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LPN? RN to BSN? RN to MSN?

RN Degree Programs

Written by NS StaffJuly 13, 2011

There are a number of ways to become a Registered Nurse (RN). ADNs and BSNs take you straight through the process from class to certification. LPNs have the chance to become RNs later through by either earning an ADN or BSN. Many trade schools and colleges even have special programs designed for LPNs, accepting the course credits you have already earned. (Not all school will accept LPN credits, however. So check carefully.)

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There are also a number of ways to become a Registered Nurse (RN). Associate degrees in nursing (ADNs) and bachelor of science degrees in nursing (BSNs) take you straight through the process from class to certification. LPNs have the chance to become RNs later by either earning an ADN or BSN. Many trade schools and colleges even have special programs designed for LPNs, accepting the course credits you have already earned. (Not all school will accept LPN credits, however. So check carefully.)

Schools to consider: 

Whether you choose to start with an ADN or BSN, there are a few basic requirements you will need to meet. Most nursing programs require students to have a high school degree or GED and complete college prep classes in English, math, science, social science, and foreign languages. Bachelor degree programs require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores as well. There are also fast-track programs, like RN-to-BSN (1-2 year programs for registered nurses with ADNs or hospital diplomas) or accelerated baccalaureate programs (11-18 months) for adults who hold a degree in a non-nursing discipline. The requirements for these programs vary depending on your previous experience and educational background.

A nursing associate's degree usually takes 2-3 years to complete and prepares students for entry-level nursing jobs, which often require working under the supervision of RNs or other medical staff holding higher-level degrees. A 4-year bachelor's degree in nursing is the degree of choice these days – research has shown that the quality of care is best when provided by nurses with higher-level degrees, so many medical facilities prefer to hire RNs who have obtained at least a BSN. RNs with BSNs or master's degrees in nursing take additional courses to strengthen their clinical reasoning, analytical skills, professional development, and understanding of the various social, economic, and cultural issues that affect patients.

Nursing school graduates have a world of job opportunities available to them. Nursing is one of the most in-demand jobs in America, with positions open in hospitals, clinics, schools, HMOs, nursing homes, and a number of other health care settings. Advancement opportunities abound as well – many clinical nurses progress to research, administrative, or educational positions, or receive further training to become advanced practice nurses specialized in areas such as midwifery or anesthesia.

Now is a great time to join this fast-growing and rewarding profession. Find out more about nurse training programs in your area by requesting free information from any of the RN schools below!