Nursing Degrees

CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant)

To obtain a nursing assistant job, a CNA most often needs to have at least a high school diploma, or GED, and at least some form of post-secondary nursing instruction. This can be obtained from a variety of institutions, including online schools, community colleges, trade schools, and so on. Students are then usually required to pass an examination for their certification.

LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

LPNs must complete an approved educational program. These programs award a certificate or diploma and typically take about 1 year to complete, but may take longer. They are commonly found in technical schools and community colleges, though some programs may be available in high schools and hospitals. Practical nursing programs combine classroom learning in subjects, such as nursing, biology, and pharmacology. All programs also include supervised clinical experience. After completing a state-approved educational program, prospective LPNs can take the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-PN. In all states, they must pass the exam to get a license and work as LPN.

ASN (Associate of Science in Nursing)

An Associate of Science in Nursing is a tertiary education nursing degree which typically take 2–3 years to complete. In the United States, this type of degree is usually awarded by community colleges or similar nursing schools. Some four year colleges also offer this degree. Students awarded an Associate of Science in Nursing are qualified to sit for the NCLEX-RN and apply for licensure as a Registered Nurse.

Associate of Science in Allied Health

Whether you are graduating from high school or contemplating a mid-career change, it is possible to be enrolled in a healthcare training program and join the ranks of allied health professionals in a matter of months. Associate's degree in allied health science are for those who have a degree in a non-health field. They are also available to students who are just starting out and looking for a general education in the health field. Graduates can consider entry-level work or move on into a bachelor's degree program related to healthcare. Allied health workers are involved with patient care, either directly or indirectly. A person with an associate degree in allied health may work in a hospital environment, a physician's office, a government health department or even for a professional sports team. Allied health professions are divided into two broad categories: technologists/therapists and technicians/assistants.

BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)

People who are interested in earning a BSN are required to attend a four year university or college, to hold an RN license and have experience in the nursing field. It typically takes four or five years to earn a bachelor’s degree.

MSN (Master of Science in Nursing)

MSN is for those who already hold a bachelor's degree in nursing and a valid RN license. MSN typically focuses on training nurses interested in becoming nurse educators.

PhD in Nursing (Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing)

PhD in nursing science program enables the focused baccalaureate-prepared nurse to pursue a career in research and education by providing a comprehensive, time sensitive path to success. This option prepares the BSN graduate to become a nurse scientist with the investigative skills of a researcher and the clinical and leadership skills necessary to influence the health care system.

DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)

The DNP is open to nurses who have earned a master's degree in nursing with an advanced nursing practice specialty. The Doctor of Nursing Practice is a terminal degree that focuses on turning research into daily practice. It is a hands-on program that prepares nurses for leadership positions in healthcare.

MHS (Mental Health Nurse)

Several career paths are available to mental health nurses:

  • LPNs complete a one-year training program at a community college or technical school.
  • RNs complete an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • Mental health nurse practitioners (APRN-PMHs) complete a master’s degree or doctorate in advanced practice nursing with a focus on psychiatry.

Nurse Anesthetist

You need to complete a four-year degree and obtain a Bachelor's in nursing. Most nurse anesthetist programs require a minimum of a year experience working in an acute care setting before you apply to the graduate program to become a nurse anesthetist. It is the equivalent of a Master's program, and in fact you will receive a Master's degree as part of your formal training to become a nurse anesthetist. During that time, you will be trained in the administration of anesthesia which can be sedation all the way up to general anesthesia for surgical procedures. Upon completing your formal coursework, you will need to pass the licensing ex or certification exam. And you are then ready to enter into practice as a nurse anesthetist working with the surgical team to provide clinical care for patients.

Surgical Nurse

You must be able to devote at least 4 years to earning a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree, then additional time for more education and certification required to work in an operating room. Surgical nurses are exposed to high stress and work long hours in hospital emergency rooms.

Pediatric Nurse

To become a pediatric nurse, you will need to first graduate nursing school then seek additional specialized training. Pediatric nurses can work in hospitals, clinics and some family practices. Pediatric nurses specialize in working with children and their families, and should be able to relate well to patients of all ages.

LNC (Legal Nurse Consultant)

Nurses with advanced degrees have earned either a master's degree or a doctorate in nursing or a related field. Others may have completed specialty nursing education in a specific field and attained certification from specialty professional organizations. Most LNCs have no legal background when they begin the transition from clinical nursing to the legal field. Some choose to attend a formal legal nurse consulting program, a paralegal program, or other legal seminars and programs. Others learn through on-the-job training in law firms or by self-study and working with attorneys.

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