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Quick Facts: Nursing Industry

Median Pay:   $105,256 per year | $51 per hour
Entry-Level Education:   Associate's degree

Nursing Occupations:

  • Registered nurses$66,640
  • Nurse anesthetists$153,780
  • Nurse practitioners$95,350

Online Nursing Degrees

Working as a nurse is a great career choice for many individuals. If you want to work in the medical field but don't want the extensive educational requirements of becoming a physician, a nurse is the perfect choice. Nurses also have the opportunity to spend more time directly with patients, making it a satisfying and rewarding career choice.

If you think you might be interested in making nursing your career, it is important to realize that there are several different nursing degree programs available.

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Quick Fact
In 2017, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma*.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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To work as a licensed RN, or registered nurse, you will need to take a state exam regardless of the degree you hold. Here are a few of the various nursing degrees available in the United States.

Earning a Diploma in Nursing

This nursing certification is the most basic degree available in the field of nursing. It is offered by hospitals in many cases, although some online nursing diploma programs are available. Much of the curriculum involves studying basic nursing theory, anatomy, physiology and medicine.

However, the course also involves hands-on training in a clinical setting so that graduates are familiar with basic nursing practices and can begin working immediately after graduation. It is important to note that not all nursing diplomas are transferable from one state or hospital to another.

Associate Degree in Nursing

This two year degree is the most popular of the online nursing degrees. It requires only a high school diploma or general education degree to qualify for this degree program, and many graduates are able to find work right away after completion of the course. However, a large percentage go on to earn higher degrees in order to earn larger salaries and gain promotions in their nursing careers.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Among nurses, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, is the most commonly earned degree. Many positions in large nursing homes, hospitals and private practices require employees to hold a BSN before being hired. This online course is believed to be the best way to prepare for the licensing exam for which all nurses must sit in order to become registered nurses, or RNs.

Licensed Practical Nurse

This nursing degree often referred to as LPN is a vocational course that takes anywhere from one to two years to complete. Although it can be the fastest of all the nursing degrees, it limits your opportunities for advancement in the field. However, it does give students the opportunity to begin working immediately after graduation in smaller clinics and government run hospitals around the world. If you want to work as a nurse but don't want to attend school for very long, this might be the right fit for you.

Master of Science in Nursing

This is the top degree choice for those who want to become head nurses in large private practices or hospitals. With a Master of Science in Nursing, or MSN, you can immediately bypass entry level positions and start off with managerial jobs. Although it is easiest if you already hold a bachelor's degree in nursing, it is possible to earn an MSN as long as you hold a bachelor's degree in any subject.

Doctor of Nursing

Those who want to earn the most advanced degree in the field can turn to either the Doctor of Nursing Practice or the Doctor of Nursing Education. The practice degree will allow you to be a highly qualified practicing nurse while a nursing education doctorate qualifies you to teach others about nursing.

Each of these degrees can be earned online in some capacity and will prepare you for a rewarding career in the field of nursing.

There are many types of health care degrees available online and many areas of specialization within the nursing field, such as Forensic Nursing or Nurse Midwifery. You can also become a nurse educator if you are interested in teaching in the nursing field.

Joining the Health Care field is no longer about just becoming a practitioner. The field is broad and the opportunities for advancement and leadership roles abound for those who want to make a difference in the world of today’s health care environment.

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