Can Nursing Be Studied Part Time?

You can study nursing part-time while working. Discover how part-time RN programs work so you can earn your RN degree on your schedule.

April 2023

Yes, nursing can be studied part time! There are many part-time RN programs available to working adults who need to work while pursuing higher education. How many hours a week do nursing students study, and can you take a gap year in nursing school? Find out how you can work while in nursing school with this overview.

How do part time RN programs work?

Part-time RN programs allow busy adults the flexibility to balance work, family, and school responsibilities. This is accomplished by cutting down the number of credit hours (or classes) taken at a time. 

Unlike full-time programs that typically meet during working hours, part-time programs usually offer day, evening, and even weekend class availability so that students can find class times that work with their work schedules. 

Going to school part time means it will take longer to finish your nursing degree. This is because you’re not taking the maximum amount of credit hours per semester. 

For example, a full-time BSN student typically graduates in 4 years after taking 12 credit hours (or 4 classes) per semester. A part-time BSN student may only take 1 or 2classes at a time, prolonging the process.

But while a part-time education may take longer, there are several benefits to studying nursing part time:

  • Learn at your own pace: The accelerated rate of full-time school may not work for every student. Pursuing your RN degree 1 or 2 classes at a time can help you focus on the material with less stress. 
  • Continue making money: Part-time school means you can keep providing for your family while also building your resume and work experience. 
  • Budget your education: Rather than taking out a loan and paying for your tuition in large chunks, going to school part time allows you to make smaller, more manageable payments over a longer period of time.
  • Balance family responsibilities: Adults who care for children, aging parents, or other loved ones can make realistic progress while still supporting family members by opting for part-time studies.

Can I work while in nursing school?

One of the biggest benefits of part-time education is that you can work while in nursing school. This is especially common for working CNAs, LPNs, and other healthcare professionals looking to advance their nursing careers by becoming a registered nurse. 

If you’re already in the medical field, bringing your work experience to the school environment can be a huge asset. Unlike those learning about nursing concepts and terminology for the first time, your workplace familiarity will help you ease into the curriculum. 

Even if you’re not currently working in a healthcare role, working while in nursing school can be beneficial. Applying your workplace mentality towards your education gives you dedication and drive to succeed.

What is the best shift to work while in nursing school?

The best shift to work while in nursing school is the one that works with your class schedule. When you’re managing work and school, you'll be splitting your time and need to find balance. 

If you already work days, finding a part-time evening program would be best, and vice versa. If you have schedule flexibility and get to choose your hours, think about what time of day you’d prefer to be in class. Are you more of a morning person, or evening? Would you rather learn before work, or after? 

If you have the flexibility, try taking classes at different times to see what works best for you.

How many hours a week do nurses study?

There’s no set rule as to how many hours a week nurses need to study. Some students may come to nursing school naturally, needing only a few hours a week to stay on top of their studies, while others may need to hit the books more frequently. 

If you feel yourself struggling to understand key concepts or move on to advanced topics, you may need to up your study schedule. Tutoring is also an option for those who need additional support. 

No matter how many hours you study, developing a set study schedule will help keep you on track. Establish a set time daily or weekly to review your coursework and stay up to date on all assignments. Treat studying like a job so you never fall behind.

Can you take a gap year in nursing school?

A gap year typically takes place between degrees, such as between high school and undergraduate studies. This time is usually used to explore career options before diving into education. 

Nurses have many options while pursuing their education. Some choose to earn certifications in stages, starting with their CNA or LPN before going after their RN degree. This is a smart option for those who want to enter the workforce faster and get healthcare experience before diving into a degree program. 

Entering a CNA or LPN program before nursing school could be considered a gap year, since these certifications take months instead of years to complete. This training can help students solidify their long-term goals and map a career trajectory. 

Once you’re in a nursing program, it may be possible to take time off depending on your school. Many schools will allow you to temporarily pause your education based on your circumstances. Delaying your studies should be considered carefully because jumping back into school after taking a break can present challenges. Still, with the right support and guidance, it's never too late to study nursing!

Study nursing part time with Achieve

The first step in studying nursing is to complete your nursing prerequisites. These general education courses lay the foundation for your core nursing classes and are required to get into nursing school. Achieve Test Prep helps you pass your prerequisites in less time by utilizing the credit by exam system; we teach you how to test out of college classes so you can advance your studies part time. To learn how it works, connect with our Advisor team today.

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Move towards your education and career advancement goals in less time with a more supportive, flexible program built for busy, working adults.

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Find out how to use innovative learning solutions to finish your degree requirements faster. Why not take the next step and see if you’re a good candidate for our credit by exam program.

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