What Types of Nursing Degrees Can I Get?

Nursing degreesIf you have decided to pursue a career in the field of nursing, you are probably wondering what types of nursing degrees you can get? By reviewing the information found below, you can obtain an answer to this question and several others that pertain to the field of nursing.

Types of Nursing Degrees

There are a plethora of nursing degrees you can attain in order to make yourself a knowledgeable, marketable job candidate. Some of your options include:

1. Associate of Science in Nursing

An Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) is a degree that takes roughly two to three years for completion. In America, this degree is typically offered at local community colleges or similar types of nursing schools. In some cases, four year colleges offer an ASN. Students who earn the ASN are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam and apply for licensure as a registered nurse.

2. Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a degree which involves studying the principles and science of nursing. This degree generally takes four years to complete and is granted by a university or similar school with accreditation. Although an individual is eligible to become a registered nurse after attaining an ASN, the BSN is advantageous in that it prepares the student to move beyond bedside care and into the world of nursing research, science, informatics, and leadership. Yet another advantage of the BSN is that it provides students with education in general subjects such as social sciences, humanities, and math. Finally, the BSN provides students with opportunities for career advancement in the form of administrative, consulting, teaching, and research positions. These options are not available for individuals who only hold an ASN.

3. Masters of Science in Nursing

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is a postgraduate degree that is considered to be an entry-level degree for nurse managers and educators. The degree can also prepare students to seek careers as health policy experts, nurse administrators, or clinical nurse leaders. The MSN also functions as the prerequisite for doctorate-level nursing degrees, and was once required in order to operate as a nurse practitioner or advanced practice registered nurse.

4. Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a degree that places emphasis on the clinical dimension of disease processes. Coursework for this degree typically includes diagnosis and treatment of disease as well as advanced practice. The DNP is designed to prepare registered nurses to become independent primary care providers. Additionally, the DNP is designed to function as a parity degree with other types of health care doctorates such as medicine, dentistry, and psychology. Individuals who obtain the degree can work as a nurse practitioner (NP), certified nurse midwife (CNM), clinical nurse specialists (CNS), and certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners can expect to earn about $96,460 annually. While about 52% of nurse anesthetist programs offer the DNP, the other 48% use the title “Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice” (DNAP) for the terminal degrees they offer.

Related Resource: Health Informatics


If you are thinking about pursuing a career in nursing, you should know that doing so can be personally and professionally advantageous. By reviewing the information above, you can examine the types of nursing degrees available and determine which would best help you accomplish your vocational goals.

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