Becoming a Nurse: What Are Your Options?

Becoming a Nurse: What Are Your Options?

When embarking on a new journey, the first question is usually, “When will I get there?” This is also true of the career path to be a nurse. The good news is you have multiple options to become a nurse and, once you are a nurse, you have additional options if you want to further your career.

Fast Track

If your top priority is getting into the workforce quickly, then an Associate’s Degree (AD) may be a good option for you. In 12–24 months, you can graduate with an AD and be eligible to take the RN Licensing Exam. While you will have the same basic duties as other nurses with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN), you may have a lower salary and fewer advancement opportunities.

More Opportunities

If you are hoping for career advancement in nursing, a BSN may be a better option. If you are obtaining this as a first degree, it will take 36–48 months; however, this timeline is shorter if you have an AD or a Bachelor’s Degree in another area. In many facilities, nurses with a BSN may be eligible for additional patient care responsibilities and/or management opportunities that are not available to nurses with an AD.

Advanced Degrees

If you are looking for opportunities beyond a BSN, there are numerous graduate and doctorate degree paths. Advanced Practice nurses require a Master’s degree. These types of nurses include Nurse Practitioners, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, Certified Nurse-Midwives, and Clinical Nurse Specialists. Finally, the highest degree in nursing that can be obtained is a Doctorate in Nursing Practice or a PhD in Nursing. Depending on your ultimate career goals, these options may be of interest.

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