Nursing Programs

If you are considering a nursing career, you need to know that there are different types of nursing degrees. In fact, there are quite a number of them. Some are the degrees you need to begin your career with while others are more advanced for those ready to move ahead in their careers and climb the professional ladder.

Before you enroll at a nursing school, you need to decide which program is most suitable for you based on where you wish your nursing career to take you. Your financial situation will also play a role in your decision as to which program is best for you.

There are as many different types of nursing degrees as there are nurses.

In order to simplify and make choosing the best nursing program or nursing school easier for you, we have listed the types of nursing degrees you can undertake through nursing program studies.

  • Demand for Nurses

  • Supply of Nurses

Today you can obtain your nursing degrees on campus or online. But always look for an accredited nursing program so you can sit the appropriate state nursing licensing examinations at the end of your coursework. There is nothing worse than studying for anywhere from one to four years for a nursing degree then finding out that it is hardly worth the paper it is printed on.

Fully accredited nursing programs are recognized at both the state and federal level. Once you have been trained, you can sit the required state licensing nursing examinations that will enable you to find a job and start work as a nurse in a hospital or healthcare clinic.

Take a look at the types of nursing degrees and you will get a clear idea of what is required to become a qualified and competent nurse who is fully trained to provide care for patients with anything from an ankle strain to a life-threatening disease.

Currently, there are 41 colleges and universities in the US that offer nursing programs that specifically focus on geriatrics and geriatric nursing according to the National Centre of Educational Statistics. We have compiled and reviewed all of those programs for you, so go ahead and get familiar with the different options before deciding.

In addition to this particular career path, one can also become a specialist in this field, by obtaining an advanced practice nurse or nurse practitioner degree in geriatric nursing. In order to do that, you need to find a nursing school that offers programs specifically focusing on geriatrics.

Best Nursing Programs

LPN Degrees

One option is the LPN or LVN education degree. Licensed practical nursing (LPN) or licensed vocational nursing (LVN) programs generally take one year to complete and can be studied for at a community college, a vocational-technical school, or a hospital. After receiving your diploma or certificate, you are eligible for licensure. To earn your LPN or LVN license, you must pass an examination known as the NCLEX-PN.

A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) is the same type of nurse. The only difference between LPNs and LVNs it that they’re referred to as LVNs in California and Texas; but their actual nursing duties are the same.

When you study to become an LPN or LVN, you will not earn a nursing degree. But you can obtain a nursing diploma or nursing certificate; you’ll need to undertake at least one year of training at a hospital, vocational-technical school or community college.

Once you pass your nursing exams, you’ll receive a diploma or certificate. But you will also need to pass your state-administered NCLEX-P nursing exam before you can start to advance your nursing career.

LPN To Associate Degrees

Licensed Practical Nurses who want to further their nursing education can study for an Associate Degree in Nursing or, more accurately, an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing.

This nursing program will prepare you to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX- RN). The course provides credit for nursing skills already learned through work experience or an LPN nursing program.

Associate of Science

There are many different types of nursing degrees that allow for flexibility in the route an aspiring nurse wishes to take to earn her degree. The Associate of Science in Nursing program (ASN) is a path you may wish to take if you want to become a registered nurse (RN). The associate program takes two years to complete. The focus is on technical skills as opposed to theory. Approximately 30 percent of those who study for their ASN go on to later study for their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN).

Two-year Associate Nursing degrees are really entry-level for nursing. Most nurses use these nursing degrees as a stepping stone to get their Bachelor of Science Nursing Degree, which takes four years.

The associate degree nursing program places emphasis on learning practical nursing skills rather than classroom theory. It is one of the fastest ways to become a fully Registered Nurse (RN).

Studying for an associate degree will make it possible to look for work as a nurse sooner than if you chose the BSN program. Be aware that the Associate of Science in Nursing program is considered to be the entry or starting point for technical nursing practice.

Bachelor of Science (BSN)

If you are fresh out of high school and/or not in a hurry to start working and earning money, then the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program may be right for you. Sometimes referred to as a prelicensure BSN program, this degree program takes four to five years to complete at a university and is the entry point for professional nursing practice. This is the program preferred by those who wish to become leaders in the nursing field because it offers the very best of opportunities in the job market.

There are many different types of nursing positions that make a BSN degree a requirement. In most cases, the first one to two years of the BSN program is about satisfying general education requirements while the last few years revolve around nursing education courses.

These types of nursing degrees are becoming the most popular for both nurses and medical employers. Today, a Bachelor of Science Degree (BSN) in nursing is almost essential for any Registered Nurse. To obtain a BSN, you will need to already be a Registered Nurse (RN) and undertake a minimum of four years of study.

Typically, the first year of your nursing program will be spent fulfilling general education requirements while the last two to three years are spent on nursing theory and practical training followed by intensive nursing examinations.

RN To BSN Degrees

Today, many Registered Nurses (RNs) are heading back to school either full time, part-time or online to get their Bachelor of Nursing degree. RN to BSN nursing programs is designed for RN’s with diplomas or associate nursing degrees to complete their studies and sit for their BSN examinations.

RN to BSN nursing programs provides credit for the nursing skills you have already earned through school or on the job work experience. These types of nursing programs usually have an extremely flexible study schedule so that you can continue working while you study.

Many nursing schools have multiple starting dates each year for the RN to BSN nursing programs. Several online RN to BSN programs are also available. Undertaking one of these nursing school programs is the best way you can quickly advance your nursing career.

Second Degree Bachelor of Science

Second degree BSN programs are designed for graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in a field not related to nursing. Second degree BSN programs provide credit for having already completed your liberal arts requirements. This enables you to complete the nursing component of your studies quicker and obtain your BSN in two academic years or less.

Accelerated BSN

As the name implies, Accelerated BSN Nursing degrees are designed to fastrack your nursing studies. If you are a graduate in a non-nursing related field, you will be given credit for completing your liberal arts requirements.

Accelerated BSN nursing degree programs enable you to complete your undergraduate nursing program course requirements more quickly than a traditional BSN nursing program. Accelerated BSN programs can take as little as 12 months to complete although some programs run for 16 to 20 months.

Master of Science (MSN)

Master of Science in Nursing degrees can be obtained after completing an 18 to 24 month of a nursing program. These courses are designed to train you in a specialized field of nursing like advanced clinical training, research, public health, or hospital administration.

You need to already hold a BSN from an accredited nursing school, an RN license, have minimum GPA and GRE scores, and clinical nursing experience work experience to study for an MSN.

Direct Entry MSN

Direct entry MSN programs are sometimes called “Graduate Entry” or “Master’s Entry” programs and are available to graduates with a Bachelor’s Degree in a non-nursing related field.

Students who undertake these nursing programs receive credit for having completed their liberal arts requirements. They then complete a shortened schedule of undergraduate nursing studies before moving on directly to graduate nursing studies.

These nursing studies combine advanced training in a Master’s specialty area of nursing with preparation to sit for the RN license examination. Direct entry MSN programs typically take three years to complete. The first year concentrates solely on entry-level nursing studies and the last two on Master’s level studies.

Post-Certificate Master’s

In the past, many states allowed RNs to become certified as a nurse anesthetist (CRNA), nurse practitioner (NP), or nursing midwife (CNM) without first obtaining a Master’s Degree in Nursing.

But times have changed. Today more and more states and their employers require nurses to have a Master’s degree in their specialty fields before they can practice.

Many nursing schools now offer programs that enable RNs to earn their master’s degrees while receiving credit for their past educational and work experience. It’s a faster way for registered nurses to gain a Master’s Degree in Nursing by acknowledging their years of practical nursing experience.

Doctorate Nursing

Just as many nurses today are finding that Bachelor of Nursing degrees are absolutely essential to help take their nursing careers forward, there is now a tremendous demand for nurses with Doctoral Nursing degrees.

Nursing programs offering Doctorate Nursing degrees prepare nurses for careers in health administration, clinical research, and advanced clinical practice. Doctorate Nursing degrees can take from four to six years to obtain so they require an incredible commitment on your part. But the nursing career and financial rewards at the end of the course cannot be overstated.

Doctor of Nursing Education

ND programs usually require 3 to 5 years of full-time study. Doctor of Nursing degrees builds on the role of advanced practice nursing with the aim of preparing highly-qualified personnel who can affect change at the clinical, organizational, and educational levels of healthcare.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

This is an emerging doctoral program that usually requires three years of full-time study. These nursing programs prepare graduates for leadership positions in research, clinical care delivery, patient outcomes and system management. The aim of the course is to produce nursing graduates who can balance quality nursing care with fiscal responsibilities.

Doctor of Philosophy

PhD programs prepare nurse scholars and researchers in the theoretical foundation of nursing health care delivery. Nurses with PhDs play a role at the leading edge of the healthcare system, helping to implement policies that can change the direction of nursing and hospitals at all levels.

PhD/MSN Dual Nursing

Dual PhD/MSN nursing degree programs are for highly -qualified nurses with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. They will undertake an intensive nursing program offering both a Master’s in nursing preparation and advanced research training at the doctoral level. Typical dual MSN/PhD nursing degrees can take five years to obtain.


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