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Q&A - Forensic Nursing Schools

What are the most affordable brick-and-mortar and online forensic nursing schools?

The price of tuition varies greatly between forensic nursing schools based on several factors, including whether you are paying in-state or out-of-state tuition, if the school is nonprofit or for-profit, how long the program takes and whether you are taking classes at a brick-and-mortar institution or online. In addition, 1 of the greatest factors influencing the cost of your forensic nursing program is whether you choose to get a forensic nursing certificate or a traditional or online forensic nursing degree. Certificate programs are much shorter than bachelors or masters degree programs, so they are usually more affordable.

If cost is an issue, you should consider accredited forensic nursing online schools. Some of the top schools for forensic nursing offer online-only programs, which are significantly cheaper since the university requires fewer resources, and you also save on travel and possibly housing costs. One such program is the online forensic nursing certificate program at Johns Hopkins University, a very prestigious school. The program takes 2 semesters to complete.

According to College Navigator, the most affordable forensic nursing school to get a masters is Fitchburg State University, where the Master of Science in Nursing program is entirely online and costs about $12,000 in tuition.

How can I connect with other on-campus or online students who are also studying at my school for forensic nursing?

If you are enrolled in a brick-and-mortar forensic nursing school, there is probably a nursing club that you could join. If there is no club specifically for forensic nursing students, you could either create 1 if there is enough interest or simply meet forensic nursing students within the existing nursing association. In addition, some universities have a forensics club for students of different academic backgrounds.

An example would be the Forensic Science Club at University of North Texas, which allows anyone studying forensic science to join. The members invite speakers from different forensic professions to talk to students about their careers.

Students enrolled in online forensic nursing schools may find it more difficult to connect with other students, as they will not be spending time in a classroom or on a campus. That does not mean you cannot meet other students studying the same subject in the field, though. If you choose to pursue an internship or have to complete clinical hours as part of your forensic nursing program, you are likely to meet other students studying forensic nursing at the hospital, clinic or laboratory where you will be working.

What resources should my brick-and-mortar or online school offer me when I am studying forensic nursing?

Whether you are enrolled in a brick-and-mortar or online forensic nursing school, if your program is offered by an accredited university, then you should have access to a number of resources. Perhaps the most important is a financial aid office. A financial aid counselor from your school can help you decide whether or not to take out a loan to pay for your education as well as find and apply for scholarships that you may be eligible for.

The best forensic nursing online schools should provide you with access to many of the same resources that on-campus students have, such as financial aid guidance, career services (including help with securing placement for the clinical component of your classes), counseling services and any software you may need for completing coursework. Because most forensic nursing programs include a significant clinical component, it is important that your college or university provides help in finding a clinic, hospital, lab or medical examiner’s office where you can meet your clinical requirements.

Finally, your forensic nursing school may provide you with free or discounted software and textbooks from its physical or online store. This is worth taking advantage of, as the discounts can be quite significant.

Are there any nonprofit online forensic nursing schools or programs that I could look into?

Most of the best schools for forensic nursing are nonprofit colleges or universities, and many offer online programs. One example is Fitchburg State University, which offers both an online forensic nursing graduate certificate and a Master of Science in Nursing online program. Fitchburg State University is a 4-year public university located in Massachusetts. The university is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and its nursing programs are accredited by both the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the State Board of Registration in Nursing.

Another excellent nonprofit forensic nursing program is the Master of Science in Nursing – Forensic Track from Cleveland State University, a public university. All of its nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. In addition, because Cleveland State is a large public institution with over 16,000 students, you can expect to receive all of the support and resources of a major university, whether or not you are taking classes on its campus.

Finally, University of Florida, another large public university, offers a forensic science for nurses pre-certification online program. It is designed for registered nurses who want to become forensic nurse certified consultants, and is based on International Association of Forensic Nurses guidelines.