The field of nursing is filled with driven individuals who share a passion for caring for others, often more of a calling than a career. If you are inspired to help people, you may be considering becoming a nurse yourself. The healthcare industry is an ever-evolving area of study, in part because new innovations happen every day. Nursing is not only a solid career choice today, but it is a personal care role that you can be sure will continue to be vital in the future. Civilization will always need nurses, and if you enjoy the work, it can make an immensely rewarding profession.
Visit our Scholarships Page:
Nursing as a business is booming due to several factors. As the average lifespan of the population rises, nurses are in ever-higher demand to care for aging patients. Where in the past, a grown child might have taken on the responsibility of caring for his or her senior parent, the modern family structure often finds both husband and wife working outside of the home, leaving an opening for a nurse to care for elderly family members instead. There has always been a need for nurses in hospitals across the world. However, there is now also a rising demand for nurses working as personal aides and home care providers to patients who wish to be cared for in the privacy of their own homes.
There are a number of paths you can take if you wish to become a nurse, each with varying requirements and commitments to match to a variety of lifestyles, career goals and time frames. You could spend years earning qualifications and degrees for more advanced nursing work, or you can complete classes in just twelve short months and jump into your new career. Now let’s explore all nursing degree types!
Entry-Level Nursing Degrees
If you’re seeking a nursing license but still want to finish quickly, Licensed Practical Nursing or Licensed Vocational Nursing program may be the best choice for you. LPN/LVN programs offer the fastest track to becoming a nurse, and you can generally complete them in one year. You can usually find classes nearby at a local hospital or community college, making this an excellent path to nursing while maintaining other obligations in your life, such as work or family. At the end of your LPN/LVN program, you’ll be eligible to earn your license after passing a state-administered nursing exam.
If you’re seeking a degree and the career achievements that can accompany a higher level of education, consider earning your associate’s degree in nursing. An ADN meets the minimum requirements for becoming a licensed RN and offers a well-rounded education experience, usually completed in two years, which blends liberal arts classes with clinical nursing practice. You’ll take classes like anatomy, math, and biology in addition to having more practical application time. If you’ve graduated from an LVN/LPN program already, the length to your ADN could be as short as one additional year.
With either option, LPN/LVN or ADN, you can become and work as a licensed nurse. An associate’s degree offers the ability to work as a registered nurse, which comes with a higher pay grade and greater responsibilities. As a registered nurse, you can also transition to the business side of healthcare and can more easily continue your education to a bachelor’s degree or beyond.
The Bachelor of Science in nursing provides another path to earning your RN license, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
To become a licensed or registered nurse, you’ll need to pass one of the state-administered nursing examinations, sometimes called the “boards.” If you’re seeking to practice as an LPN/LVN, you’ll be taking the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for Practical Nurses. If you wish to become a registered nurse, you’ll have to pass the NCLEX-RN instead. Both exams are in place to ensure that it’s safe for you to begin practice as a nurse. These exams test your critical thinking skills, as well as the application of your learned knowledge, to ensure that your education has prepared you to safely apply what you have learned when providing direct patient care.
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is available as either a pre-licensure degree that will qualify you to take the NCLEX and become a registered nurse, or as a post-licensure degree for ADN-prepared nurses looking to advance their knowledge and their careers.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing opens the door to higher salary potential, more responsibility and even supervisory roles.
If you choose this route to becoming licensed, you’ll be committing to four years of in-depth nursing coursework, and depending on the school you choose, the price of the degree can be expensive.
If you’ve already earned your associate’s degree in nursing, you can usually complete the bachelor-level studies in two additional years.
Creative Contributors: Writer/Video Editor: