’s degrees in nursing, known as the RN to BSN, ranked No. 1 in affordability out of 30 accredited online bachelor’s programs in nursing that were evaluated nationwide. On a list of 44 online master’s degree programs in nursing that were examined, WCU’s nurse educator program ranked No. 2 and the nurse administration program ranked No. 5.

“Western Carolina University is a national leader in developing critical educational lifelines for nurses,” said Vicky Phillips, founder of GetEducated.com. “Its online nursing degree programs are delivering high-quality, low-cost health care education where it is needed, when it is needed, to seasoned RNs and nurse educators.”

A 2012 study published in the American Journal of Medical Quality predicted the nation will face a shortage of registered nurses through 2030, especially in rural areas where educational opportunities remain limited. WCU offers “a best practices paradigm for the way universities of the future can act now to drastically reduce the shortage of RNs and nurse educators in underserved areas across the United States,” Phillips said.

In addition to the high ranking earned by the three nursing programs based out of WCU’s School of Nursing, the university’s master’s degree program in health sciences, housed in the School of Health Sciences, ranked No. 3 out of 64 online master’s programs in health sciences that were evaluated. The program is intended for students with a health-related education, business or clinical background, or for those seeking careers in healthcare or health services-related industries. The program requires 33 credit hours.

Students in the RN to BSN program complete 24 hours of online core courses, eight hours of upper division online electives and two clinical rotations that, upon approval from clinical instructors, may be completed wherever students are located.

The nurse educator program consists of 38 to 39 semester hours, depending on whether the thesis or scholarly project is chosen. It prepares nurses for the role of nurse educator with competencies in three educational areas: academic educator, staff educator and patient educator.

The nurse administration program prepares nurses for the role of nurse administrator with a focus on culturally and linguistically appropriate services. Students in the program complete a thesis or scholarly project, pass comprehensive exams and complete 40 to 41 semester hours of coursework.

WCU’s online master’s programs in project management and human resources, and its online bachelor’s program in criminal justice, also have previously been listed as “Best Buys” by GetEducated.com. “Western Carolina University offers an impressive bevy of affordable online degrees for the working professional,” Phillips said.

For more information about WCU’s online programs, visit distance.wcu.edu or call 866-928-4723.