Types of Nursing Degrees: Looking to acquire a degree in the nursing profession as a student or you are already a nurse? Do you need another degree to elevate your status? Just read!

Types of Nursing Degrees

Nursing is a hastily changing field mostly due to the great need for health care from a population that is increasing.

At the zenith of a nursing career are nurse practitioners who frequently maintain an MSN or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.

While this role requires the most education in order to be qualified, it is the best paying. Also, it is the quickest-growing profession in nursing with a greater percentage.

In particular, college students who are thinking about a profession in nursing need assistance. This is to sort through the many types of nursing degrees.

For nurses and college students who aspire to great management roles, the profession can be overwhelming. This article will help students differentiate the characteristics of a number of nursing degree programs and certificates.

Which Nursing Degree is Right for Me?

After determining to pursue a nursing career, a student’s first query is, which type of nursing degree is proper for me? The three classes of nurses with everyone is acquainted are explained better below;

1. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)

Compulsorily complete a training program that lasts for a year. It includes courses in anatomy, pharmacology, maternity, adults, etc.

2. Registered Nurses (RN)

Registered nurses must complete a two-year associate degree, a three-year Diploma of Nursing, or a Bachelor of Science.

The RN curriculum covers topics such as care for children and older adults, dosage calculation, nurse informatics, and community health nursing.

3. Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)

Typically earn a Master of Science (MSN) degree after gaining one to three years of practical nursing experience.

These sets of nurses possess a curriculum that features courses in advanced pathophysiology, clinical pharmacology, health assessment, etc.

Nurse administrator courses include concepts in nursing leadership, nursing informatics, nursing theory, and scientific inquiry for evidence-based practice.


Types of Nursing Degrees

The type of nursing degree you choose depends on the type of services you’d like to provide, the type of atmosphere you like, or the cash involved.

Also, there are several other factors to consider too, like how much time it may take to complete a program and the financial aspects of the program.

1. Nursing Diploma and Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) Programs

One way to set the ball rolling in your career in nursing is to enroll in an undergraduate nursing program. The most common type is a diploma.

An associate degree in nursing program is another type of nursing degree for the undergraduate nursing program.

Both of these programs furnish you with the required knowledge and training that you will need in your daily routine duties as an RN, but differences abound.

While ADN graduates receive a college degree after the full completion of their program, nursing diploma graduates do not.

However, if a diploma student’s program is affiliated or connected with a college or university, the student may receive college credit for certain courses.

This is only useful for those who wish to later pursue an ADN in that particular institution.

How to Enroll in the Nursing Program

Compulsorily, you will need to have a high school diploma or GED certificate to enroll in a nursing diploma program.

The subject combination for an ADN or diploma program varies from one institution to another. This may include microbiology, anatomy, as well as science-related subjects.

2. Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN)

This type of undergraduate degree is designed for students who desire to possess a bachelor’s degree in nursing and does not require any prior nursing experience.

It thoroughly prepares students to work in a broad range of nursing roles in campus classrooms as well as clinical working experience in healthcare centers.

It is a combination of theory and practice which may take up to a period of four or five years depending on the institution.

Students who undertake a  BSN from a four-year university or college typically attend a majority of their courses on campus for the first part.

The second part is performed in healthcare facilities for the students to have first-hand experience. However, some universities offer shorter programs that take as little as 36 months. You may choose to enroll if you have an ADN.

BSN programs combine liberal arts education with a variety of nursing courses and clinical experience. Examples of nursing courses include community health, psychiatric care, and pediatric care.

How to Enroll in a BSN program

You will be required to possess a high school diploma or GED certificate to enroll in a BSN program. Each institution has its own set of regulations for BSN candidates.

Some institutions may ask BSN applicants to take a basic medical theoretical examination, while others may require just some specific subject combination.

Depending on your career goals and timeline, a couple of options exist for earning a BSN, including:

Second-Degree BSN: Second-degree BSN programs are ideal for individuals who are not nurses but have a bachelor’s degree and want to transcend into the nursing profession.

While many universities offer classroom programs, online options are available for students who need more scheduling flexibility.

No matter which path you choose to undertake, expect the training process to be very challenging.

3. Master of Science in Nursing

BSN-holders in nursing who desire to undertake a specialized area or management position may often think of working towards getting another type of nursing degree which is MSN.

Such degree programs typically involve one to two years of additional coursework depending on the area of specialization.

An MSN is an important prerequisite you need to attain to become an advanced practice nurse who would naturally have more clinical authority than others.

You also need a specialized master’s degree for many mid-level provider positions, such as nurse educator.

How to Enroll in an MSN program

There are different ways to earn your MSN depending on what type of degree you already hold or what stage you are in your nursing career.

If you have your ADN, you may qualify to enroll in an ADN-to-MSN program, which takes the period of three to five full-time years to complete.

A BSN-to-MSN program is another option. These types of nursing degrees typically take 18 to 24 months to complete. You will need a BSN for admission.

A similar type of fast-track nursing program is an entry-level MSN degree called a Direct-Entry MSN program.

These programs are for non-nurses with bachelor’s degrees designed to help them build on their knowledge for the future.


4. Doctorate Degrees in Nursing

A doctorate degree in nursing is the highest type of nursing degree one can earn, and typically takes four to six years.

Before you can become eligible to enroll in such a program, you must first have a bachelor’s and sometimes, a master’s degree.

You have two options for pursuing a doctorate in nursing: a (DNP) and a Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc, also a DSN or DNS) or a Ph.D.

The primary difference between the two is one is more practice-based while the other is research-based.

A DNP program focuses on organizational management, systems leadership, and clinical-practice administration.

This and other such programs are ideal for those who want to pursue advanced roles including nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, etc.

A DNS or Ph.D., on the other hand, focuses on scientific inquiry and evidence-based nursing practice and prepares nurses interested in pursuing other areas.

Prerequisites for admission to a DNP program will vary by institution. The type of DNP program you chose to enroll in may also dictate that.

There are BSN-to-DNP programs as well as ADN-to-MSN programs that prepare you to transition into a DNP program. Universities may ask applicants to present a current RN licensure, professional references etc.

A DNP program can take anywhere from four to six years to complete depending on the program. To complete the program, you will be required to write a dissertation based on an original research project.

Requirements to Get a Nursing Degree

The requirements in order to get a nursing degree vary from one institution to another. This is accompanied by the kind of degree an individual will like to venture into.

Also, you need to consider your intellectual capability and the area you would function absolutely well as this profession is very delicate because it focuses on life.

However, a minimum of a certificate from your college or a high school degree is what you need to kick-start your nursing profession. This is before looking out for the types of nursing degrees.

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