Make sure to avoid "diploma mills." Do your research to find a legitimate program that isn't a scam.
Your online nursing degree will be worth it if it is a legitimate program. Unfortunately, many online nursing programs advertised are really “diploma mills.” These types of programs are not worth the paper used to print the degree.
Don’t get scammed and follow these rules:
- Check out if the program is accredited by an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the Department of Education.
- Is the degree too simple? Watch out if you are told that your degree can be earned with little effort. Immediately shut down that option.
- There are unscrupulous, fraudulent degree programs that “steal a renowned name and change it a bit.” If the name sounds “fishy,” yell "next!"
- If you cannot find a physical address and only a P.O. box is listed, the online school is probably fraudulent. Make sure your online school has a physical campus.
- If the website has spelling and grammar errors, it is probably a scam. Do your due diligence.
- Legitimate education institutes use .edu at the end of their online addresses. Be wary of a program if it has a .com or .net address.
- If you call on an online program and the staff seems aggressive and urges you to make payment or take out a loan, proceed with caution. “Access to financial aid counseling is very important, and students should be very leery if they don’t have the information they need or feel like their questions aren’t being answered,” said Anne Johnson, then director of advocacy group Campus Progress.
- Check out their online presence. Research their social media following. If there is no news articles about the school, or if their website seems amateur, close it down and move on to another option.
If you find the right program that matches all the criteria, your nursing degree will definitely be worth the paper it is written on. But if you don’t feel right about the online program, don’t register.