The Most Complete Directory of RN Programs

About RN Programs

If you want to become a Registered Nurse, or RN, there are three tracks you can take to enter into the field. These include earning a diploma, an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Nursing Science (BSN). One choice is enrolling in a nursing school offering (RN programs) that lead to a certificate or diploma. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, these programs take about three years to complete and are usually found in hospitals. There are far fewer diploma RN programs than there are ADN or BSN programs, however.


ADN Programs

Associate Degree in Nursing, or ADN, programs take about two to three years to complete. Associate degree RN nursing programs are found online as well as in community or junior colleges, regular colleges and universities.   Students in associate degree RN nursing programs need a high school diploma to enroll in the program. High school coursework that is helpful to future success in ADN programs include chemistry, biology, geometry, psychology, computer skills, health, and English. Classes that ADN students typically take include maternal and child health, psychology, anatomy and physiology, biology and chemistry.

ADN students will learn the technical skills necessary to succeed as a registered nurse. ADN students will spend about two years in school, and receive an associate’s degree in nursing upon graduation. This route is often the fastest way for an RN student to graduate and enter into the nursing practice. While many students will end their education here, some will choose to go on to study for their BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree.

After completing an Associate Degree RN nursing programs, students must pass the NCLEX-RN national certification test for registered nurses. Positions for students with an ADN may be found in medical and long-term care facilities, outpatient care clinics, travel nursing, and in private physicians’ and other health care practitioners’ offices. Many RN students favor the ADN program out of all of the RN programs available. Associate degree RN nursing programs allow students to finish schooling and begin earning money in less time than it takes to obtain a bachelor’s degree.


BSN Programs

Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, programs take about four years to complete. These are offered online, in colleges and in universities. Some RNs who have completed Associate Degree RN nursing programs choose to go on to get their bachelor’s degree to increase their earnings potential. Other students may enroll in BSN programs from the beginning of their nursing school training and study for the complete four years to earn their degree.


RN to BSN Programs

Many BSN programs will admit RNs with a diploma in what is called an RN to BSN program. These programs are found online or in traditional college or university settings. Working RNs who wish to further their education through RN programs, but might not have the time to attend traditional college classes choose the online RN to BSN option. Instead of taking four years to complete, students in RN to BSN programs may earn their bachelor’s degree in as little as two years.


Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN programs are RN programs that are designed especially for students who already possess a bachelor’s degree in another subject area. These students wish to enter the nursing field, and are rewarded for having completed certain liberal arts foundation courses. Accelerated BSN programs usually help the student earn a bachelor’s of science in nursing in a year to a year and a half. This is the quickest option to getting a BSN, but it does usually require a student to first hold a bachelor’s degree in another discipline.


MSN Programs

Registered nurses who wish to take on more independent, autonomous roles may enroll in MSN programs. An RN with a Master’s of Science in Nursing is eligible for many career possibilities. Some of these include nurse practitioner, nurse educator, nurse specialist, nurse midwife and nurse anesthetist. RN programs in which the student earns a master’s degree typically take two to four years to complete. Higher salaries are attainable as well for RNs who possess an MSN degree.


RN to MSN Programs

If you are already a Registered Nurse who has either a diploma or an Associate Degree in Nursing, you may be eligible to enroll in RN to MSN programs. These RN programs are designed to help the RN achieve a Master’s of Science in Nursing faster than in traditional MSN programs. Many of the basic nursing courses are left out of these programs, as they have already been covered in your RN or ADN program. These programs focus on helping the student earn a graduate degree in less time.


Accelerated MSN Programs

Accelerated MSN programs are also designed for busy, working registered nurses who wish to advance their careers. They may be found in online nursing schools or in traditional college or university settings. Many RNs enroll in these RN programs so that they can take classes when it is most convenient for them in their busy work schedules. Accelerated MSN programs help RNs become nurse practitioners or work in other advanced specializations of nursing.

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