Nursing Degree Comparison: Evaluate Your Nursing Career Options

Use our nursing degree comparison chart to decide which program can help you meet your career goals.

Compare Nursing Degrees and Careers

When you’re ready to start a nursing career, you’ll find that there are a variety of nursing jobs and a few different ways to get started in the field. The nursing degree you choose will determine whether you qualify for an entry-level job such as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) position or a job at the top of the food chain as a clinical nurse specialist (CNS)—or anything in between.

Take a look at our nursing degree comparison chart to pare down your options:

Career Facts
Careers fields that apply
Are there training options that take 1 year or less? CNA  |  LPN/LVN
Are there training options that take 2 years or less? CNA  |  LPN/LVN | RN
Do you need a Master’s degree? NP  |  CNS
Will you need professional certification? CNA  |  LPN/LVN | RN | NP | CNS


Job Duties
Careers fields that apply
Gathering patient health histories CNA  |  LPN/LVN  |  RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Measuring and recording vital signs CNA  |  LPN/LVN  |  RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Preparing and giving injections LPN/LVN  |  RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Monitoring patient responses to medication LPN/LVN  |  RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Monitoring medical equipment CNA  |  LPN/LVN  |  RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Performing tests and procedures RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Supervising other nurses and assigning hospital tasks based on patient care plans RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Responsible for the management of patient treatment plans NP  |  CNS
Diagnosing patient conditions NP  |  CNS
Ordering tests and procedures and writing prescriptions NP  |  CNS
Collaborating on new research within a given health care environment CNS


Skills/Traits Needed
Careers fields that apply
Attention to detail CNA  |  LPN/LVN  |  RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Patience CNA  |  LPN/LVN  |  RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Compassion CNA  |  LPN/LVN  |  RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Confidence CNA  |  LPN/LVN  |  RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Able to manage stress CNA  |  LPN/LVN  |  RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Stamina CNA  |  LPN/LVN  |  RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Able to work with a team CNA  |  LPN/LVN  |  RN  |  NP  |  CNS
Leadership skills NP  |  CNS


Ready for a Nursing Career?

No matter where you’re starting on the path, there is a nursing degree that is right for you. You can start getting experience in a CNA position in just a few weeks, or you can continue your education until you reach a doctorate degree. Once you’ve decided which nursing degree will best help you reach the next level in your nursing career, the first step is to find a school that will help you reach your full potential.

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