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Right now, there is a high demand for nurses in just about all cities and regions in the United States. Nurses in the Baby Boomer generation are starting to retire, and men and women across America are enjoying greater longevity than ever before. Responsive, intelligent, efficient, and compassionate nurses are needed in today’s ever-expanding healthcare system. Meet that need and achieve career success by looking into and applying to earn a nursing degree today.

Kinds of Nursing Degrees

There are various kinds of nursing degrees that those considering a career in nursing should be aware of before beginning. The first step for many future nurses is to begin an associate degree in nursing (ADN), which is a 2-year degree that gives students the knowledge and skills necessary to become a registered nurse (RN). Upon graduation, students are required to take the NCLEX-RN examination in order to become licensed in the state where they plan to work. All nurses must be licensed in order to work in any capacity.

Another way to begin your career in the nursing field is by pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). It is not necessary to earn an associate degree in nursing before beginning a bachelor of science in nursing program, though some people do. Bachelor of science in nursing schools are found throughout the country. These are 4-year institutions whose graduates form the backbone of the entry-level jobs in the nursing field. Those who graduate from bachelor of science in nursing schools are hired more readily than those with associate degrees, especially for positions within hospitals and other highly competitive institutions. There are many of bachelors of nursing schools to choose from – start your research progress today to consider your options.

Those who graduate with an associate degree in nursing and bachelor of science of science in nursing schools will be required to pass the NCLEX exam in order to work as a licensed nurse.

There are various advantages and disadvantages to consider when deciding whether to pursue an ADN or BSN degree. What’s great about getting an ADN degree include not having to spend as much time in school, gaining more work experience in the nursing field, plus graduates are able to start making money sooner. ADN programs are also generally less expensive than BSN degree programs. The less appealing aspects of choosing an ADN degree over a BSN degree include the fact that there are fewer jobs ADN degree holders qualify for, people make less money than those who graduate from 4-year institutions, and the future may require nurses to have BSN degrees in order to be Registered Nurses (RN).

No matter how you choose to pursue a degree in nursing, whether you choose the ADN or BSN path, you won’t regret an investment of time and money in nursing school. Nurses are incredibly in-demand in today’s modern society, especially as the Baby Boomer generation enters retirement age and people are living longer than ever before. Researching ADN and BSN programs can be hard – trying to wade through all the options, weighing the pros and cons of each, and you may feel your head starting to spin.

Perhaps you’re not quite ready to commit to the time and financial investment required for an ADN or BSN program. That’s okay – you can still join the nursing profession by earning an LPN degree. LPN degree holders are not eligible to become RNs, but they assist and work under RNs and doctors.

But if students pursue a traditional ADN or BSN program, then, after passing the NCLEX exam, becoming official Registered Nurses, and working in the field for a few years, plenty of people start dreaming of leadership opportunities and further career advancement. The next rung on the nursing career ladder is completing one of the masters of science in nursing programs at a top school. There are so many benefits of masters degree in nursing, including qualifying for highly productive, lucrative positions such as:

  • Chief nursing officer
  • Clinical services director
  • Executive director
  • Management and executive roles in operations
  • Nursing director
  • Nursing manager

Graduates of masters of science in nursing programs can expect to receive a considerably high salary, especially since almost half a million nurses will be set to retire in 2022. That leaves an ideal opening for new graduates to take advantage of the many benefits of masters degree in nursing by greatly advancing their careers. Nurses will only continue to become more in-demand in the next decade, so entering any one of the masters of science in nursing programs now shows excellent judgment. Graduates have found and will continue to find that there are innumerable benefits of masters degree in nursing in the modern American workplace.

Advanced nurses who have obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in this fundamental field may be inspired to expand their skill set and credentials even further with a DNP or PhD in nursing. There are a wide variety of specialties available and plenty of impeccable DNP and PhD programs to choose from according to each student’s unique needs and interests. Give yourself an edge on the competition with a DNP or PhD degree in nursing.

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How to Pick a Nursing Concentration

All nurses who want to further their career and maximize their earning potential must specialize in a certain area while pursuing a master’s degree. Nursing majors specialties include gerontology, nurse anesthetist, midwifery, neonatal nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, orthopedics, psychiatric nurse practitioner, clinic nurse specialist. These different nursing fields make candidates appealing prospects on job applications all major US cities and towns. Depending on your interests, you’ll be able to narrow down a few masters in nursing specialties before eventually choosing one.

Some of the most in-demand and highest-paying specializations include:

By some counts, there are more than 100 different nursing specializations. As you review a list of nursing majors, you’ll most likely be blown away by all the masters in nursing specialties that are available to choose from. The only hard part will be picking just one nursing concentration to pursue for your master’s degree.

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Should I Choose an Online or On-Campus Program?

When you’re thinking about pursuing a degree in nursing, the first decision you’ll have to make is whether you want to begin a fully online program, an on-campus program, or a hybrid program.

Fully online programs are excellent for people who are busy professionals and/or have children. Students are able to easily fit in reading and study whenever they have time, whether that’s on the subway on the way to work or at 5am before getting the kids ready for school. Many online programs also incorporate opportunities for internships and mentorship programs to give students the most well-rounded, beneficial nursing degree experience possible.

Fully online nursing programs are ideal for parents, working professionals, and many others who can’t fully take a break from their day-to-day duties but still want to advance their career goals in the nursing field. There are fully online associate nursing programs (ADN) as well as bachelor of science in nursing programs (BSN) that can prepare people to take the NCLEX program to become licensed Registered Nurses (RN). A selection of the best online associate nursing programs as well as bachelor’s nursing programs can be found here.

The challenging part will be deciding which online program to pursue – there are many options to choose from according to each student’s schedule, time commitments, interests, and priorities. After securing an ADN degree online and successfully passing the NCLEX exam, RNs will be prepared for a wide range of entry-level positions in the nursing field. A bachelor’s degree can be earned in as little time as 18 months to 2 years, so students won’t have to wait long to start working in the nursing field and earning money. Looking for online nursing programs near me? Click the link above to see a comprehensive list of well-respected online nursing programs near me.

Many people also appreciate the financial benefits of studying nursing online because they won’t have to deal with commuting times and expenses associated with going to a nursing school in-person. In fact, there are some free online nursing courses with certificate that people are able to complete to advance their careers. These free online nursing courses with certificate are available to encourage students to pursue a degree in nursing and eventually sign up for paid course work. Signing up for and completing free online courses are excellent ways for nurses to stay abreast of new developments in the field without forking out a considerable financial investment.

Before selecting an online nursing program, it’s essential that prospective students verify that it’s accredited. Programs can be regionally or nationally accredited. The most respected accreditation organizations are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The ACEN accredits all kinds of online and on-campus nursing schools, whereas the CCNE only accredits programs that offer doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees. You can access a database of the best online nursing programs as well as excellent on-campus nursing schools by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and using the database here.

Fully on-campus programs are excellent for people who want the ultimate hands-on experience of a nursing program. They afford students many opportunities for internships and mentorship programs on-campus. Many people find on campus programs to be worthwhile – they require more of an intensive time investment, but that focused, hard work pays off in the long run. Nursing students find that interrupting their lives and fully focusing on a nursing degree allows them to finish their studies and start a nursing career in a much shorter period than those who pursue online nursing degrees on a part-time basis.

How about if you started a different career, but have now decided that nursing is for you? That’s when you can benefit from an online BSN nursing program for non nurses. Online nursing programs for non nurses abound online. There are plenty of accredited, unique, fascinating online nursing BSN programs for non nurses that people can take to advance their careers without considerably interrupting their daily lives. Now that the United States has a national nursing shortage, it’s the perfect time to pursue a nursing degree, even if you currently work in a different field. Expanding your skill set is an astute decision in today’s highly competitive workplace.

Not ready to commit to an ADN or BSN program? That’s perfectly okay. You can still gain the skills needed to enter the nursing field by pursuing a degree in an online LPN nursing programs. LPN stands for Licensed Practical Nurses. These professionals take care of the sick or disabled under the guidance of doctors and/or Registered Nurses (RN). You can find a bunch of online LPN nursing programs to choose from here.

Many kinds of people who have an interest in joining the healthcare field could benefit from pursing online BSN nursing programs. BSN programs of all kinds are excellent ways to prepare to take the NCLEX exam to become a licensed RN in your state. Online BSN programs for non nurses are available in traditional formats as well as accelerated and executive programs (12). Accelerated and executive programs allow for students to jump into the healthcare field in the shortest amount of time possible – often less than one year. Online BSN nursing programs combine theoretical learning with in-person clinical practice, giving soon-to-be RNs the skills they need to thrive in many healthcare settings. A selection of 20 top online BSN programs for non nurses, currently available in the US, can be accessed here.

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Accelerated, Executive, and Other Non-Traditional Formats

Looking for accelerated nursing programs on-campus or accelerated nursing programs online? Now is the perfect time to consider all your options and weigh the pros and cons of each before selecting which path you plan to tackle. Working professionals who have already secured jobs in the nursing field would benefit from pursuing accelerated nursing programs on-campus or accelerated nursing programs online. Whatever your career goals may be, maximize your earning potential with accelerated nursing programs on-campus or accelerated nursing programs online. No matter what your scheduling and financial priorities may be, you can find an on-campus or online nursing program to meet your needs and help you advance your career in the competitive nursing field. An accelerated BSN program will take about 11-18 months to complete, with a bunch of prerequisite classes included. Prerequisite classes, which aren’t included in the curriculum, often include:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Human growth and development
  • Microbiology
  • Statistics

An accelerated MSN degree – Master’s in the science of nursing – is a wise investment for any nurse who would like to take on more of a leadership role in the workplace and make sure they are able to acquire the maximum salary amount in the future. Specialties to choose from for accelerated MSN degree programs include:

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Nurse Anesthetist (NA)
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse-Midwife (NMW)
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Public Health Nurse (PHN)
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse (PMH)

Accelerated nursing programs for MSN degrees can take as little as one year to complete. Whether coursework is completed on-campus or online, students are required to complete a certain amount of clinical hours or a preceptorship before graduation. Depending on the MSN specialty, there are various examinations nurses will need to take to become licensed with an MSN degree according to each state’s laws. Some specialties don’t require separate exams to be taken. Prospective students can learn more about traditional and accelerated MSN programs on campus and online here.

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What Will I Learn in a Nursing Degree Program?

Prospective students will naturally be curious about what they will be learning in a nursing degree program, and which classes will be included in the required nursing courses list. There are various nursing degree requirements that students will have to complete in an LP, ADN, or BSN nursing program. A wide scope of material will be covered in nursing degree course work, including math, chemistry, psychology, physiology, and more. Depending on students’ chosen specialty, they will also take elective classes based on pediatrics, oncology, or geriatrics. Just about all future RNs will be required to complete the following 15 nursing courses list:

  • Care transitions
  • Clinical study
  • Clinical theory
  • Community and environmental nursing
  • Ethics in nursing
  • Gerontology
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Leadership management
  • Microbiology
  • Nursing fundamentals
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology
  • Population health
  • Psychology and mental health
  • Women and infant health

These nursing degree requirements may seem rather daunting at the outset, but rest assured that many now-successful RNs have gone before you and achieved great things in this important field.

Wondering about nursing prerequisite classes? Before beginning a nursing program, you’ll need to complete some prerequisite classes. Nursing prerequisite classes in many programs commonly include:

  • Biology
  • English
  • General chemistry
  • Human anatomy
  • Humanities, social, and behavioral science
  • Lifespan/human development psychology
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Oral communication
  • Physiology
  • Statistics

Investigate any nursing program’s prerequisite classes before beginning to apply or prospective students may be rejected from the nursing degree program. There are various nursing prerequisite classes that don’t vary much from program to program, but it’s best to check your specific school’s policies before applying.

Good luck with all your nursing studies – may you have a bright future in the nursing profession. Smart, responsible, and insightful nurses are needed more than ever. Take the first step towards doing your part to meet the US’ healthcare system’s increasing needs by beginning a nursing degree program today.

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All Rankings:

30 Best Online Master’s In Nursing Informatics Programs 2019
30 Most Nurse-Friendly Hospitals In The United States
50 Best Online RN To BSN Programs
50 Most Affordable Online RN To BSN Programs 2018
The 50 Best Residential Accelerated BSN Programs 2018
Top 10 Forensic Specialty Nursing Programs For 2019
Top 15 HBCU Nursing Schools 2019
Top 15 Online Nurse Midwifery Programs
Top 20 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Programs For 2019
Top 20 Online/Hybrid MSN Programs In Gerontology
Top 25 Online RN To DNP 2019
Top 25 Online RN To FNP Programs 2019
Top 50 Residential BSN Programs
Top Online Hybrid Accelerated BSN Programs