In a field as varied as Nursing, it makes sense that there are a lot of options when it comes to education and training. But as a general rule, the more time you spend in college, the more opportunities you will have.

You can get started in Nursing with a one year vocational program, or you can spend as long as 10 years completing a doctoral program. 

Ready to get started? Then head over to our ranking of the Best Online BSN Degrees around.

LPN/LVN Training

The quickest route to a career in Nursing is to become a licensed practical or licensed vocational nurse (LPN/LVN). Just one year after you start your training, you could start working in your field!

To become an LPN/LVN, you will enroll in a vocational or LPN school that offers a state-approved training program. Most of these programs offer a diploma or certificate rather than a degree.

The median salary for an LPN/LVN is around $44,090. And if you decide to continue your education, there are programs specifically designed for LPN/LVNs who want to complete an associate or bachelor’s degree and become a registered nurse.

Associate Degrees

You can get your Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) in just two years, if you attend school full time. With either of these degrees, you can become a registered nurse (RN) after passing your state licensing exam.

Typical salaries for RNs with an ADN or ASN can vary from $54,000 – $88,000. And with your associate degree, you can always go on to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Your career options and opportunities will only increase with more education!

Bachelor’s Degrees

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs go beyond the education offered in associate degree programs. With a BSN degree, you’ll get more thorough medical training, and you’ll be prepared for leadership roles, too.

A typical program will take four years to complete. As an RN with a BSN, you’ll probably earn between $57,000 – $130,000 per year, and you’ll be able to choose your specialization from more than 100 options.

Here’s another good reason to get your BSN: In 2010, the Institute of Medicine set a goal for 80 percent of nurses to hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing by 2020. With that in mind, many organizations have been encouraging RNs who work for them to go back to school for their BSN degrees.

Master’s Degrees

If you want to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) like a nurse practitioner, you’ll need to get your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

These programs usually take two years, and there are online degree programs available. That can be a great option for someone who is working in the field!

Annual salaries for APRNs with master’s degrees fall in the $65,000 – $196,000 range. And with your MSN, you’ll have the option of continuing on to a doctoral program. That will give you the option of shifting into education or research.

Doctoral Degrees

Doctoral degrees in nursing usually take four to six years to complete. You’ll have the option of enrolling in an online program for greater flexibility.

With your Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) degree, you’ll be qualified for:

  • Nursing leadership roles
  • Executive positions in hospitals or other healthcare facilities
  • Teaching at a college or university
  • Conducting healthcare research.

With your DNP or PhD, you could earn from $106,000 – $200,000 per year. And with the highest degree in your field, you’ll be in high demand.

You can learn more about the nursing field in its entirety over on College Choice’s informative Nursing homepage.

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