How To Get Your Degree In Nursing?

How to Get your degree in nursing
Nayreth Garcia

Nayreth Garcia

Content Writer At Gradehacker

Updated March, 2023

How To Get Your Nursing Degree

If you want to become a professional nurse, knowing how to get your nursing degree is important. 

After all, the nursing profession is a very demanding field, so you need to prepare yourself for the best nursing school.

At Gradehacker, we are the #1 non-traditional student resource. We have many years of experience working with nursing students like you and have learned from them everything that comes along when getting a nursing degree. 

We know that are a wide variety of levels of nursing degrees. You can pursue anything from a Diploma in Practical Nursing to a Post-Master’s Certificate, and in this blog, we’ll guide you on what can be the best for you!

What Are The Different Types Of Nursing Degrees?

Nowadays, the number of people applying for nursing courses is constantly rising. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics  the employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 6 percent from 2021 to 2031 and that, on average, about 203,200 openings for registered nurses are projected each year for the next decade.

And in accordance to this, The State University of New York announced that this year had been awarded more than $1.4 million from its Nursing Emergency Training Fund to expand campus healthcare graduate programs for students interested in pursuing a nursing career. The goal is to grow the state’s healthcare workforce by 20 percent over the next five years.

It’s pretty clear that the registered nurse job outlook is on the rise.

Nurses definitely play an essential role in the healthcare system, but they count on a variety of healthcare paths.

There are 5 types of degrees in nursing:

Let’s go over each one in detail now.

1. CNA Certificate or Diploma

CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant and it’s most commonly completed at community colleges and vocational schools. 

It’s the first level or step you need if you want to get into the nursing field quickly since the entire academic program has a duration of 4 to 12 weeks.

You will learn:

If you are a non-traditional student, you can choose to pursue an online nursing degree. 

Just make sure you have an approved location where you can perform the requested clinical practice in person with the best nurse educators for you!

What Are You Able To Do With A CNA Certificate Certificate?

After completing the program in nursing and getting your certificate, you will qualify to take the CNA exam.

Since you’ll have training in primary healthcare, you can start applying for jobs to work with patients under the supervision of a licensed practical or registered nurse. This will depend on your state laws.

Here are some healthcare facilities you can start developing your professional goals as a nurse with your CNA Certificate:

2. LPN Certificate or Diploma

An LPN is a Licensed Practical Nurse certificate that you can earn at technical schools, community colleges, and even some clinical experience at hospitals.

The difference between CNA and LPN is that LPN certificates add more knowledge on nursing theory for your profession about the body and healthcare treatment.

This program in nursing includes general medical topics like:

With this type of degree, you will achieve your nursing goals in a timeframe of 12 to 18 months.

With an LPN certificate, you will be able to:

If you plan to earn an advanced degree, it’s important that you get your LPN from an accredited nursing program. The credits from a non-accredited one will make you ineligible to transfer to the next levels of nursing degrees.

Here you can learn more about Nursing School Accreditation and why it’s so important!

What Are You Able To Do With an LPN Certificate?

After you have the LPN certificate in your hands, you’ll be qualified to take the National Council Licensure Examination, better known as the NCLEX-PN.

Passing this exam means that you are eligible for a license and finally start your nursing profession!

Also, you can start applying to different healthcare organizations such as:

If you’d like to learn more about NCLEX Exam, we have a blog and a video providing all the information you need!

3. Associate Degree in Nursing

The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is the minimum nursing degree level required to become a registered nurse (RN).

If you are planning a long-term nursing career, an ADN will suit you. This two-year program is offered in community colleges and different 4-year colleges.

ADN programs have more complete courses in anatomy, biology, and also physiology since you will need the experience of an RN to develop more challenging procedures for your professional nursing practice, such as:

What Are You Able To Do With An ADN Degree?

With an ADN, you can take the NCLEX-RN, an educational requirement for RN licensure in all U.S.

Most commonly, nurses with an ADN get professional experience at hospitals; however, there are many different places you can work and practice skills, for example:

4. Bachelor of Science in Nursing

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a complete four-year degree especially designed for RNs who aspire to obtain higher roles in the healthcare system and higher salaries.

With a BSN degree, you will have to learn more about specific areas like anatomy, chemistry, and particular skills related to:

You also have different ways to pursue your BSN, from traditional degree programs to fast-track ones. 

We created an article about Accelerated and Traditional BSN Programs so you can know wich one accommodates to your needs.

What Are You Able To Do With A BSN Degree?

With a BSN, you will have gained so much knowledge and experience in clinical hours that it will allow you to pursue a wide range of job opportunities.

You can apply to other non-traditional roles of nursing, such as:

If you want more information on how you can get an online BSN degree faster, check out our video!

5. Master of Science in Nursing

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is the highest step of a nursing degree.

Is the most demanding one since it is specifically designed for nurses who want to tailor their careers to a specific leadership role.

A Master of Science in Nursing takes four years to complete. Still, you are supposed to count on having an RN license or having done a BSN coursework.

You have the option to start your MSN in a fast-paced program that is very demanding. Whether it is RN to MSN or BSN to MSN, you’ll get your Master’s in a shorter time and learn from the best nurse leaders.

What Are You Able To Do With an MSN Degree?

After getting your MSN, you will be able to work as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). It will open many job opportunities not only in the first line of healthcare but also in healthcare management positions.

Here are some big job opportunities you can apply for:

If you want to pursue an MSN online degree but are worried about not meeting the standard requirements, read our list of the best programs with low GPA requirements.

Are You Ready to Get Your Nursing Degree?

Becoming a professional nurse is not an easy task. 

Getting into any nursing program means full-time study so you can later work in the best healthcare facilities.

It’s a demanding profession, but working in the field of nursing it’s one of the most rewarding and vital roles, and it’s worth it if it’s your goal!

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s the most suitable option for you and what you want for your future.

We hope this information was useful for you! If you ever need help with your classes or are looking for the best way to earn your degree sooner, don’t hesitate to contact us.

You can learn more about nursing education-related topics here: