According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “[t]here are three typical educational paths to registered nursing—a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing (ADN), and a diploma,” while licensed practical nurses must complete a one-year state approved training program. However, there are many subsets within these training categories that are not as well known. Here is a brief run down on some of these educational options.
To Become a Licensed Practical Nurse…
you must complete a state-approved training program (as previously mentioned). These programs are available at hospitals, vocational, technical schools, and community colleges. But if you would like to extend your occupational reach even further—into registered nursing, for instance—you can choose among the following nursing programs:
LPN-to-Associate’s Nursing Education Program: This nursing program helps licensed practical nurses to obtain their associate’s degree so that they can sit for the NCLEC examination and become registered nurses.
LPN-to-BSN Education Program: This nursing program helps the licensed practical nurse to obtain their bachelor of science in nursing degree in just four academic semesters. This is a significant upgrade in your nursing degree that can significantly enhance your career prospects.
To Become a Registered Nurse…
you must either obtain a 2-year associate of science degree in nursing, a 4-year bachelor’s of science degree in nursing, or a diploma degree. An associate or diploma degree in nursing will enable you to enter the nursing field much quicker than will a bachelor’s degree. However, your career prospects are better if you obtain a bachelor’s degree.
But if you only have an associate degree, don’t despair. Nursing programs exist that can help you to upgrade to a bachelor’s degree.
RN-to-BSN Education Degree Program: This nursing program (known as bridge programs) allows registered nurses to use their previous schooling and work experience as credits toward a bachelor’s degree. Typically, these programs are geared toward the working nurse and offer flexible class schedules with evening and weekend hours. According to the All Nursing Schools website, approximately 30 percent of BSN graduates obtain their degrees through participation in bridge programs.
But what if you decide to become a nurse after you finish your bachelor’s degree in a totally different field? There’s a nursing program for you, too.
Second Degree BSN Program: If you received your bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, this program will enable you to transfer the liberal arts credits that you earned to your new bachelor of science in nursing degree. This will usually allow you to graduate with just an additional 2-years of schooling.
With so many nursing programs that fit so many different educational needs, you should be able to find the perfect one that will enable you to enter the nursing field. So start looking!