A Look at the Different Degree Programs for Nurses

Different Degree Programs for Nurses

As one of the most rewarding, satisfying, and meaningful career paths in the world, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of people are considering different degree programs for nurses. 

Nursing is a career choice that is not only very emotionally satisfying but can also be very financially rewarding, with generous salaries and the opportunity to boost your earnings even further by getting an advanced qualification and moving into a more senior nursing role. 

Nursing is a career path that has countless opportunities to advance and progress, whether you want to get into a management or leadership role or specialize in a certain area of healthcare. 

Different Degree Programs for Nurses

Whether you’re already working as a registered nurse or are considering a nursing career for your future, let’s take a look at some of the nursing qualifications that are available. 

1. Associate’s Degree in Nursing

An ADN is typically the minimum requirement that you will need to work as a registered nurse. Associate’s programs are available to study at colleges, nursing schools, and online. They will usually take around two years to complete and prepare you to sit the NCLEX and gain your nursing license. 

However, it is worth bearing in mind that it can be difficult to take your career any further after getting the associate’s degree in nursing. This is because the majority of advanced nursing programs now require a minimum of a BSN. 

Along with this, more employers are actively seeking out nurses with a higher level of education, which could put you at a disadvantage when finding work with an ADN. 

However, if you want to get into nursing quickly, it may still be worth considering since there are bridge programs available allowing you to upgrade your degree to a BSN while you work. 

2. Bachelor of Science in Nursing

A bachelor’s degree in nursing or BSN is quickly becoming the most popular and sought-after option for registered nurses today. It is a four-year degree that provides you with the education, knowledge, and skills required to work as a registered nurse. 

Today, an increasing number of healthcare employers will require registered nurses to have a BSN as a minimum, since more highly-educated nurses will improve the organization’s chance of being awarded Magnet status and studies have found that with just 10% more BSN-educated nurses in the workforce, patient care is drastically improved. 

Eventually, it is expected that all nurses will be required to have a BSN as a minimum qualification. This has already been put into practice in New York State, where registered nurses are now mandated to get a BSN within ten years of entering the career. There are various different ways to consider getting your BSN, including:

3. Online BSN Programs

Studying online has become a popular choice for many student nurses today. It can be especially useful if you are currently working in a different career and want the opportunity to get your BSN while fitting it around your work. 

In addition, more student nurses are deciding on an online BSN as the best option for them since it’s often cheaper overall. Despite little difference in tuition fees, being able to study from home, for the most part, means that student nurses can save significantly when it comes to commuting or relocation costs. 

4. Accelerated BSN

The ABSN program is designed specifically for nursing students who have already been to college and studied for a bachelor’s degree in another subject. 

This BSN program is the best choice for career changers who have decided that they want to do something different with their professional life and feel called to pursue a career in nursing. 

ABSN programs are also available to study online, which can make it even easier for career changers who need to find a way to work studying for a nursing degree around their current career. 

5. Master of Science in Nursing

A master of science in nursing is often the minimum required degree qualification for nurses who want to get into a range of advanced positions. With an MSN, you are qualified to work in various senior positions in nursing including advanced nursing practice roles such as a nurse practitioner along with nursing education, management, and leadership

To get an MSN, you will usually be required to have at least a BSN and in some cases, a certain number of years experience working as a registered nurse depending on the specific program you want to study and your overall career goals. 

General MSN programs are available alongside more focused, specialist MSN programs designed to get you into a role as a nurse practitioner, nurse manager, or more. 

6. Doctor of Nursing Practice

The highest level of nursing degree qualification that you can gain is the DNP. Nurses who achieve a DNP can go on to work in very senior nursing positions including nurse executive positions and nurse education for advanced nurses. 

Online DNP programs are widely available, making it easier for advanced practice registered nurses with an MSN to take their careers even further by getting this education that can be fit around their working hours. 

There are specialist DNP programs available such as the AGACNP DNP programs from Baylor University, designed to prepare nurses for senior roles working in critical care. 

7. Bridge Programs

Bridge programs are becoming more commonplace for nurses who want to get to the next level in terms of their education. 

Bridge programs that allow you to build on an associate’s degree to earn your BSN, for example, are popular among registered nurses who want the additional benefits that come from having the higher qualification, without the need to put in four years of work. 

You can also find programs that allow you to skip levels and get a higher education faster, such as BSN to DNP programs. 

The Final Thoughts

Nursing is a field with various different education options available. Within each degree program option, you can find more specialist courses that will allow you to focus your studies on preparing to work in a specific nursing career. Besides, let me know if you have any queries regarding the above information in the comment section below. 


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