Consider Nursing Degree Levels And Specialties
It’s also important to decide which degree level makes the most sense for you because you may spend an extensive amount of time pursuing your degree, depending on how advanced it is. A lower-level degree may take less time to complete and may be enough for your career goals. Once accepted by an accredited nursing program, focus on your top two or three choices to help guide your career. Possibilities for specialties include registered nurse, cardiac care nurse and certified registered nurse anesthetist.
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What Is The Order Of Degrees In Nursing
Nurses can earn degrees at all different levels from undergraduate programs to advanced options to prepare them for many types of nursing specialties and focuses. Some nursing degrees by educational level include:
- Associate Degree in Nursing
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Master of Science in Nursing
- Doctor of Nursing Practice
With each nursing degree level, you may have an opportunity to point your career in a direction that interests you and boost your earning potential.
Associate Degree in Nursing
Earning an associate degree in nursing is a great way to begin your nursing education and become a registered nurse , even if you plan to level up in the future. Typically, associate degrees take two years to complete, meaning you’ll have an opportunity to take the National Council Licensure Examination sooner. Thats the licensing exam that deems a person competent to practice as an RN, said Dr. Sonya Blevins, associate dean of nursing at SNHU.
Once you have achieved licensure, you can begin practicing. When you’re ready to earn your bachelor’s degree in nursing, you can always bring credits from your ADN to a transfer-friendly 4-year nursing school.
So, Can You Be an RN in Two Years?
The short answer is: yes. Most associate degrees take 18 months to three years to complete, and bachelors degrees typically take four years. Its possible to accelerate both, depending on your schedule and any transfer credits you may have.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Diploma And Associate Degree In Nursing Program Specialties
RNs with either a diploma or ADN can attain a limited number of career specialties and certifications, the most common being the licensed practical nurse or licensed vocational nurse . LPN and LVN are used interchangeably across the United States the title of the role will vary per state.
LPN/LVN education can take 12 months to complete and covers a wide variety of topics, though you have an option to gain further certification through a state organization. The program will most often combine coursework and supervised clinical practice at a hospital or vocational school, and subject prerequisites may be similar to those of the ADN.
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Choosing The Right Nursing Degree For You
The two most basic ways to become a nurse are through either earning a Licensed Practical Nursing license or as a Registered Nurse license. Both licenses prepare you to perform nursing duties, but the two licenses are different.
Its important you understand that while there are different degree programs you can choose, becoming a nurse is ultimately about what type of license you haveyou can have a Bachelors degree, for instance, but you will still need to pass the NCLEX to earn an RN degree. We’ll cover the differences between the following primary types of nursing degrees:
Advanced Nursing Degree Options
A graduate-level nursing degree is not a requirement for entering the field. However, at some point during your career, you may decide to return to school to pursue a masters or doctoral degree in nursing. Either of these options will enable you to develop advanced clinical skills and acquire in-depth nursing knowledge.
You can put your advanced skills and knowledge to good use improving patient outcomes. Graduate degree holders are also better equipped to step into leadership roles within healthcare organizations, inspiring those around them to take proactive measures to improve healthcare delivery. In addition, registered nurses who hold masters or doctorate degrees are better qualified to pursue high-level positions that offer lucrative compensation and personal satisfaction.
Grand Canyon University is known for excellence in nursing education. Explore our many nursing degree options, including the Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing , as well as our graduate-level programs. Begin working toward an exciting career in healthcare by clicking on Request Info at the top of your screen.
1 Retrieved from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic Career Outlook, Registered Nurses, in February 2021.
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Which Nursing Degree Is Which
Academic degrees can prepare you for nursing licensure or help you advance your career. Heres the rundown:
ADN: an associate degree with a nursing concentration. Also called ASN or AAN , these are granted by community or junior colleges. A full-time credit load takes about two years to complete. This degree prepares you to take the RN licensure exam and work as an RN.View ADN Programs
BSN: a bachelor of science with a nursing concentration. This undergraduate degree can be obtained from a college or university with a nursing program. A full-time class load takes about four years. A BSN prepares you to take the RN licensure exam, enables you to work in many professional roles and settings, and acts as a springboard to a graduate education.View BSN Programs
BAN: a bachelor of arts with a nursing concentration. Less commonly offered in colleges and universities, a BAN curriculum focuses more on liberal arts or humanities. You typically take the same nursing courses as BSN candidates, but your electives may be in subjects such as history and literature. With regard to advancing your education or profession, there is essentially no difference between BSN and BAN.
MSN: a master of science with a nursing focus. This graduate degree prepares you for a specific career path in nursing, such as a nurse practitioner, anesthetist, clinical specialist, educator, or researcher. You can complete a masters program in about two years with a full-time credit load.View MSN Programs
Lpn/lvn Certificate Or Diploma
A licensed practical nurse certificate is a nondegree diploma offered at vocational schools, community colleges, and sometimes at hospitals themselves. In Texas and California, this role is known as a licensed vocational nurse .
Both LPN and LVN programs prepare you to work under the supervision of RNs and perform the following key duties:
- Take vital signs
- Change wound dressings and insert catheters
- Assist with tests, sample collection, and procedures
- Administer medication and injections
- Improve patient comfort
In addition to clinical applications, youll also learn about general medical topics that include anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and emergency care. Specialty certifications in areas such as IV therapy, long-term care, pharmacology, and breastfeeding support are also available.
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Dual Master’s Degree Programs
Who is it right for? Nurses who want advanced leadership or healthcare administration roles
If you know that you want to one day become a hospital CEO or a Chief Nursing Officer, you may want to consider a dual master’s degree in nursing program. With these, you can earn an MSN at the same time as you earn a more leadership-focused degree like an MSN/MBA, or an MSN/MHA — Master’s in Healthcare Administration. You can also earn an MSN/MPH if you want your career to take a public health route.
Bachelors Degree In Nursing
Career Outcomes: Registered Nurse
Some Registered Nurses choose to pursue their Bachelors in Nursing, due to the advanced skillsets they can achieve in a longer-term program. A Bachelors in Nursing can also qualify Registered Nurses for expanded job opportunities in the field. For example, BSN-educated nurses are more qualified for leadership positions, and can apply for certain jobs .
There are different pathways you can take to earn a BSN degree. For those new to college and just starting out in the nursing field, a traditional, four-year bachelors degree program is the best option. For those who have a degree in a non-nursing major, an accelerated BSN program may also be an option for you. If you are already a Registered Nurse, you may pursue a fast-paced RN-to-BSN program, which takes 16 months or less to complete.
While associate degree programs cover the clinical components and fundamentals of nursing, all BSN degree programs go beyond the basics. Because of the added time investment in school, you can expect to take advanced classes in topics like Public Health Nursing, Professional Nursing Leadership, Nursing Research, and Healthcare Policy. These areas of study will enable you to tackle larger roles in the nursing field, to make an even greater impact on the healthcare system, and may even advance the quality of care provided to your patients. Additionally, a BSN degree can make you eligible for higher salary potential.
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Pursue Additional Training Progress Your Nursing Career
For some this may not be necessary, but for others with specific career goals in mind, this may be a great option. In the field of nursing, much like other professional industries, further schooling often results in senior-level employment opportunities, higher salaries, and greater responsibility. Fortunately, there are many options for advanced degrees in nursing. Be sure to take a look at GMercyUs own Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.
Doctorate Degrees In Nursing
Doctorates are terminal degrees that prepare nurses for the highest-level jobs available. Programs typically take between three to six years to complete, depending on both your intended degree as well as your previous experience and coursework.
Those looking toward leadership positions in the clinical setting may opt to become a Doctor of Nursing Practice . A DNP is a practice-oriented degree that focuses on advanced theory and leadership, and it can qualify nurses for top healthcare executive jobs. There are two kinds of DNP programs:
14. BSN to DNP: Nurses with a BSN can achieve both their MSN and DNP in one program.
15. MSN to DNP: These nursing degrees are geared toward MSNs seeking more advanced training in a specialty area.
For those interested in the academia or research tracks, there are also Doctor of Nursing Philosophy and Doctor of Nursing Science programs.
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Rn Degree Requirements By Employer
The first step to becoming a registered nurse is to complete the educational requirements that are dictated by the state in which you wish to practice, as these requirements will determine whether or not you are eligible for licensure. But it is also important to note that individual employers can, and often do, have their own requirements when considering applicants.
For example, in the state of Massachusetts, and especially in the Boston area, many hospitals will only consider RN applicants who have earned at least their BSN, even though the state only requires an associates degree.
For this reason, earning your bachelors degree in nursing is likely to offer you the greatest benefits in terms of employability compared to earning your ADN. By earning your BSN, you will increase the number of employers that would be interested in hiring you, even if your state only requires an associates degree. Additionally, having earned your BSN will make it easier to practice in a different state should you ever decide to move.
What Degree Do I Need To Be A Nurse
Healthcare jobs in general and nursing jobs in particular are enjoying robust growth in the U.S. economy. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate for registered nurse positions through 2029 is projected to be 7%.1 That rate is much faster than average, which is great news for students who are thinking of enrolling in a nursing degree program. The specific type of nursing degree you should pursue depends on your circumstances. There are various degree pathways for entering the nursing field.
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Nurse Leadership And Administration
Healthcare organizations need experienced nursing leaders to help them navigate changes in technology and the healthcare landscape. An MSN in Nurse Leadership can help you advance to a variety of management roles, from overseeing a nursing unit to leading the entire nursing department. Possible job titles in nursing administration include Chief Nursing Officer, Director of Nursing, or Healthcare Manager. Learn more about how to become a nursing administrator and what it takes to reach the upper levels of the nursing profession.
Employment for health services managers and executives is expected to grow by 20 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS data also shows that medical and health services managers earn a median annual wage of $99,730. Discover the average salary for nurse administrators and clinical healthcare managers across the U.S.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
Nurses who earn their Master of Science in Nursing can become advanced practice registered nurses . These nurses have all sorts of options when it comes to career choices. They can work independently as well as in collaboration with physicians, according to the BLS.1 They can perform all of the duties of an RN as well as more extensive tasks like ordering and evaluating test results, referring patients to specialists and diagnosing and treating ailments.
For a better idea of how these nurses fit in the healthcare system, see this handy breakdown the American Nurses Association offers to highlight the four types of APRNs: nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists.
There are a few other notable career paths MSN nurses could pursue outside of these APRN roles. One option is to become a nurse educator and help train the next generation of nurses. Another possibility is to advance into leadership positions, like becoming a director of nursing.
How to become an APRN: The first step toward becoming an advanced practice registered nurse is becoming an RN. MSN programs typically require candidates to first have an RN license, with most preferring a BSN degree as opposed to an ADN or Diploma, according to the BLS.1
- Projected employment growth 1: 45 percent
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Adn Vs Bsn Job Responsibilities
Because ADN and BSN nurses are both RNs, the basic job responsibilities will not differ, although BSN nurses may have the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities, or move into more advanced positions.
ADN vs BSN Job Outlook
The BLS notes that the job outlook for RNs as of 2019 is 15%, which is faster than the average career. BSN-prepared nurses are expected to be more in-demand than associates degree-prepared nurses, however.
What Degree Do You Need To Be A Nurse Laying Out Your Options
By Kirsten Slyter on 02/17/2020
Many consider nurses the backbone of healthcare. The public trusts nurses more than other professionsrating them as having high ethical standards for the last 17 years, according to the Gallup Ethics Poll.1 Theyre in demand, they can work in a variety of settings, and best of allthey make a tangible difference every day.
With all this in mind its easy to see why you might be seriously considering a nursing career. But as youve started researching nursing related roles and credentials and the alphabet soup that comes with them, things can get confusing fast. You just want a simple answer for what education it takes to become a nurseand we can help spell it out.
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Bsn Level Nurse Salaries
How much you earn as BSN nurse is dependent on factors such as where you live, your employer, number of years of experience, your specialty track, and more. The median annual wage for RNs in May of 2018 was $71,730, according to the BLS. The median annual salary for those working in government was $78,390, while the highest 10% of RNs earned more than $106,530.
As of 2018, BLS statistics show that registered nurses employed by pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry earn more than nurses in any other industry, with a mean annual wage of $95,400.
Bachelor’s Degree In Nursing Programs
While RNs can begin working with as little as an ADN, practitioners often choose to earn a BSN or complete RN-to-BSN programs due to the advantages a bachelor’s degree provides in the nursing field. For instance, an ADN focuses on the technical skills RNs require, while a BSN provides knowledge and skills that prepares graduates for leadership roles.
BSN programs include liberal arts coursework, which explore ethics, legal issues, informatics, and emphasizes research. BSNs also provide vital skills, including critical thinking, compassion, excellent communication, and organization. Core coursework includes anatomy, social and behavioral sciences, and science technologies. This degree also offers ample hands-on experience through clinical coursework.
Students can access multiple test preparation programs. However, nursing programs typically provide NCLEX-RN preparation. BSN coursework allows graduates to consider higher levels of nursing degrees, including an MSN and a DNP. Earning a BSN also leads to more employment opportunities. For instance, RNs with a BSN qualify for unit management positions and specialty nursing roles.
Hospitals often participate in the Magnet Recognition Program offered by the American Nursing Association. This program recognizes institutions that align their nursing goals to produce the best patient outcomes and this includes hiring highly trained professionals.
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Bachelors Degrees For Nurses
Bachelors programs offer more advanced training than entry-level programs, and thus offer greater career and financial opportunity. These nursing degree programs typically require four years of study, though the time may be reduced for those coming in with nursing coursework and experience. Bachelors programs require both general education and nursing coursework alongside clinical hours. The options for bachelors degrees include:
4. Bachelor of Science in Nursing : This pre-licensure degree is designed for those intending to enter the field with a bachelors degree. Earning a BSN will qualify a nursing student to sit for the NCLEX exam.
5. LPN to BSN: LPNs can earn their bachelors degree in as little as four semesters through an accelerated track.
6. RN to BSN: This post-licensure degree is for ADN and nursing diploma holders who want to obtain their bachelors degree in an accelerated program.