The nursing profession will bring about a lot of different career opportunities for the person who decides to jump right in. This can make it a rewarding option for so many people. Whether you are just starting out or you want to go all the way to the top, or somewhere in between, you will find that there are many degrees and careers just waiting for you.
As you start to look at some of your options for nursing, you first need to take a look at some of the careers that are offered and then move on to the degree that you need to complete in order to be successful in that role. The degree can depend on the level of nursing you would like to take on.
With so many options to choose from, it can be confusing to know where to start. Some of the different types of nursing degrees and careers that you can choose from include:
Associate Degree in Nursing
While there are a few certificates that you can get in the field of nursing, the first degree level you will notice is the Associate Degree in Nursing or ADN. This is a standard degree that you will need to become a Registered Nurse or RN. If you would like to get this type of career, you will need to complete a two to three year ADN program.
Registered nurses are going to take the time to provide direct care to their patients. they have the right licensure to treat patients, conduct health assessments, administer medications, operate medical equipment, and even coordinate some of the care plans. This is a large scope for the work they need to get done, which is why they need the degree.
These ADN programs will often take two to three years for the student to accomplish. The program will need to have a combination of work done in the classroom and in a clinical setting. During the clinicals, students will get some of the hands-on training that they need. They can then take the exam at the end and become a licensed professional.
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
This degree program will also allow for you to become a Registered Nurse, but hospitals and medical facilities will take a closer look at some of your experience and education because you spent more time getting both of them with the BSN. This one will often take closer to four years for the student to complete, but you could qualify for higher leadership positions as well.
There are a number of paths that you can take when it comes to your BSN program. For those who are new to college and haven’t completed any type of degree yet, they can do a four year program. For those who may have a degree, but it is not in nursing, there are some accelerated BSN options to help you get it done faster.
While the associate degree is going to take the time to go over the fundamentals of nursing and some of the clinical components, the BSN degree will go further than that. You will be able to take some more advanced classes and this will lead you to having the skills to tackle some of the larger roles in the nursing field.
Master’s Degree in Nursing
The next level that you can choose is a Master’s Degree in Nursing or MSN. This is a good degree choice if you would like to take on a role like a Nurse Leader or an APRN. In fact, you need a minimum of a master’s degree to be an APRN. The MSN degree is going to prepare the student for some of the advanced roles needed in medical facilities, like a Nurse Administrator.
There are several types of MSN programs that you can choose based on the exact job that you would like to take on when you are done. These programs can take from one to three years to complete. Most of the programs available are structured for students who already have the BSN degree. These assume previous knowledge so take one to two years to complete.
The type of MSN program that you decide to go for will determine the coursework that you get done. Most will be tailored to a specific area in nursing that you would like to practice in. You need to consider your career goals and then pick the exact MSN program that you would like to work on. You will need to complete a license exam after you are done with the MSN.
Doctor of Nursing Practice
For those who would like to take on a really advanced role in the healthcare field, the Doctor of Nursing Practice or DNP will be the next step. This is the degree that you need to choose if you would like to become a Nurse Researcher, Nursing Professor, or Nurse Administrator. This is an advanced degree that will take additional time and money.
The DNP degree is a postgraduate program that can help you b ready for some of the leadership positions that are available. It can take another two to four years for you to complete, but is based on the exact degree that you had before. You will gain advanced, doctoral-level knowledge of many topics that will help you take on a new role.
These professionals will sometimes go on to teach the next generation of nurses in college and medical facilities. Others will work in administration in a medical facility, determining the level of care that patients get in the future.
Choosing the Right Nursing Degree and Career
Nursing is an industry that has options for anyone who would like to start working on their career and seeing some great results. Whether you want to work as an RN or go up to the administrative level, you will be able to find a degree program and a career that works for your needs.