What are the Different Types of Nursing Degrees?

Nursing is a broad field with people who work in it coming from a variety of educational backgrounds. Nurses with diplomas or associate’s degrees are the most common, while more advanced work typically requires a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree. Different countries have their own systems as well. People who want to be nurses should look into the various options and pick the one that best fits their goals, finances, and time frame. Almost every interested candidate will find an option that suits them in the majority of cases.

Diplomas in Nursing

Because most basic nursing programs end with a certification or diploma rather than a formal degree, they aren’t always degree programs. However, a lot depends on the jurisdiction; some countries consider these credentials to be degrees, while others consider them to be advanced field training. Nursing diploma programs are available at many community colleges, and certification can sometimes be obtained online. Basic book learning on topics like anatomy and simple mathematics is usually combined with practical hands-on work in the curriculum.

One of the most popular diplomas in this category is the Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA. CNAs are also known as nurse’s aides, and they are the most entry-level position in the field. Training usually lasts a year, but it can sometimes be completed in as little as a semester. A CNA may assist a nurse with filing, cleaning, or basic equipment handling, as well as making patient beds and scheduling treatments in hospitals. He or she rarely has direct contact with patients or has access to bodily fluids such as blood or urine samples.

Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses, on the other hand, are more likely to have diplomas than degrees. These professionals can usually do a little bit more than CNAs, such as administering injections and managing basic patient care, but they usually report to or are supervised more advanced nurses or physicians. A nursing diploma is frequently obtained as a means of determining whether or not a person enjoys the job enough to pursue further education.

Bachelor’s Degrees

The associate’s degree in nursing is usually the most basic degree program, and it provides a broad overview education in about two years in most cases. Associate’s degrees prepare nursing students to work as generalists in hospitals and clinics, and many graduates find work performing a variety of basic tasks. These nurses may choose to continue their education and obtain a more specialized or advanced degree, but this is not always the case.

Bachelor of Science Degrees

People who are certain they want to be nurses when they start university usually enroll in bachelor’s degree programs, which take four years to complete. Bachelor’s degrees typically provide students with extensive training in both theory and practice of patient care, and graduates are frequently qualified to work in hospitals or private medical offices right away. For people who already have an associate’s degree or have a lot of work experience, a number of schools offer “accelerated” bachelor’s programs.

The most significant distinction between an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree is usually in terms of breadth. In a longer program, courses go deeper and deeper, and graduates are generally thought to be more knowledgeable and proficient. This isn’t always the case, as jurisdiction and local custom play a big role. However, the more education a person has, the more desirable he or she will be and the more responsibility he or she will be able to assume. When it comes to scheduling, job selection, and overall responsibility, nurses with bachelor’s degrees outperform those with associate’s degrees or diplomas.

Work Experience for Graduates

Many of the most highly trained nurses have master’s degrees in nursing, and a few researchers have doctorates. Nurse practitioners, for example, who serve as primary caregivers in a variety of settings, typically hold master’s degrees. Graduate programs typically provide students with even more opportunities to gain experience and develop expertise, allowing them to become more proficient in their field.

It is true that those with the most education hold the highest-paying jobs. Nurses who specialize in a specific area of nursing, such as nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives, frequently need graduate degrees to be marketable, but this varies greatly region. People often need a lot of education to prove their worth in big cities where job competition is fierce, whereas in rural areas where health care is scarce, the training requirement is often less stringent.

Working Your Way Up the Chains of Command

Nursing degrees aren’t usually designed to be a stepping stone, which means there are a variety of ways to break into the field. Some people begin with a diploma, progress to an associate’s degree, and then transfer their credits to a bachelor’s degree program, but this is not required. Many people with only a diploma or an associate’s degree have successful and long careers.

Other Requirements and Licensing

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree is almost always a prerequisite for working as a nurse, but it is rarely the only one. Most local and national governments also require nurses and other medical professionals to have licenses or other verifiable credentials demonstrating that they have not only studied the discipline but are also capable of interacting with patients and administering care. Licensing is typically accomplished through a series of exams, and professionals are frequently required to renew their credentials on a regular basis, either through re-testing or participation in specific continuing education courses.