Types of Nursing Degrees

When considering nursing as a profession there are a variety of different degrees that one can obtain to begin one’s career. Nurses are employed at a variety of different educational levels with all nurses requiring licensing and registration in their applicable state of professional practice. There are a number of avenues an individual can take to begin a career as a nurse.

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) also known as a vocational nurse is what some may consider the entry level area of nursing. Any one considering a career as a LPN must have a general education diploma or have successfully completed high school. Training for a position as a licensed practical nurse can usually be obtained through a community college or a vocational school, or through online LPN nursing classes. With full time study most students are able to complete training within a year. After completing a practical nursing program students must complete and pass a state licensing exam. LPNs make a decent entry level salary starting anywhere from $35,000 annually for a year’s worth of training. Licensed practical nurses are trained to provide daily living maintenance to patients, dispense medication to patients, start IVs and in some medical facilities maintain medical paperwork.

For those individuals looking for higher pay and more professional responsibility seeking licensure as a registered nurse is the ideal. A registered nurse (R.N.) completes an associate of nursing degree (A.S.N.) at a local community college. With the full time study most A.S.N. programs can be completed in two years and this includes both classroom and clinical portions of the program. Nurses with a two year degree are eligible to take the NCLEX which is the nursing certification test to obtain a license to work in their chosen state. Obtain passing the NCLEX a person is officially a registered nurse and has an unlimited amount of opportunities to work and any medical facility as a nurse. The pay for a registered nurse is higher than those of the practical nurse with starting salaries beginning as high as $50,000 a year depending on the employer. Registered nurses have the training to provide a vast amount of patient care and they can specialize in many different areas such as neonatal care, intensive care and medical surgical nursing to name just a few.

Registered nurses can further their education and receive a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (B.S.N). Many hospitals are willing to assist their registered nurses in furthering their education by offering tuition assistance and reimbursement. Likewise, there are many nursing programs that offer R.N. to B.S.N. programs to aid current nurses in obtaining their bachelors degree. For an R.N. bridging their education to a bachelor’s degree it can take anywhere from two to four years to finish the program depending on full time or part time study. For those without previous nursing experience a traditional B.S.N. program is four years in duration. A bachelor’s degree in nursing helps to expand on the clinical skills already obtained and then offers a core in nursing foundation such as the history of nursing and the application of nursing on a broader level such as in administration.

Finally, there are a number of advanced practice degrees that can be obtained by nurses with a four year degree. The Master’s of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) can be obtained in a variety of specialized fields such as nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetists. Advanced practice nurses are highly trained in their chosen areas and earn a much higher income because of the additional education and training. Most master’s degree programs can be completed in two years if attended full time.

Anyone considering becoming a nurse as a profession has a variety of pathways to pursue their career, beginning with choosing their nursing degree.

3 Responses to “Types of Nursing Degrees”

  1. Randy Nichols Says:

    I must say this is a great article i enjoyed reading it keep the good work :)

  2. Cornelius Says:

    I liked it. So much useful material. I read with great interest.

  3. Health Administration Programs Says:

    Thanks for the information. I like your post. Health care careers are growing across the board. Nursing as well as health care support, both the areas are expanding day by day. There is a good scope in this career.

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