Nursing Education - Career Options
Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN): BSN programs are offered by colleges and universities, and most courses take four years to complete. When starting out student nurses should choose their courses carefully. Some advancement opportunities are only available to nurses with Bachelor degrees such as administrative positions. Also if you decide to enroll in a continuing education program in the future such as research, teaching or consulting, often a Bachelor's degree is a prerequisite. Additionally Bachelor's Degree graduates have training in many of the management areas of nursing such as leadership and communication, which are in demand skills for senior level nurses.
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN): ADN programs are offered by community and junior colleges. Associate Degrees take from two to three years to complete, and focus more on practical and technical skills than theory. Once qualified, associate degree graduates can become Registered Nurses in less time that completing a BSN program. Some ADN graduates feel restricted when applying for senior level positions. There are bridging programs available to upgrade your ADNs to a Bachelor's Degree program (BSN). A BSN can open more doors in a nurse’s career than an ADN.
Diploma Programs: Diploma Programs are administered in hospitals and are two to three years in duration. Before degree programs were available all nurses qualified by completing diploma courses in hospitals. Diploma programs prepare students to work in a hospital, clinic, or other inpatient facility. This is the quickest method of entering the Nursing Profession and earning a living, but your career options will be limited unless you join one of the above degree programs.
Further/Continuing Education: Once qualified, Registered Nurses can then continue with their studies and qualify to work in specialty areas by completing continuing education courses. Specialty areas include, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners, Continuing Education may help improve a Nurse’s career advancement opportunities. Master’s and a Doctoral Degrees in Nursing are also available for qualified nurses who wish to further their careers.
Certification in a specialist area is often required to apply for positions in that area. Certification is available for the four advanced practice nursing specialties, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners. National Certification is usually achieved on completion of the educational programs and in some states certification is required to practice that specialty.
Master's Degree in Nursing. A master's degree in nursing is required to practice as a specialist nurse e.g. nurse anesthetists. Master's programs are two years in duration and require the student to have a Bachelor's degree as a prerequisite. Some Master's programs require that the student has a minimum of two years of clinical experience.
Doctoral Degree in Nursing / PhD. A PhD is required for Nursing Executive Positions along with clinical research, and advanced clinical practice positions. PhD programs can take from four to six years to complete.
Find a Nursing School near you: Use the Further Your Career zip code search box, to find schools and colleges in your area that offer nursing programs.
Preview different types of positions: Search and review the different types of Nursing Jobs & Health Care Jobs posted on our jobsite, for an idea of the duties and responsibilities, education/skills required, salary and benefits associated with Health Care related, Medical & Nursing jobs in USA.
Below is a list of some of the various types of medical nurses / assistant nurses: