How You Can Pick Between 5 Types of Nursing Degrees

Becoming a certified nurse will equip you with the skills and knowledge to make a real difference in many people’s lives. Moreover, you will work in one of the most stable industries and receive many benefits, including wellness programs, paid family leave, health insurance, student loan repayment, paid vacation, health insurance, and more. Therefore, it is not surprising that there are more than 3 million registered nurses in the US. The BLS expects the number of registered nurses to increase by 12% before 2028.

However, you must choose the right nursing degree to kickstart your nursing career. So, continue reading to discover how to choose the right nursing degree between various options.

Nurse Practioner checking patient's chart

Understanding the 5 Types of Nursing Degrees

If you want to become a registered nurse this year, you will have to choose between the 5 types of nursing degrees. Your options include a diploma in practical nursing, associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and post-master’s certificate.

1. Diploma in Practical Nursing

A diploma in practical nursing, also known as PN, is the most straightforward pathway to becoming a certified nurse. After completing your nursing diploma, you will start working as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Your primary responsibility as an LPN is to help registered nurses and doctors in various healthcare facilities like urgent care centers, hospitals, hospices, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects LPNs to grow by more than 9% before 2030.

At the moment, licensed practical nurses take home approximately $48,820. You can jumpstart your nursing career by pursuing a diploma in practical nurses before advancing your career by completing a bachelor’s degree.

2. Associate in Nursing

Are you ready to advance your nursing career? If so, don’t hesitate to complete an associate degree in nursing, also known as ASN. You will become a registered nurse or RN once you complete your associate degree in nursing. As a registered RN, you will work closely with other nurses and practitioners to provide and ensure effective patient care. You will also be responsible for educating your patients and the public about healthcare. In addition, you will also offer emotional support to the patients and their loved ones.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the demand for registered nurses to increase by more than 9% within the next eight years. Currently, registered nurses earn approximately $75,330 every year. What’s more, you can choose your specialty of choice between oncology, surgical, neonatal, acute, and pediatric care. An associate degree in nursing is perfect for individuals new to nursing or LPNs who wish to advance their careers.

3. Bachelor’s in Nursing

A bachelor’s degree in nursing is ideal for individuals about to kick start their nursing careers or registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing. You also qualify for this nursing level if you have a Bachelor of Science degree in another field. Paramedics and LPNs also qualify for this nursing degree. The demand for registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing has been increasing as hospitals strive to increase the number of qualified RNs.

Your primary responsibility as a BSN graduate is to work closely with other nurses in various medical settings like doctor’s offices, hospitals, and clinics to provide holistic patient care. You may also choose to specialize in any field of your choice, including public health and pediatrics. BSN nurses earn more than nurses with an associate degree in nursing.

4. Advanced Practice Registered Nursing

Do you want to know the actual APRN meaning? Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, also known as APRNs, have attained the highest level of education. To become an APRN, you have to complete a practice-focused Doctor of Nursing practice degree, post-master’s certificate, or a master’s degree. In addition, you have to be licensed by your state’s licensing board to start providing holistic patient care. Some states even allow APRNs to prescribe medication and work independently without physician supervision. Other states require APRNs to enter collaborative agreements with a registered supervising physician. What’s more, most states categorize the APRN license as a separate level from typical RN licensure.

According to the International Council of Nurses, APRN nurses have gained vital expertise, clinical competencies, and advanced decision-making skills to offer holistic patient care. Therefore, an APRN can handle complex cases, unlike a registered nurse. This is the leading reason why the demand for APRNs has been increasing sharply over the years.

As an APRN, you can work in any of the following roles:

  • Nurse practice or NP
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists or CNS
  • Certified Nurse Midwife, also known as CNM
  • Certified Nurse Anesthetists, also known as CNA

NPs and CNS can further specialize in various areas like family, individual, adult-gerontology, pediatric, psychiatric, women’s health, and neonatal care. CNMs help mothers and their infants during pregnancy and their lifespans. On the contrary, CNAs focus on a specific patient group. On average, APRNs earn around $113,030 every year.

5. Nurse Educators

With the demand for LPNs, RNs, and APRNs increasing over the years, colleges and universities are under increased pressure to hire more educators. This has led to an increase in demand for nurse educators. As a nurse educator, you will transfer vital skills and information in various medical settings. Above all, your daily tasks include reducing risks and improving patient care. If you wish to become a nurse educator, you will have to complete an MSN-NE degree. After graduating, you can expect to take home more than $84,060 per year. This nursing career is ideal for individuals with a knack for teaching.

Key Takeaway

Becoming a registered nurse comes with several perks. For instance, you will have the chance to impact the lives of your patients and their loved ones daily. Moreover, you will make good money and enjoy several benefits. Nurses also enjoy excellent career satisfaction. However, you have to choose between different nursing degrees to jumpstart your career. Each type of nursing degree has specific perks and requirements. So, take your time to compare all nursing degrees to find the right one for you.