Nursing Associates Programs vs. Nursing Bachelors Programs
Nursing is a field filled with possibilities. There are many different kinds of nursing programs and nurses such as a registered nurse, a clinical nurse specialist, a nurse practitioner and a certified nurse midwife among others. There are also many different levels of education and expertise involved with the various types of nursing occupations.
A person can be a nurse with only an associate’s degree or they can choose to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Nurses can also specialize in a large variety of areas depending on their degree. A person pursuing either an associate degree or a bachelor degree could choose to specialize in Gerontology, Health Care Management or Psychology among many other possible subjects. In order to become a registered nurse (RN), those with an associate’s degree and those with a bachelor’s degree must all take the same exam. The exam is the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN). Nurses are in demand, particularly those with a bachelor degree or higher, due to many factors such as technological developments, increased public awareness of health problems and a growing aging population. The area of health care administration needs nurses with higher levels of education such as a bachelor’s degree for executive positions. There is a push happening in the industry to have nurses at least earn a bachelor’s degree when enrolled in RN programs. In May of 2010 the Tri-Council for Nursing, a coalition of four steering organizations for the nursing profession, issued a statement. The coalition wants all RN’s to increase their education level in order to provide higher levels of quality and safety across healthcare settings. There are reasons why some people choose to only earn an associate’s degree.
Associate Degree Programs
Associate’s degree programs in nursing (ADN’s) tend to take approximately two years to complete. An associate’s degree is considered by many people to be a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree. The program focuses on the technical skills of nursing. ADN’s are only available in the United States but international students may enroll in the programs if accepted. RN’s can work in long-term care facilities, hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices. The most prevalent reason why people choose to purse an associate’s degree instead of a bachelor’s degree is money. Basically you are only paying for two years of education versus four. Institutions that offer associate’s degrees in nursing are community, technical, vocational and junior colleges, and online nursing programs which are less expensive in general than four-year colleges and universities. These types of institutions are more expensive if you are from out of town. After receiving an associate’s degree in nursing and passing the NCLEX-RN exam, you can start working as an RN immediately. You can start earning money with which to pursue a bachelor’s degree if you choose. Also, attaining an associate’s degree provides you with more flexibility if you are undecided about pursuing a bachelor’s degree. It allows you to ease into the subject matter and decide if the field is truly what you wish to pursue. Pursuing nursing education can even be done while you are still in high school. Graduation would present you with an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) or LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) certificate. You must also pass the NCLEX-PN exam. These types of nurses work under the supervision of a doctor or RN.
There are requirements that must be met in order to be accepted into an associate’s degree program in nursing schools. Typically one form of a preparation course, such as Nurse Aide I, or another in a related field must be completed. An SAT score of at least 940 must be achieved. Foreign students are required to have at least 5 C’s on the GCSE. Often certain high school grade point averages must be met or certain grades in courses such as at least a C in biology.
Bachelor Degree Programs in Nursing
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is the most highly desired requirement by employers regarding nursing positions. If you have a BSN you can increase your salary and be able to advance your career. The management and leadership courses that are part of the curriculum prepare you for supervisory and leadership positions. A BSN is often a stepping stone to a management position. There are numerous ways to achieve a BSN depending on your background. The BSN programs differ among the specific schools that offer them (typically four-year colleges and universities). Many American universities offer programs that bridge the gap between an ADN and a BSN degree in nursing. The programs are specifically designed for people who are working, and the classes are often offered at night or on weekends. Credit is given for nursing skills that are acquired through work experience or school. If you wish to obtain a BSN but have no work or school credit, the process to obtain the degree is similar to all the other degrees at colleges and universities. The first one to two years are spent completing required general courses, followed by two to three years of nursing specific courses. Admission requirements to the BSN programs vary among institutions. A general nursing background is always helpful for admission. You can also become a nurse after you have already obtained a four-year degree in a completely different field. When this situation occurs, you can usually complete nursing coursework within two years. You are given credit for all the required liberal arts courses that you have already taken and passed. Accelerated BSN’s are also available and you usually must have at least a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher. An accelerated BSN can be completed in only 12 to 20 months.
Nurse jobs exist for all nursing education levels. You must decide what direction you want your life to lead you in. BSN degree recipients are more in demand than ADN degree recipients, but there are still jobs in the world where a BSN is not a requirement. You are the only person who can decide if the extra investment in time and money in your education is something that you want to do. Most colleges and universities offer financial aid to people who cannot otherwise afford college. Scholarships also exist to help people to pay for their education.