Before heading into your education to become a nurse, you first have to consider what kind of nursing degree you need from institutions that have passed accreditation.
These educational degrees include the hands-on training and the coursework required to pass the courses.
Here are some of the available degrees:
A Diploma in Practical Nursing (PN) is the entry-level educational credential for pursuing a nursing career.
Diploma programs can be considered the fastest way to jumpstart your nursing path.
The Practical Nursing Diploma is usually offered by community colleges, hospitals, and vocational colleges. These programs cover vocational training, emergency standard procedures, and personal care.
They teach fundamental nursing skills and focus on the most practical requirements, featuring procedures and knowledge needed in a nurse’s day-to-day duties.
As a result, these programs do not run very long and can be completed quickly, especially if you are studying full-time.
The typical length of the program: 12 months (1 year)
Associate Degree in Nursing
An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is a tertiary education undergraduate nursing program.
Community colleges and nursing schools offer this ADN program. Some programs may require prerequisite courses in natural science subjects.
These degrees teach a more comprehensive range of skills. They focus on the foundations of nursing and other specialized fields of study. The training required in the curriculum focuses on exposing the student to multiple specializations.
The typical length of program:24-36 months (2-3 years)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a tertiary education undergraduate nursing program. You can take this straight from high school – you do not need an ADN to qualify.
Universities typically offer bachelor’s degree programs. The BSN degree is widely accepted in many nursing fields.
The bachelor’s degree includes a range of required units in mathematics and natural sciences, like chemistry and microbiology, alongside nursing theory and training.
Typical length of program: 36-48 months (3-4 years)
Accelerated Nursing Program
Perhaps you’ve already taken an undergraduate degree and taken many core courses in previous semesters that should be transferable to another degree.
The Accelerated Nursing Program could be an option for you.
The accelerated BSN program could stretch out longer for part-time students.
Since you are catching up on subjects not taught in your original undergraduate degree, you may find this course quite intensive.
However, after the course, you will be equipped with the same knowledge as nursing undergraduates in the market.
The typical length of the program: 12-24 months (1-2 years)
If you have received these beginner degrees, you can upgrade your knowledge to either a Master of Science in Nursing or a Doctoral Degree.
However, you can pay attention to the next step later in your experience.
What are the Kinds of Nursing Credentials?
When you have finished your education programs in nursing, you will be able to pursue a career in nursing.
While there are several different requirements to become a nurse in every country, and in the case of the US, every state, there are available lengths and conditions that you need to achieve before becoming a full-fledged nurse.
Here are some of the basic entry-level roles in nursing:
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is technically not a nursing position.
However, it plays an equally important role in the healthcare system and provides an excellent experience for those who want to become registered nurses.
The primary responsibilities and tasks of a CNA are caring for, bathing, monitoring patients, and checking in on patients’ vital signs and day-to-day health concerns.
CNAs usually find employment at hospitals and nursing and long-term care facilities.
To become a CNA, you need to acquire a state license to practice.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is a nurse specializing in patient care.
The main responsibilities and tasks of an LPN are bathing, feeding, and assisting patient movement, keeping records of patients, changing bandages, monitoring blood pressure, handling blood and urine samples, and relaying patient physical and mental health concerns.
LPNs are typically employed at hospitals, physicians’ offices, home health care, and nursing facilities.
To become an LPN, you need to graduate with a nursing diploma.
You also need to pass the NCLEX-PN and acquire a state license to practice.
Registered Nurse (RN)
A Registered Nurse (RN) is the most typical kind of nurse due to the comprehensive employment and range of responsibilities they are trusted with within the healthcare settings.
An RN’s primary responsibilities and tasks are assessing patients, administering medications and treatments, performing diagnostic tests, operating medical equipment, and liaising with the patient and their families about concerns and health medication.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs are typically employed at hospitals, physician offices, home health care centers, outpatient care centers, and nursing facilities.
To get an RN license, you need to graduate with a nursing diploma, an Associate degree, or a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. You also need to pass the NCLEX-RN and acquire a state license to practice.
From here, there are a lot of specializations that you can complete to level up your career.
For example, RNs can aspire to become Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRNs).
You can go into fields like pediatrics.
This usually requires completing a Master of Science in Nursing program (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice program (DNP).
Here are some of the careers in store for those who want to pursue a master’s degree like an MSN program or DNP program:
- Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Nurse Anesthetist (CNA)
- Nurse Midwife (CNM)