The question of “how long is nursing school?” is commonly asked by those interested in enrolling in a nursing program. In recent years, statistics show that the nursing profession is one of the fastest growing and biggest healthcare careers in the United States. However, although there are more than 3 million registered nurses in the U.S., more RNs are required to fill the patient care gap in the coming future. For those asking “how long is nursing school?” consider the following different nursing programs below:
• Licensed Practical Nursing / Licensed Vocational Nursing Degree
LPN or LVN nursing programs generally cover a year of in-hospital, community college, or technical / vocational school training. Those who finish this program and have acquired a certificate or diploma will be qualified for a LVN or LPN license once they pass the National Council Licensure Exam or NCLEX-PN exam.
• Licensed Practical Nurse to Associate of Science in Nursing Degree
For those who want a short answer to the question “how long is nursing school?” this nursing program’s for them. This is applicable for LPNs who wish to have a degree that will make them eligible for the NCLEX exam. This offers credit for the skills LPNs have earned either from a program or through experience.
• Associate of Science in Nursing Degree
The ASN degree is a two-year nursing degree that covers technical nursing skills instead of the theoretical aspect of nursing skills. Reportedly, 30% of graduates go on to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree programs. Graduates of the ASN program can go on to become RNs or registered nurses. In the context of “how long is nursing school?”, this path is perfect for majority of students since it’s one of the quickest and foolproof ways to earn money as a registered nurse.
• Licensed Practical Nurse to Bachelor or Science in Nursing Degree
This nursing program is ideal for LPNs or LVNs who want to get a BSN degree. When taken into the context of “how long is nursing school?”, this is a fast-track route since you can get a BSN degree in around four semesters.
• Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree
Also known as the BSN degree or Prelicensure BSN nursing program, this is undoubtedly the most beneficial since it offers graduates the best chances of getting high-paying and secure employment options. The first two years of the course usually covers GED subjects, with the last two or three years covering classes on nursing skills.
• Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree
This type of nursing program is offered to RNs who have graduated from diploma or associate programs but want to finish a BSN degree. This offers credit for the skills RNs have earned either from a program or through experience. It also affords flexible schedules since most students of programs like these are already working RNs.
• 2nd Degree Bachelor or Science in Nursing Degree
This nursing program is for the non-nurses that have BS degrees in other studies. This is generally completed in two years and offers credit for completed requirements in liberal arts.
• Accelerated Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree
Like the 2nd Degree BSN, the Accelerated BSN offers credits for completion of requirements in liberal arts, but with the addition of allowing students to finish other requirements faster that more traditional BSN programs. In general, students can complete the course in one year or less than two years.
• Master of Science in Nursing Degree
The MSN nursing program can be completed in 18 to 24 months and offers specialization for a specific nursing field like clinical research or training. On the other hand, some also opt to take several degrees in associated fields such as hospital administration, public health, and business administration, among many others. Majority of those taking on a Master of Science in Nursing degree already have under their belt a BSN degree.
Note though that some offer accelerated nursing programs for college graduates of non-nursing courses and for those with ADN degrees so that they can simultaneously get both a BSN degree and MSN degree in one taking.
• Registered Nurse to Master of Science in Nursing Degree
This program for nurses is available to registered nurses who already have an ASN but would want to get a Master of Science in Nursing degree. It is ideal for those who already have a BSN. The curriculum implemented in this nursing program is specifically fitted to meet the needs of students that want to earn BSN credits for advanced placement in order that no overlapping of their MSN and BSN courses occurs.
• Post Master’s Certificate
These are professional certifications composed of specialized tests. Students are allowed to take these exams so that they can successfully prove their specialization in a particular field of nursing that go beyond the needed skills for registered nurses. Only those who have a MSN degree are eligible for these certifications.
• Post Certificate Master’s
Before, majority of states actually permitted registered nurses to get certification as CNMs or nurse/midwives, NPs or nurse practitioners, or CRNAs or nurse anesthetists even with the lack of a Master’s degree. In general, this requirement has been updated, but some educational institutions still offer certified nurses the chance to get a Master’s degree and be given credit for their work experience or education.
• Doctorate Nursing Degree
Similar to nurses who hold Master’s degrees; those with Doctorate Nursing degrees are very much in demand by the job market. These types of nursing programs offer PhDs in advanced clinical practice, clinical research, and health administration among others. In the context of “how long is nursing school?” however, these programs can set you back four or six years.
These are just some of the more common nursing programs available if you want to follow the nursing path. Keep in mind that when choosing which nursing program to take, you should first decide on the goals you want to achieve.