The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is one of the best options in the country for those interested in nursing.
That's according to U.S. News and World Report, which ranked the school's online nursing graduate program among the top 10 in the country.
UNLV's program ranked 10th out of 130 reviewed. The dean of the nursing program said the ranking will lead to more opportunities for staff and students.
"This allows us to reach rural students as well as students around the country," UNLV School of Nursing Dean Carolyn Yucha said of the online master's program.
There are two tracks available to students: family nurse practitioner, which enrolls 35 students per semester, and nurse educator, which enrolls about 10. Yucha said there is great professional need for students who complete either track.
"We could increase those number if we had a larger pool of qualified applicants," she said. "[There is] a very large shortage throughout of the United States, so those students who graduate from our nurse educator track get jobs right away."
Yucha said that besides a lack of qualified applicants, the nationwide nurse shortage is due to the fact that the median age for a nurse in the U.S. is 46, and more than half of the nursing workforce is close to retirement.
UNLV instructor Bruce Leonard said nurse practitioners will be in high demand because of the Affordable Care Act. Millions gaining access to health care will create a need for more nurses.
"Nevada already has very few practitioners in the rural and underserved areas, so we are serving a great need for Nevada," Leonard said.
Leonard said online courses are the way of the future.
"It's more instantaneous. It provides students the opportunity to work on the materials any time during the day that they'd like to," he said.
Yucha said the school has plans to nearly double its online offerings in the future.
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