Nurses have many options when it comes to nursing degrees. In addition to a large selection of nursing schools nationwide, nurses have several different career paths available to them, all of which can be accessed with the right nursing degree.
Faster and more affordable degree programs may last one to two years, while more advanced programs last four years or more. The level of degree attained affects salary, daily job roles, and future advancement.
Nursing Degree Coursework
Most nursing programs involve similar coursework at their core. Although different programs feature additional, more advanced classes, nursing degrees generally cover course subjects such as:
- Nursing Practices
Classes related to the role of nursing may depend on the degree level sought, as more advanced nurses take on roles that expand beyond bedside care. However, all nurses learn how to work with patients in a number of settings, and how to properly care for and treat a wide range of conditions.
In addition to coursework, many nursing degrees feature hands-on training in a clinical setting. During this time nurses may learn in a simulated clinical environment, or work under the direct supervision of actual nurses and care practitioners. This allows students to experience the role of a nurse firsthand, adding practical value to a nursing degree.
Different Types of Nursing Degrees
There are primarily three levels of nurse degree, which relate to various levels of career advancement:
- Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) – An ADN degree is an entry-level program that generally takes between two and three years to complete. These programs include core coursework in nursing in addition to hands-on training in simulated or actual clinical settings. Most nurses with ADNs can begin entry-level nursing work upon graduating, and can becoming licensed. Many nurses choose to continue their education toward a BSN degree, often through RN-to-BSN programs with the help of their employers’ tuition reimbursement plans.
- Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) – Unlike an associate’s degree, a BSN degree can take up to four years to complete. In addition to core nursing coursework and clinical experience, those pursuing a BSN degree receive general education in courses such as communications, mathematics, general life sciences and even business, leadership or critical thinking. Bachelor’s-level nursing degrees open the door to management and supervisory positions, and other advanced nursing roles. In addition, nurse administrative and teaching positions often require bachelor’s nursing degrees.
Which Degree is Best?
In general, bachelor’s degrees and other advanced degrees in nursing offer superior opportunities for advancement, while associate’s degree programs are faster and more affordable. The right degree depends on a nurse’s chosen career path.
According to the Health Resources and Services Administration’s 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, the most popular path into nursing is the ADN degree, followed by entry-level employment while working towards a BSN. While this may be challenging for some, making use of an employer’s tuition reimbursement plan can relieve some of the cost of a BSN program.
For some, though, a career working bedside directly with patients is the primary appeal of becoming a nurse.
Upon graduation, the first priority for most nurses is to become licensed. Nurses must first become licensed at the national level by passing one of two exams:
- The NCLEX-PN for LPNs and LVNs
- The NCLEX-RN for RNs
In addition, every state requires nurses to become licensed at the state level by passing a state licensing exam. More information about specific state requirements can be found on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website.
Becoming certified is another option for nurses upon graduation, as certification can enhance employability and provide several career benefits. Though certification is voluntary for nurses, many employers prefer to hire nurses who have achieved some form of certification.
Nursing Degree Programs Enrolling Now
Since 1946, Lincoln Tech has been helping students achieve professional success through personalized career support and hands-on, job-specific education. Our in-depth training programs are designed to meet the changing needs of today’s tough job market, and cover a variety of fields, including: Health Sciences, Information Technology, Spa & Cosmetology, Automotive Technology, Welding, HVAC and Electrical.
What sets Lincoln Tech apart from other schools? Quite a few things, actually; our training programs emphasize experiential, interactive learning activities – that means you’ll do the job before you take the job. Plus, our Certificate, Diploma and Associate degree programs are designed to accelerate your entry into the job market by offering a shorter length of training, so you may be earning valuable on-the-job experience before many of your peers do.
But our strengths go beyond that. Our Lincoln instructors possess a combination of seasoned teaching skills, subject matter expertise and real world experience. Plus, we’ve built working partnerships with important industry contacts in your area. So when you graduate, we’ll help you find a good position and start your career off right.
When it comes to choosing a post-secondary educational institution, keep this in mind: our dedication to your success sets us apart from the competition – and the specialized, career-focused training you’ll receive at Lincoln will set you apart from yours. Lincoln Tech offers flexible daytime and evening programs to accommodate your busy schedule. Financial aid is available for those who qualify and Career Placement assistance is available upon graduation.
- Iselin, NJ (Edison)
- Nursing (Practical)
- Medical Assistant
Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.
At Keiser University, you will find a warm, friendly community with faculty and staff truly committed to your success. Our small class sizes, individualized attention, and one-class-at-a-time schedules create a positive learning environment where you can excel. Whether your goal is to prepare for a new career or to advance with your current employer, Keiser University is designed around your needs.
h3. Keiser University Advantage
- Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degree programs
- Day, Evening, and Online Classes
- Financial Aid to Those Who Qualify
- Job Placement Assistance Available
- Military-friendly, scholarships for qualified active duty personnel, Veterans, and dependants. Yellow Ribbon program participant, approved for Veterans training
Programs and delivery format vary by campus. Courses are subject to change.
Keiser University’s programs and curriculum remain in-line with technology and workforce trends, helping you develop the skills and qualifications necessary to succeed in today’s job market. Our career-focused programs make it possible for you to graduate in less time than you may think.
Keiser University is a private, not-for-profit university.
- Pembroke Pines
- Ft. Myers
- Port St. Lucie
- New Port Richey
- Ft. Lauderdale
- Daytona Beach
- Master of Science in Nursing
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Online Only)
- Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
- Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Associate of Science in Nursing
- Master of Science in Nursing (Online Only)
- Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- FastTrack Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- BS in Nursing (RN to BSN Bridge) (Hybrid)
- Associate of Science in Medical Assisting (Hybrid)
- Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) (Hybrid)
- Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner
- Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences - Pre-Physician Assistant Concentration
College of Westchester
Since 1915, The College of Westchester (CW) has focused on the career success of its students. CW’s academic programs are carefully designed to provide the skills and competencies most desired by employers. Our campus environment is highly personal and our culture centers on service to students. CW faculty is selected based on experience, credentials and a caring attitude to bring real world knowledge to the classroom. The College’s technologies and web-enhanced learning tools give students anywhere, anytime connectivity to courses, professors, classmates and services. The College of Westchester offers an exceptional experience that can lead to a lifetime of achievement and success.
- White Plains
- Medical Assistant Management - Associate
West Coast University
For over 100 years, West Coast University has been educating and helping prepare students to enter the workforce and make a difference.
Each day, medical techniques and technology take impressive strides forward. At West Coast University, our objective is to stay at the leading edge of the health care industry, helping prepare graduates for a career in health care that is responsive to the demands of the community and the global society.
Our goal is to help each student grow professionally and personally, becoming highly skilled professionals and health care leaders. Along the way, we provide a dynamic educational experience that we hope will be memorable and truly enjoyable. We look forward to meeting you!
West Coast University is institutionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). The University’s nursing programs are programmatically accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Accreditation serves as an indicator that an institution is committed to delivering a quality education by providing external and objective review.
1 (WSCUC) 985 Atlantis Avenue, #100, Alameda, CA 94501, 501-748-9001, www.wascsenior.org
2 (CCNE) 655 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20001, (202)887-6791 www.aacn.nch.edu/ccne/reports/accprog.asp .
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- LVN/LPN to BSN
Find out where the future can take you with an outstanding college education. At Platt College, you’ll find the career-specific programs and training for the careers you really want. Come explore a variety of career paths that fit your lifestyle in a positive learning environment that combines real-world experience with small, private college instruction. Classes are conveniently scheduled during morning or evening hours to work around outside employment commitments. For working adults, Platt’s curriculum offers a way to continue earning a living while studying for a new career.
- Los Angeles
- Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
- Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing (LVN)