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Don’t be surprised to learn that you may need hands-on experience to earn your master’s in nursing education degree online. When it comes to nursing, there are some skills you can’t learn strictly through studies in the classroom – whether that classroom is physical or virtual. That’s why many online master’s in nursing education programs require, or offer, a nursing education practicum.
What to Expect from a Nursing Education Practicum
How much hands-on experience for a master’s in nursing education degree do you need? It depends on the school and program you choose. Some schools require multiple practicum courses, while other programs might not require a practicum at all. Practicum requirements are often measured in clinical hours. Some of the top online master’s in nursing education programs require anywhere from 150 to 240 hours of nursing education practicum experience.
Clinical work is a critical part of many master’s degree programs nursing, not just those in nursing education, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Some practicum courses include hours gaining experience in nursing education in clinical settings, like hospitals. Others focus on nursing education experience in academic settings like colleges. Because the goal is to gain hands-on experience for your master’s in nursing education degree, you will have to be on-site at your assigned workplace. At some schools, the practicum is a course you take during your final semester. You can apply the nursing and education coursework you have learned to a real-world work environment. Other schools may have practicum courses at different times during your education.
How Nursing Education Practicums Work for Online Students
If you chose an online education for the convenience and flexibility, the idea of completing hundreds of hours of on-site work might seem daunting. Getting hands-on experience for a master’s in nursing education degree program might be a bit more complex than your online coursework. It’s not something you can do wherever and whenever is convenient for you. Fortunately, many nursing education programs work with students to place them in a practicum where they can realistically succeed, even if they are balancing other responsibilities.
For example, at Graceland University, students can avoid on-campus visits by finding a place to complete the required practicum in their own community. Ball State University allows students to choose a practicum location in their geographical region and complete their clinical hours working just two days per week, if they can’t commit to it full-time.
At many of the top online master’s in nursing education programs, all of your coursework other than the practicum can be completed online and on your schedule. However, choosing a program that requires on-site clinical hours isn’t a bad thing. Despite the short-term inconvenience, getting hands-on experience in your master’s in nursing education degree programs can better prepare you for your future career.