nursing degree

What Are Pros And Cons Of Different Nursing Degrees?

There are many degrees you can earn that can help you become a nurse.  These degrees vary from an associate degree all the way to a PHD in nursing.  There are also degrees in between.  As with most professions, usually the higher the nursing school qualifications you have, the more opportunities for advancement you will have.  What is good about nursing is that after just a couple years of schooling, you can be a well paid member of the nursing community work force.

Take a look below at the educational paths you can pursue in nursing.  You can then decide which path fits in with your career goals.

Diploma Degree for Licensed Practical Nurse


Licensed practical nurses (sometimes called Licensed Vocational Nurses) are a step under Registered Nurses (RN), but frequently do the same kinds of patient care.  Licensed practical nurse (LPN) training is available at community colleges in addition to technical and vocational colleges, and typically take about 1 year of classroom study and hands-on experience.  Graduates will need to pass the NCLEX-RN national licensing examination to be able to start practicing.

With an LPN license you can get valuable hands-on expertise in nursing early on in your career.  This will come in quite handy if you choose to keep moving ahead with your studies, and of course give you something to list on your resume when you start searching for RN jobs in two or three years.


LPNs do not have the same number of job opportunities as they once did.  An increasing number of nursing employers are searching for RNs these days. Lower level qualifications like LPN get positions like medical assistants.  You will still find work, but if you want to be competitive, getting an RN license in the future is a good idea.

Associate Degree in Nursing


With an associate degree as well as the RN designation, it is one of the few high-paying and well-respected positions that doesn’t need a bachelor’s degree.  An associates degree in nursing takes 2 years to complete. It can be completed at a community college or at a vocational school.


Some competitive medical practices will give preference to people who have a bachelor’s degree in nursing.  If you want to pursue advanced positions, you will not be considered if you do not have a four year bachelors degree.

Whether you start your nursing career with a bachelor’s degree from the beginning, or return later to earn it, a bachelor’s degree is becoming the standard for most RN jobs nowadays.  Most companies are looking for people who have four-year degrees.  There are programs offered from universities to earn a Bachelors in nursing from the associate degree.

Bachelors Degree in Nursing


Bachelor’s degrees for RN’s is the the best degree to start with.  It allows you to get the better entry level nursing positions and for you to have the opportunity to progress in your career.


Getting a four-year degree is a huge investment of time and money, which can be particularly challenging for adults who are already in the workforce.  If you are in that circumstance, you need to figure out whether the return on investment is well worth it  — like if it will lead to better paying opportunities or make you more marketable.

Masters Of Science In Nursing


Pursuing a Masters of Science in Nursing degree can lead to a significant salary increase.  For nurses who want to pursue a technical track or pursue management positions, earning a master’s degree can actually help set them apart.  Actually, for some nursing positions – such as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist or Family Nurse Practitioner – a master’s degree is a requirement.


Master’s programs are intense and hard, and typically take about two years to finish.  You will need to be ready to dedicate a lot of time to school.  This can be challenging to do if you are working full-time, but a lot of nurses successfully do it.

P.H.D In Nursing


A Ph.D in nursing is the highest nursing degree that can be earned.  It is called a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing.  This degree focuses on advanced clinical practice. It prepares nurses for a career of medical research that will advance the nursing profession and help teach nurses.


A P.H.D program is a lot of work and a lot of years of study.  You will most likely have to work at your regular nursing job while pursuing your Ph.D. in nursing.  That is definitely not an easy task. In addition, pursuing a P.H.D is a large money and time commitment.

Adding specializations to your nursing profession through innovative education can truly open up a whole lot of career opportunities and offer further job security.  By weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each degree type and considering your own personal objectives, you will be able to pick the program of study that is ideal for you.


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