Get Started On Your Career: The 3 Basic Nursing Degree Programs

So you want a career in nursing? That's no surprise as it is currently one the most popular and fast rising careers at this time. To take that first step into the health care industry, you first have to decide on the path that your education will take. If your eventual goal is to be able to take the NCLEX and obtain a license in registered nursing, there are basically three entry-level degree programs to choose from. Let's take a close

look at each of these:

Nursing Diploma

The nursing diploma is a program offered and administered by hospitals, which was more popular back in the 1970s than it is now. Of the over 800 diploma programs existing back then, there are now only less than a hundred left. Being a hospital-based program, the nursing diploma puts more emphasis on patient care delivery, allowing students to undergo hands-on hospital experience in dealing with patients. Academic subjects are taken at a local college affiliated with the hospital.

Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN)

The ADN is a two-year (sometimes 3) program that equips students with the skills and training needed for a job in the health care industry. But while the ADN has more focus on the practical side of the job, students still need to complete the academic coursework that includes basic subjects like English, Math, and Science. An associate's degree is also a viable jump off point towards a BSN degree. Registered nurses who are ADN holders can enroll in a RN-to-BSN online nursing program later on and get a bachelor degree while working and earning as a RN.

Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN)

Of the three entry-level nursing degrees, the BSN is considered as the most "advanced" as the program incorporates both training and theoretical knowledge. Registered nurses who graduated with a BSN degree are on top of the entry-level nurses heap, so to speak, and most of them move on to take more advanced nursing degrees or handle administrative responsibilities. While all three degrees mentioned here are enough to qualify one for entry-level nursing jobs, the 4-year bachelor degree is said to be the minimum requirement for professional nursing practice.

It is important to remember that although these nursing degree programs can all lead you to getting a license as a registered nurse, the jobs you get could be varied, with BSN holders having more options. On the other hand, the two- and three- year programs (diploma and ADN) will cost less and will allow you to work and earn as soon as possible. Now knowing the benefits of each of these nursing degrees, the choice is yours to make.

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