What can you do with a nursing degree?From physician offices to emergency rooms, rehabilitation facilities to outpatient surgery, nursing has a wide variety of job opportunities available. Whether your passion lies in pediatric care or gerontology or anywhere in between, a nursing career is an ideal opportunity for those seeking to make an immediate impact in a high paying career with an abundance of job opportunities in every corner of the country!
Is a Nursing Degree Hard?There are three main types of nurses: Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Vocational Nurse (VN), and Registered Nurse (RN). Essentially, an LPN and VN are the same. An LPN will earn a certificate or diploma in an approved educational program. LPN training programs are often found in technical schools and community colleges. Typical LPN/VN programs take approximately one year or less.
An RN will have additional training and education beyond the LPN level. Registered Nurses are required to attain either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN). There are some accredited vocational training programs, usually offered in conjunction with hospitals and other medical facilities. Yet, by and large, RN programs will be offered at a college or university. Thanks to an abundance of accelerated programs available, it is possible for students to become an RN in just over a year!
All nursing candidates must take (and pass) their respective licensure exams. In addition, states have different requirements for potential nurses beyond the required education/training and examination. Most notably candidates must pass a criminal history background check.
Getting a Degree in Nursing
Licensed Practical Nurse, Vocational NurseAn LPN/VN has hands-on training to accomplish a wide variety of basic nursing tasks. They may have additional on-the-job training and skills based on their place of employment and daily patient needs. Basic LPN nursing tasks include:
- Change bandages
- Monitor blood pressure
- Collect blood samples
- Collect urine samples
- Address patient concerns
- geriatric nursing care facilities
- surgery centers
- physician offices
- home health care
An LPN completes approximately one year of training and is required to pass the NCLEX-PN exam to be eligible for licensure.
Remember that becoming a nurse requires education (certificate from a completed training program) and licensure (from passing the required exam).
- Nursing Assistant - Provides basic care and helps patients with activities of daily living. Median annual salary: $31,000.
- Medical Assistant - Complete administrative and clinical tasks in hospitals, offices of physicians, and other healthcare facilities. Median annual salary: $36,000.
- Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse - Provides basic medical care for patients in various settings. Median annual salary: $49,000.
Registered Nurse – RNBecoming a registered nurse requires both education and licensure. An RN completes an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. An RN must also pass the NCLEX-RN exam to be eligible for licensure. ADN and BSN represent nursing education requirements, and RN represents nursing license.
Please note it is not possible to complete an RN program completely online. Students already licensed as LPN/LVN may have the opportunity to do a bridge program. LPN to BSN bridge programs are designed to accommodate working professionals. A student will put in additional clinical hours in a setting other than their workplace, yet most coursework may be available online.
RNs perform technical nursing skills such as changing bandages, monitoring blood pressure, collecting blood and urine samples, and addressing patient concerns. In addition, RNs offer more complex technical nursing skills, including CPR and basic life support (BLS).
An RN has countless opportunities for specialty certifications. Although specialty certifications are not required, these hard-earned credentials demonstrate that a nurse has knowledge and significant experience in a particular nursing specialty. To read more about nursing specialties and advanced nursing studies (such as Master’s and Doctoral programs) click here.
- Registered Nurse - Provide and coordinate patient care and educate patients and the public about various health conditions. Median annual salary: $75,000.
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Is a nursing degree worth it?A nursing degree is an excellent choice for those students seeking an altruistic career with amazing pay. With so many nursing specialties, the job possibilities are endless! Nursing specialties include:
- Clinical Nurse
- Neonatal Nurse
- Critical Care Nurse
- Dialysis Nurse
- Psychiatric Nurse
- Trauma Nurse
- Oncology Nurse
- Travel Nurse
- Pediatric Nurse
- Geriatric Nurse
- Public Health Nurse
GI Bill®-Approved Nursing ProgramsLooking for an exceptional nursing program? Check out these great options at our partner schools:
Offers various undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and nursing certificate programs at three campuses in Northern California and online. The Accelerated BSN program has students earning their BSN in just one year (3 semesters). Samuel Merritt University has GI Bill-approved programs, is a MyCAA-approved school, and is approved for Tuition Assistance. Samuel Merritt University proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.
Offers various degrees and certificates, including a Certificate in Licensed Vocational Nursing, an Associate in Science LVN to RN program, and an Associate in Science for Licensed Vocational Nursing. Allan Hancock College has GI Bill-approved programs, offers credit for military experience, and awards credit for both the CLEP and DSST exams. Allan Hancock College is a MyCAA-approved school and is approved for Tuition Assistance.
Offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing. This program requires a minimum of 62 credit hours, and Nursing Program graduates are eligible to apply for the national exam for the registered nurse license. Scottsdale Community College has GI Bill-approved programs, offers credit for military experience, and awards credit for the CLEP and DSST exams. Scottsdale Community College is a MyCAA-approved school and is approved for Tuition Assistance.
Offers an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing, a traditional program, and an LPN to RN program. Lakeland Community College has GI Bill-approved programs, offers credit for military experience, and awards credit for both the CLEP and DSST exams. Scottsdale Community College is a MyCAA-approved school and is approved for Tuition Assistance.
Offers a wide variety of degrees and certificates in nursing, including online programs for BSN, MSN, and accelerated programs. SNHU has GI Bill®-approved programs, offers credit for military experience, and awards credit for both the CLEP and DSST exams. SNHU is a MyCAA-approved school, is approved for Tuition Assistance, and proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.
Offers a Dual Degree program where students earn a B.S. in Applied Health Sciences and a B.S. in Nursing in just 8 semesters. Tiffin University has GI Bill-approved programs, offers credit for military experience, and awards credit for the CLEP exam. Tiffin University is a MyCAA-approved school, is approved for Tuition Assistance, and Tiffin University proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.