Nursing is a field of study that is great for those who love to work with and care for people. Earning a nursing degree is the first step in working in the medical field. Those who are exploring a degree in nursing will find that there are many different options for education, training and certification. Depending on the time a person wants to spend in school, they can choose from programs that last a few weeks up to a few years. With most programs, a student that has already earned one certification can apply that education experience to earn additional degrees and certifications.
The field of nursing provides a few entry-level options for working in the industry. Entry-level positions in nursing still require some form of certification to work with patients, but courses can be completed in as little as eighteen weeks for those who want to work as a nurse’s aid or certified nursing assistant. Many students working towards a bachelor’s degree in nursing choose to acquire this certification first so they can start working in nursing while still going to school to earn a degree. These certifications can also help students apply to fast track programs that focus on building skills rather than repeating the same training.
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
A bachelor’s degree in nursing is one of the most common ways a person earns the title of registered nurse (RN). A four or five-year program will provide a student with all of the education and skills training they need to earn their license as a registered nurse. Once a degree is earned, students are ready to take the NCLEX-RN exam that will certify them as a registered nurse. A registered nurse has many responsibilities in a medical setting including administering medication, checking on the needs of patients and often RNs are also responsible for supervising LPNs and CNAs.
Master’s Degree in Nursing
A master’s degree in nursing is one top degrees someone can earn in the field of nursing. In order to enter a master’s program, a student must have completed a bachelor’s degree in nursing and have some practical experience working in a hospital or inpatient setting. A master’s degree in nursing provides high-quality, specific training in advanced nursing skills. These skills can then be applied to work in research or advanced clinical training. A master’s of science in nursing (MSN) also provides a person the ability to learn management and supervisory skills, which can be applied to administrative positions in medical facilities.
Professionals who are already certified as an LPN, LVN or RN will need to maintain certifications with continuing education programs. These programs provide refresher courses on common skills, plus the ability for nursing professionals to pick up additional specialized skills and certifications. Most states require a nursing professional to complete a specific number of continuing education credit hours per year to maintain certification.
No matter what path a student chooses, a nursing degree can be the beginning to a great career with the potential for a good income and job security.