Bachelor's Degree in Nursing Degree (BSN)

About a bachelor's degree in nursing

A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree prepares you for a job as a registered nurse. While you can work as an RN with an associate's degree, nurses with a BSN are typically given more responsibility, supervisory roles and higher salaries.

A BSN program, which typically takes four years, will include both liberal arts courses which fulfill general education requirements and classes specific to your major in nursing.

 Why should I earn my BSN?

  • If you've already achieved RN status through an associate's degree program, enrolling in an RN-BSN program is the next logical step if you're looking for career advancement. The good news is an RN-BSN program can be completed while you continue working as a nurse, which means you'll advance your career without having to take time off.
  • If you envision yourself working in health care for the long term, earning a BSN can be a strategic move. With the nursing shortage in the U.S., RNs with BSNs are in high demand and can benefit from good salaries. In addition to this, holding a BSN puts you one step closer to a master's degree or doctorate if you decide you want to become an advanced practice nurse.
  • If you're already working as an RN, you have a great edge on achieving a BSN. Today, many hospitals offer tuition reimbursement programs. This means if you work as a nurse and want to advance your education, your workplace might help you pay for it. On top of that, already having achieved RN status means obtaining your BSN will take less time—and still have a great payoff.

How long does my program take to complete?

  • Completing your schooling generally takes the following amount of time:  Bachelor's degree: Three to four years
  • If you already have received certification as an RN, an RN-BSN can be completed in about two years. 
  • These time frames are based on full-time enrollment. Many programs allow students to attend part-time, but this will translate into a longer completion time.

Registered Nurse (RN) Salary and Job Growth

  • Registered nurse salaries can be incredibly lucrative, with well-established patterns of growth all across the profession.
  • Registered nurses are in high demand due to the nursing shortage. And while registered nurses (RNs) can earn a pretty decent paycheck, you'll find it's all very dependent on employer type, education, work experience and specialty.
  • The median expected annual salary for registered nurses is $65,470. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

What is my earning potential?

  • A registered nurse's earning potential is tied to a number of external factors. For instance, a more seasoned RN has the potential for raises or promotions compared to a newer RN.
  • Education also plays a role as those with BSNs are qualified to work as supervisors or in other higher-level roles contributing to a higher salary than an RN with an associate's degree.
  • An RN's specialty area, like acute care or surgery, factors into how much they're paid because certain specialties require more responsibility translating into a fatter paycheck.
  • The top-paying industries for registered nurses are in government, general medical and surgical hospitals and home health care services.

How do registered nurse salaries compare?

  • Nursing Career                                          Median Annual Salary
  • EMT & Paramedic                                        $31,020
  • Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse       $41,540
  • Physician Assistant                                      $90,930
  • Nurse Practitioner                                        $89,960

Is there demand for this career?

  • The simple answer: Absolutely.
  • The current nursing shortage in the U.S. has created a high demand for registered nurses in all medical arenas.
  • Registered nurses will be especially in demand at home or residential care facilities since hospitals are under pressure to discharge patients as soon as they can. Plus, as the baby boomer population ages, more home healthcare will be necessary creating jobs for registered nurses.

What is the job growth for the field?

  • It is anticipated that registered nurse employment with grow 19 percent through 2022, which is faster than average. Be aware that national long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions.
  • Specifically, RN jobs in outpatient care centers that provide same-day procedures, like chemotherapy, some surgeries and rehabilitation, are expected to see faster than average growth.
  • Additionally, new registered nurses will be welcomed with open arms as older RNs look to retire in the coming years. 

How much competition will I face for a job?

  • Registered nurses looking for jobs in physician offices and outpatient care centers may find they face heavy competition because these places usually offer regular, week-day hours and a more comfortable workplace environment.
  • Hospitals, which can be high-stress environments, tend to see higher turnover rates so job opportunities can be plentiful. To make the role more appealing, hospitals will sometimes signing bonuses, flex schedules and subsidize continuing education classes.

What kinds of institutions hire registered nurses?

  • Aspiring registered nurses have a range of options when it comes to their work location. Government sources reports the following industries employ the largest number of registered nurses:
    1. General medical and surgical hospitals - 61 percent
    2. Outpatient care centers -7 percent
    3. Home health care services - 7 percent

How do I advance in my registered nurse career?

  • In most fields, furthering your education can help propel you to the next phase of your career. It's no different for the registered nurse profession. While an associate's degree in nursing is the gateway to entry-level nursing jobs, earning a bachelor's degree can help in a variety of ways.
  • First, a BSN can mean higher pay and supervisory or leadership roles. Now imagine you enter the field, work for a few years and realize you want to do more, perhaps become a nurse practitioner. The BSN is a prerequisite for applying to graduate school to become an advanced practice nurse.

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