Updated April 13, 2022
You want to start a career in nursing, but you actually don’t know where to start or what you’ll need. The nursing profession can be a demanding field, so you need to prepare yourself to be the best for nursing school.
There are different types of degrees you can apply for, but the first step is to figure out which one you’re best suited for. You’re in the perfect place; in this article, you will learn how to get your degree in nursing.
Maybe you have dreamed of becoming a nurse since you were little, or perhaps you just started developing that passion over the years. Whatever the reason is, you want to reach your goal and become a nurse practitioner. However, like any other health career, it’s very demanding, so you need to be 100% motivated on what you want.
We have many years of experience working with nursing students of all types, and we have learned from them what it takes to get a nursing degree. You should keep in mind that there are different levels of nursing degrees, where you can pursue anything from a Diploma in Practical Nursing to a Post-Master’s Certificate.
If you are feeling a little confused about where to start your nursing career or just asking yourself what your next step should be, after reading this article, you will have a clear mind and choose the most suitable option for you.
What Are The Different Types Of Nursing Degrees?
Nowadays, the number of people applying for a Nursing program is rising. According to a survey of 900 nursing schools by Kaiser Health News, in 2020, Nursing Schools saw a 6% increase in bachelor’s nursing degree enrollment to 250,856 students.
Nurses definitely play an essential role in the healthcare system, but they are not all on the same path.
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, it’s most commonly completed at community colleges and vocational schools, and 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 receive emergency procedures, primary care and clinical skills, and infection control training. With this certificate, you’ll also learn how to provide essential healthcare services and help patients with their daily activities like taking a patient’s vital signs, recording data, and changing bedding. If you are a non-traditional student, you can choose to pursue an online nursing degree, but there must be an approved location where you can perform the requested clinical practice in person.
What Are You Able To Do With A CNA Certificate Certificate?
After completing the program 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 where you can work with patients under the supervision of a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse. This will depend on your state laws.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Nursing Assistants held about 1.4 million jobs in 2020. Here are some health care facilities you can start developing 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 hospitals. The difference between CNA and LPN is that LPN certificates add more knowledge about the body and healthcare treatment since the program includes general medical topics like anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and emergency care 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 since the credits from a non-accredited one will make you ineligible to transfer to a higher degree.
If you want to know more about nursing school accreditation, you can read our article Nursing School Accreditation – Why it Matters.
What Are You Able To Do With A 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.
If you are looking for more info, check out this article, NCLEX: 7 Essential Facts You Need to Know About the Exam.
Passing this exam means that you are eligible for a nursing license.
Also, you can start applying to different healthcare organizations such as:
3. Associate Degree in Nursing
The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is the minimum level of a degree requirement to become a registered nurse (RN). If you are planning a long-term nursing career, an ADN might suit you right. This degree program is offered in community colleges and different 4-year colleges, and it takes around two years to complete.
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 such as:
What Are You Able To Do With An ADN Degree?
With an ADN, you will be able to take the NCLEX-RN, which is an educational requirement for RN licensure in all U.S. states. Most commonly, nurses with an ADN work at hospitals; however, there are many different places you can work in, for example:
4. Bachelor of Science in Nursing
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a complete four-year college 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, particular skills related to patient care, laboratory testing, designing treatment plans, and even getting a particular specialization in nursing.
You also have different ways to pursue your BSN, from traditional programs to those that are fast-track. If you want to learn more about their differences, here’s our article: Accelerated vs. Traditional BSN Programs: Which Is Right for You?
What Are You Able To Do With A BSN Degree?
With a BSN, you will have gained so much knowledge and experience that it will allow you to pursue a wide range of job opportunities so that you can apply to other non-traditional roles of nursing, such as:
5. Master of Science in Nursing
A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is the highest step of a nursing degree and the most demanding one since it is specifically designed for nurses who want to tailor their careers to a specific leadership position.
A Master of Science in Nursing takes four years to complete. Still, suppose you have an RN or BSN. In that case, 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.
What Are You Able To Do With A 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:
Are you ready to become a nurse?
Being a nurse is challenging; however, it’s also one of the most rewarding and vital roles.
It’s a demanding profession, but it’s worth it if it’s your goal. It’s the job of a lifetime, and honestly, it’s hard to find a reason not to encourage you to start your career in this field. You can do everything possible to be a successful nurse; you just need to find the right educational path for you to take.
There are a lot of different ways to become a registered nurse. Your first step is to determine which route you want to take. Some people even go the traditional route and go through four years at a university to get a bachelor of science. Others go to nursing school.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s the most suitable option for you and what you want for your future.
Gradehacker is happy to help you with all of your college doubts and make your student life more manageable with our services. You can learn more about nursing education-related topics with the following articles: