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Types of Nursing Pins and Degrees

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Just as there are many types of nurses and nursing specialties, there are also quite a number of nursing programs available for aspiring nurses, all with varying course lengths and requirements. Before you even start to inquire about nursing courses, you’ll first need to determine which type of degree and nursing pin that you would need to obtain in order to achieve your career goals. Your future career as a nurse will depend on the type of education and training that you’ve had.

The following are the different types of nursing degrees available:

1. Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)

The fastest degree to obtain in the field of nursing, an associate’s degree is awarded after finishing a two-year nursing course from a vocational school or community college. This is also the minimum required degree in order to become an RN (Registered Nurse). But while there certainly are nursing jobs to be had for those who have an associate’s degree in nursing, many employers prefer applicants with a bachelor’s degree for a lot of RN nursing roles.  Pass the NCLEX and you will receive your nursing license.

2. Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

A BSN degree is required by many nursing career pathways. Typically lasting 4 years from a university or college (and an accredited nursing program), the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree combines learnings discussed in classrooms with clinicals (hands-on training). This allows students to get first-hand experience in their future careers, as they get to work with patients in an actual clinical set-up.

3. Master of Science in Nursing Degree (MSN)

This is an advanced degree that requires students to have obtained a bachelor’s degree in nursing or any other related field prior to enrollment. Nurses who aspire to become advanced practice nurses (APN) need this degree and, depending on your area of specialty, could have focus subjects and course paths such as a focus on oncological nursing. Having an MSN is a necessity if you want to be an APN (Advanced Practice Nurse), who not only earn more than regular RNs, but also have more autonomy and authority in the clinical set up. This type of degree must also be earned from an accredited school or university.

4. Doctorate Degrees

A doctorate degree is the highest that a nurse can earn academically. In order to complete a doctorate course, a bachelor’s followed by a master’s degree are required. Currently, there are two types of doctorates in the nursing industry: a DPN (Doctor of Nursing Practice), and a DNS or DSN (Doctor of Nursing Science). The former has its focus on nursing’s clinical aspects, while the latter is the more typical choice for nurses who aim to be researchers, or professors at nursing programs.

There are many programs and affordable education options that cater to aspiring nurses who aim to earn a nursing pin along with the chance to finally be a registered nurse. Before selecting a nursing school to go to, it is important to figure out what kind of degree you would need based on your career goals. Making a firm decision on your nursing education can pave the way to nursing career success.  Never stop reaching for the highest nursing degrees possible.  Hard work now as a nursing student will pay huge dividends in the future!  Collect as many graduation nursing pins as you can!


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