Accelerated Nursing Degree Programs

By Melanie Ullman
Accelerated nursing degrees have become increasingly popular, especially for those practicing nurses interested in boosting their career – and income. Accelerated nursing programs offer the opportunity to advance your professional standing without having to leave your job to attend school.

In the nursing profession a registered nurse is at the top of the pyramid. There are certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses. Registered nurses are often in charge of assigning tasks in a hospital or medical situation. Being a registered nurse can be a rewarding and challenging career. Registered nurses can work midnight shifts, head up emergency room trauma teams, and be on call for 24 hours or more at a time. This responsibility comes with a commensurate pay scale. Many well trained registered nurses can pull down salaries approaching six figures with overtime and specialty training.

If you have a care taker nature and enjoy helping other people improve their quality of life a career as a registered nurse would be an excellent choice. Finding the right registered nursing program would be the next logical step for you. There are several different career paths to get to the registered nurse level.

If you wanted to get started in your career more quickly then the associate’s degree in registered nursing is the program to choose. This program takes between two and three years to complete and it will allow you to secure a job that will often allow you to continue taking classes towards your bachelors degree in registered nursing with the added benefit of tuition reimbursement.

Starting in a regular college and continuing to graduation with a nursing degree will take about four years as long as you are able to get all of the advanced classes and nursing prerequisites in the order you need them by your senior year. And a nursing diploma is acquired after attending a nursing school for three to five years. Once you have achieved any of these degrees you must take the national nursing exam called the NCLEX-RN. Requirements for licensing in each state are slightly different and you may be required to take the local NCLEX-RN to practice in that state. Before moving to another state inquire with the state board of nursing as to what kind of certification you need before starting work in your new state.

The average salary of a registered nurse in the United States is a little over $57,000 and the middle fifty percent of salaries range from $47,710 to $69,850. Even nurses fresh out of college or nursing school will start at over $40,000. This is a great starting salary given today’s economic environment with so many other people out of work and taking lesser jobs with lower pay just to pay the bills. Because there is a shortage of registered nurses and many are expected to retire over the next few years, many health institutions are offering signing bonuses and other perks to attract new nurses.

I have yet to hear of mass layoffs of nurses any where as they are the first line of care in many medical settings. There are some hospitals that even offer full time benefits and salary to nurses who are willing to work three 12 hour work shifts a week (three on and four off). There are even online nursing classes you can take to convert your associates to a bachelor’s degree.

Accelerated nursing degree programs have become so popular because many working nurses want to continue moving up the ladder. An accelerated degree is the key to moving your career ahead without sacrificing your income, something many working nurses are not in a position to do.

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