Choosing a Nursing Degree
So you’ve decided on a career in nursing, but you don’t quite know where to start. Some common questions you might ask are — What nursing degree is best for me? Or, which nursing school should I enroll in?
Basically, there are only two types of nursing degrees: one in Licensed Practical Nursing which is also known as Licensed Vocational Nursing in some areas, and another in Registered Nursing. An LPN degree may serve as your starting point, and for this you will only need a high school diploma or GED, to get accepted into a program. This program is generally offered in community colleges and technical schools, and rarely in state universities. You can also find LPN programs in private, for-profit schools such as Galen, Kaplan, Keiser, and the University of Phoenix .
LPNs earn less than registered nurses and work under the direction of registered nurses. Some hospitals will not hire LPNs and only hire registered nurses.
At the same time, unlike that of an LPN, a degree in registered nursing also guarantees career advancement opportunities for you. An RN may move on to hold a managerial position. Of course, being an LPN first is a good step towards earning that RN degree. You can already complete an LPN degree in about a year, get a job, and then take online LPN to RN programs while working. This means that you’ll already be earning while studying to become a registered nurse. Plus, some employers may offer to help defray the cost of your continuing education, provided you stay with them for a number of years
Another way to do this is by getting an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, which takes two years, or a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, which takes four years. Programs for these two are offered in most community colleges, private schools, and state universities. Due to the high demand for nursing education, private, for-profit schools are opening up to offer two-year Associate’s Degree in Nursing Programs.
Once you get an Associate’s Degree in nursing you are a Registered Nurse. If you want to earn more money and increase your hiring potential, you can working while taking classes part-time to get a Bachelor of Science Degree in nursing. Often your employer will pay for some or all of your educational expense.
Most registered nurses who go on to become ward managers are BSN degree holders at the very least. In some hospitals, a master’s degree in nursing to qualify.
So which route is best? It all depends on your circumstances. Would you like to earn a degree faster and start working right away?. An LPN degree will get you working more quickly. Of course, if you’re after securing a stable, high-paying job and perhaps a management-level position, then the more direct way is to take an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. That is, if you also have the resources and time concentrate fully on schooling for the next two to four years.