Get Your Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN)
Learn about the different types of bachelor's in nursing and BSN degree programs.
Nurses enjoy exceptional job growth and versatile career opportunities despite today's tough job market. The ongoing nursing shortage, combined with an aging baby boomer population, has significantly increased the demand for nurses across the country, making now a great time to earn your bachelor's in nursing degree.
Choosing the right BSN degree can make a significant difference in your nursing career path. Not only will your nursing degree impact your earning potential, but your job opportunities, chances for promotion, and general level of job responsibility as a practicing nurse will also be affected.
Introduction to Bachelor's in Nursing (BSN) Degrees
If you are considering a nursing career, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree will equip you with the most in-demand skills and credentials that employers want. Plus, a bachelor's in nursing degree provides a strong platform for career advancement and higher level degrees, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctoral Degree in Nursing.
A bachelor's degree in nursing degree prepares you for work in any number of inpatient and community settings:
- Nursing care facilities
- Home health services
- Physicians' offices
Nurses with a BSN degree often hold supervisory roles in hospitals and other health care facilities and maintain a higher level of independence in decision-making and nursing practice.
What to Expect in Your Program
Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs generally take four years to complete. During the first two years, students typically take general education courses to fulfill college requirements. The last two years are usually spent exclusively on the science of nursing and principles of nursing practice to fulfill the bachelor's in nursing degree.
Types of Bachelor's Degrees in Nursing
- BSN Degrees: A 4-year bachelor's degree in nursing degree program is the entry point for professional nursing practice. It is also the standard prerequisite for graduate nursing programs in research, teaching and advanced practice nursing specialties—nurse practitioners (NPs), certified nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) and certified nurse midwives (CNMs).
- LPN-to-BSN Degrees: An LPN-to-BSN program offers licensed practical nurses or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing in just four academic semesters. These programs allow LPNs and LVNs to broaden their nursing career options and apply their real-world nursing experience to their studies.
- RN-to-BSN Degrees: Registered nurses who hold an associate's degree or diploma from a hospital-based program can earn their bachelor's in nursing degree through the specially designed RN-to-BSN program. Aimed at working nurses, RN-to-BSN programs offer flexible schedules, meaning you can take night or weekend classes, choose your program start date and have access to RN-only courses.
- Second Degree BSN Degrees: Intended to help adults interested in switching careers, Second Degree BSN degree programs give you credit for having completed your liberal arts requirements, allowing you to complete the nursing portion of your course work (and earn your BSN) in two years or less.
- Accelerated Degree BSN: A variation on a Second Degree BSN, Accelerated Degree BSN programs also give you credit for having completed liberal arts requirements for a non-nursing degree. And they offer students the chance to complete their bachelor's in nursing course requirements at an accelerated pace, usually 12 months but as long as 20 months for some programs.
Applying Your Degree Toward Certification and Licensure
With a bachelor's degree in nursing, you qualify to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, which you must pass to obtain a nursing license. Nurses may pursue a license in multiple states. In fact, the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows nurses who maintain active licensure in their primary state of residence to practice in other member states without obtaining an additional license. All states mandate that nurses renew their licenses periodically, which typically requires continuing education.
DiscoverNursing.com; Bureau of Labor Statistics; South Dakota Board of Nursing; National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
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